Archives June 2008

POLICE SUICIDE: THE DARK SIDE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

I have been where you fear to go…
I have seen what you fear to see…
I have done what you fear to do…
All these things I’ve done for you.

I am the one you lean upon…
The one you cast your scorn upon…
The one you bring your troubles to…
All these people I’ve been for you.

The one you ask to stand apart…
The one you feel should have no heart…
The one you call the man in blue…
But I am human just like you.

And through the years I’ve come to see…
That I’m not what you ask of me…
So take this badge and take this gun…
Will you take it? Will anyone?

And when you watch a person die…
And hear a battered baby cry…
Then so you think that you can be
All those things you ask of me…?

 

     “Tears Of A Cop” – author unknown

 

Few people knew Wade O’Keefe well. Or, well enough. Friends called him “Slick,” because he wore wrap-around sunglasses and a duck tail haircut. He’d been a street cop, then a respected homicide detective. When his wife complained of competing with his job, he quit and went back to being a heavy equipment operator. They made amends, and he returned to the badge. But domestic tranquility remained evasive. His wife left him anyway.

Slick came to work one day, signed his reports, went through the morning routine at the homicide office, then headed for the streets. Instead of answering calls, he stopped at a local liquor store for a bottle of Tanquery gin. From there, he went to an empty home and penned a long tearful letter to his wife as the Tanquery dulled his senses. His handwriting became illegible. Then he sat on the floor of his bed, lay a mirror against the wall, and watched himself insert the barrel of a .38 cal. revolver in his mouth.

Slick was my friend.

 

How many people have known even one friend or relative who ended their own life. In my thirty-year career, I knew ten police friends who took their own lives, plus two relatives.

One detective had secretly gambled and lost everything. He couldn’t face his wife. Bang!

One police woman had lost her job. She was so depressed, she shot her four-year-old son before taking her own life.

A CSI Technician was in the wrong place at the wrong time when a cop punch a handcuffed prisoner inside an elevator. He loved cops. He also loved his God. When Internal Affairs asked him to be a witness against a fellow officer, the proverbial rock/hard place, he couldn’t. Neither could he lie. Bang!

A retired underwater recovery officer couldn’t recover from years of alcoholism. Bang!

The beat goes on…

A recent study revealed that NYC officers kill themselves at a rate of 29 per 100,000 per year. The general population rate is 12 per 100,000. Approximately 350 police officers a year commit suicide in the United States. That’s one almost every 24 hours. That’s more than double the number of cops killed in the line of duty. And that doesn’t count the failed attempts. The actual numbers may be higher. I knew of one inebriated man who rammed his car into a bridge piling at 80 mph. Ruled accidental, it more likely was suicide.

The reasons are varied: Job conflicts with domestic relationships, alcoholism, financial pressures, guilt, haunting events.

Police officers are often first at a scene when babies are killed, wives are battered, or when accidents maim and kill innocent people. They are in the midst of grief on a daily basis. Some cops are loaded with hind-sight guilt, constantly reliving a scene where a tragedy could have been prevented. And, cops are always within reach of a gun.

Sure, there are programs and counseling centers, but police officers are the last to reveal what churns inside their mind and body, because they dare not be seen as “weak.” Informing the chain of command of psychological or dependency problems often lead to unwanted assignments and estrangement.

We — the people — often cast judgement over politicians, journalists, celebrities, criminals and jurists on their decisions, sometimes harshly. These folks have one advantage over cops: Time. They make their decisions based on gathered information over time.

Police officers are subject to hair-trigger decision making, on the spot. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life and death. Sometimes, it can be a mistake.

Yet, no one is judged as harshly as a police officer.

Cops know they are working under the microscope every moment on the job. These days, every traffic stop is monitored on camera. One wrong move, they can lose their job, their future, or their life. They can even go to prison.

Sometimes the line between sanity and insanity is blurred.

The general public should be aware of the daily stresses that face police officers and their families. A career cop who may have erred in judgement faces the perennial outcry for vengeance. It erases all the good he has done over the years; the saving of lives, the rescues, the apprehension of dangerous criminals, the arrest of child killers, responses to robberies and burglaries, recovery of stolen property, notifying loved ones of a death and the embrace of the grief stricken when there is no one else to do the embracing.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I wish I knew how close Slick was to ending his own life. He wasn’t a complainer and he never sought sympathy. So many of his friends have asked themselves, “Why didn’t I realize…?”

