'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

27 January 2010

A Criminal Is A Criminal

By now you've undoubtedly heard that James O'Keefe, he of ACORN ass reaming fame, has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly attempting to wire tap a U.S.Senator's office. Michelle Malkin has a good take and links to the FBI's affidavit.


As far as I'm concerned a criminal is a criminal. If you don't like a law attempt to get it changed but do not take the law into your own hands. O'Keefe is a punk glory hound who got caught up in his fifteen minutes and decided he was the latest incarnation of Woodward and Bernstein. He's not.

What he is is a pathetic excuse of a human being who decided it was perfectly acceptable to try and bug a U.S. Senator's office. I mean, what the hell were you thinking Jimmy boy? Did you really think this was acceptable behavior? Did you imagine, somewhere in your fantasy addled dreams that you wouldn't get caught eventually?

What, were you drunk? A little high on goofballs maybe?

Mister O'Keefe is missing exactly what so many liberal politicians and pundits lack.
Ethics. Let me break it down for ya there Jimmy. It's like someone coming into your home or office and rifling through your stuff without a search warrant. It's bad boy. Real bad. It's what the MSM does when they tell lies about what their favorite politician is or isn't doing and covers up the misdeeds of groups like, oh say ACORN. It's an ethical lapse, though yours has the added benefit of being a felony.

Jimmy has sold his credibility for a shortcut. He's done, even after he gets out of federal prison. What future he once had, and it sure looked pretty damn bright, was flushed down the toilet along with his honor and his name.

Pathetic and intolerable.

So I am hereby consigning you to the crapper of history boy. May you enjoy swimming with the rest of the turds.


26 January 2010

Sick Bastards and 2 New Links!

I managed to stumble onto 2 new sites. I must have been drunk at the time. You'll find links to both in the blog roll.

Big Dick's Place. What can I say? Dude is manly with a capitol M. Like me. Plus he obviously married way over his head. Also like me. My nose still bleeds from the rarefied air. Go visit and leave him a comment. Just beware the fat chicks pictures. I mean, I go past them immediately, not even pausing for a glance but I do possess superhuman willpower. Dick on the other hand, is clearly a sick bastard. Just sayin'.

The Sniper. Awesome. Beer, testosterone and DT's. What's not to love? Especially the motivational posters. Did I say Dick was a sick bastard? The Sniper and his crew have got to be his stepchildren.

These people are Warriors of the first stripe and we're honored to take the long road with them.

We'll bring the beer.


Oh Yeah

If this doesn't move you, better check your pulse. Only thing more bitchin' than attack helos are fast movers and 2000 pounders. God I love close air support!
h/t to Big Dick at http://bigdicksplace.com/

25 January 2010

A Dream Realized

It's 0Dark Thirty and I can't sleep. For some insane reason I agreed to work 3rd Watch for my final 2 weeks so even on my days off, my body thinks it's work time, not sleep time. So I figured I'd write the next installment of my riveting career story. Sleep deprivation. Yeah, that's the ticket.

In August, 1987, I managed to convince a local PD to hire me on as a Patrol Officer. It's a smallish department. 62 sworn officers when I got hired. It's a bit smaller now though. The 1990's were almost as tough for us as 2008/9. It's what I like to call a 'Little City". Not a town, it's a real city with all the problems of any other. Just a bit less of it.

I managed to make it through my FTO (Field Training Officer) program and got assigned to 3rd Watch. 2130 to 0730 (9:30 PM to 7:30 AM for those of you who tell time like normal people). I was close, oh so close but not there yet. Still, I could see it. The Motor Officers riding around on their black and white steeds, looking too just bitchin' for words. I kept my nose clean and tried to learn everything I needed to be a good officer and get on that bike.

1989 was my chance. In our department the special assignments last for 3 years. After that the spot is opened up and anyone qualified can apply. One of the current motors went back to Patrol and his spot needed to be filled. I was determined that I was going to be that filler.

