Friday, May 29, 2015

Baltimore Mayor: "The Police Don't Trust The Commissioner"

So said Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland - a city under siege.

In the weeks since the protests over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the violence in Baltimore has increased dramatically. Over the Memorial Day weekend there were 28 shootings in town, 9 of them fatal. The murder total in the city for 2015 already stands at 108. In 2014 there were 211 murders for the year. They're more than halfway there in less than five months.

There are several reasons for the increased violence (besides the thuggery that is going on in the Baltimore communities right now, that is.)

Baltimore police officers have curbed their activities on the streets to strictly "by the book" actions. They have stopped being proactive - as in they don't do anything based on suspicion but only respond to actual calls. Why? Since the mayor threw the entire police department under the bus, called them all racists, and, without a trial, basically proclaimed the six officers arrested as guilty of murdering Freddie Gray, the officers are afraid if they make a mistake of any kind they will be arrested and charged. Many have stated this to the Commissioner and some have even gone public.

Many police officers in Baltimore no doubt see the mayor and the prosecutor (Marilyn Mosby) as biased against police and sympathetic toward the criminals, and perhaps even racially biased. Although three of the six officers arrested in the Gray case are black, the comments made by the prosecutor and the mayor immediately following their arrests lead one to believe that the two city officials are motivated by race as much as anything.

Speaking to Al Sharpton's National Race Baiting Action Network, Mayor Rawlings-Blake posed the following question about the arrests made in the Gray case:

“If, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country?” referring to herself, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. If that's not racially biased it is, at the very least, devoid of the pursuit of true justice. (Just imagine if a white mayor had made a statement like that about her and two other white women.) 

The day State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the charges against the six officers she too decided to throw a little bias into the case when she said "To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America. I heard your call for 'no justice, no peace.' Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man." She followed it with this: "To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment, this is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now."

The Washington Post called her remarks "amazing" and some would say she was speaking to all of the young people in Baltimore. But those paying attention know that only the young blacks were rioting, burning, looting, and attacking police. It's not difficult to discern to whom she was speaking. 

And let's look at the other content of her remarks. She said she will "work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man." She laid out all of the charges against him, some of which were changed when they were proved baseless by the police union and the attorneys for the accused. Justice is supposed to be for the people, not for a victim whose death cannot be proved to be malicious or intentional. She also said "As  young people, our time is now." So does that mean in her office if you're not young you've got nothing coming? 

Then, after telling the public all about what she was doing to prosecute her case, she requested a gag order on the defendants, their attorneys and witnesses in the case to prevent "tainting the jury pool." She got her information out there to potential jurors then asked the judge not to let the defense do the same thing. Talk about a biased and unfair prosecutor.

Instead of justice being blind it seems this woman might be blind to justice.

Police have also encountered a new development in their dealings with suspects on the streets. Even when they are called to respond they are often met by crowds of civilians who gather around them, taunting, mocking, and taking videos of the encounters. In some cases the police have been forced to back off and leave the scene rather than get aggressive with the crowds. So they are not currently fighting crime aggressively in Baltimore - mostly for their own safety and security. And who can blame them?

Interestingly, those same civilians who have been so critical of the police's actions before the rioting are now complaining because the police aren't doing enough. Some law abiding residents of Baltimore are securing themselves in their homes, afraid to be out in the streets.

The police commissioner, Anthony Batts, also a black man, initially sided with the mayor in this case. Apparently he has since seen the error in his ways because recently he not only apologized to his officers but said he put them in harm's way during the rioting last month.

The Commissioner spoke to his officers at a union meeting on Wednesday.

"I want to come here and tell you guys that I think I let you guys down," he said. "I say that with a humble heart, I say that with honesty, and I say it coming from my heart."

Commissioner Batts told the officers he "saw this stuff coming," apparently referring to the unrest.

"In my intuition, I didn't stay with it," he said. "People said, 'We haven't had a riot here in 40 years,' and my intuition told me I should've went another direction. And by not going another direction, my guys got hurt. By not going with my intuition, my guys got hurt. By not going with my intuition, I put you guys in a tough position."

I would agree with him. I think perhaps he really does get it, although calls for his resignation have already begun among the rank and file officers and the damage may be irreparable.

"We had a 9-year-old kid shot yesterday by these knuckleheads, gangsters, thugs, whatever you want to call them," he said Wednesday. "We have innocent people getting shot on the streets of Baltimore.

"People think we're down. People are giving up on us," Batts said. "I mean this with all my heart: We need to show how ******* good we are. I stand ready to lead you out of this."

The mayor, however, is deferring responsibility for the police department's recent slowdown away from herself when it is more about her than it is the commissioner. (She's pretty good at throwing people under the bus.) Sure, he could have told her she was wrong and dealt with the rioting in an aggressive manner - at the risk of his own job. I'm thinking in retrospect he wishes he had done that. But the mayor herself was responsible for the police standing down and allowing the rioting, looting and burning. She got the philosophy from being a member of Obama's task force following the Ferguson riots. It's not difficult to see that yet another Obama policy is a complete failure.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake needs to stand up, take responsibility for her words and actions, apologize to the police department and take her lumps. But since she denied even saying she "gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well" despite video proof of her statement, then said her words were taken out of context, I find it highly unlikely that will ever happen. Yet another worthless Democrat mayor in a city that is failing.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

News For A Thursday...

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore who instructed her police department to give protesters "space to destroy" the city during protests several weeks ago, is now asking for the tax payers to foot the bill to repair and restore the city of Baltimore.

"I’ve made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech," the mayor said. "It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to deescalate, and that’s what you saw."

Rawlings-Blake, who attempted to walk back her comments when the protesters took her up on it, also threw her police department under the bus, calling them racists. But guess who she wants to pay for the damage caused by her failed leadership? That's right - you and me.

The mayor has begun the process to request up to 75% of the estimated $20 million in damages and staffing costs incurred during the rioting. She gave the people of her city permission to protest, then gave them permission to turn it from a protest to a full scale riot complete with destruction of property (approved by her) and now wants the good citizens of the United States to pay for it.

No offense to the decent, law-abiding citizens of Baltimore but she made your bed and now you all must lie in it. Perhaps you'll take pause for consideration when she comes up for re-election.

In other news, police in Cape May, New Jersey, have arrested 19 juveniles and 1 adult involved in sending nude and partially nude photographs of female students to male students via text message in Cape May High School and a Cape May middle school. Police confiscated 27 phones during the investigation and have charged all 20 with violation of privacy. Although the ages of the females are not mentioned, since there have been no child pornography charges filed one could guess that the females were at least 18 or deals have been made to protect the identity of the females. 

The names of the minor are being withheld for privacy purposes and the name of the adult is being withheld because prosecutors believe some of the students could be identified because of their association with the adult.

Sexting (sending sexual remarks and photographs between cell phones) has become nearly an epidemic among minor children these days. Kids with cell phones are putting their naked pictures not only on the cellular waves but on the internet as well. Most parents have no idea their child would do such a thing. Too bad they often find out when the police get involved...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CAIR Officials Want To Dishonor Fallen American Veterans

According to their webpage, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a "Washington-based Islamic advocacy group" (Press release, 8/28/1995) and an "organization dedicated to providing an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public." They are a self-proclaimed "organization that challenges stereotypes of Islam and Muslims." (CAIR letter to Vice President Gore, 10/06/1995)

All well and good, right? CAIR is simply an organization that acts in the best interest of Muslims, particularly American Muslims, on issues of discrimination, stereotypes, and relations with the American people and the American government. So they say, anyway.

That's pretty much how President Obama sees them. But President Obama sometimes doesn't see things clearly. His own Justice Department believes CAIR is a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and un-indicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing case. CAIR goes out of their way to silence people who criticize Islam and/or their beliefs and practices.

Now it seems they're going after our military and our long-held respect for those who serve; and particularly those who have given their lives in service to our nation.

On May 23, Zahra Billoo, the somewhat radical executive-director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, took to Twitter to denounce Memorial Day. The post read: "Zahra Billoo struggles with Memorial Day each year. How does one balance being pretty staunchly anti-war while honoring those who died in the military?"
Gee - I'm not a highly educated man nor am I the executive director of anything - except maybe my household chore list. But I can answer her question.

