'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

31 January 2011

Muslim Brotherhood

Like most of you I've been watching the events in Egypt unfolding. Mubarak is slime, pure and simple. He's what's known as a Strong Man and he and his party pretty much rule as opposed to govern. I couldn't care less what happens to him except for one little problem. The Muslim Brotherhood.

However this started, freedom minded citizens or power hungry wanna be tyrants, the insertion of the Muslim Brotherhood into the matrix changes the mix completely. Virtually every act of a modern Muslim terrorist can be laid at the door of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Queda is nothing but an offshoot as well as most every other Muslim terrorist organization out there short of Iran. They are a Terrorist Organization, recognized as such by most every reasonable country in the world.

There's another word for terrorist; criminal. That makes a Terrorist Organization a Criminal Organization. Peel back the mask of any Radical Islamic Fundamentalist (RIF) and you'll find a common criminal peeking out. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Aryan Brotherhood (AB), there's no difference beyond scope and religion. They should be called Radical Islamic Gangsters (RIG) to be strictly accurate.

Now ask yourself if you'd like to see the Aryan Brotherhood involved in an insurrection. Care to see them out rock throwing and 'helping' to overthrow the government in say Germany? When all was said and done who do you think would end up wielding the bat after the dust settled? A bunch of students and shopkeepers or the gang who has demonstrated they'll stop at nothing to satisfy their own ends. Why does anyone think things will be different in Egypt now that the Muslim Brotherhood has openly joined in the fight? Remember, AB/MB, no practical difference at all.

I want the Egyptians to have what we have, an open and at least mostly democratic society. One where they are free to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Allying with the Muslim Brotherhood isn't the way to that end. It's the path to servitude under a strict Muslim theocracy and ultimately a complete loss of their independent identity as Egyptians, swallowed up in the creation of a Caliphate.

A bullet between the eyes is no more than the Mubarak regime deserves but if the alternative is turning the government over to Muslim Gangsters then let's load up some JDAMs and do some selective targeting.

Oh and Mr. Ghadaffi? I hope you're shitting in your pants and praying to Mecca as you watch the news and contemplate an Atlas because bubba, you're next on their list.


30 January 2011

Sunday Kipling

For those who are interested a few housekeeping items.
The DO and the kids arrived safe and sound on Wednesday and Grandpa and Grandma are in Heaven.
I had to go to California on Friday to fix a broken fence on the rental house. I got back late this afternoon. It's good to be home.
Michael is in the final stages on the rig and I should get it in my sweaty hands this week. I'm excited to get it but my rule is to never rush an artist at his work.

Alnaschar and the Oxen
"The Bull That Thought"

THERE'S a pasture in a valley where the hanging woods divide,
And a Herd lies down and ruminates in peace;
Where the pheasant rules the nooning, and the owl the twilight-tide,
And the war-cries of our world die out and cease.
Here I cast aside the burden that each weary week-day brings
And, delivered from the shadows I pursue,
On peaceful, postless Sabbaths I consider Weighty Things-
Such as Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

At the gate beside the river where the trouty shallows brawl,
I know the pride that Lobengula felt,
When he bade the bars be lowered of the Royal Cattle Kraal,
And fifteen miles of oxen took the veldt.
From the walls of Bulawayo in unbroken file they came
To where the Mount of Council cuts the blue ...
I have only six and twenty, but the principle's the same
With my Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

To a luscious sound of tearing, where the clovered herbage rips,
Level-backed and level-bellied watch 'em move-
See those shoulders, guess that heart-girth, praise those loins,
admire those hips,
And the tail set low for flesh to make above!
Count the broad unblemished muzzles, test the kindly mellow skin,
And, where yon heifer lifts her head at call,
Mark the bosom's just abundance 'neath the gay and clean chin,
And those eyes of Juno, overlooking all!

Here is colour, form and substance! I will put it to the proud
And, next season, in my lodges shall be born
Some very Bull of Mithras, flawless from his agate hoof
To his even-branching, ivory, dusk-tipped horn.
He shall mate with block-square virgins-kings shall seek his like
in vain,
While I multiply his stock a thousandfold,
Till an hungry world extol me, builder of a lofty strain
That turns one standard ton at two years old!

There's a valley, under oakwood, where a man may dream his dream,
In the milky breath of cattle laid at ease,
Till the moon o'ertops the alders, and her image chills the stream,
And the river-mist runs silver round their knees!
Now the footpaths fade and vanish; now the ferny clumps deceive;
Now the hedgerow-folk possess their fields anew;
Now the Herd is lost in darkness, and 1 bless them as I leave,
My Sussex Cattle feeding in the dew!