Now in most departments there's some sort of selection process. In ours you needed to be off Probation (1 year in the department), no Oh Shits, show an aptitude and pass an oral board. I applied and was accepted for the board.

The board consisted of the commanding Lieutenant, the Motor Sergeant and the senior Motor Officer. I sat across a table from these 3 worthies and answered a very long series of technical and 'what if' questions. It was intense but I felt pretty good about my answers. Did I mention I was green as new grass?

I came out 4th in a field of 5. To say I was crushed would be a massive understatement. I actually had to question if I was aiming too high. I went back to Patrol, determined to do better the next time. Several years down the road undoubtedly. But fate is fickle and you never know just how things are going to turn out.

The number 1 guy got promoted, number 2 went to Investigations and number 3....withdrew. Remember that no 'Oh Shits' requirement? Yeah. One fine morning I was summoned into the Motor Sergeants office and informed I was going to Motor School in 30 days. Woo Hoo! The dream was alive.

I was immediately paired up with an experienced officer, given a training motorcycle and a manual and told to get ready.

For the next 30 days I trained as hard as I ever have and I still wasn't totally prepared. See, the thing about Motor School is it's hard. I mean really, really hard. Imagine riding an 800 pound motorcycle at it's performance limits, 10+ hours a day, for 14 days. I've been to military schools of one variety or another. I've been to FBI SWAT school. I've been to every kind of Police and firearms instructor school you can name. I spent 4 years in an Infantry Division. Motor School was 2 of the toughest weeks of my life. Cone patterns, cone patterns and still more cone patterns. Over and over and over again. I can still see them and I break out in a cold sweat at the mere sight of one of those orange perversions of nature. It didn't help that the instructors could do them side saddle (and no, I am not kidding) and had zero tolerance for failure or excuses. We hit the ground running and it was keep up or go home. I swore if I failed I'd just stop at the PD long enough to return the motorcycle and collect my final paycheck. I was dead serious. Failure was inconceivable. We lost 5 of 25 the first week alone.

Interspersed with the cone patterns were street rides. Side by side (2 Up) and in a long line. 2 feet from the guy next to you, 2 feet from the guy ahead of you and 2 feet from the guy behind you. One night I found myself riding up the Pacific Coast Highway, at 11:00 PM, in a particularly twisty section doing 70 mph along with 20 other wanna be's and 6 insane instructors. It was exhilarating. The final check ride was out in the boonies near Hemet. Anyone who's been there knows it's undulating roadway punctuated by blowing tumbleweeds and suicidal fauna. Near misses were the order of the day. At a few points we were well over the 100 mph mark, still in that damn formation. Insane.

Did I mention it was October 1989? Loma Prieta ring any bells? I was sitting in my hotel room at 5:04 PM, watching the World Series and talking to Lu on the phone. That was extremely fortunate for my career as a Motor Cop. It was the Friday of my first week. I was sore, tired and ready to be done and back home. I was also in Southern California. When the quake hit Lu and I were talking about something, just chatting really. I heard my daughter scream in the background as the TV showed the shaking at the ballpark and the announcers told me it was a big one. Luckily we didn't lose contact. I was able to stay on the line for quite a while, directing my family on what steps they should take. The house was undamaged and we've always been big believers in preparation. Lu told me to stay and finish, she'd take care of everything. She's tough as nails, my wife. After I was satisfied that they were safe and going to be OK, I contacted my department. They told me to stay where I was and finish the school. Looking back on it I can't believe I did that. If it happened again I'd have been home as quick as I could drive.

I graduated on October 24th, 1989. I was almost there. After I got back to the department, I went back to patrol until the slot officially opened up. In January 1990 I realized the dream of my life. I was assigned as a full time, honest to God Motorcycle Officer. I was in Heaven.

