• Not Ruling Out Terrorism.

    So, on my drive home today after a long walk, I heard a news broadcast of a stabbing of a police officer while on duty at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan.

    As I listened to the news report, I was once again transported into Bizarro World. You know, DC Comic’s infamous “opposite” universe where up is down, forward is backward, and in is out.

    The news reporter on the FOX News radio broadcast said, “The attacker yelled, ‘God is Great,’ in Arabic [Allahu Akbar] as he stabbed the officer.”

    Next he reported this: “The FBI said it is not ruling out terrorism as a motive.”

    I…, uh…, I…, ummm…, I…, ugh!

  • Blame the Police… of Course.

    The recent shooting in North Seattle of 30-year-old Charleena Chavon Lyles is an unmitigated tragedy. There is no doubt about that. During my police career, I worked a sector with numerous mental health facilities and patients. I dealt with the mentally ill often, had a good relationship with their staffs, and received commendations from them. While I had little sympathy for those who knew better and still committed violent crimes, I had a great deal of compassion for people with significant mental health issues. In some cases, their actions simply were not their faults. But that does not lessen the danger they present to police officers responding to 911 calls. According to news reports from KIRO, Ms. Lyles seems to have been one of those people with significant mental health issues.

    Unfortunately, before anything more than a preliminary investigation has been conducted, some family members, community activists, and leftist politicians are already making assertions that police racism was a factor in the incident. Family members have leveled these knee-jerk charges, and anti-police groups have also glommed onto that all-too-convenient notion–it fits their narrative. Still, while families in mourning deserve wide latitude, regarding emotional comments after suffering such a loss, the cop critics do not—they know better but don’t care about the truth–the truth doesn’t fit their narrative. 

    What a shame that the mainstream liberal media, progressive politicians, and leftist community activists have given tacit (sometimes, blatant) permission or even instructions to minority communities to make quantum leaps, blaming racism every time police shoot a black suspect.

    During the fatal encounter, these facts should be remembered as critical: She was the one who called the police. She wanted to report a burglary. She armed herself with two butcher knives. She refused orders to “stay back” and came at the officers. Despite Ms. Lyles being a “known” entity to police for both mental health and criminal issues, officers can be heard on audio of the incident properly investigating Ms. Lyles’ burglary complaint. In fact, on audio the first words from one of the officers were, “Hello, good morning. You call the police?” Hardly the manner of a white, racist police officer intent on killing a black woman—or anyone!

    While conducting the investigation, reports indicate Ms. Lyles threatened the officers with the two knives. Despite numerous orders to “stay back,” Ms. Lyles reportedly came at the officers who were forced to shoot her.

    I know critical thinking is asking a lot these days, but rather than blaming the cops, how about looking at a mental health system that seems to have failed Ms. Lyles, her children, family, the community, and the police. And what about the judge who released Ms. Lyles despite her recent history of placing her children in harms-way and violent behavior toward the police?

    On June 5th, Ms. Lyles confronted police in a similar incident where she’d armed herself with an “extra-long” pair of scissors, using them to threaten the officers (incidentally, the officers responding in the butcher knives case were aware of that incident. Fortunately, in that incident, she dropped the scissors, so the officers did not have to use deadly force). According to KIRO, she also told the officers, “Ain’t none of ya’ll leaving [her] here today!” Incredibly, her 4-year-old child was, “sitting in her lap, and, at points, crawling around her waist,” during that incident. 

    Five days before the deadly shooting, Ms. Lyles attended a Mental Health Court hearing regarding the earlier incident. Think about this: The judge obviously considered Lyles dangerous enough to set this condition before her release: He ordered her not to “possess weapons or items which can be used as weapons.” Seriously? 

    Now, I hesitate to criticize the mental health system too harshly because they are overburdened and understaffed. But, just think about the level of mental instability of this poor woman the court released back into society. Anyone think the criminal justice or mental health system, as a whole, did Ms. Lyles any favors? During the fatal incident, Police officers reported Ms. Lyles said she wanted to, “morph into a wolf” and mentioned “cloning her daughter.” But, it’s too easy to blame the cops, right?

    But what about the people or person who made the decision to release her five days before her death? Do they deserve any culpability? Apparently not. I’m sure the release will come up in the discussion, but since they are a part of Seattle/King County’s liberal establishment, they will likely be seen as simply progressives who meant well, so they can’t be blamed. It must be the cops fault—always. And since the cops’ own political (and sometimes even police) leaders rarely support or defend officers’ uses-of-force with any vigor, if at all, then why shouldn’t society believe cops are bad? Most law enforcement jurisdictions remain horrible at teaching the public about what, why, and how cops do what they do.

    How have we gotten to a place in our society where nationally and locally we have the best trained law enforcement officers in America’s history, yet the default response is to blame the police? Ms. Lyles’ demise is a true and plain tragedy. But not just for Ms. Lyles, her family and friends but for the officers, too. Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole echoed this in the Seattle Times, “The message I’m trying to get out right now is that this is a horrible tragedy all around.” She added, “The community is distraught. The family is distraught. The officers are distraught.” [Emphasis mine] Come on, people. These officers, who chose to dedicate their professional lives to serve and protect the Seattle community, are not happy they were forced to shoot a mentally ill, pregnant woman. To even think that is a malicious insult, ignorant, and just plain stupid.

    Regardless of what the cop-haters spew about police officers “hunting minorities in the streets” (which government statistics have thoroughly debunked), those officers now must deal with the emotional ramifications of having to end the life of a mentally ill woman who should never have been at that location, never been holding those knives, and never been threatening those two police officers on that quiet Sunday in Seattle.

  • Child’s Rope Swing Mistaken for Hangman’s Noose? Come on, People!

    Busy with home projects, I’ve had little time to blog, lately. However, a recent photo and story on the FB Brier Community Page yearns for comment. I’m not including the photo or name of the FB page poster (it’s a private group). You’ll have to trust me on this one. For the record, I’m posting this blog in my capacity as a critical thinking advocate.

    In today’s touchy-feely, politically-correct-on-steroids social environment, this incident is so ridiculous it illustrates the lens through which some people choose to view ordinary things.

    Passing a house in Brier, an alert citizen observed, and then reported to the police, what he or she thought was a “noose” hanging from a tree limb. In the photo, the thick white rope can be seen suspended from a branch with the “noose” (a loop), dangling close to the ground (scratch head here). Coincidentally, the “noose” loop just happens to be positioned perfectly for a child to place a foot (not a head) into the rope’s loop. 

    More head-scratching comes when you see in the photo the rope and “noose” is obviously a swing. The homeowner says her kids have been enjoying the swing—for the past FIVE YEARS! (Sorry for yelling, but come on, people). 

    Hypersensitive folks with their offend-me switches turned up to eleven, listen up. Please, stop looking at the world through moron-colored glasses. If you look at a child’s rope swing and see a hangman’s noose, please seek help. Now!