Anyone interested in this problem can access more information at web site: Click here

 

 

ISLAMIC INTIMIDATION: IT WORKS

Imagine owning a baseball team and, as part of the employment terms, your players must wear baseball caps. Along comes Abu Dabu who applies to be a ball player but he says he will only wear a turban, not the cap. It’s all about his religion. He’s not hired.

Abu sues the baseball team for —get this — discrimination. He wins! Baseball must pay “damages” for hurting Abu’s feelings.

Fiction? Think again.

Hindus, Buddhists and orthodox Jews are not known for initiating civil litigation when their prayer practices or clothing are in conflict with job requirements. It’s all about private enterprise, and they keep their religious tenets a private matter. Employers have a right to set reasonable rules and standards for people if they want a job. Applicants abide, or they find another job.

Tell that to the extremist Muslims of Great Britain.

A woman recently was turned down for a job at a London beauty salon that specializes in funky hair styles. As part of the terms of employment, they require hairdressers to wear funky styles as selling points. Sounds reasonable. We sell Mohawks here. If you want this job, wear a Mohawk.

Along comes Miss Muslim who is ideologically opposed to the display of women’s hair in public, but who wants to be, of all things, a hair dresser. She’s interviewed. But she refuses to take off the hijab. (head scarf) She doesn’t get the job.

In the rest of the world, that would be end of story. But, Miss Muslim claims she was emotionally wrecked over being turned down for the job, and files a suit for discrimination and “hurt feelings.”

Hold on to your seats. She won! A wimpy London court ordered the owner of the beauty shop to pay the offended Miss Muslim $8,000 in damages.

The name of the game in 2008, is don’t offend. No wonder some schools in England have removed the Holocaust from their curriculum. Why? They don’t want to “offend” Muslims.

Muslims were “offended” by a Danish cartoonist that depicted Muhammed. Five months later, they rioted around the world killing, maiming and destroying. The result: freedom of expression was successfully repressed.

What wins, is fear and intimidation. And now that the slippery slope has arrived, we will be seeing more law suits and acts of intimidation, not only in England and France, but in the United States. Schools are refraining from leading the Pledge of Allegiance in deference to offending Muslims in the classroom. Universities are installing foot baths to accommodate Muslim prayer requirements. Those same schools are closing gymnasiums during certain hours to accommodate Muslim women’s needs, which dictate segregation from men. In Minneapolis, CAIR initiated a law suit against civilians that would prevent airline passengers from reporting suspicious persons and/or behavior. Authors and writers are being sued by representatives of CAIR for allegedly writing about Islam in a critical tone.

For them, it’s not the winning that matters. What matters is scaring the heck out of all of us, writers, politicians, business owners, school administrators, cops, journalists and even the clergy. What matters is backing us down. What matters is losing our freedom of speech, not through the constitution, but de facto.

Our enemies don’t have to win in court. They have plenty of money to splurge if it furthers the cause of inciting hatred and instilling fear. By losing, they win. And as every small victory adds up, they become more emboldened.

My heart goes out to the woman who owns the London beauty salon. Eight thousand bucks is a major slam to a small business person trying to pay bills and make a living. If anyone was damaged, it was her.

Keep your eye on the slippery slope. England is not that far away.

Click here: Salon Owner Stunned

SUPREME COURT RULING ON DETAINEES A MISTAKE

 
 