I managed to make it through that 3 year assignment relatively unscathed. I went back twice more. With 3 assignments (and a little extra time twice) I managed to stay on that motorcycle for 10 years. We referred to ourselves as LCMC's. Little City Motor Cops. I put in time on the Kawasaki, Harley and BMW. I crashed all but the Harley and that only because I only had it for a year. I even managed to total a brand new $25,000 BMW with exactly 89 miles on the clock. That one sent me to the hospital. More about that another day.

All that to say this.

Dreams can be funny things. Some we attain but later find out we were wrong. Some we never get at all, for good or bad. This was one that lived up to my expectations. I was never happier in my career than in the saddle of my Motor. I rode every day I could (and it had to be raining pretty damn hard to get me into that box of a car). I managed to stay away from administrative work and out on the streets. Along the way I became a certified Accident Reconstructionist and Fatal Accident Investigator. I've investigated every kind of accident you can name from fender benders to a triple fatality.

I figure I also logged about 100,000 miles on the bike and wrote about 20,000 moving violations. Hey, I was a Motor Cop. It's a large part of what we do and I did it as well as anyone.

My time as a LCMC was worth everything I did to get there and I am proud of the accomplishment. The path is difficult, dangerous and requires intense commitment. I wore that uniform with pride. My scars are a badge of honor.

It's still a little bit strange to me. I look back at that little boy, staring at a man out of a fantasy, and I wonder that I did it. I wish I could meet him. Tell him of the profound effect he had on me and my choices in life. I wonder if he'd be proud of me, of himself. Would he be glad that I'd chosen to follow his example? Have I had that effect on another little boy or girl? Will someone one day talk or write that way about me?

That motorcycle is a powerful tool. Every time I stopped anywhere that kids were gathered it drew them like a bear to honey. Especially the little boys. They'd drag their mothers over by the hand. Some were bright and forward. They'd ask a million staccato questions about me and the bike. They'd climb up and try the controls but soon be gone.

It was the quiet ones I watched. They'd approach silently, almost fearfully but determined to see. Most would stop a few feet from us and stare, their eyes as big and round as silver dollars. At an invitation a tentative hand would reach out, some to touch the magnificent machine and some to stop. Their quivering finger just millimeters away. Almost as if afraid the vision would prove to be unreal. They almost never spoke but their searching eyes told the story. They missed nothing, drinking in the spectacle of man and machine and recording it into a memory they'd never lose. Moms would tell me stories of how he loved motorcycles, especially police motorcycles. Whenever he saw one, all other activity ceased until the object of such fascination was out of sight. I gave out the cards and stickers but I always knew they were of secondary importance. Baubles, soon to be gone and forgotten. But the memory of the thing itself would be seared into their conscious forever.

I see myself in those boys. So very long ago and I know. We are not dead. We will never die. There will always be someone to take our place. A little boy or girl is out there, right now, just waiting. You can spot them. It's easy.

Just look at their eyes.


24 January 2010

The Left

This is a piece I read over at House Of Eratosthenes. It is absolutely brilliant. It encompasses much of what I believe about the left. I have never seen it put any clearer. I have added them to the blog roll. Go. Read.




This is from the man who started the Weather Channel. He is in fact an expert on global weather phenomenon.

Watch and take heart. The left is going down in screaming, gory, hate filled flames.


20 January 2010

The People's Seat

By now everyone in the country has heard the results of the Massachusetts election. Contrary to the history and demography of that state, Republican Brown won and the dems lost.

Others have covered it better than I can. Go to the blog roll and visit Ed, nanc or some of the other sharp political minds and read their insights. I do have my own take.

A while back Ed over at http://thundertales.blogspot.com/and I argued about my leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent. I am now ready to admit Ed was right. The elections in Virginia and New Jersey made me re-consider and now this election has made up my mind. I will return to the GOP fold. Why?

I'm doing it because I now see the impact of the Tea Party on the Republicans. For the first time in a very long time I heard a Republican talk about The People. The People's Seat. Those are powerful words that should resonate with anyone who considers themselves, not just conservative, but American. The People's Seat is what American politics is supposed to be. I still get a small shiver down my spine every time I hear those words.