"It's easy, Zahra Billoo. You be thankful and grateful to the men and women who serve in our armed forces, particularly those who died doing it, for the freedom you have to voice your opposition to war - or to voice any opposition to the government and its policies." 

It's that simple. If it wasn't for the armed services of the United States of America none of us, including people like Zahra Billoo, would have the freedom to voice our true feelings. We might not even have a country.

But that second point might be OK with some Muslims living right here in the United States. Dawud Walid, the executive-director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, also took to Twitter to voice his displeasure over honoring America's fallen heroes. He is another who apparently doesn't understand that his right to express his nonsensical things is in a large sense because of our military.

"If one dies in an unjust war in which we illegally invaded and occupied a sovereign nation, should that person be honored?" Walid said the other day. I've got the answer for Mr. Walid as well.

"The soldier who deployed, fought, and died did so because he was ordered to do so by his government. He was doing his duty with honor."

It takes courage to go fight a war - more courage, I'm sure, than Mr. Walid possesses. It really doesn't matter whether or not Mr. Walid approves and/or agrees with the war. What matters is that we have Americans brave enough to go do their sworn duty for the United States and fight to preserve our freedoms. Yes, even the freedoms of those who would criticize them.

Honestly, I really don't understand these people who come to this country from a place they no longer want to live, then want to turn our country into the place they left.

Ms. Billoo did find one "soldier" she felt worthy of her attention and honor. On May 26th she took to Twitter again to promote an article about Imam Jamil al-Amin, a member of the Black Panthers terrorist group and was convicted of murdering a police officer in 2000. He is anti-American and has stated in the past that “If America doesn’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down. I say violence is necessary. It is as American as cherry pie.”

Mr. al-Amin has also been quoted as saying the U.S. Constitution is “diametrically opposed to what Allah has commanded.”

He is correct about that. Islam and the U.S. Constitution are not really compatible. Our Constitution guarantees Americans the right to speak as they wish (and to criticize whomever they wish) and to worship as we please. Islam teaches that everyone will convert to Islam or be killed. That doesn't quite jibe with our Constitution. But those of us who understand that are labeled Islamophobes.

Merriam-Webster's definition of Islamophobia is "fear or hatred of Islam or Muslims." The Urban Dictionary sees it a little differently. They define is as "non-Muslims who know more than they're supposed to know about Islam." That second definition certainly makes sense. If you know about Islam, quote factual information about Islam, and criticize Islam for their practices, regardless of how true your statements are, many will label you an Islamophobe. "Islamophobia" is simply another catch all phrase used by Muslims, and many on the left, in an attempt to silence criticism of Islam. It's exactly the same tactic used by people who call you a racist if you criticize President Obama - an attempt to shame you into silence. Fortunately, many Americans are not intimidated by it.

Here's a perfect example of the left attempting to silence free speech. Recently, in Clinton, Mississippi, a wounded combat veteran, former Marine Jeremy Rawls, says he was suspended from the college where he is a senior because he asked for a counselor who is not Muslim. Rawls, who served two tours in Iraq, has been diagnosed with PTSD and a lung disorder and qualifies for extra attention for his studies. He was assigned to a counselor who turned out to be a female student intern who is a practicing Muslim and was wearing traditional Muslim attire.

The school's notification to Rawls of his suspension said they were practicing "due diligence in not only the protection of yourself, but also the campus community as a whole from potential harm or the threat there of.”

Except he's never harmed anyone, never threatened anyone, and there seems to be no physical evidence to the contrary.

Imagine being a Marine with PTSD and walking in to your appointment with a Muslim in typical attire. How anyone at the school thought that was a good idea is beyond me. Rawls must keep the school informed of his medical and mental health conditions as part of his assistance program. So they assigned him to a Muslim, then suspended him because he complained.

Rawls was told he could not return to classes nor even be on school property until he received (and passed) a private mental health exam. He has since fulfilled that request but has yet to be allowed back on campus.

This is typical, liberal, overreaction to one Marine's seemingly reasonable request for a non-Muslim counselor. Anyone whose brain was working at the time would have said "Gee - we screwed up. We're very sorry. We'll fix that immediately."

But that's not normally how the liberal mind works...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Many people get confused between Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. Both are days set aside by our government to remember our military veterans but only one is for those who are still living. The other is for those who made that ultimate sacrifice; those who gave the last full measure of devotion.

Photo credit to Mr. Frank Glick  

In many parts of the country Memorial Day has become the first federal holiday for barbecues and outdoor activities. That's perfectly understandable given that it's at the end of May when nearly all of the country has warmed up to summer-like temperatures. It's a time for family fun and celebration. But many need a reminder of exactly what the celebration and remembrance is for.

Since the Revolutionary War, Americans have fought and died in our armed services - not only to gain our freedom but to maintain it through the years. And while some were forced into the service through the draft, most have been volunteers. They put on the uniform of the United States of America and put their lives on the line in defense of our nation, our flag and our way of life.

There are those who would argue the point about fighting "useless wars" or "illegal wars' but our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines don't make those decisions. They do what they're told. If they're sent to war they do their sworn duty, with very few exceptions, and they do their best. Many come home. Some don't.

There's an old saying that goes "A veteran is a person who, at some point in his/her life, writes a check to 'The people of the United States of America' in the amount of 'Up to and including my life."' Most times the people never cash that check. Sometimes we do.

Memorial Day is a specific day set aside to honor those whose checks were cashed by the people to whom they were made out.

It's that simple.

Veterans' Day is set aside to honor every American who has served in our armed forces. And rightly so. Memorial Day is a second day set aside to honor those veterans who made that ultimate sacrifice and didn't return home to their loved ones. It's a day to honor their memories; a day to remember what they did for us as a nation. It's a day to say thank you - not only to those who gave their lives for us but to their family members who also sacrificed, and still sacrifice because of their loss(es).

Back in the early 90s I had the honor to take my young son to the National Cemetery on Fort Leavenworth to be a part of the crew that placed American flags in front of every veteran's headstone. I don't remember how many graves were there but it was well over 10,000 at the time. (As of 2005 there were over 22,000 interments on site.) There was a crew working that morning but it still took until mid afternoon to place all of the flags.

I still remember the instructions we were given. The flag is centered on each headstone and placed approximately 12 inches out from the stone. It's best if one person does an entire row because it helps maintain uniformity of the row. For me it was an honor to simply be a part of it and my son, whether he knew the true meaning of what he was doing or not (he was six) - he participated and took pride in his work. It's was something he never forgot.

In church yesterday our pastor told the congregations of both services "If you've never been to a national cemetery you should go. It's a moving experience." I must agree. Looking out over the rows and rows of white marble headstones and remembering why they are there - that they all served in our military at one time, gives on a sense of understanding of how many people have loved their country enough to wear the uniform.

There are 147 national cemeteries in the United States and 24 outside the United States - most of those in Europe. I have been to the large one in Luxembourg where General George S. Patton, Jr. is buried. Of course, the most well known one is the Cimetière Américain de Normandie, filled with the bodies of those killed during the D-Day invasion of France. It's a place I hope to visit one day.

As an eight year veteran of the United States Air Force, military holidays are very important to me. But none so much as Memorial Day. There are no words to describe the gratitude I have for those who sacrificed their lives for me and others. They did it during the Revolution, the Civil War, World War 1 and "the war to end all wars" - World War 2. They sacrificed for me, a young teenager, in Vietnam. And they voluntarily sacrifice today in Afghanistan.

The Bible says "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Those who have made that ultimate sacrifice for their fellow countrymen deserve our honor and respect. They did it for us. They did it for love of country. They did it to preserve the way of life that you and I live every day.

A big thank you to all of our nation's veterans - those who have served and those serving still. But a bigger thank you goes out to those of you who gave your lives in service to this great nation. Today is your day. And even though you can't celebrate it - many of us will celebrate it in your honor and memory. You've definitely earned it.

