• Fighting evil

    If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while you know that one of the reasons I became a cop is because I detest bullies. I don’t care if it’s the physical bully who conducts a reign of terror on the playground or in the barroom, the boss or co-worker who goes out of her way to make others miserable during their daily grind, or any other petty terrorist who routinely makes life difficult for others in some feeble attempt to prop up their own ragged ego.


    During the course of my daily life I’m sometimes struck by some of life’s immensely pleasurable scenes. Driving through a park, I see a Mom and Dad swinging a small child between them, as the tot laughs delightfully; a young woman opens a door for an elderly man; a couple slowly strolls along the sidewalk hands clasped.


    Last week I was enjoying a spectacular weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon with my wife. During our long walks on the beach I observed many people of all makes and brands enjoying the gorgeous surroundings, but even more—each other’s company.


    I watched a young mother playing with her children, teasing the foamy surf in an attempt to keep from soaking their feet, in the shadow of the magnificent monolith, Haystack Rock, and a thought occurred to me. In my profession the idea that terrorists might strike anywhere at anytime is not an alien one. However, as I watch these peaceful people going about their quintessentially American pursuit of happiness, I experience a sudden, visceral awareness that people exist in the world who, because of religious and/or political ideology, wouldn’t hesitate to kill these people if given the chance, and in the most horrible ways possible.


    How does a person, a horde of zealots, whip up such an all encompassing blood-lust toward other people they don’t even know, who’s only “crime” is going about their lives peacefully, enjoying and loving their friends and families, and working toward building civilized society rather than, like the terrorists, destroying it?


    I don’t know the answer. I can barely conceive of such an evil, but people are foolish to doubt it exists, and do so at their own peril. If we want to make sure scenes like the ones described above continue, we must lend our wholehearted support to those leaders who make fighting such evil a priority. 

  • Cannon Beach, Oregon. Roam, Run, Relax.

    Sometimes a break is just what’s needed for a little change of perspective, and I’ve got the perfect place: Cannon Beach, Oregon. We spent last weekend in a fantastically rustic and cozy room at the Hearthstone Inn, a part of the Cannon Beach Hotel. The room was clean and conveniently located only a few blocks from downtown and the myriad shops calling to browsers, or as in my wife’s case, shoppers.


    The staff was friendly and responsive anything we needed, which wasn’t much. We were a block from the beach and about a half mile beach walk south to Haystack, an incredible monolith and Puffin paradise jutting out of the Pacific Ocean teasingly close to the beach bathing in the foamy surf.


    If you’re into the shopping thing, as I said, the downtown is only a few blocks from the Hearthstone Inn, and is only a few blocks long, an easy stroll for most people. It’s jammed with a theater, bookstore, all kinds of restaurants and retail shops, of which our favorites were, The Wine Shack and Bill’s Tavern along with the respective vacation-enhancing beverages to be found within each.


    If you’re into the beach thing, from the north end of town, at Ecola Creek, the beach runs pretty much uninterrupted for a good three miles south, but if you push it past a particularly tight rocky passing point, dependent on the tide, if you don’t mind getting your feet wet, you can push the walk, run, or mountain bike ride another mile or two down the beach.


    If you’re into both things like we are, then you’ve truly found your weekend get-away. Oh, and what a great writer’s retreat as well.

  • Seattle Tea Party

    I hadn’t planned on writing about the Tea Party phenomenon, but after having attended one yesterday how can I not? I can’t remember ever having participated in a political protest (having worked the WTO protests not withstanding), over the course of my life despite being rather politically interested and active.


    The fact that I’ve never attended a political protest isn’t all that unusual, many folks have not. However, the fact that my, until recently politically inactive to the point of rolling her eyes at my frequent invective hurling sessions at liberals on the TV news channels, wife also attended—in fact, I believe it was her idea.


    We arrived at a sunny, but bordering on chilly, Westlake Center in Downtown Seattle at about 5 PM for the 5:45 PM Seattle Tea Party, one of a large number of Tea Parties held around the nation on April 15th, “Tax Day,” and named to honor—obviously—the one held in Boston in 1773. It should be noted that this national grassroots conflagration got its start right here in Seattle with a protest rally held in February, organized by the contagiously exuberant Keli Carender.  


    The first person we met was a very nice woman of some years, but not too many, who sat out of place on a bench in the center of the mall. She told us this was the first protest she’d ever been to in her life. Appropriately for the theme of the rally, she sat adjacent a throng of dingy, non-producing, non-tax paying, young lay-abouts whose only enterprise was providing themselves with a reason to be embarrassed when they finally grow up and realize what losers they are…that is, if they ever do grow up.


    The second observation was the number of signs we saw with the message: This is My First Protest. And I can add that there were even a greater number of people who, if I were to guess by demeanor and dress, fell into the “rookie” category.


    Seattle’s was an animated rally considering the number of neophyte “rightwing radicals” (Isn’t that what NBC, CNN, and the other objective news media are calling us?), attending who hadn’t the first clue about how to behave at a protest. I certainly count myself among them, remaining rather subdued; when what I really wanted to do was to scream at the top of my lungs for our President and Congress to just, “STOP!”


     Mr. Obama and his congressional comrades shouldn’t dismiss this movement so easily. I don’t remember anything of the sort this early in last two Democratic President’s administrations. The president and the Democratic congress are totally annihilating any support and goodwill traditionally given a new president at the beginning of his term by his political opponents.