Brown ran as a conservative, not liberal lite. He made no apologies and ran on the issues. And won. Convincingly and in a State where Republicans are out registered by dems 3 to 1. Incredible hardly does justice to this accomplishment.

This is exactly what the Tea party adherents have been begging for. Simple, conservative common sense. American values on proud display. Presented in such a way that The People could clearly see the message and not the messenger.

This is not about Senator elect Brown. This is about returning to core American principals and everything that made this country great.

Obama and the dems have ignored the message since last summer. They're still in denial. That's because liberals are in love with personalities, not substance. They missed the Tea Party message and it cost them dearly. Brown clearly did not.

Only time will tell if the rest of the Republican politicians out there also got the message. If so, and if they run as Brown did, then I think it's safe to say that 2010 will see a return to conservative government. If not, if Republicans ignore the movement and return to a defeatist mindset where only watered down liberal policies are seen as the winning strategy, then the end of The Republic we have feared for the last year or more will come to pass.

Take heed Republicans. This is the path to victory and a return to Freedom. Ignore this lesson at our peril.

Hence, my return to the Republican Party. Though I left the party, I never left the cause. I am now convinced the Party has returned to us. For my Tea Party brothers and sisters out there, I urge you to join me. The movement has been heard and a murthering great battle has been won but the war remains.

On this day I am more hopeful than I have been since November 2008.

The People's Seat indeed. Congratulations Senator Brown. We will be watching you. Do not let us down.


16 January 2010

Six Rants Again!

Lu and I were talking today on the way out to our favorite bicycling road. I had made a comment about some of the blog arguments I had been reading between Right and Wrong...er, I mean Left. I've said it before but it bears repeating my stance.

I refuse to argue with the Demented Left. Having a 'discussion' with a true believer is akin to repeatedly whacking yourself on the bean with a sledge hammer. It's an exercise in futility and the efficacy of headache remedies. Modern liberalism is, in the immortal words of Michael Savage, a Mental Disease.

I love a good argument but the basic premise is that both sides must have at least a passing respect for each other if not the opposing argument. Or the opposing argument even if you despise your opponent.

I cannot argue with someone who refuses to listen and fashion a counter point based on what I have said rather than what they think I believe regardless of what I actually said. Make sense? Yet how many times have you, any of us, attempted to have a logical conversation with a rabid leftie? Can't be done.

Politics in this country has devolved to screaming matches where both sides attempt to 'win' the argument by shouting the other side into insensibility. I won't stoop to that level. I will tell anyone interested what I believe and think on a topic and welcome logical and reasoned dissenting discussion. As conservatives, all too often we have allowed ourselves to be dragged into pissing contests where there is no possibility of having a true exchange of thoughts and ideas. The problem is finding Logical and Reasoned on the left. Oh it exists but you have to search pretty damned hard to find any.

Don't let someone who thinks you can spend yourself into prosperity give you financial tips. Don't let a bully tell you how to spend your lunch money. Don't give your PIN number to a thief. Don't get in the car with a drunk. Don't try and have a conversation with a moron. If someone routinely flies around the world in a private jet, gets chauffered in a stretch limo and lives in a 10,000 square foot mansion don't let them tell you that you consume too much. If a person has a financial stake in global warming, chances are you should ignore their views on the topic. If you wouldn't take life advice from someone wearing a tinfoil hat why would you then engage them in an attempt at rational discourse? Don't try and teach the ineducable.

Simply nod your head and go on about your business. Loonies contribute nothing to society but heartburn, indigestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

If your response to anything I say or write about begins with "But Bush (or Cheney, or Rush, or Rove or Whoever)..." and ends with "Get over it" or words to that effect, chances that we can have a meaningful dialog are pretty slim. Life is too short and my blood pressure is too high for me to engage in such futility. Trolling, whether in person on in blog comments, is masturbation and I'm not going to be a participant in your self abuse.