Friday, May 22, 2015

When Mayors And Police Collide

Back in December, following an incident in which the New York City grand jury failed to indict several police officers for the murder of Eric Garner (because there was no evidence to support a charge), New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, threw his entire police department under the bus, making it sound as if the entire department was made up of hate filled racists who targeted black citizens.

De Blasio told the American public that the Eric Garner case was “profoundly personal for me,” saying that because of “the dangers Dante (his biracial son) may face, we’ve had to literally train him . . . in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.”

Interesting considering the mayor's son has NYC police officers to take him to and from school and drive him where he wants or needs to go. Did De Blasio teach his son to be afraid of those officers too - just in case?

The mayor went on to tell all New Yorkers, in so many words, that the police are racists and that black citizens should not only be afraid of them but should teach their children to be afraid of them as well. He lumped all officers into one large category and was unapologetic. Many officers were so angry they turned their backs on him wherever he went in the city.

Violent crime in New York began going up and city revenues began going down as police stopped giving 110% to the job. They did what they were required to do rather than putting their all into it. As of May 5th of this year, murders and shootings in New York City have increased by 20% each. (Note that another reason for this is the mayor's banning the "Stop and Frisk" program that was taking guns off the street.)

Police stopped writing parking tickets - the major source of revenue for the city. City revenues dropped by 90%. Oops.

As a mayor, it's probably not smart to throw your police force under the bus. But that didn't stop Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, from doing it following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

Apparently not paying attention to New York City's problems, shortly after Gray's death Mayor Rawlings-Blake threw her own police department under the bus, also making them sound like a bunch of racists. Six of her officers, three white and three black, were arrested on charges ranging from second degree murder to criminal negligence and false imprisonment. Ms. Rawlings-Blake then invited the Justice department "to investigate if our police department has engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches or arrests that violate the Fourth Amendment.”

Of the 2745 active duty officers on the force, 1445 (or 52%) are African-American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American. Four of the six top commanders of the force are either African-American or Hispanic. And the mayor wants the department investigated by the racially biased Justice Department for discriminating against minorities.

The mayor has apparently decided the outcome of the investigation and of the charges filed against the six officers. She spoke to Al Sharpton's National Action Network (certain an unbiased organization if there ever was one...) and said “We will get justice for Freddie Gray. If, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country.”

Funny - I thought justice was supposed to be for everyone and that people accused of something were innocent until proven guilty in court. But what do I know?

Since Mayor Rawlings-Blake threw her police department under the bus the officers themselves say quietly that they are afraid to do their jobs.

“Officers are coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m afraid to do my job,’” Lt. Kenneth Butler, a president of a group for black officers, said recently. "Moral is low," he said, and "all officers, regardless of race, are upset."

And why wouldn't it be? Officers citywide are now afraid if they arrest someone and the charges don't stick they could be jailed for making a false arrest and/or false imprisonment. After all - when Freddie Gray was arrested for possession of a knife, which we now know was in his possession illegally, the prosecutor mistakenly declared the knife to be legal and charged the arresting officers with false arrest and false imprisonment. (She has since dropped those and added reckless endangerment to the list of charges.)

Now that the police are understandably afraid of making a mistake that could cost them their freedom they are not out there giving it 110%. As a result, violent crime has increased exponentially in Baltimore. Murders have increased by 40% and non-fatal shootings by 60%. 

It seems it doesn't pay for the mayors of large cities to disavow and demean their police departments. It's counterproductive to good policing. And the mayors will probably blame the police instead of themselves.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Denial Of Climate Change Is Dereliction Of Duty"

On Sunday, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremony, the commencement speaker told the young Chief Warrant Officers that climate change is currently the greatest threat to our national security and that if they deny that fact they are derelict in their duties. That speaker also said that climate change is also responsible for the rise in power of the terrorist group Boko Haram.

"Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.

After all, isn’t that the true hallmark of leadership? When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action — to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces."

That same speaker also said this.

“Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram,”

That speaker was none other than the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama.

Imagine a Republican President telling our military members "If you think for yourselves, if you don't believe exactly as I command you to believe, you are derelict in your duties." The liberal media would be all over it. Imagine a Republican President lying about factual global information(the polar ice caps have grown to record size since 2012). The media would be denouncing that President as dishonest, telling the nation and the world that he lies. Yet President Obama blatantly lies to a stadium full of graduating cadets and the main stream media says nothing.

I guess, when it gets really hot this summer here in Texas, I could go on a killing spree and kidnap a couple hundred young girls to sell as sex slaves and blame it on climate change. After all - President Obama said that's what fuels Boko Haram. If it's a good enough reason for terrorists to kidnap and murder shouldn't someone here be able to use it as an excuse?

In other news, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, has approved the placement of a memorial plaque for Michael Brown in the city sidewalk near where he was killed. 

I have no problem if Brown's friends and family want to dedicate a plaque to his memory. I really don't. They want to remember him as they saw him - whether or not their view of him is distorted by emotion. But for the City of Ferguson to memorialize and immortalize a man who was a criminal and who attempted to kill one of their police officers, on city property, is a disgrace. It dishonors the faithful service of Officer Darren Wilson to the people of Ferguson and dishonors the honest, hardworking people who live there.

The good people of Ferguson should tell the city council and the mayor that is not the way they want their city to be remembered - for a two-bit thug who tried to kill a police officer. I can't believe the city would do something like this which, in all honesty, makes them look like fools. But I guess there is no accounting for the logic and judgement of some people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why No National Guard In Waco??

On Sunday, in Waco, Texas, several outlaw motorcycle gangs got into a dispute at a restaurant and got into a physical scuffle. The fight spread, guns and knives were drawn, and the melee moved out into the parking lot. Nine gang members were killed, 18 wounded, and 175 people were arrested by the Waco police.

Police were already on the scene. According to the Waco PD, at least 18 plain clothes police officers were on the ground observing. They responded within seconds and were quickly backed up by patrol officers, only to face gunfire from the bikers. Police returned fire and it is currently being stated that at least four of the bikers were killed by police.

The incident was over within just a short time (not known exactly how long) when the bikers began laying down their weapons and surrendering. By mid-afternoon the entire thing was finished except for transporting and booking suspects and cleaning up.

Liberals and some black Americans across the nation began screaming about why the National Guard wasn't called in and why there was no curfew put in place following the incident. Some claimed that the reason is because the bikers are white and therefore not subject to "police overreaction." (They somehow miss the fact that police actually shot several of them - something that didn't happen during the rioting in Missouri and Maryland.)

The answer should be blatantly obvious to them but they see things through eyes clouded by racial animosity and misdirected political correctness. So I will try to explain it in simple terms:

The gunfight was over shortly after it began and the police took control of the scene.

That's it. That's the simple explanation. I could go on and explain how there was no rioting, looting, arson, or civil disobedience following the incident which made the National Guard and a curfew unnecessary but that should be obvious. I guess to those who wish to stir the fires of racism at any cost don't really care too much about the truth.

Written articles by idiots liberal critics say that gun control could have prevented the bikers from being killed and/or that only one gun was produced by a gang member (police say they confiscated over 100) and that undercover SWAT officers began shooting when that single gun appeared and killed all nine of the bikers.

Sure - let's make the bikers the victims of police and ignore the fact that they are outlaw organizations with long histories of illegal activity and violence, including drug and firearm trafficking. Telling the truth would destroy the conspiracy theory that the police were at fault for the whole thing.

There are so many people in this country today looking for racism that it is now being invented. Most people don't actually know the real definition of racism which Merriam-Webster says is "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."

Today the term has come to mean any disparaging or politically incorrect actions or words based on someone's skin color, ethnicity, and now their religious affiliations (as in comments, ridicule or distrust of Islam. Islam is not a race.)

The common word for most of what is happening today is bigotry, which Merriam-Webster defines as "persons who are obstinately or intolerantly devoted their own opinions and prejudices; especially those who regard or treat the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance."

Bigotry, not racism, is responsible for most of the differences between races, cultures and religious organizations in this country today. Bigotry is the cause of most of the hatred that is occurring in this country today. And like racism, bigotry is the fault of the person who hates. If you're intolerant of the thoughts and opinions of another simply because they disagree with yours, guess what? You're a bigot.