25 January 2011

Happy Dance

My daughter, the DO, and my 2 wonderful grandchildren are coming in for a 6 week visit from their current base of operations in Papa Hungary tomorrow. We pick them up in Las Vegas tomorrow evening. The house is ready. Chicken nuggets and corn dogs in the freezer. The kid's room all set up with toys and beds and a TV with CD player all hooked up and ready to go. We've scoped out all the good playgrounds within walking or bicycling distance. 2 New bicycles are put together and waiting for young legs to peddle them around the block and maybe along a trail or two. New child seats for the truck (The kids grow like sprouting corn). We're sitting on go and anxious for their arrival.

It's gonna be a great 6 weeks. I'll post pics.


23 January 2011

Sunday Kipling

Akbar's Bridge
"The Debt"

Moved his standards out of Delhi to Jaunpore of lower Hind,
Where a mosque was to be builded, and a lovelier ne’er was planned;
And Munim Khan, his Viceroy, slid the drawings 'neath his hand.

(High as Hope upshered her out-works to the promised Heavens above.
Deep as Faith and dark as Judgment her unplumbed foundations dove.
Wide as Mercy, white as moonlight, stretched her forecourts to
the dawn;
And Akbar gave commandment, "Let it rise as it is drawn.")

Then he wearied-the mood moving-of the men and things he ruled,
And he walked beside the Goomti while the flaming sunset cooled,
Simply, without mark or ensign-singly, without guard and guide,
Till he heard an angry woman screeching by the river-side.

'Twas the Widow of the Potter, a virago feared and known
In haste to cross the ferry, but the ferry-man had gone.
So she cursed him and his office, and hearing Akbar's tread,
(She was very old and darkling) turned her wrath upon his head.

But he answered-being Akbar-"Suffer me to scull you o'er."
Called her "Mother," stowed her bundles, worked the clumsy
scow from shore,
Till they grounded on a sand-bank, and the Widow loosed her mind;
And the stars stole out and chuckled at the Guardian of Mankind

"Oh, most impotent of bunglers! Oh, my daughter's daughter's brood
Waiting hungry on the threshold; for I cannot bring their food,
Till a fool has learned his business at their virtuous grandma’s cost,
And a greater fool, our Viceroy, trifles while her name is lost!

"Munim Khan, that Sire of Asses, sees me daily come and go
As it suits a drunken boatman, or this ox who cannot row.
Munim Khan, the Owl's Own Uncle-Munim Khan, the Capon's seed,
Must build a mosque to Allah when a bridge is all we need!

"Eighty years I eat oppression and extortion and delays-
Snake and crocodile and fever, flood and drouth, beset my ways.
But Munim Khan must tax us for his mosque whate'er befall;
Allah knowing (May He hear me!) that a bridge would save us all! "

While she stormed that other laboured and, when they touched
the shore,
Laughing brought her on his shoulder to her hovel's very door.
But his mirth renewed her anger, for she thought he mocked the weak;
So she scored him with her talons, drawing blood on either cheek....

Jelaludin Muhammed Akbar, Guardian of Mankind,
Spoke with Munim Khan his Viceroy, ere the midnight stars declined-
Girt and sworded, robed and jewelled, but on either cheek appeared
Four shameless scratches running from the turban to the beard.

"Allah burn all Potters' Widows! Yet, since this same night was young,
One has shown me by sure token, there was wisdom on her tongue.
Yes, I ferried her for hire. “Yes," he pointed, "I was paid."
And he told the tale rehearsing all the Widow did and said.

And he ended, "Sire of Asses-Capon-Owl's Own Uncle-know
I-most impotent of bunglers-I-this ox who cannot row-
I-Jelaludin Muhammed Akbar, Guardian of Mankind-
Bid thee build the hag her bridge and put our mosque from out
thy mind."

So 'twas built, and Allah blessed it; and, through earthquake,
flood, and sword,
Still the bridge his Viceroy builded throws her arch o'er Akhar's

22 January 2011

The New Rig

It's almost done and I feel like a 3 year old waiting for Christmas morning to just get here already! Please.

Michael sent me a picture and it's sweet but I'll let you decide for yourself.

Pure, unadulterated awesomeness. Holster, mag carrier and belt all as a matched rig. He has finish work to do yet but the rig is essentially built and it is a very large slice basketweave goodness. I cannot wait to get it in my sweaty hands. As soon as I do it'll be out to the range for a test run and some break in time.

I'm going to be sitting out on the front sidewalk waiting and watching for the delivery guy until it gets here.


21 January 2011

Geez, I Take A couple Of Days Off.....

Borepatch has a post up here about recent events in Massachusetts. In Arlington apparently the First Amendment has been suspended to go along with the Second. A man named Travis Corcoran has had his firearms license (Not a CCW which is apparently impossible to get but a license just to possess weapons and ammunition at all) suspended. It's because of a post he wrote about the Arizona shooting at his blogsite Dispatches From TJICistan.