I have had a few good differences of opinion here and on other blogs I follow but you know what? In virtually every case the blogger was Conservative, Independent, Apolitical or something akin. All are open minded. Most are Christian, Jewish or Agnostic.

Want close minded? Pick a Democratic or Left Wing pundit and read. Especially the comments. Even better, try and get in a differing point of view. The ban hammer is wielded nowhere with a quicker hand than on a 'progressive' blog. Try and discuss Religion with an Athiest. Try to express a differing opinion on AGW with a proponent of Mother Earth. Try to explain the dietary benefits of meat consumption to a vegan. Just be prepared to be the recipient of every foul, vile epithet in the language with no attempt at persuasion. It's all about domination but baby, The Six cannot be intimidated. Just so you know.

If you're an opponent of what I believe and write on these pages I invite and appreciate your comments. Be reasoned, be logical and be polite. I promise I will never delete such. You have an open invitation here. Click on anyone in my blog roll and do the same. I am completely confident in saying you'll find we're of a like mind where it comes to differing opinions.

But if you're 'Anonymous' and you troll by here to drop a shit bomb and leave I will delete your snarky comments without a shred of remorse. You are everything I despise and I refuse to be a foil for your mental illnesses. If we're having a discussion and you think shouting and refusing to have a back and forth debate is the proper way to engage an opponent don't get all pissy when I walk away and ignore you. You haven't won, you've failed miserably. You don't want to convince me, you want to convince yourself that you're right.

I freely admit here and now that The Six isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. There are a LOT of people out there who are way smarter than I am. I read many of them and learn what I can. You'll find their links on my home page. I know some things as well as anyone on the planet. I am a subject matter expert on a variety of topics from Crime Prevention to SWAT Tactics to Police Public Education and Volunteerism to Firearms Instruction/Use Of force to Accident Reconstruction. I know some enough to have a considered opinion and can carry on a reasoned conversation. Some I am ignorant of completely but I know people I can ask (Hi DO!). The difference between me and the Idiot Left is that I can tell the difference and I know when to keep my mouth shut and listen.


14 January 2010

Take 2

Ehhh. Still not there. Maybe something custom?

12 January 2010

Tuesday Funny

H/T to cousin John.

The economy is so bad that:

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

When I ordered a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald's is now selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

The Mafia is laying off judges and Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal.
Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 Billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $1.5 Trillion disappear!

And, finally...

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Lifeline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

nanc added this little gem in the comments so I stole it. Shamelessly.
How about you're so broke you cannot even afford to pay attention?

Good one nanc.

11 January 2010

New Look

I'm trying out a new format. I'm taking advice.

10 January 2010

The Beginning

I'm one of the truly lucky people. I've always known what I wanted to do and by the time I had to get serious about it I also had a pretty good idea how to get there. I never went through the 'I don't know who I am or what I want to do' phase. I have always known exactly who I am and what I wanted to do.

One of my earliest clear memories was when I was about 7 years old. We were living in St. Joseph Missouri at the time. Now, in 1966 you could let your 7 year old wander around town to his hearts content. There were undoubtedly dangers out there but we were at least ignorant of them. I was already hooked on bicycles and motorcycles and I rode my bicycle anywhere and everywhere. On this bright, summer day I had ridden downtown to press my nose against the window of the Moto Guzzi shop and dream little boy dreams. As I rode I saw a motorcycle officer parked next to the Five and Dime and was instantly awestruck. I stopped and just stared. He was at least 8 feet tall. He was wearing the knee high boots, leather belt with cross strap. His white half helmet had a gold shield on the front. He was sitting on a black and white Harley Davidson that was all hot oil, chrome and testosterone. He was the coolest thing I had ever seen and with my already burgeoning love for all things 2 wheeled I knew in that moment exactly the direction my life would take. I was going to be a Police Officer but more than that, I was going to be a Motor Cop.