Don't misconstrue what I said - not all people who disagree with others are bigots. People often have good reasons to disagree with someone based on factual information, as in Christians disagreeing with the teachings of Islam or even conservatives disagreeing with liberals. But if you become intolerant and hateful because of it you might be in the realm of bigotry.

Finally, the police response to the Waco incident had absolutely nothing in common with the police responses to the rioting in Ferguson and Baltimore. Those who try to acquaint the two are misguided and are misleading others. Facts are important. Details are important. Unless, of course, one seeks to mislead others to suit their own purpose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prosecutor In Baltimore Asks For Removal of First Amendment Rights

In Baltimore last week Antonio Gioia, a deputy state's attorney, filed a motion on behalf of Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, asking for a gag order on the six police officers, their attorneys, court personnel and witnesses in the Freddie Gray case. The motion says "The efforts by defense counsel will have the necessary effect of undermining both the state's right to present the investigation to a fair and impartial grand jury in this matter and tainting the pool of potential jurors who may ultimately decide this case in a court of law."

All well and good, right? The prosecutor's office is simply trying to protect the integrity of the trial by preventing the defense from tainting the jury pool. Except the gag order doesn't pertain to them - which means they can say anything they wish about the case to the media or private audiences.

On the day the charges were announced, Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby made a 22 minute speech about the charges and the horrible behavior by the six accused police officers. And while she didn't take any questions that day, she had her chance to convince the public that the officers killed Freddie Gray and needed to be punished for it.

Attorneys for the officers, along with the police union, immediately went public and said that Ms. Mosby rushed to judgement, that the evidence in the case doesn't support the charges, and that Ms. Mosby should recuse herself from the case because she has political ties to Freddie Gray's family (as in Gray's family donated major funds to her election campaign.)'

Michael Davey, an attorney for one of the officers, says he believes Ms. Mosby, who is married to a city councilman, made "an egregious rush to judgment," because of the violent protests that were taking place in Baltimore at the time.

"We have grave concerns about the fairness and integrity of the prosecution of our officers."

After watching Ms. Mosby's announcement and listening to legal experts across the country talking about the known evidence vs the charges, I tend to agree with the defendant's attorney. We shall see if Ms. Mosby can validate the charges with provable evidence or not. In the meantime, taking away someone's First Amendment right to freedom of speech while at the same time maintaining your own seems a bit underhanded to me. If Ms. Mosby maintains the right to taint a jury the defense should have the same right.

In other news, President Obama has announced that certain surplus military equipment will be restricted from local police departments nationwide. The equipment banned includes tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, bayonets, grenade launchers, large-caliber firearms and some camouflage uniforms.

Let's look at those individually for a second. I'm not sure why a police department would need an armored vehicle with tank-like tracks. It's not like they'll be using it to chase down bad guys on all sorts of terrain. So that one isn't a big deal. Weaponized aircraft? It seems only Obama can have drones to use against civilians in the United States. I wonder if, when he takes over certain police departments in the country in the name of improving relationships with the community, he'll allow the new federal police force to have drones. After all - they'll be doing his bidding.

Bayonets. I can't really see any reason for police officers to carry bayonets - particularly bayonets fixed to their weapons. That's a bit over the top. Grenade launchers. That depends on what they'll be used for. Police often need gas guns in riot situations. If a grenade launcher can be adapted for tear gas cartridges I see no problem with the police having them. If not - if they can only be used for launching explosives, I don't see much need for them. Cops shouldn't be using grenades in citizens.

"Large caliber firearms" is too vague. Exactly what weapons are we talking about? I don't think a police force needs a 50 caliber machine gun. Is that what the President means? Or does he define it better in the paperwork?

Finally, some camouflage uniforms will be restricted - because everybody knows camouflage is dangerous since the police can become invisible if they wear the correct things...  Right.

The President also said there will be "more stringent controls on other equipment including "unmanned aerial vehicles, some specialized firearms, explosives and riot gear."

Again with the drones. I stand on what I said above. "Some specialized firearms" is again too vague. Which specialized firearms? AR-15s? The Los Angeles Police in 1997 learned a valuable lesson about being outgunned when two bad guys robbed a North Hollywood bank armed with an illegally-modified fully automatic Norinco Type 56 S-1s (an AK-47-style weapon), a Bushmaster XM15 Dissipator, and a HK-91 rifle with high capacity drum magazines and ammunition capable of penetrating vehicles and police Kevlar vests. They were both wearing full body armor that made them immune to small arms fire from the police, who at the time had only 9mm and .30 caliber handguns and a few shotguns.

The police couldn't get close enough for head shots and several officers were wounded in the melee. S.W.A.T. officers were called in and, seeing the need for more firepower, went to a firearms store in the neighborhood and acquired AR-15 rifles. Did that bring the shootout to an end? We don't really know since the first robber killed himself with his own gun and the second went down after being shot in the legs (with an AR-15) by a cop who was on the other side of an escape vehicle shooting under the vehicle. Could a 9mm pistol have taken him down? Possibly - although the damage caused by a .223 or a 5.56 round does a lot more damage than a 9mm round. The second suspect died on the scene from his injuries before the ambulance arrived.

Fast forward to 2015. The Obama administration and the left in general believe that AR-15 rifles, "assault rifles" as they call them, should be banned and believes even the police shouldn't have them because it makes them appear to be "militarized." They also believe the the police shouldn't have armored vehicles for the same reason. Now it seems the President doesn't want the police to have riot gear.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” the president said Monday in Camden, N.J. “We’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments.”

One cannot help but wonder if the President is trying to level the playing field so next time there is a major riot somewhere in the country the police no longer have an upper hand when it comes to force. What kind of birdbrain concept is that? Does he really believe the rioters only burn, loot and destroy because the police look intimidating? That's the most stupid thing I've heard in a long time. In Baltimore the police stood down. How did that work out?

I can see it now....  "There is a large protest planned for tonight beginning at 6:30. In preparation for violence all officers report to the armory and draw your rocks and bottles with which to defend yourself. Do not - I repeat do not don protective gear as the protesters won't have any and the President said we have to keep things fair and equitable."

Yeah - that'll work.

President Obama knows as much about proper armament of a police force as he does about what a surgeon needs to perform a surgical procedure. His committee to look into this topic included none other than Stephanie Rawlings-Blake - the now infamous mayor of Baltimore who not only watched part of her city burn but gave the rioters permission to do it and told her police force to do nothing. Yeah - she's a great choice to decide what weapons and gear are needed by the police.

President Obama's attitude and actions will probably get cops killed. Oh wait - his repeated allegations that cops are racists have already gotten a couple of cops executed in New York by a man who sought revenge for Eric Garner a Michael Brown. Since the President decided to demonize police and stick up for the suspects - even though his own Justice Department said Michael Brown's death was justified - Obama bears some responsibility for the two officers' death. I can't help but wonder how many more police officers will die because of Obama's new rules.

Finally, speaking of drones - it seems our neighborhood is changing. Last evening my wife and I were outside in front of our home and kept hearing a sound like a small motorcycle revving up and then fading away into the distance. Then it would return and do it again. My wife happened to look up and lo and behold - there was a four engine drone about 80 feet above our street. Facing West, it seemed to be looking down on us. It sat stationary for about a minute then turned South and moved away fairly quickly. I thought about getting in the car and following it but didn't have my keys at the time and by the time I went inside and got them it would have been gone. 

It could be coincidence but it seemed as if, once we saw it, the operator decided to move away. Perhaps I should put my shotgun (that I don't really have... wink, wink) next to the front door in case one day it returns....

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Does Obama Even Believe Himself?

On Tuesday, during a panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Obama criticized people who send their children to private schools as ignoring the less fortunate.

“Part of what’s happened is, is that elites in a very mobile, globalized world are able to live together, away from folks who are not as wealthy, and so they feel less of a commitment to making those investments,” the President said.

"We don’t dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history -- it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We believe in property rights, rule of law, so forth. But there has always been trends in the market in which concentrations of wealth can lead to some being left behind. And what’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better -- more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages -- are withdrawing from sort of the commons -- kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids."