I never read the guy and from BP's description it doesn't really sound like I'd care for him or his opinions all that much. Read that link to BP's post and decide for yourself. Frankly I'd have told him to STFU. That's exactly the kind of insanity espoused by idiots like Vanderboegh and his ilk and if I heard anyone talk that way about my wife or family member, Mister TJIC would have had a painful visit from me. But I'd have kept the government out of it because it isn't a law enforcement issue until actions are taken in furtherance of a crime. I'm of the opinion that virtually nothing is off limits in the arena of speech as long as it's not slander or libelous. (However, if you insult me or mine I reserve the right to respond as seems best to me. If I was the husband of that congressperson I'd be on Corcorans doorstep inviting a retraction and an apology and yes, violence might well have ensued. Fighting words you know.)

Are we a free nation or are we not? TJIC's words (what I know of them through Borepatch) seems juvenile, idiotic, simplistic and frankly stupid. His wookie suit makes mine look to be of the hairless cat variety. None of that matters. Freedom of speech is just that. Freedom.

TJIC, I think you're a moron and I am completely indifferent as to whether you blog or shout your nonsense from the rooftops or not. But you should be allowed your First Amendment rights and that you've lost your Second as a result of exercising your First is a crime against American society as a whole and cannot be tolerated.

I'm a retired police officer. I am hardly an extremist. I do however have a good understanding of the nuts and bolts of how the Constitution works at the street level and this ain't it. If a crime has been committed then make an arrest and let the thing work itself out in court. If not then no action is necessary or indicated. None. The police are not clubs to be used to beat people with whom you disagree about the head and shoulders and to use us as such undermines the basic understanding between the Citizenry and government.

I've dealt with real threats. Threats from people who had the ability to do me harm if they really had a mind to. If I had a nickel for every time some punk threatened my life I'd be a very rich man and yet I never, not once, charged anyone who did so. Why? Because I can distill the bullshit from the gravy and the posting by TJIC is pure bullshit and merits no law enforcement action and, indeed, very little attention. There's a vast difference between irritation and criminal behavior. Like the size of the Grand Canyon.

It chaps my ass to have to write this. I have little tolerance for idiots who chafe for civil war and the breakdown of society but I have less tolerance for those who put their politics and societal views ahead of each and every persons Constitutional and civil rights. It takes a lot for a guy like me to defend a guy like TJIC but the great state of Massachusetts has managed that trick and I'm really, really pissed about it.

This is still America you bunch of quacking idiots. Act like it.


19 January 2011

Judge Rules On New California Ammunition Law

A trial court judge in Fresno, a fairly conservative area, has ruled that certain portions of the new law, particularly the fingerprinting and registration requirements, are unconstitutional. It's a nice first step but a long way from recognizing the basic Second Amendment rights of Californians.

The Californian Rifle and Pistol Association brought the suit. They're a fine group and I'm certain they're not done yet. I was a member up until I decided to quit that sewer of a state. If they keep this up I'll be sending them a nice donation.

My thoughts and hopes are with all of you stuck in the former golden state though my advice is if you can get out do so forthwith. Free air just smells so much better.


18 January 2011

Book Review

Ok, I admit it. I'm a philistine when it comes to some of my reading materials. I like pulp fiction. There, I said it.

I love the Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and have them all. The Ashes series by William Johnstone. The Brotherhood of War by W.E.B. Griffin.

The best of the pulp fiction I have collected however is The Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. The series runs well past 100 books and I have most of them. It's about a wise cracking assassin named Remo Williams and his trainer Chiun, the Master of Sinanju. Remo works for an organization, CURE, that doesn't exist officially. It was designed to combat crime from outside the Constitution. Only 3 people are aware of the existence of CURE; Remo, the administrator Harold Smith and the sitting President. They never name the President and it's fun to read descriptions of him and figure out who the authors were talking about.

Smith runs CURE from Folcroft Sanitarium in Rye, New York. He has a vast army of unknowing agents who contribute snippets of information that allow Smith, with the help of his state of the art computers, to pinpoint crime and threats to the nation. Smith provides surreptitious information to prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies to battle crime. When that fails he identifies persons who merit 'special attention' from Remo.

Remo is an assassin trained in the Sun Source of martial arts, Sinanju. He can do things that are nothing short of super human. He does have weaknesses and the authors do a good job of putting him in life threatening situations. The series does veer into the ridiculous from time to time but that very campiness is part of it's charm.

Chiun is the Master of Sinanju, an ancient Korean martial art, said to be the source of all others, and Remo's trainer and surrogate father. He's racist (hates everyone except Koreans from his own little village but in a funny way, I swear), ancient and a lover of 70's era soap operas. A singular character. He doesn't know what CURE is or does and doesn't care. He just wants to get paid.