    While his liberal/socialist base has held strong, after all his success is theirs, his support from moderate Democrats and Independents is waning, and any support from Republicans, Libertarians, as well as conservatives and libertarians has been decimated. If I recall correctly, there was another political leader who once dismissed a group of tax protesters as “radicals,” his name was King George III.


    While I disagree that there is no difference between the two major parties, I admit that the difference is sadly minimal. The Obama administration and the Pelosi/Reid congress have wreaked their economic havoc without much, if any, Republican support. However, intellectually honest people have to ask, where was the mass Republican support for fiscal responsibility when they held the majority? Seems many Republicans are suddenly fiscally responsible because it’s suddenly a Democrat in the White House. It’s a damn shame that the Republicans wasted the chance Americans gave them to recapture Ronald Reagan’s vision of limited government, and instead grew government nearly as adeptly as any progressive Democrat could.


    America’s greatest national hero, George Washington, the father of our nation, warned us against political parties—yet another reason to revere the man. You must look past the party to the man or woman, their message and their actions. (Incidentally, one of the strongest messages during the rally was a letter of support for the Tea Party from Washington state Auditor, Brian Sonntag.) If you ever wonder who’s political view is more valid consider this: This was a nation conceived in individual liberty; anyone who argues this fact is deluded. Just ask yourself which politician’s political track leaves you with the most freedom.


    Most liberals espouse a desire for an America whose people languish in a regulatory quagmire and economic bondage. On the other hand, most conservatives and libertarians describe a country in which Americans have the liberty to peacefully pursue their happiness free from government interference. You may choose bondage, but I’ll choose liberty every time.


    In America we only need one political party: American.




  • No Constitution; no America

    I was a guest on a radio show the other day where, rather than discussing police issues, the hosts wanted to banter about political topics. Only slightly out of my element having never before discussed/debated non-law enforcement political issues on a broadcast medium, one of the first statements a co-host made was targeted right between my eyes. The hosts had been to my website and were aware of my political leanings.


    The co-host, let’s call him Matt (mostly because his name is Matt), actually said something to the effect, “It’s time to scrap the Constitution, or at least change it; after all it is a living document, and the Founders couldn’t have anticipated what’s happened after all these years.”


    Well, saying that to me, he may as well have clubbed a baby seal in front of a PETA member; I remained composed, but was taken completely off guard. And he was so cavalier when he’d said it, with absolutely no appreciation for the genius the document was and remains.


    The genius in the Constitution is not in some individual technical element, but in the universal principles it espouses and while some technical elements may change (and a method exists for making amendments), principles don’t. Of course the Constitution’s unequivocal and primary principle is individual liberty. Self-government was the experiment our Founders initiated in the world—not a collectivist state servitude.


    Those who want to “scrap” the Constitution, or feel it is a living document to be frivolously changed due to temporary whim, are likely those who would have opposed creating the document in the first place. I would argue they need to reassess what America means to them. If not for the Constitution, there would be no America.


    Here’s something that might not on the face of it seem like something within my normal topic range. Global Warming. However, since a certain political end of the spectrum seems to have an affinity for controlling people’s behavior by any means necessary, and Global Warming hysteria being high on the list of these crisis entrepreneurs, I’m going to address it today.


    Before I begin I do have to make one observation: When I was in school in the ‘70s, I remember an attempt being made to sell us Global Cooling, with the, “next ice age,” advancing on us at a perilous pace. Good thing for Global Warming; apparently it’s done a great job of halting the advancing glaciers. At any rate, it appears that the term, “Global Warming,” having just had one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record, has morphed into the catchall, “Climate Change;” which in my opinion leaves them a bit hot and cold on the entire issue.

    My impetus for briefly tackling this subject was a show I watched last night called, How the Earth was made. It’s an excellently produced show that I’d recommend any natural sciences teacher consider for his or her class.


    This particular episode focused on how the Great Lakes were formed. Two things stood out. One: When it became apparent the water level in some of the lakes was lowering, some folks immediately began lamenting the reason without exploring the issue beyond their eyes: Global Warming—Aahhhhgggggghhhh!!!


    And two: Objective and intellectually honest scientists quickly dismissed this—conclusion. Apparently, the water level isn’t lowering at all; the land is rising. No; really. Seems after an eon or so under the pressure of millions of tons of ice, the land is actually springing back upward like a sponge.


    This also brought up an interesting observation about so many nature documentaries. A group of scientists will go to great lengths in these programs to explain how climate change is a matter of course throughout Earth’s existence. I even heard a scientist the other day explain and odd anomaly, which occurred some millennia ago, where the Earth experienced a fifteen degree rise in temperature over a mere fifty years.   


    We know about El Nino (warming), and La Nina (cooling), (but not so much these days where the old GW reigns supreme), and other factors that temporarily influence the weather. However, after explaining all of these circumstances, many of these shows will finish with a veiled political message about how we’re all going to die when Global Warming consumes the Earth if earthlings don’t tow the Greenie political line (insert ominous music here).


    Does anyone else see these scientists and politicians, the true believers, as similar to primitive man’s fear of fire or lightening—seeing it as magic? Or like the church leaders who persecuted Galileo as a heretic for offering a reasonable—and true—opposing theory about the Earth. Hmmmm, ever see how those Global Warming true believers treat scientists who express a educated, sober, but opposing view? They say they’re past their prime, crackpots, lunatics, or bought off—remarkably, even if the scientist teaches at some little school in Boston called, MIT.