Let me get this straight... a man who went to the best private schools as a child, then went to the best Ivy League universities as an adult student, who is now President of the United States and who only plays golf at exclusive, private golf courses, who married a woman who also attended private schools as a child and who also attended Ivy League schools, and whose two daughters have always attended private schools and have probably never set foot in a public school in their lives, is criticizing others who send their kids to private schools for separating themselves from others who are not as wealthy and contributes to "less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids."

All of our kids. Except yours, huh, Mr. President?

In other news, liberal Democrats across the country are calling for more spending for Amtrak following a horrific derailment and crash of one of their trains in Philadelphia yesterday. Even though the investigation is still underway, various Democrats indicate that a lack of federal funding for Amtrak and infrastructure was at least partially to blame for the tragic accident. 

Amtrak, the only federally owned passenger train line, has been losing money for years. Republican lawmakers are reluctant to increase funding to an agency that is consistently losing money. Arguments by Democrats that lack of funding caused the accident are weak, at best. From Amtrak's public website: "Seventy-two percent of the miles traveled by Amtrak trains are on tracks owned by other railroads. Known as "host railroads," they range from large publicly traded companies based in the U.S. or Canada, to state and local government agencies and small businesses."

Amtrak only owns 28% of the track on which it runs. If they don't own the particular track in Philadelphia where the train derailed that means any federal funds going to Amtrak wouldn't be used for repairs in that section anyway. It would be up to the owning corporation to maintain it. 

The investigation so far has shown the train was traveling at 106 mph in a zone where the track curves and the posted speed limit was 50 mph. (According to all reports, the engineer isn't talking to investigators and has hired an attorney.) Apparently the lack of federal funding for Amtrak caused the engineer to be careless and/or to ignore the 50 mph signs. Perhaps he wasn't getting enough money in his federal paycheck to maintain the posted speed limit. 

Finally, in news completely unrelated to the federal government, two Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (MDPSCS) officers have been suspended without pay and are facing felony and misdemeanor charges of burglary and theft. The two women, who both were working at the downtown facility of the Baltimore Division of Corrections, were seen on surveillance video allegedly looting a 7-11 store during the rioting in Baltimore last month. 

It seems, in this case, that sometimes it's true - you can't trust law enforcement officers. I hope what they acquired from the store was worth what they're facing now. On the bright side - at least if they go to prison for their (alleged) crimes they'll have a pretty good idea what to expect. They should adjust well to the routine.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Controversy Over Desecrating The American Flag

There has been a lot of controversy across the USA about the new fad called the Eric Sheppard Challenge - the challenge for people to walk on the American flag in disrespect of our nation, support for a wanted college student who associates with the New Black Panther party and, frankly, sheer idiocy.

By walking on our flag these people seem to think they're protesting white privilege. What they're really doing is disrespecting the very nation and laws that give them the freedom to say and do whatever they wish - good or bad, right or wrong.

Most people in the United States, particularly those who have worn the uniform of our armed services, do not sympathize with these "protesters" nor respect their actions. In fact - most of us who have served see this as a treasonous act that should be punishable by imprisonment, at the very least.

These people wan sympathy and support for their cause (whatever that is - it's difficult to understand) but they go about it by disrespecting America and her people. Their actions gain about as much support as those of the protesters in Ferguson and Baltimore, who seek to gain sympathy through arson and looting. It makes no sense whatsoever and doesn't really conjure up a lot of sympathy.

But is it legal?

There has been controversy over this topic for a long, long time. In 1907 , the first case concerning disrespect for the flag made it to the Supreme Court. In the case of Halter v. Nebraska, the state of Nebraska had prohibited two businessmen from selling beer with an American flag on the label. They sued and lost. They appealed and lost. The case made it to the Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the state. Over the years 48 of the 57 - sorry, my bad 50 states passed laws against desecrating or burning the American flag.

In 1931 the Supreme Court took a step toward making the flag a free speech item when they struck down a California law that made it illegal to display a red flag as a sign of protest against the government.

In 1968, Congress passed the Federal Flag Desecration Law after Vietnam protesters began regularly burning flags in protest to the war. That law was in effect until 1989, when the Supreme Court heard the case of Spence v. Washington, in which they ruled it was legal for a person to use tape to put a peace sign on an American flag. The court majority decided that this type of action was protected as free expression, offensive or not.

Another case that brought about a Supreme Court decision allowing the desecration of the flag was Texas vs Johnson. In 1984, in protest of the administrative policies of then-President Ronald Reagan, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the Dallas, Texas, City Hall. He was promptly arrested and convicted and was sentenced to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. Johnson appealed. Johnson, claiming First Amendment rights, appealed the decision and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in his favor and said Johnson's freedom of speech was symbolic.

Then Texas appealed. The case made it to the Supreme Court, who ruled 5-4, in 1989, that Johnson's actions were indeed symbolic of free speech whether or not they were offensive to others.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision.

“The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result,” Kennedy said. “And so great is our commitment to the process that, except in the rare case, we do not pause to express distaste for the result, perhaps for fear of undermining a valued principle that dictates the decision. This is one of those rare cases."

“Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the human spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt,” he said.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote the dissent saying “the flag is not simply another ‘idea’ or ‘point of view’ competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas.”

“I cannot agree that the First Amendment invalidates the Act of Congress, and the laws of 48 of the 50 States, which make criminal the public burning of the flag,” Rehnquist said.

Congress moved immediately to pass the Flag Protection Act of 1989, which made it illegal for citizens to burn an American flag in protest.

But the Supreme Court struck down that law as unconstitutional with Justice William Brennan saying “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

So far the Supreme Court has held that people do have the right to desecrate our flag if they wish. I don't like it much but it's the law.

The topic is still controversial. As recently as 2006 Congress attempted to pass another law against flag desecration. It failed in the Senate by one vote. I'm not sure why they believe the Supreme Court won't again strike down the law but they're still trying.

As a military veteran, a 30 year employee of the federal government and a patriot who loves my country, if I see someone walking on our flag I will most likely be going to jail. Because I'm going to do my best to take that flag from those who would disrespect it. I served in the military to help protect your right to express your ignorance any way you wish. and I would do it again today. But I won't stand idly by and watch you do something that disrespects not only our flag but every American like me. I'll lose the case in court - as it should be since your rights are protected by law. But I'll make you think twice about it next time.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

News For A Saturday

For most of the last two weeks all eyes have been focused on Baltimore, Maryland, and their horribly brutal, racist police force that kills innocent black men. The media put the story out there. Some people in Baltimore (and others who came from outside Baltimore) reacted with violence (and with the mayor's permission) and rioted, destroying property and injuring at least 15 of those dirty, dishonest cops.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has now called for the Eric Holder in a dress Loretta Lynch Justice Department to investigate her police department for a number of different problems she believes exist including excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests.

But just two months ago, before the death of Freddie Gray, President Obama and his "Task Force on 21st Century Policing" said Baltimore's police department with its black chief was doing a great job. They were "implementing national best practices for policies and training," including "use of force" reforms. The task force quoted Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, who said he changed "outdated procedures" that "put officers at odds with the community."

Either Mayor Rawlings-Blake didn't get the Memo or the changes just didn't happen quickly enough it seems. I was wondering why President Obama called Mayor Rawlings-Blake when the riots kicked off. Now perhaps I know. The death of Freddie Gray and the resulting rioting made him look bad. After all - he had just praised the Baltimore PD for being an example to follow and look what they went and did. How dare they have an incident that makes them look like they're not as good as he said they were!

In other news, anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller is being attacked by the media and political pundits - even some on the right, for holding a free speech rally in Garland, Texas, where two Muslim terrorists showed up with semi-automatic rifles and began shooting. The theme for the rally was "Draw Your Best Mohammed Cartoon," in shear defiance of the Muslim terrorists who shot up Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris a few months ago. Geller was not only  exercising her right to free speech but telling the terrorists she and the others were not going to be intimidated by them or anyone else when it came to free speech. Personally, I applaud her for that and agree with her wholeheartedly.