How soon we forget.
On September 11, 2001, our mainland was invaded for the first time in almost two hundred years, by a foreign enemy with designs on destroying our way of life. Three thousand human beings met a violent death in a matter of minutes. It was a colossal attack reminiscent of Pearl Harbor, only worse. Our enemies declared war on the United States.
Radical Islamists not only cheered throughout the mid-east, they danced in the streets of America, in New York, Detroit and Los Angeles.
This is a different enemy than the Japanese and the Nazis because they have been programmed from childhood to die as martyrs for the privilege of killing you and me. This enemy is more clandestine and deceitful. This enemy hides behind the veil of religion and moderation. This enemy has been winning wars around the globe since 632 A.D. Their goal of world dominion have never changed.
In 1941, we declared war against our enemy. It was the right thing to do.
In 2001, we waged war against a tactic and called it the “War On Terror.” That was the wrong thing to do. We cannot win a war unless we have the guts to identify who we are fighting: Radical Islam.
The global war against radical Islam is no more abated today than it was in 2001. They have focus, manpower, weaponry and unlimited funding. These forces are determined to take over the United States, whether through violence or surreptitious infiltration. Whether it takes ten years or a hundred years, they are using the protections of our constitution to eventually replace it with the Koran. This is no secret. Hundreds of scholars and experts are warning us.
Now comes the U.S. Supreme Court, in a narrow 5-4 ruling, deciding that foreign enemy combatants seized in war activity have the same rights as American citizens to habeas corpus. Thus, Guantanamo prison will likely be closed and the 270 prisoners will stand trial in American courts. Either that, or the detainees will be transferred to the United Kingdom, Germany or Iraq.
At first blush, the decision sounds humane. Think again. It could create humongous problems down the road.
Should a future war escalate and the theater of operations ever takes place on U.S. soil, Miami, Houston, Alexandria and Minneapolis could become battlefields. (Entirely feasible) Millions could die. Thousands of enemy combatants may be taken into custody. Instead of detaining them as prisoners of war — who will kill our children if released again — we must treat them as ordinary felons, afford them the same rights as Americans and jam the court system beyond capacity. Pandemonium would follow. The courts would be crippled. Attorneys will demand speedy trials and due process. We would not have enough judges and lawyers to keep up with the demand. Many will go free.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln invoked an executive order to suspend habeas corpus. But in the Civil War, that applied only to Americans who were eventually released back to their families. In this case, prisoners of war would be released to their hateful armies and happily resume killing us.
War is war. We should treat it as so, because our survival as a nation may depend on it.
The five majority justices may be well meaning, but they were short sighted in this regard.
President Bush says he may try to pass new legislation that will keep the detainees in place. But with six months left in office and facing an opposing congress, he better not hold his breath.
I don’t always agree with the right wing of the court, but this time they were correct. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia noted that the effect of this ruling will cause the detainees to be less safe, because the military will now be compelled to keep them in foreign locations under foreign control to circumvent the question of habeas corpus. He further added, “The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.”
Let’s hope he’s wrong.

SUPREME COURT RULING ON DETAINEES A MISTAKE

 

 

How soon we forget.

On September 11, 2001, our mainland was invaded for the first time in almost two hundred years, by a foreign enemy with designs on destroying our way of life. Three thousand human beings met a violent death in a matter of minutes. It was a colossal attack reminiscent of Pearl Harbor, only worse. Our enemies declared war on the United States.

Radical Islamists not only cheered throughout the mid-east, they danced in the streets of America, in New York, Detroit and Los Angeles.

This is a different enemy than the Japanese and the Nazis because they have been programmed from childhood to die as martyrs for the privilege of killing you and me. This enemy is more clandestine and deceitful. This enemy hides behind the veil of religion and moderation. This enemy has been winning wars around the globe since 632 A.D. Their goal of world dominion have never changed.

In 1941, we declared war against our enemy. It was the right thing to do.

In 2001, we waged war against a tactic and called it the “War On Terror.” That was the wrong thing to do. We cannot win a war unless we have the guts to identify who we are fighting: Radical Islam.

The global war against radical Islam is no more abated today than it was in 2001. They have focus, manpower, weaponry and unlimited funding. These forces are determined to take over the United States, whether through violence or surreptitious infiltration. Whether it takes ten years or a hundred years, they are using the protections of our constitution to eventually replace it with the Koran. This is no secret. Hundreds of scholars and experts are warning us.

Now comes the U.S. Supreme Court, in a narrow 5-4 ruling, deciding that foreign enemy combatants seized in war activity have the same rights as American citizens to habeas corpus. Thus, Guantanamo prison will likely be closed and the 270 prisoners will stand trial in American courts. Either that, or the detainees will be transferred to the United Kingdom, Germany or Iraq.

At first blush, the decision sounds humane. Think again. It could create humongous problems down the road.

Should a future war escalate and the theater of operations ever takes place on U.S. soil, Miami, Houston, Alexandria and Minneapolis could become battlefields. (Entirely feasible) Millions could die. Thousands of enemy combatants may be taken into custody. Instead of detaining them as prisoners of war — who will kill our children if released again — we must treat them as ordinary felons, afford them the same rights as Americans and jam the court system beyond capacity. Pandemonium would follow. The courts would be crippled. Attorneys will demand speedy trials and due process. We would not have enough judges and lawyers to keep up with the demand. Many will go free.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln invoked an executive order to suspend habeas corpus. But in the Civil War, that applied only to Americans who were eventually released back to their families. In this case, prisoners of war would be released to their hateful armies and happily resume killing us.

War is war. We should treat it as so, because our survival as a nation may depend on it.