The earlier titles are the best and it's fascinating to read about things long past and to realize how circular culture and politics in America really are. The books are very, very non PC and it's refreshing to read. There are also some very stirring and moving tributes to America and what makes us who we are.

I love these books and trot them out from time to time and reread the entire series. They're fun, fast and great escapist entertainment. I can usually get through one in a couple of days. I highly recommend them.

So now you know my dark secret. I have the culture and taste of a four year old boy being raised by monkeys. Yeah, who didn't see that coming?


17 January 2011

Building A Big 50

The Redneck Engineer (his site is over in my blog roll) is currently posting about a .50 caliber rifle he's building. That's right, except for the barrel and some small parts he could fabricate if he wanted to, he's building the entire thing from scratch. I've been following along, mightily impressed with both his skills and ingenuity.

I've always been impressed with those folks who can take some basic materials such as steel, leather and wood and create beautiful and useful items. The Reluctant Paladin and Og are others who can create things that blow my mind.

If you've got a few minutes (and haven't already) hop over to Redneck Engineers site and read the build from the beginning. It's fascinating and gives me ideas for projects I'd like to do. I'll probably never build a rifle from scratch but the techniques and tools he talks about are transferable to many other things. His knowledge, ingenuity, precision and sheer talent are awe inspiring. He is the spirit of our American forefathers in present day.

Brother, thanks for posting this build and sharing your experience and knowledge with me. I'm looking forward to the finish of this project and the next (and the next, etc.) one you do.


Persian Gulf War

On January 16/17 1991 Coalition forces launched the air campaign into Iraq that proceeded the ground assault. It lasted 42 days. The initial air war was punctuated by the deployment of the F1117 Stealth Fighter to targets in the heavily defended areas around Baghdad. By the time January ended over 32,000 sorties had been flown with no losses of U.S. aircraft.

The ground War would begin in February and include 73 Easting, the largest tank battle since WWII.

Casualty figures for the War:
Number Total Battle Other
Served Deaths Deaths Deaths Wounded
Total 2,225,000 383 147 235 467
Army 782,000 224 98 126 354
Navy 669,000 55 5 50 12
Marines 213,000 68 24 44 92
Air Force 561,000 35 20 15 9

Those casualty figures are incomplete however. The effects of Gulf Way Syndrome continue to plague our veterans to this day. In November 2008 the VA finally confirmed the existence and ailments of GWS, 17 years after the fact. This is a good link if you're interested in more information. Of course even that isn't anything new to our veterans. Just ask any Vietnam Vet about Agent Orange.

A remembrance today of the men and women who served and especially those who gave their all.


15 January 2011

Sunday Kipling

The Absent-Minded Beggar

When you’ve shouted “Rule Britannia,” when you’ve sung “God save the Queen,”
When you’ve finished killing Kruger with your mouth,
Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine
For a gentleman in khaki going South?
He’s an absent-minded beggar, and his weaknesses are great –
But we and Paul must take him as we find him –
He is out on active service, wiping something of a slate –
And he’s left a lot of little things behind him!
Duke’s son – cook’s son – son of a hundred kings –
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!)
Each of ‘em doing his country’s work
(and who’s to look after his things?)
Pass the hat for your credit’s sake,
and pay – pay – pay!

There are girls he married secret, asking no permission to,
For he knew he wouldn’t get it if he did.
There is gas and coals and vittles, and the house-rent falling due,
And it’s more than rather likely there’s a kid.
There are girls he walked with casual. They’ll be sorry now he’s gone,
For and absent-minded beggar they will find him,
But it ain’t the time for sermons with the winter coming on.
We must help the girl that Tommy’s left behind him!
Cook’s son – Duke’s son – son of a belted Earl –
Son of Lambeth publican – it’s all the same today!
Each of them doing the country’s work
(and who’s to look after the girl?)
Pass the hat for your credit’s sake,
and pay – pay – pay!

They are families by thousands, far too proud to beg or speak,
And they’ll put their sticks and bedding up the spout,
And they’ll live on half o’ nothing, paid ‘em punctual once a week,
‘Cause the man that earns the wage is ordered out.
He’s an absent-minded beggar, but he heard his country call,
And his reg’ment didn’t need to send to find him!
He chucked his job and joint it – so the job before us all
Is to help the home that Tommy’s left behind him!
Duke’s job – cook’s job – gardener, baronet, groom,
Mew’s or palace or paper-shop, there’s someone gone away!
Each of ‘em doing his country’s work
(and who’s to look after the room?)
Pass the hat and for your credit’s sake,
and pay – pay – pay!