There are those who say that Pam Geller caused the terrorists to attack; that she brought it on herself because of her actions. That's frighteningly similar to those who say that a woman who is raped brought it on herself because of the way she was dressed. We have the right to express ourselves in this country without fear of being killed. At least we used to. Now it seems if you criticize Islam or draw a cartoon of Mohammed that offends Muslims some of your fellow Americans think it's OK for the Muslims to kill you. After all - you offended the Muslims.

Of course, those who say that don't care one way or the other if your Christian beliefs are insulted or if someone makes fun of Jesus Christ. That's somehow different in their eyes. But then - Christians don't run around killing people who disagree with them. If they did perhaps those same people would tell others not to criticize or insult Christians and their beliefs.

The amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech was only necessary to preserve the right to offend others. If no one ever said anything that offended or insulted others the change to the Constitution would not have been necessary. But the founders knew that ultimately, if it was not a law, sooner or later the government would step in and prevent people from saying what they wanted - particularly about the government itself.

Every American has the right to disagree with, criticize, insult and/or draw cartoons of Muslims, Mohammed, the Pope, Jesus, the President, or anyone else. That's the law. And those Americans who criticize Pam Geller instead of the terrorists who would kill her for making fun of Mohammed are... how do I say it...  misguided idiots. 

By the way - I know the meme above isn't quite accurate since the police officer who killed the terrorists wasn't carrying a weapon because of the Second Amendment but because he was on duty. But you get the idea...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Baltimore Mayor Throws Police Department Under The Bus

Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has called on the Justice Department Civil Rights Division to investigate the Baltimore PD for patterns and practices of excessive force, discriminatory harassment, false arrests, and unlawful stops, searches or arrests. The request comes in the aftermath of the recent death of Freddie Gray, a suspect who was arrested and who died while in a police van on the way to the jail.

The case has received nationwide attention and not all of it is good. Many legal experts around the country have questioned the filing of second degree murder charges against one of six officers who were charged, saying none of the evidence made public amounts to a murder charge since for murder the prosecutor has to prove intent. The officer charged with murder is African-American, as are two of his five co-defendants.

The Baltimore PD consists of about 3,000 officers, half of whom are African-American and another 8% or so who are non-white. The mayor, city council president and five others of the 9 member city council, police chief, and top prosecutor are African American. Some critics say African-Americans are under-represented on the police department since African-Americans make up around 65% of the population. But compared to some other police departments in the country (Ferguson, MO comes to mind), having a majority of people of color on the force, with half of them African-American, is huge. And while having an exact racial balance between police and citizens would be optimal, in very few cases would it be an attainable goal.

I found Mayor Rawlings-Blake's choice of words, when she announced she was seeking the federal investigation, very intersting.

"We all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community," Rawlings-Blake said. "I'm willing to do what it takes to reform my department."

Is she implying that the citizens of Baltimore share no responsibility in the fractured relationship with the police? Is she, like NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio, assuming the Baltimore PD is made up of racists and bigots who prey on black people, even including the minority police officers? Or is she only accusing the white officers of these practices - even though there are three African-American officers involved in the Gray case?

I find the motive(s) Mayor Rawlings-Blake to be questionable at best. She spoke with the President personally during the rioting two weeks ago and with the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, more recently. She also made that infamous statement to Al Sharpton's National Action Network that “We will get justice for Freddie Gray. Believe you me, we will get justice. If, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels (referring to herself, Marilyn Mosby and newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch) can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country.”

Isn't justice supposed to be fair and impartial and the accused presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? It seems the mayor has already made her decision that the police officers are guilty and that Freddie Gray should get justice instead of allowing the process to uncover the truth. And now she has called in the feds to investigate "her" police department for patterns and practices of abuse.

I remember when Michael Brown was killed by Officer Wilson and Eric Holder opened a civil rights investigation immediately - ultimately ending with no charges against Wilson and several allegations of wrongdoing by the department. In this case Holder waited to open an investigation - perhaps because he jumped the gun on the Wilson investigation or perhaps because he was waiting for Loretta Lynch to replace him so it could be her investigation. Doesn't matter. She seems to be Eric Holder in a dress.

We already know that the Justice Department will find things that they will say need to be changed and/or monitored in the future. It will be interesting to see what they accuse the Baltimore PD with. I just read an article about Loretta Lynch meeting with the family of Freddie Gray and promising them that she would "improve the Baltimore Police Department." That indicates that she also has convicted the six officers without trial.

It's going to be very interesting to see how this case proceeds. The police department completed its own investigation and some of the findings were contradictory to those of the prosecutor's office. According to the police, the knife in Gray's possession, while not illegal by state code is, in fact, illegal by Baltimore city code. That would mean the arresting officers had every right to place him in custody. They echo the words of legal experts who say there is insufficient evidence to support the second degree murder charge as there must be a proven intent to kill. The most they should charge would be manslaughter, which is involuntarily causing death. But they have yet to reveal how Gray was injured. Perhaps they are keeping that under wraps or perhaps, as I suspect, they really have no idea. It's hard to prove someone guilty of manslaughter when you can't say how he/she injured the victim.

Lastly, the police investigation revealed that the lead investigator for the prosecutor's office is a former high ranking member of the Baltimore PD who was removed from his position for failing to follow up on a robbery investigation that was not properly reported by two of his subordinate officers. In addition, in 2009, the Baltimore SWAT Team was called to his house for an incident in which he was allegedly drunk and in possession of a firearm. According to a report the police used a taser on him but it doesn't say how the incident ended. There were no arrests.

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby was contacted by the media for comment on the police investigation and the differences between the two.

"While the evidence we have obtained through our independent investigation does substantiate the elements of the charges filed, I refuse to litigate this case through the media," Mosby said in a public statement. "The evidence we have collected cannot ethically be disclosed, relayed or released to the public before trial. As I've previously indicated, I strongly condemn anyone in law enforcement with access to trial evidence, who has or continues to leak information prior to the resolution of this case. These unethical disclosures are only damaging our ability to conduct a fair and impartial process for all parties involved."

Interesting. Last week when she was announcing the charges she was all about getting in front of the cameras. Now, when her case seems not so cut and dried and may, in fact, be falling apart, she wants nothing to do with the cameras. I hope this prosecutor and the mayor know what they're doing. If Mosby loses this case Baltimore will be on fire - literally.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Public Safety Does Not Trump Freedom Of Speech!

I've been following the controversy in Garland, Texas, following the shooting of two Muslim terrorists who attempted an assault on a freedom of speech rally in that city on Sunday. The rally, hosted by anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, was held at the Curtis Culwell Center, the very place where, in March of this year, Muslims held a pro-Mohammed event. The center is owned by the Garland Independent School District, which rents it out for public events.

The theme of the rally was a contest where people were invited to draw cartoons of Mohammed, in support of Charlie Hebdo Magazine and the right to freedom of speech and expression in America. Geller's thought is that Americans' freedom of speech should not be curtailed simply because the Islamic world doesn't agree with it. Americans have the right to say whatever they wish with very few exceptions. And we don't need any more exceptions added based on the hatred and violence of people who do not value human life.

The winning cartoon.

As I said yesterday, what surprises me is the number of people, particularly those on the right, who have condemned Pamela Geller for hosting the event, blaming her for the reaction of the two, now dead, gunmen. Some have called it stupid to insult Islam by drawing cartoons of Mohammed - even though they supported the right of that artist years ago who put a crucifix in a jar of urine. They also (liberals at least) praise the Broadway show "Book of Mormon," which pokes fun of the Mormon religion. But hey - don't you ever make fun of Islam because it's insulting to their religion and some of them react with hatred and violence.

The aftermath of the shooting, things that are happening now because of it, are frightening. Not the violence - that's over for now, even though ISIS has put a hit out on Geller.

No, the things that are frightening is how some Americans are responding. They mayor of Garland, Douglas Athas, condemned Pam Geller for hosting the event in his city. She "put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk," he said. "Her program invited an incendiary reaction. She picked my community, which does not support in any shape, passion or form, her ideology. But at the end of the day, we did our jobs,” he added. “We protected her freedoms and her life.”