The five majority justices may be well meaning, but they were short sighted in this regard.

President Bush says he may try to pass new legislation that will keep the detainees in place. But with six months left in office and facing an opposing congress, he better not hold his breath.

I don’t always agree with the right wing of the court, but this time they were correct. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia noted that the effect of this ruling will cause the detainees to be less safe, because the military will now be compelled to keep them in foreign locations under foreign control to circumvent the question of habeas corpus. He further added, “The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.”

Let’s hope he’s wrong.

WHAT MAKES TIGER GREAT

 

In 1997, golfer Fuzzy Zoeller suggested that Tiger Woods would have everyone eat fried chicken and collard greens for the champion’s dish at the post-Masters dinner. Well, Zoeller didn’t eat fried chicken or collard greens. Rather, he at his words. He was vilified in the public eye, lost a million-dollar sponsorship and will be forever remembered for making such a comment. Neither did Zoeller know that the man he made fun of would make mince-meat of him as a professional golfer.

What did Tiger — who happens to be of color — make of it? Nothing. He ignored it and went on to enjoy his first of, what was destined to be, many major championships. By doing so, Zoeller’s ignorant remarks stood on their own. He had to live with them.

If similar comments were said of other well-known persons of color, we would have heard speeches about racial inequity and prejudice and divide. In Tiger’s case, he only needed to be better.

Rarely does one get the feeling that they live in an era of greatness. My respect for Tiger Woods is not only limited to his sport, I admire him as a human being, and as an American. Sure, there are sports heroes, entertainers, politicians, leaders, and so many are a cut above then rest. Baseball has had Willie, Hank, Mickey and Ty. But there’s never been another Babe.

Babe Ruth set the bar of greatness, he elevated baseball to heights players have strived toward for the last ninety years. He wasn’t just great, he was the greatest.

Golf has had its greats, like Nicklaus, Palmer and Snead. But if Tiger Woods were to retire today, nobody will ever match this man as the greatest golfer of all time, not only in skill but in sheer magnetism.

It is not just his 65 tour victories (thus far) or the fourteen major championships that elevate him so far above his peers, he brings out the best in all of us. His attention to perfection, his uncanny concentration and his work ethic provide one of the best role models for kids that has come along in decades. He is not only respected by fellow athletes, they are in awe of him.

There are no super market tabloid stories about Tiger Woods, because his private life is just that: private. He does not use his fame as a political soapbox. There are no studs through his nose, no dyed hair, no flash, no babes on his arm, and no criticism of others to make himself look better.

Sure he’s worth million, but he deserves all his wealth because he earned it. Tiger Woods does not spend time bragging about the many charities he supports, he simply gives and goes about his business.

I was riveted to the U.S. Open this past weekend as Tiger opened the tournament with double-bogeys, many strokes behind, and then struggled with an injured knee while playing catch-up for four days, only to rise above a field consisting of the best 156 players in the world, tying the leader on the final hole with a long birdie putt. The eighteen-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate was a classic. Behind again, coming into the last hole, Tiger prevailed and birdied one more to tie, again. Finally, Tiger did what he usually does: Win. Then, he hugged his opponent.

This was a lesson in never giving up, no matter how futile it may seem. This was a lesson in sheer tenacity and sportsmanship. This was a lesson in working through pain to achieve success, and not complaining about it. This was a lesson in sheer class.

Tiger stands as the only black amid hundreds of PGA tour players, 96 percent white and the rest Asian. (Vijay Singh is from Fiji) But it is never mentioned. Tiger is just another player, albeit a great one. There are no references by commentators, or fellow golfers that Tiger Woods is the first black this, or the first black that, or that he is a trailblazer for people of his race. No one asks him stupid questions about how he feels about achieving all this as a black man. How utterly refreshing that we, the American people, can see Tiger as a man, and not a color, as he stands a Titan among sports figures.

I hope I live to see the day we don’t need black caucuses in congress, black beauty pageants, black police officer associations, associations for the advancement of colored people, black unions, or hear about preachers and politicians who rant on about racial divide as though slavery just ended five years ago. You know what I mean … all that stuff that’s supposed to unite.

I hope I live to see the day when we have an army full of generals like Colin Powell, entertainers like Bill Cosby, actors like Denzel Washington and athletes like Tiger Woods who give of themselves as great and talented people without blustering about color.

Tiger Woods personifies where we are heading, toward a color-blind society. He doesn’t need to remind us of race. He has too much class for that.

That’s more than I can say for others in the public arena.