Let us manage so as later, we can look him in the face,
And tell him – what he’d very much prefer –
That, while he saved the Empire, his employer saved his place,
And his mates (that’s you and me) looked out for her.
He’s and absent-minded beggar and he may forget it all,
But we do not want his kiddies to remind him
That we sent ‘em to the workhouse while their daddy hammered Paul,
So we’ll help the homes that Tommy left behind him!
Cook’s home - Duke’s home – home of millionaire,
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!)
Each of ‘em doing his country’s work
(and what have you got to spare?)
Pass the hat for your credit’s sake
and pay – pay – pay

New Jersey Officer Killed

Lakewood, New Jersey Patrolman Christopher Matlosz was shot to death during a routine pedestrian stop on Friday. The suspect is still at large and is the focus of an intense manhunt. Our hearts and prayers are with Officer Matlosz's family and the men and women of the Lakewood Police Department.

Farewell Brother. Gone but never forgotten.


13 January 2011

The Bad Of Good Intentions

I appreciate all the comments and well wishes from all of you. My friends, each and every one of you. My Mother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. We have an appointment with an Oncologist on February 7th in Las Vegas where she'll undergo further testing and treatment options will be discussed. She's already said she isn't going to be treated but I'm talking to her and trying to convince her to keep an open mind. We shall see.

We are hardly alone here and our story is no different than many of yours, it's just ours. So. Time for me to quit wallowing and worrying about the things I can have to effect on and talk about those where we might.

From Tampa Florida we have this story. No Refusal DUI checkpoints.

First, what is a DUI checkpoint? Simply put, A DUI checkpoint is essentially a roadblock set up to check the potential impairment of drivers going through the checkpoint. It's usually set up on a major thoroughfare, announced ahead of time (but that is not required in all states), and staffed by police officers or other police employees (detention staff, clerical staff and even police volunteers may be present). Not every car going through the checkpoint is normally stopped. The police with jurisdiction of the point will have a procedure set out dictating that every 5th car (or whatever they have set as the number) will be stopped and the driver scanned for signs of intoxication. That isn't a hard and fast rule though as I'll discuss later. This is normally done by the officer speaking with the driver and observing for signs of alcohol/drug intoxication. Other violations may be viewed as well and enforcement action taken for anything the officer sees in plain view. Normally 'other violations' make up the majority of the enforcement actions taken at any DUI Checkpoint.

The 'three minute rule' states that officers have three minutes to investigate the car in the checkpoint lane. If the detention exceeds three minutes either the car has to be pulled to the side, out of the lane, or following cars routed around the checkpoint until the three minute checks are re-established. That doesn't mean that every car can't be checked, just that drivers can't be detained for a inordinate amount of time. In some states the 'three minute rule' is longer, as much as five from what I can find.

Confused? It gets better.

The first DUI checkpoint was established by the Michigan State Police in 1986. It was challenged in court by a man named Rick Sitz. The Supreme Court ruled on the legality in 1990 in MICHIGAN DEPT. OF STATE POLICE v. SITZ, 496 U.S. 444 (1990).
In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that the roadblocks did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court noted that "no one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the States' interest in eradicating it." The Court then found that "the weight bearing on the other scale--the measure of the intrusion on motorists stopped briefly at sobriety checkpoints--is slight." The Court also found that empirical evidence supported the effectiveness of the program.

Of note is that when the case was returned to the Michigan Supreme Court for further review they essentially ignored SCOTUS and struck down DUI Checkpoints within the state. Michigan remains one of 11 states where such roadblocks remain illegal. The various states Supreme Courts have taken up the issue and rendered a variety of verdicts, limitations and authority. including time limits and whether a car trying to avoid the checkpoint can be stopped (yes is the answer in most cases).

Written guide lines are generally required. They cannot be too vague and how cars will be singled out for checking must be included, whether it's every car, every 5th car, etc. Cases have been thrown out for improper written procedures or officers not following the guidelines. In some cases handheld Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) screeners, called Preliminary Alcohol Screener (PAS) are utilized and you may find yourself required to give a breath sample. I believe this is what is happening in the No Refusal law in Florida and they're using the state law that allows the courts to automatically suspend your license for refusing to take a blood alcohol test as the basis.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD, was established in 1980 (prior to the first DUI Checkpoint in Michigan). The founder, Candice Lightner, left the group in 1985 and later complained that they had become 'neo-prohibitionist' instead of strictly anti-DUI advocacy. Other groups followed; FADD, SADD, BADD and others. They are all fine organizations who espouse who are working to help eliminate driving while intoxicated. The problem with them is one of scope and the law of unintended consequences.

Groups like these start out narrowly focused but inevitably morph into something more. It's a lot like government. They start out with the best of intentions but the beast must be fed and they go well outside their initial charters. MADD has been instrumental in lowering the BAC presumption from .10 to .08 and raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. They've also been a driving force behind DUI checkpoints and now we're talking about interfering in Constitutional rights.