So the mayor believes Pamela Geller put his city at risk rather than the two gunmen who traveled to Garland all the way from Phoenix to shoot people whose opinions they didn't like? It's interesting that he acknowledged her right to hold the event even while blaming her for the actions of the two gunmen. (Some Garland residents are now calling for the mayor's resignation.)

The Garland ISD is now reassessing their rental policies for the Curtis Culwell Center. Citing security concerns, Garland ISD spokesperson Chris Moore said “We will definitely look into changing how we rent out that arena. We’re going to have to, in light of what happened.”

They are now considering not renting the center out for anything but school related events and cancelling events already scheduled that are not school related. Some groups who have already booked the center are talking about filing a lawsuit should the school district make those changes.

“I know we’re required by those non-discrimination limitations by law, but being equitable still can’t trump safety,” Moore said. “You shouldn’t have things like this happen anywhere, but certainly not at a public school district facility.

He's correct when he says it shouldn't happen anywhere. Hatred should not be allowed to run wild in the United States of America. But the event itself was not the problem. The two Muslims who decided to kill for their hatred was the problem. And that's going to happen more often as time goes by. Radical Muslims don't care about what's right and wrong. They only care about their cause and eliminating those who have different views. 

These Americans criticizing Geller somehow misguidedly believe that if we cower to the extremists they will be pacified and leave us alone. That's a ridiculous and uninformed conclusion. ISIS and other radical Muslim extremists have already declared war on the United States and have told us they're coming. Yet some ignorant Americans want to blame other Americans for it.

I was listening to the Chris Krok Show yesterday and heard him echo other pundits that say the event staged by Pamela Geller was stupid and that insulting Islam by making fun of their prophet is wrong. (Krok is a nationally syndicated, conservative talk radio host on WBAP in Dallas.)

On certain days, Krok has two shows in the same day. He is on from 4-5pm, then again from 8 to midnight. Yesterday I caught both shows due to an engagement in between. I was driving both times. 

Initially I was angry at him because he just didn't get it. He said he was all for free speech but that some free speech should not be uttered if it offends others and causes violent reactions. I was talking to the radio and telling him he was missing the point. (I didn't have time to call him. I had an appointment and didn't have time to wait on hold.)

On the way home I caught a portion of the second part of the show. One caller made him understand what was at stake. He said "Public safety does not trump free speech. If it did the civil rights movement would never have happened." 

He elaborated by saying that the KKK and other hate groups often threatened the safety of civil rights leaders and rallies. They resorted to violence at times. But America did not back down from those groups and did not cower to the violence. Instead they stood up and said "We're going to assert our rights of free speech and freedom of assembly regardless of the threat." And that's exactly what they did. 

And that is the best possible answer. If we, as Americans, give in to the extremists' demands and allow them to silence our right to speak out against them, they have won.

Chris Krok finally got it. He was practically speechless. "You... this call... this was the best call of the day. I get it now," he said. (Or something close to that.) Public safety, at least in this case, doesn't trump free speech. The blame for the violence lies solely on the Muslim extremists who attempted to silence opposition. 

If Americans cower to extremists the extremists win. If we curb certain free speech to appease violent terrorists what will we give up next? 

The winner of the Draw Mohammed contest, Bosch Fawstin, who says he is a former Muslim with a history of drawing provocative cartoons, said it well.

"As people who love freedom, as the entire west, we need to hit back," he told Greta Van Sustren recently. "Not with violence, with the truth, with our art, with our writing. We can't be cowed by this because once free speech goes it's over."

That's the part that some Americans just don't understand. If we give in they win. It's that simple.

Fawstin's friend put it another way: "If everybody in America drew Mohammed, what is ISIS going to do? They can't kill everybody."

Amen to that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Freedom Of Speech Under Attack - By Americans

The recent shooting at a free speech event in Garland, Texas, on Sunday shows how divided the nation is concerning freedom of speech and how quickly some Americans are willing to give up that right.

On Sunday evening the American Freedom Defense Initiative, headed by political activist Pamela Geller, held a rally in the Curtis Culwell Center, the very place where, in January, Muslims held their annual "Stand With The Prophet In Honor And Respect" conference, described as a “movement to defend Prophet Muhammad, his person, and his message.”

Ms. Geller's organization, which has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, opposes Islam and the spread of Sharia in the United States. Her event, whose keynote speaker was Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has a death threat against him issued by Al Qaeda, was about the right of Americans to denounce Islam as they wish under the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Two Muslim gunmen, who apparently linked themselves to ISIS, arrived at the event and began shooting in the parking lot. An unarmed security officer was hit in the ankle before Garland police returned fire and killed both of the gunmen, who were wearing body armor and carrying rifles.

Many in the main stream media began criticizing Pamela Geller and the event itself as the problem rather than the gunmen who decided they would not allow American citizens to exercise their right to speak out against Islam. Even some people at Fox News, not exactly known for their liberal views, criticized Geller saying she instigated the shooting with her event. That's frightening.

The event itself was held in support of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the French satire magazine that was attacked by Muslim extremists in January for publishing cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. The theme was a contest - who could draw the best cartoon of Mohammed. Apparently the gunmen took offense to the event and decided that the way to silence those who would slander the prophet was by killing them. Fortunately, thanks to an alert security force, their plan was unsuccessful.

It's disturbing to me that so many prominent Americans are criticizing Geller and the event itself more than the actions of the gunmen themselves. They're calling her incendiary, a hatemonger, Islamophobic, and a "carton contest organizer known for her inflammatory rhetoric." It's as if they believe the gunmen were actually justified by what they attempted because Ms. Geller's contest insulted them.

Funny - I remember when some "artist" put a crucifix in a jar of urine and displayed it and no one tried to kill him. The mainstream media didn't condemn him for insulting Christians. Even Fox News didn't say he should never do anything like that because it was insulting to Christians around the world. But they're saying that people shouldn't insult Mohammed because it's an insult to Muslims around the world and could lead to violence.

Donald Trump says Geller was taunting Muslims with her event. Bill O'Reilly said it was stupid and unproductive to insult Muslims in this manner. Fox News' Martha MacCallum said Geller should show restraint when it comes to Islam.

And Chris Matthews, MSNBC's loud mouthed, Obama man-crush, Muslim sympathizing stooge, said that Pamela Geller "caused the shooting by setting a mousetrap for Muslims." Really?

What they all fail to understand is that they're telling America and the world that freedom of speech should be constrained in the name of political correctness toward Islam. They're telling the world that Islam must not be insulted because to do that might cause Muslim extremists to react in a violent manner.

Unlike many other countries in the world, Americans enjoy the right to say pretty much whatever they wish. Or they always have, at least. That freedom includes the right to criticize any religion, including Islam. There is no freedom in America for people who are offended by said speech to murder anyone. You do not have the right to get offended, grab your gun and go kill people simply because you don't like something they said.

The right to freedom of speech is one of the things that sets America apart from other nations. It's one of the things Islam hates about the USA. They believe they should have the right and the authority to tell Americans what they can and can't say about Islam. And now it seems they have help from some people right here in America.

What they don't seem to get is when Americans are forced to remain silent - the terrorists win.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo.... Never Mind

I was just about to wish everyone a happy Cinco de Mayo when I realized that if I did someone out there would probably be offended and tell me that I was appropriating someone else's culture.

That seems to be one of the new ways to complain about something that is really nothing. People who have heritage from other countries or in other cultures complain if an American - someone who doesn't have any ties to that country or culture - dons the garb or eats the food or sings the music of that other country or culture. The call it cultural appropriation - as if their culture is being stolen.

Cultural appropriation is defined as: "the adoption of elements of one culture by members of a different cultural group, especially if the adoption is of an oppressed people's cultural elements by members of the dominant culture."

That's a long, drawn-out phrase that means "You're doing something or eating something that came from a cultural system that wasn't yours." Oh, no! Whatever will we do?

