July 10, 2022
Good morning my friends. I hope you are doing well and enjoying life. This past Monday, our nation celebrated its 246thbirthday. Freedom and independence are glorious rights. Our nation isn’t perfect, but then no country, or human, will ever be perfect. Please keep this fact in mind if you analyze, or decide to pass judgement on critical incidents or those involved. Individuals render inaccurate conclusions; when all the facts aren’t known, or they lack any independent knowledge or expertise on a subject or incident. My law enforcement career taught me many valuable lessons; about people, co-existing, decision making and life. Humans can be like a coin; two sided, cruel, irrational, unpredictable, evil; or they can be rational, intelligent and kind creatures. Unfortunately, not knowing what to expect can be a challenge. What I have learned, is how quickly our thoughts can be misdirected to focus our attention elsewhere. It seems each time a shooting occurs, especially when children are victims, there is a massive outcry for change. Politicians point fingers of blame, yell, shout and ensure us they will enact laws and policies to protect our kids. It’s been weeks since the Texas incident. Has anything changed? The lack of action by our leaders has been going on for decades. America’s attention has been carefully diverted away to other affairs and nothing has happened to create a safer environment.
I refrained and took time to collect my thoughts regarding recent shooting incidents. I don’t know all the facts, can’t speak to the training, or what was going through the minds of the officers that responded to this (or other) scenes. I know what I would have done; based on my past, training and experience. It’s not my job to judge or criticize. My insight is based on my collective expertise, and what I’ve done as an LAPD officer and supervisor. In active shooter scenarios, I was trained to take action and stop the threat (the shooter). If immediate police action was needed to stop an individual, I was going in; whether I was the first officer to arrive, or the last. My job was to neutralize the danger. During my nearly 34 years with the LAPD, I responded to hundreds of critical incidents. I took appropriate and decisive action when situations arose. I also recognized, decades ago, the need to change gun laws and police training. Convincing political leaders to listen, let alone pursue logical change, is never an easy task. During the last three decades, what have politicians proposed, attempted, drafted or done to put an end to school shootings or mass casualty incidents? Why haven’t politicians passed laws or legislation to deter these atrocities? Often times, these representatives, are receiving campaign contributions from organizations, corporations or individuals, whose affiliations or agendas could be adversely affected by new policies or laws. This type of activity can be related to many other issues of concern within our society today.
In today’s world, everyone is fast to give their opinion on events they have little or no factual information about. News outlets and social media coverage are quick, unrelenting and often misleading. These sources want to be the first to report on any story. There are times they are critical, point the finger of blame, misstate information or facts. Please don’t believe everything you hear or rush to judgement when all the facts aren’t known or clear. These tragic incidents are sad beyond belief. The feelings they invoke can be used to manipulate you to make irrational or illogical decisions. Death creates grief, sorrow and heartache. Don’t become a victim of emotion and allow yourself to be manipulated by these events. My personal experience with death is extensive. The loss of friends, family members, co-workers, parents and others; overwhelms my entire being. Life as a police officer brought new meaning and clarity to death and the evil mankind possesses. People, groups and nations have attacked each other for thousands of years. Implements of death have changed with technology, but the cruel intentions remain the same. Greed, power and domination are a few elements that influence the evil in mankind. Managing the weapons used in attacks only goes so far to impede the activity. I support the second amendment, but I believe new laws, to monitor sales and acquisition of firearms, need to be enacted. It doesn’t matter what state you reside, who you are or your social status. Laws regarding the manufacture, sales, purchase, ownership, transfer or use; of all firearms, parts and ammunition, should be the same nationwide. A mandatory national system would regulate all weapons, parts and ammo (especially targeting internet sales); while identifying potential “at risk” individuals. I do not believe taking weapons away from good citizens is a solution. The wrong people, especially criminals, seem to have easy access to guns. A stringent program, to identify and monitor individuals suffering from mental health issues, needs to be implemented across our country. How criminals, or any individual, acquires a weapon should be our primary concern. No one should have the ability to walk into a store and walk out with a firearm and ammo the same day.
Our nation has become a country of “social (and political) correctness.” Respect, honor, integrity, love of our nation and God continue to fade. As family units break down, or no longer exist, kids are left to their own devices. The decay of moral standards, once the fabric of our nation, continue to dissolve. Criminals are released without any accountability for their crimes. Drugs continue to be another critical issue of grave importance being neglected. How do we, America, not recognize the mental health crisis tearing our nation apart? It’s a serious and unresolved issue. Mental health, like guns, garners lots of talk, but very little in the way of action. The mental health, especially the younger generation, has deteriorated over the last several decades. What kind of mentality thinks killing innocent kids in school is an answer or response to any issue? This has everything to do with the evil in our world. Similar to the gun control debate, each time there is a critical mental health incident, it becomes the “hot” topic, then just fades into obscurity. It’s often discounted because it doesn’t serve to do anything to further political issues. These issues are no longer just about guns and violence.
In the past, I’ve discussed my views to implement national standards and training for all law enforcement personnel. At the present time; towns, cities, counties and states have various hiring and training programs for their law enforcement officers. I believe, if all US law enforcement officers are required to receive the same training, adhere to the same policies and procedures, and follow the same tactical operational guidelines; American police would be better equipped to respond to any situation. Standardized selection, hiring, training and continuing education would assist and simplify the entire process. Potential law enforcement candidates must be thoroughly evaluated; physically and mentally. Their training should be comprehensive and complete, before being sworn in as officers. Continuing education and training are imperative. Police operations and tactics evolve and change; as does equipment, laws and procedures. This logical alteration would increase officer and community safety. The sad reality, many leaders want complete control and autonomy; but are unwilling to grow or change for the better, if at all. We are doing a disservice to all law enforcement personnel when high standards of training are not met or continued. A standardized system would eliminate issues when two (or more) agencies interact at any incident; large or small scale. The system would allow officers to transfer to any city or state, if the opportunity arose or was necessary. One of the most valuable tools I learned, while with the LAPD, are the highest standards of training received in federal, state and city law. When officers follow strict guidelines, receive quality and recurring training, they are less likely to make mistakes or violate policy or procedure. As with any aspect of life, we’re all human beings and not all potential scenarios can be planned. Quality training helps officers prepare for dealing with the unexpected.
We, the American voters, need to stop electing (re-electing) politicians who have done nothing to solve current and critical issues. These individuals continue to profit every day they remain in office. The leaders, who are actually trying to do good, are typically drowned out or shouted down by their weak and control seeking constituents. Why do we allow this insanity to continue? How many deaths could have been prevented, or children saved, if action and change occurred years ago? It’s time we demand our leaders take action. Americans, swallow your ego and get over yourself. There are two sides to every issue, and the truth is somewhere in the middle. No one, on either side, wants to listen to the other. Issues like Roe vs Wade, Pro Choice or Life are prime examples of how no one wants to hear anything but their own rhetoric. Everyone wants to be right, so nothing ever changes. It’s time to get your “act” together America. Don’t allow this tragic nonsense to continue.
Let me leave you with this quote by Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt; 26th president of the United States. “We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort, the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who as those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” Follow your dreams. They know the way.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The puzzle of life is always changing. Change can lead to amazing opportunities. Together, let’s be healthy and strong; mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!