In California we have the Office of Traffic Safety. Take a look at their site and pay attention to almost the first words at the very top;
The California Office of Traffic Safety’s mission is to effectively and efficiently administer traffic safety grant funds to reduce traffic deaths, injuries, and economic losses. Think maybe MADD and the other organizations might have some influence with OTS? My agency didn't start doing checkpoints until OTS funded them. If they're so important why weren't the local jurisdictions finding the funding before then?

Take a look at that No Refusal link again and think about this. The on site judge can now order a forced blood draw if you refuse to participate when so ordered, regardless of whether reasonable suspicion exists for a test or probable cause exists for an arrest. If reasonable suspicion is there then yes, requiring a BAC sample is legal and ethical. If probable cause is present then an arrest should be made and, again, a BAC sample can be compelled. But this is a step further, giving authority for a blanket requirement to participate in the checkpoint regardless of whether the two standards of reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause exist and that's a clear 4th Amendment violation. I've been involved in forced blood draws. In California, at the time, we could compel a forced blood draw only in those cases where the driver was involved in an accident where someone else (besides the DUI driver) was injured and the driver refused to provide a BAC sample. Very few and very far between. Only a handful in my career. A forced blood draw is just that, forced. I've had cases where we literally had to sit on the guy to allow the blood tech to take the test. It's intrusive and can be damn ugly and hence should only be used in exigent cases. A routine forced blood draw should be shocking to the conscience of any court.

This is how a normal DUI case goes. I'll use myself as the officer in this example. I'm on my routine patrol. It's a Friday night and I know the drunk drivers are out there and I'm actively hunting for them. I'm driving and looking for signs. They can be obvious or subtle; swerving over the center line, stopping at green lights or failing to start when the signal turns green, speeding, driving well under the limit, stopping well before or well after the limit line at a stop sign, windows down on a very cold night, driving without headlights, signs of intoxication on a driver when that driver is visible, etc. Experience and training help immensely. Reasonable Suspicion. When I've spotted such a driver I'll follow and watch for more signs. If I see enough I'll make a traffic stop. The phrase here is "the totality of the circumstances". That is when there's enough erratic driving behavior to cause a reasonable officer to suspect the driver may be impaired and it's an important element in DUI cases. After the stop I'll approach the driver, have him roll down the window and we'll have a conversation. I will ask at some point if they've been drinking but it's not absolutely necessary and I usually only ask because the DA will later ream me if I didn't. I'm looking for the objective symptoms of alcohol or drug intoxication; eyes, breath, smell in the car, speech patterns, physical manipulation of wallet, drivers license and so on. If I'm not convinced he's been drinking I'll send him on his way with a thank you for his cooperation. If the symptoms are present I'll get him out of the car for roadside Field Sobriety Tests (FST's). Standard FST's differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but are essentially simple physical and cognitive tests. They usually consist of the following in some form; balance, divided attention, memory, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and more often these days a PAS. After the FST's are complete I'll make a decision, again based on the totality of the circumstances, on whether Probable Cause now exists for an arrest. After the arrest is made I'll give the driver three choices for a BAC test; blood, breath or urine. If he chooses a breath test I'll give him a Trombetta Advisement which states that I cannot preserve a sample of his breath and if he wants a sample for later testing he'll also have to provide a urine or blood sample as well. California is an Implied Consent state. essentially, to get a drivers license you agree before hand to provide a BAC sample on the lawful request of a police officer. A PAS is not a BAC test but the results may be entered into the court record and used against you. If you refuse to submit a sample your drivers license will be suspended for a set period and the refusal may be used against you in your court case. Now a bit of common sense is in order here. If you're good and you prepare your case carefully and properly a BAC sample isn't strictly necessary. My very first DUI arrest the driver refused FST's and BAC test. I was a raw rookie on FTO. When the case finally went to court he hired the best DUI lawyer in the county and presented in front of a jury. The topper was that my FTO has left the department and the DA failed to subpoena him. The case rested on my observations and testimony. The jury found him guilty so please don't tell me that a case is lost because BAC tests aren't done. If you're competent, honest and thorough that's all that is required.

In reading that above paragraph I hope you get a sense in how complex and involved such cases are. There's a very good reason for that. I'm depriving a person of their liberty and, if found guilty, their property in the form of fines, fees and penalties. It should be difficult and require care and a strict adherence to the Constitution and long established case law. What it cannot be is a fishing expedition. I never sat on a bar at closing time and in fact have made formal complaints to the CHP Watch Commander when I caught some of his people doing it in my beat. I went so far as to do a walk or drive through of bars at or near closing time to remind those who had imbibed that we were out there. I didn't participate in DUI Checkpoints because I find them distasteful and unnecessary. A good DUI enforcement program where the officers are trained and motivated to search out, find and arrest impaired drivers is very effective and all that is required. A good PR campaign, the Avoid the __ posters and commercials, are an effective way of announcing your intentions and providing motivation to potential violators that you mean business. DUI checkpoints are anathema to the American Way of law enforcement and lead to things like the No Refusal abomination.