Liberals like to jump on the cultural appropriation bandwagon, decrying people who might

If we stop doing everything that was "appropriated" from other countries we'd most likely have to stop speaking English. Today's English, after all, is a language that adapted and morphed from a combination of the Celtic language and Germanic languages after the Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles in the 5th century AD. It then combined again with French and with some Sandanavian languages to eventually evolve into what it is today.

The newest "recognized" language in the United States, Ebonics, would also have to be abandoned since its origins are often traced back to West Africa and/or the Caribbean. Ebonics is a combination of inner city, non-standard English and some words and pronunciations from these other countries. And before anyone accuses me of anything that's not my description but one that comes from

Cultural Appropriation is just one more attempt by liberals to force people to never do anything that offends another person - oh, except for that whole "We will force you to participate in same sex weddings" thing. They're OK with offending people that way because it suits their agenda. The idea that no one can use a language, clothing, food, etc., from another country so those in that other country are not offended is ridiculous.

For the average American using these things has nothing to do with oppression and everything to do with freedom of speech. We in America have the right to pretend we're Mexican on Cinco de Mayo and the right to celebrate Chinese New Year and the right to wear a Geisha outfit if we wish. Those rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment and we don't have to ask permission.

The above description of cultural appropriation is actually quite vague and general and ends with the most important words - "dominant culture." Like it or not the dominant culture will always appropriate or adopt things they like from other cultures. And will millions of people coming into the country and wanting to bring their own customs and cultures with them, rather than assimilate into our culture it's only going to get worse.

I have advice for those who want to bring their culture here but don't want Americans to
share (or steal) it. Stay home. If you don't want to assimilate into our society and be an American stay where you are. America is called the melting pot because people are supposed to come here and include themselves in the American culture, not try to live here in a status of separation.

Now - for all of you who still have a sense of humor...  Happy Sink O' The Mayo!

Why Hate People For Their Skin Color?

After talking with several friends on the social media network "Facebook" this week I was moved to write about racial hatred - hating someone just because of their skin color or ethnic origin. Hating someone because the skin color is different than yours seems to me to be the ultimate in stupidity. If you hate someone because their skin color is different than yours you could easily hate 95% of the world's population. Because very few people are going to have the exact same skin color as you.

I was thinking of this topic as I was driving yesterday and realized that hating someone for their skin color is rather silly - especially when there are so many good reasons to hate people. I mean - come on! You can hate people because of their religious beliefs. You can hate people because of their lack of religious beliefs. You can hate them because they're straight. You can hate them because they're gay. You can even hate them because they're confused about it.

You can hate people because they're rich. You can hate people because they're poor. You can hate them because they're liberal. You can hate them because they're conservative. You can even hate them because they're.... dare I say it.... libertarian or independent!

You can hate someone because they have a nicer car than you have. You can hate them because they drive an old junker in which you'd be embarrassed to be seen. You can hate someone because you think they're better looking than you. Or you can hate them because you think they're just butt ugly.

You can hate people because they can afford to live in a better neighborhood than you, or because they can send their kids to an exclusive, private school while your kids must attend a public school. Hey - you can hate the kid whose parents send him/her to that school and teach your kid to hate them as well.

You can hate your neighbor because he/she has something that you don't have. You can hate someone because they have a nicer, more luxurious home than you have. Or you can hate those who are homeless because, after all, it's their choice.

You can hate the person who pulls up next to you at a red light and has their stereo playing so loud that your car vibrates and you can't hear the music on your own radio. You can hate them simply because you don't like their choice of music. You can hate the kid (or adult) who walks down the street with his pants hanging so low that several inches of his underwear (or butt crack) show. You can hate the person with tattoos, face piercings or purple hair.

You can hate someone simply because they are the type of person you would like to be. Or you can hate them because they are not the person you think they should be.

I suppose I could go on. Hatred finds so many reasons for its existence. And it really knows no color or ethnicity. There are just so many "good" reasons to hate someone that hating them just because of the color of their skin seems pointless, doesn't it? It sure does to me....

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baltimore Police Case Being Politicized And Racialized - By Those In Charge

I wasn't surprised to hear that the state's attorney in Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, charged the six police officers for the death of Freddie Gray. The evidence made public so far indicates that police procedures were not followed exactly and somehow Freddie Gray ended up dead.  A trial will help sort things out.

I was, however, surprised by a few things in the announcement. I wasn't expecting all six to be charged. I figured one, maybe two would be charged and charges against the others would be dropped. Some legal analysts believe Ms. Mosby will now play the officers against each other hoping that one or two will testify against the others. It's an old tactic used by the police themselves when interrogating suspects. We will have to see if it works.

I was surprised that three of the six police officers are black. I found it interesting that last evening, after the charges were announced and the officers' identities were made public, the whole "Black Lives Matter" mantra changed somewhat since black officers were involved. Suddenly it wasn't white cops that couldn't be trusted but anyone in the blue uniform. Some of the people on the street in Baltimore were asked if it mattered that three of the officers were black and they said no - it was anyone who wore the uniform. Some left wing bloggers said "It's common for co-workers to pick up the attitudes of those they work with," meaning that the black officers had obviously picked up the racist attitudes of their white co-workers.

Just two days ago it was about black men being killed by white cops. Now it's white cops and those black cops that have developed the white cops' racism that are killing black men. Someone always has to play the race card - no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

From listening to legal experts talking about the charges I began wondering if Ms. Mosby can prove the second degree murder charge. Second degree murder means there was an intent to kill. Unless she has information that has not been made public (which is certainly possible) that shows intent, the most she seems to have at this point is manslaughter, but even that seems questionable since they have yet to determine exactly how and when Freddie Gray was injured.

The definition of manslaughter is "the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought." To convict on a manslaughter charge she will have to show that one or more of the officers directly caused the death of Freddie Gray. That fact that he died while in police custody is not enough to convict on a manslaughter charge. It seems, and the legal experts I listened to last night agreed, the best Ms. Mosby has (again - unless she has information she has not revealed) is negligence on the part of the officers that lead to Mr. Gray's death. Negligence is a civil case, not criminal.

What really surprised me is how the prosecutor, after reading all of the facts that led her to her decision, decided to politicize the case.

"To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America. I heard your call for “no justice, no peace,” she said. "Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man….."

Her call for peace in the city was fine. But her job is to find the truth and to perform her duties without bias or prejudice. The demand of "No justice, no peace" should have no bearing on her decisions. If she charged the six officers because of this demand she failed in her duties as an unbiased state's attorney. And that certainly seems to be the case.

She closed by speaking to the very young people that were responsible for much of the damage and looting that took place early last week.

“I will seek justice on your behalf,” she said. “This is a moment. This is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause. As young people, our time is now.”

Again, the call for peace was appropriate. But justice is supposed to be about all people, not a bunch of violent, unlawful street demonstrators who burn and loot businesses. Her statements legitimized the violence.

Another thing that surprised me is how the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, made the whole case racial. Following the announcement of the charges against the police officers, Mayor Rawlings-Blake spoke to...  wait for it... an event held by Al Sharpton's "National Racism Action Network," where she said “If, with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels (referring to herself, Marilyn Mosby and newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch) can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country.”

So now it's about black justice? Justice is supposed to be blind. Justice is supposed to be about truth. You'd think Mayor Rawlings-Blake, after having to backtrack statements concerning the violence that was occurring in her city, would have been more careful in her choice of words. I guess your words are directed to your specific audience. 

An attorney for the police officers union said yesterday that the six officers "followed their training" and "did nothing wrong." If the information that has been released is true that officers are required to put seat belts on suspects in the back of the van (and at least two Baltimore police officers, speaking anonymously, have verified it) then they did at least one thing wrong. And according to recent news reports the knife that Mr. Gray had on his person when he was arrested was not illegal. So was his arrest unlawful? Ms. Mosby says it was. But then - she seems to have a personal interest in the case.

It will be interesting to see what happens in this case. Sadly there is one reality that everyone must understand - if the police officers are not convicted the violence in Baltimore will be worse than it has already been. Remember the Rodney King case? Some of the protesters were asked last night what would happen if the cops were not convicted. They made it pretty clear that the violence would begin again. They'll begin the destruction again if they don't get their way.

So much for "justice."