Flash forward to 1978 and southern Utah. I was 19, married and a father already. I thought maybe my dreams were not to be. I had 3 jobs supporting my brand new little family. Full time as a printing press operator in what was to all extent a factory job. I hated that job but it paid relatively well and had benefits. Part time at the Conoco. I had also joined the Utah National Guard in 1977 at 17 years old. I did what I had to do until 1981 when I knew it was now or never. I checked with the Utah Highway patrol and found that they were hiring veterans almost exclusively. National Guard qualified but just barely. I decided that active duty was the way to go. I could serve, pay my bills and gain those oh so precious veteran preference points. My path was clear.

By October 1981 I had completed the enlistment requirements and got the UTARNG to agree to let me go. I took the oath on November 11th, 1981 and headed to Ft. Ord California. I left my wife and daughter behind until I could obtain housing. They joined me just in time for Thanksgiving. I was 22 years old and we were living away from family for the first time. It was especially hard on Lu who had never been far from home. She also worked full time and took care of home, child and husband. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have her?

My time in the Army was like most anyone else. I was in an Artillery battalion in an Infantry Division. I served honorably if not with great distinction. No special ops, no Ranger or Airborne. Just an Artilleryman. It was a decision I have never regretted. I am a Christian and I am still convinced I was walking the path that God had set before me.

By 1985 we had very much settled into the area. The plan had always been to finish and head back to Utah and the UHP but I started looking around locally. I decided to apply with the local Sheriff's Office. I started the process in the Spring. I went on terminal leave in September, took a job at a printing shop and waited to hear.

My discharge was final on November 10th and I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff and sworn in by the SO on December 10th. I spent a couple of months learning the ins and outs of the Jail and went to the Academy in January 1986. I finished as distinguished graduate and class president in April. In 1986 the Academy was 16 weeks. They're running about 28 these days.

After the Academy I worked for the SO for 20 months. It was good training and experience but not where I saw my career going. In those days they had two career paths, Patrol and Corrections. Unluckily for me I had been chosen for the Jail. To get out I actually had to re-apply to my own department. It was something I would have done except for one small thing. They had no Motor division. I looked around, found a local PD that had an excellent reputation, was hiring and had full time Motors and sent them my application. I was working as a bailiff so I went back to the jail on midnights so I could have my days free for the testing process.

Here's the process to get hired as a sworn, california peace officer. It's undoubtedly slightly different in other places and other times but the basics are the same everywhere. Send in an application. If it's accepted they schedule an oral board where you sit in front of veteran officers and answer questions. It's not a lot of fun to be grilled by people who have been there and done that and who have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who cannot cut the mustard. Get through that and it's a Chief's interview. Pass and it's on to a written test and a physical fitness test. Pass again and there's a physical examination and lie detector. Your background packet goes to an investigator and you wait. I got a conditional offer and gave my notice to the SO in August. They were not pleased. No, not pleased at all my precious.

I was hired by the PD on August 17 1987. I left the SO with mixed feelings. They had given me my opportunity and at was an opportunity. It costs a great deal of money to hire and train an officer or deputy. Getting your foot in the door can be the hardest thing about this career. I was grateful to them but they had set the rules; if you want out of the jail (and everyone did) you had to apply like a lateral transfer. If I was going to have to go through that process again I wanted a motorcycle as the prize. I did and it led to the culmination of the dreams of that little 7 year old boy.

More later.


Just fired up the grill and managed to cook a beautiful tri tip. It was so good that me and Lu mostly finished the 2 and a half pounder off. With a little 4 legged help of course. I do love to cook meat with fire.

Getting ready to be a bachelor for a few days. Lu's heading off to the Utah house with a load on Tuesday so I'll be fending for myself until Friday. Well, fending for myself and 2 spoiled labs. I'm sure they'll be a lot of help so we should be good. Mmmmm pizza and cold cereal.