Don't misunderstand me here. I'm death on DUI drivers. They cause billions in monetary damage and take thousands of lives. I've arrested hundreds in my career. Finding, prosecuting and punishing such drivers is and should be a priority in any law enforcement agency. I just don't think checkpoints are the proper, legal or ethical answer. It boils down to professionalism and competency versus taking the lazy approach. It's easy to set up and check each and every car that passes through. It's much harder to go and search out and find these drivers through proper police procedures and bring them to justice using Constitutional and ethical means. We get paid to do the hard things not to use shortcuts. The bad result of good intentions gone way too far.

If it was easy anyone could do it and that's a road we're already way too far down at this point.


11 January 2011

Another hit, and "Restoring America's Future"

Well my friends, our little family took another hit today. The Six called it when he said this was going to be a tough year. I'm not going to go into details just yet, but our situation is going to put off any significant blogging for a bit longer yet.

That all being said, however, my real goal is not one of sorrow, but rather one of joy. Dad created this space as a place to vent his frustrations, and in the year and a half it's been up and running, it has become so much more. Political frustration and discourse aside, this has become a safe place of shared sorrow and of joy, a place to bang heads on tables and to put up a collective cheer. To say that this wouldn't have been possible without all of you is not only obvious it's silly. However, it's also true. That you take the time to comment, to peruse past and empathize, to read with interest, has been an amazing blessing. That we live in a nation (well, most of us!) that allows us the freedom to interact with one another in an open and honest way is amazing; it is both a gift and duty to use such freedom. Dad's desire to speak out was partially to vent spleen, and partially to be a part of the voice of the people, and that in itself is a testament to the power of the ideals held by the founders of this great nation.

With that I'm going to mention something that painfully affects the military and yet has been widely overlooked. I'm not in a state to write much, but I did want to point everyone to the "Restoring America's Future" proposal put out by Obama's Debt Reduction Task Force. I'm very much the fiscal conservative, and I embrace the idea of cutting spending, I just want those cuts to be show to the public, and to be talked about.

Included in the proposal is cutting the billets for 275,000 soldiers, "reforming cost sharing" for Tricare (meaning military families would pay more out of pocket for their medical care, which they state outright on pg 102), and "transitioning from the current military retirement system to one more similar to that in which federal civil servants participate" (think 401k, no cash till retirement age, and time in service requirements of between 30 and 40 years, with an addendum of a new 10 year partial retirement option). (pg. 100-101 for both quotes). Oh, and they want to change the intelligence community quite a bit, including the "greater use of commercial imagery." Cause why get our own imagery when we can just get it from Google instead?

Those 275,000 they want to fire?

"Reduce active duty end strength by 275,000, of which 92,000 would come from reversing the ground force buildup of the past ten years, 80,000 would come from withdrawing additional U.S. forces in Western Europe and East Asia, and 100,000 would come from eliminating infrastructure positions held by uniformed personnel in the Department of Defense."

Meaning we slowly pull out of Europe and Asia, and farm out more military positions to civil contractors. Which, honestly, I get. As much as I love being in Europe, there isn't a drastic and driving need for us to be here in the numbers we are. But the point here is that Afghanistan is still very problematic (to say the least) and there are still troops in Iraq, yet they want to draw down military numbers over the next 5 years. Overseas assignments keep moral up, and interactions with civilian contractors can be tricky.

The one I'm shakingly angry about, though, is the greater burden put on military family when it comes to health care. Not because my co-pays go up, but because of all the rhetoric I hear about how we must push for the "right" to free health care to be extended to all, yet the privilege already extended to the military is going to be drawn down.

As this is just a proposal many of the above items aren't fleshed out; however there are interesting conversations being had about what this will all mean. The military aspects are but a few of the topics covered, and there is much interesting information lurking in the linked pdf. I haven't had the time to go through it all, but I'll be putting in on the kindle to read, that's for sure.

~The DO

09 January 2011

Sunday Kipling

We need a dose of humor today to lighten our moods and to remind us that there is light and love and hope and beauty in the world. Kiss your lover. Hug your children and let them know how you feel about them. Play fetch with your dog. Scratch your kitty's belly. Go for a run or a ride. Enjoy your day and remember "This too shall pass".
I love you my friends.
Update: Lu and I went out on out bikes today and did 21 miles. We enjoyed being out in each others company for a nice day together, re-affirming our love and companionship. We even made a new friend out on the roads. I refuse to succumb to either paranoia or fear. I say to Chaos and Distrust and Catastrophe and Discord and the psychopaths everywhere who would destroy us;
Go fuck yourselves. We are Americans and we will weather this storm like we have all others.

