• New OPA Director Pierce Murphy. A Breath of Fresh Air or More of the Same Stench?

    I’m sometimes accused by critics of being negative. Of course, negative to Seattle’s political left is anyone who opposes its view of how life should be lived. So, I felt a guarded optimism after I read this month’s Guardian interview with Seattle’s new Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) director, Pierce Murphy.

    I came away surprisingly, though cautiously, hopeful. Because an interviewee can say anything they think the interviewer wants to hear, there are certain things one can focus on when assessing a new “anyone” for any position in Seattle government. In evaluating what the new OPA director had to say, a sure-fire giveaway would be the use of leftist jargon, i.e. politically correct terminology.

    Some examples of these gems are: sustainability, diversity, holistic, inclusive, and, of course, social justice and progressive. The only example that came close to this was when Murphy cited, “teachable moments,” but I’ll give him a break on that one. I even allowed that he might have said it, tongue-in-cheek, which would be even more forgivable.

    Murphy has a decent enough law enforcement background to placate most cops, especially when compared with civilians with no law enforcement experience at all, his having served as a sworn reserve police officer. He is also most recently from Boise, Idaho. I don’t know about you, and surprises can—and often do—happen, but generally I’d take someone in a civilian police oversight capacity who is from Idaho over, say, somewhere like California or New York, any day. However, anomalies do exist, both left and right, coming from every location.

    Mr. Murphy, through the interview, appears professional, empathetic to law enforcement, expresses sensible views toward investigating officers, and is, something sadly lacking in Seattle, concerned about his personal integrity. In fact, the interview concludes with this statement: “… my personal integrity is all that I have. I intend to keep my integrity intact.”

    I, and I believe other officers, will give Director Murphy a fair shake and hope he adheres to the goals he’s expressed during his interview. After years of being treated by the OPA director with antipathy and from a left wing taint—like cops are something smelly and sticky on the bottom of its Birkenstocks—it would be nice to deal with someone who is simply fair. Is that too much to ask? (Don’t answer that).

    Of course the overarching conundrum looming over the SPD rank and file is: If the cops think, believe, hope Director Murphy is so good, then why would Seattle government hire him in the first place?

  • You Can’t be Serious… about Seattle!

    I often address serious situations, but I try to do it with humor when I can, which I’ll concede often appears more akin to sardonic wit—still, it is a version of humor. Some people ask me how I can laugh at anything currently happening in Seattle and to its police department. We have the city’s social justice reeducation/indoctrination day camps, DOJ’s implementation of a consent decree based upon false accusations and fabricated evidence, and the “nudge” toward radical political correctness by calls to avoid such viciously racist and bigoted words as, “brown bag” and “citizen. Oh! And how can anyone forget about Seattle police officers tasked with handing out bags of Doritos to potheads who are breaking the law right under their noses? Hmm, perhaps I should start handing out beer nuts to street folks drinking alcohol in public. Now that I think about it, this is all pretty funny without any—sardonic or otherwise—input from me.

    Benjamin Franklin was well known for infusing humor into his writing and about very serious subjects such as, oh… British oppression, for example. “Hey, did I tell you the one about how King George wants to hang me?” But seriously, folks: At the signing at the Declaration of Independence, which I think we can all agree was a serious, if not solemn, occasion. Franklin quipped, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Now, that’s funny!

    Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D., who writes a blog called, “Humor Matters,” says, “Humor is one of the healthiest and most powerful methods to help provide perspective on life’s difficult experiences, and it is frequently shared during periods of crisis.”

    This brings me to three points regarding the issue: One, using humor in a serious situation can make that situation appear manageable and can improve morale among the suffering masses. Two, people should not take humor as showing disrespect for a serious issue; they should take the levity as an opportunity to vent stress. Three, and finally, as positive as humor can be in serious situations, it can also be hazardous, so one must be careful. One good rule: Say it in your head before it comes out of your mouth. If it does come out of your mouth before having been sufficiently and prudently filtered through your head… well, I can’t help you there.