We're getting ready to move because I'm retiring in about 3 weeks. On February 5th I call it a career. 24 years as an officer. Add in almost 9 years in the military and I've been in one uniform or another for nearly 33 years. I find myself ambigious at best concerning my upcoming retirement. I'm happy but at the same time I love my job and I worked damn hard to get here. Essentially my whole life. But as one academy instructor told me so many years ago, when it's time to go it's time to go. It's time for me to go.

I'm going to indulge myself over the next 3 weeks and talk a bit about my career, how I got there, what I got to do and what's in store for The Six post retirement.

It'll be gripping. It'll be entertaining. It'll be a tale of love and crime and madness eclipsed only by the unforseen, twist ending.

Nah. Mostly it'll be the ramblings of an old fat guy.

But it'll be long. Real long.


08 January 2010

Honor Restored

Ashes Found in Trash Led to Proper Burial

January 05, 2010

St. Petersburg Times

The two teenagers got to the cemetery first. He wore his dark green
dress uniform from the National Guard. She wore a long black dress. They
stood on the edge of the road, across from rows of matching military
headstones, waiting for the funeral of the man they had never met.

Mike Colt, 19, and his girlfriend, Carol Sturgell, 18, had driven more
than an hour from their Tampa homes last month to be at Florida National
Cemetery in Bushnell.

They weren't really sure why they had come. They just knew they had to
be here.

"It's kind of sad, huh?" asked Sturgell, scanning the sea of white

Colt nodded. "Yeah, but it feels kind of important."

At 12:20 p.m., a Tampa police car pulled up, then a white Lincoln Town
Car. Another police cruiser followed. Two officers stepped out.

"Thank you for being here," Colt said, shaking both of their hands.

"No, thank you," said Officer Dan College. "If it weren't for you guys,
none of us would be here."

More than a month ago , on the last Saturday of November, the young
couple was hanging out at Sturgell's house when her brother rode up on
his bike, all excited. He had found two fishing poles in this huge pile
of trash. Come check it out, he said. So they did.

At the edge of the trash mound, sticking out from beneath a box,
Sturgell spied a worn green folder.

She pulled it out, brushed off the dust. Across the top, bold letters
said, "Department of Defense." Inside, she found retirement papers from
the U.S. Army; a citation for a Purple Heart issued in 1945; and a
certificate for a Bronze Star medal "for heroism in ground combat in the
vicinity of Normandy, France ... June 1944." In the center of the
certificate there was a name: Delbert E. Hahn.

Why would anyone throw that away? Sturgell asked.

And who is that guy? Colt wanted to know. Must be old, a World War II
vet. Looks like he served at D-Day!

That night, they took the paperwork back to Sturgell's house and
searched Delbert E. Hahn on the computer. Nothing. They talked about who
he might have been, the life he might have led.

The next morning, they went back to the trash heap and searched for more
clues. They rummaged through boxes, overturned furniture, picked through
piles of the past. Colt moved a ratty couch - and something fell out. A
metal vase, or box, some kind of rectangular container about a foot
tall. On the base was the name: Delbert E. Hahn.

"It's him," Colt told his girlfriend. "This must be him, in his urn."

Sturgell screamed. She didn't want to touch it. It was kind of freaky,
she said, discovering the remains of some dead guy.

"He shouldn't be here," Colt said. "No one should be thrown away like
that, just left in a parking lot."

The dead man wasn't alone. Under the couch, the couple found two more
sets of remains: a cylinder-style container with Barbara Hahn printed on
the bottom and another urn, which had no name.

Tampa police Cpl. Edward Croissant had just reported for the night shift
that Sunday when his officers showed him the urns. This kid and his
girlfriend had found them and brought them to the station.

Then an officer told Croissant about the Purple Heart. The Bronze Star.
And the Normandy invasion.