A Code of Morals

Lest you should think this story true
I merely mention I
Evolved it lately. 'Tis a most
Unmitigated misstatement.

Now Jones had left his new-wed bride to keep his house in order,
And hied away to the Hurrum Hills above the Afghan border,
To sit on a rock with a heliograph; but ere he left he taught
His wife the working of the Code that sets the miles at naught.

And Love had made him very sage, as Nature made her fair;
So Cupid and Apollo linked , per heliograph, the pair.
At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise
At e'en, the dying sunset bore her husband's homilies.

He warned her 'gainst seductive youths in scarlet clad and gold,
As much as 'gainst the blandishments paternal of the old;
But kept his gravest warnings for (hereby the ditty hangs)
That snowy-haired Lothario, Lieutenant-General Bangs.

'Twas General Bangs, with Aide and Staff, who tittupped on the way,
When they beheld a heliograph tempestuously at play.
They thought of Border risings, and of stations sacked and burnt
So stopped to take the message down -- and this is what they learnt

"Dash dot dot, dot, dot dash, dot dash dot" twice. The General swore.
"Was ever General Officer addressed as 'dear' before?
"'My Love,' i' faith! 'My Duck,' Gadzooks! 'My darling popsy-wop!'
"Spirit of great Lord Wolseley, who is on that mountain top?"

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute, the gilded Staff were still,
As, dumb with pent-up mirth, they booked that message from the hill;
For clear as summer lightning-flare, the husband's warning ran:
"Don't dance or ride with General Bangs -- a most immoral man."

[At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise
But, howsoever Love be blind, the world at large hath eyes.]
With damnatory dot and dash he heliographed his wife
Some interesting details of the General's private life.

The artless Aide-de-camp was mute, the shining Staff were still,
And red and ever redder grew the General's shaven gill.
And this is what he said at last (his feelings matter not):
"I think we've tapped a private line. Hi! Threes about there! Trot!"

All honour unto Bangs, for ne'er did Jones thereafter know
By word or act official who read off that helio.
But the tale is on the Frontier, and from Michni to Mooltan
They know the worthy General as "that most immoral man."

08 January 2011

Arizona Shooting

The press is calling it an assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) but the investigation is still active and I expect more information soon. The congresswoman was shot in the head but expected to live and even recover, as remarkable as that is. Federal Judge John Roll was among the dead as was a 9 year old girl.

The shooter is Jared Loughner, a constituent. Information about him is still sketchy. (I've removed my speculations on the shooter. It's way too early for anyone, me included, to draw any educated conclusions) .

No point in making too many assumptions this early but this is bad. Very, very bad.

Stand by.


Update: The long knives are already out. There is a special ring in Hell for those who use the blood of the innocent to attack their political enemies. There's nothing political about the actions of the mentally deranged.

Brigid reminded me that now is the time for prayers and Lu and I send our heartfelt prayers to all the victims of this shocking incident. May God receive those who lost their lives into his loving embrace. Thanks Brigid.

06 January 2011

It's Gonna Be A Bad Year

We lost another family member yesterday. Lu's great aunt passed away. She'd had a stroke on Monday. Lu and her mom went down on Tuesday to see her and were with her when she passed. Lu and mom in law are coming back tonight.

I apologize for the dearth of posting but I have to admit that I'm just not feeling it right now. Mom in law is pretty tore up and Lu loved her great aunt dearly. Throw that on top of Allison passing and I'm going to take a break and concentrate on family for just a bit.

Sorry. I'll be back soon.


02 January 2011

Sunday Kipling (RIP Allison)

My cousins daughter passed away on December 26th in Sanger Texas. She was just 24 years old.
Sunday Kipling is dedicated John, Cindy and most especially to Allison who has taken the road before her parents, something no one should have to endure.
Lord please bless and comfort them and take Allison into your loving embrace.

May this not be a portent of the year to come.

The Glories

In Faiths and Food and Books and Friends
Give every soul her choice.
For such as follow divers ends
In divers lights rejoice.

There is a glory of the Sun
('Pity it passeth soon!)
But those whose work is nearer done
Look, rather, towards the Moon.

There is a glory of the Moon
When the hot hours have run;
But such as have not touched their noon
Give worship to the Sun.

There is a glory of the Stars,
Perfect on stilly ways;
But such as follow present wars
Pursue the Comet's blaze.

There is a glory in all things;
But each must find his own,
Sufficient for his reckonings,
Which is to him alone.