And Croissant became irate. He had served eight years in the Navy. He's
in the Coast Guard Reserve. "I had three uncles in World War II. That
was the greatest generation. If it wasn't for those men, we would have
nothing," he said.

"That man saw combat. And someone just dumped him there? He deserves a
better ending."

Police called the Department of Veterans Affairs and learned Hahn had
died in 1983, at the age of 62, -and was a highly decorated war hero.
The staff sergeant had served in the infantry and been honored with five
Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

Barbara Hahn, they learned, was the soldier's wife.

So how did their remains end up in that mound of garbage? Where was the
rest of their family, or friends, anyone who would want their ashes? And
who was in that third urn?

Neighbors filled in some of the story: Barbara Hahn had been a widow
forever, they told police. For years, her mother had lived with her. Her
mother's name was Barbara, too.

The elder Barbara had lived to be more than 100. They thought she died
around 2000. That third urn, neighbors told police, must be her.

The younger Barbara, the soldier's wife, got sick in 2003. A couple came
to care for her, and she wound up willing them her mobile home. When she
died, the couple moved in, took out a mortgage, then didn't make

The bank foreclosed on the trailer late last year.

In November, officials sent a maintenance company to clear it out. The
workers must have just dumped everything behind the vacant building on
Busch Boulevard, neighbors told police. Including the remains of three

Just before 1 p.m. Dec. 16 , the two teenagers led the car line through
Florida National Cemetery. Police followed, then the funeral director
who had the urns. Outside a wooden gazebo, two rows of National
Guardsmen stood at attention.

The funeral director handed the first soldier a flag, the next one the
cylinder with Barbara Hahn's remains, the third one the brass urn with
Delbert Hahn.

(Barbara's mother's remains are still in the evidence room of the police
station. Since she wasn't a veteran or married to one, she wasn't
entitled to be buried in the military cemetery.)

"Let us open the gates of the Lord," said a military chaplain, who led
the procession of strangers into the gazebo. "Let us remember," said the
chaplain, "none of us lives only unto himself."

The teenagers sat on the front bench. Three officials from Veterans
Affairs sat behind them. They had spent weeks searching for the Hahns'
relatives, any distant kin or friend, someone who might want their ashes
- or at least want to come to their burial.

They couldn't find anyone. Even the couple whom Barbara Hahn had willed
her home to didn't show.

By the time the chaplain lifted his head from the Lord's Prayer, a long
line of men had wrapped around the gazebo.

Wearing blue denim shirts and work boots, they clasped their caps in
their hands and bowed their heads. Dozens of groundskeepers from the
cemetery had left their Christmas party to come pay respects to the man
who, in death, had been so disrespected.

A bugler played taps. The riflemen fired three shots. And 56 people
watched the honor guard fold a flag over the urns of the man and woman
they never knew.

Note: The next generation still understands the concepts of honor, decency and fidelity. They renew our faith in the tenent of always having your brother and your sisters back.

07 January 2010

I'm On A Roll

Whilst perusing another blog I ran across this Warrior gem.


It's a great blog written by a True Warrior. He's a Cop who has literally sacrificed his body in the pursuit of duty, honor and justice. Lagniappe is his much beloved dog. No, don't ask me how it's pronounced. He's educated, intelligent (no the 2 do not necessarily go together but they do in this case), funny as hell and a great writer. Dogs, guns, Cop stuff, conservative thought and general ramblings. Here's a man with his head on straight.

Go there and be enlightened and entertained.


03 January 2010

Another Must Read

You absolutely must go here and read http://jadedhaven.wordpress.com/. Especially Cant Of Thieves. It is Epic. I've added Daphne to our blog roll.

nanc pointed out (thanks nanc)that I screwed up the link to Daphne's site. No excuses. Musta been too much Mt. Dew. I think I've got it sorted out now. If not just click on Jaded Haven. Now.

02 January 2010

What Did Yeats Know?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming!
Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight, somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again, but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- W.B. Yeats