Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WHY Does Promoting “Diversity” so Often Result in Promoting Mediocrity?



Julia Pierson




Today, we see yet another example of a failed “diversity first” program as Julia Pierson the first female to head the U.S. Secret Service has shit the proverbial bed.

Under Pierson’s tenure security has been lax (alarm volumes lowered because of “complaints from the 1st Family”), morale has been low and now, apparently, basic procedures not followed.

And why not? Across the country subpar (subprime) candidates have been forced into Police and Fire Departments by those who’ve inanely argued that “standards often amount to deliberate barriers against certain minorities (to wit blacks) and females.

When standards are lowered workforces are diminished that hardly needs to be proven, but every assessment of such policies (“diversity first”) has shown “significant reductions of workforce quality in relatively short order.”

The incident that finally has Ms. Pierson under fire appears now to be the first of many screw-ups to get any traction and this one has raised eyebrows primarily because of the blatant lies initially disseminated by that Department.

Instead of a “man apprehended while attempting to climb a White House fence,” what REALLY happened was that a deranged man (42-year-old, Omar Gonzalez) who’d been arrested in Virginia just two months before the incident, after being discovered with a sawed-off shotgun and a map marking the White House stashed in his car. Virginia authorities confiscated the weapons but concluded he wasn’t a threat to the president.

About a month later, officers spotted Gonzales wandering along the south fence with a hatchet in his waistband. They determined they didn’t have enough evidence to hold him.

Gonzalez’s motives aren’t clear: Though he had armed himself with 3 ½ inch knife, he claims his only intent was to warn the president that the “atmosphere was collapsing.” Still, the fact that a man repeatedly flagged by Secret Service managed to make it so far into what was once considered most secure residence in the nation is troubling.

The Secret Service Uniformed Division claims it maintains “five rings” of protection to create a secure perimeter around the executive mansion, but in this case, it was a counterassault agent patrolling the interior – an agent who was never supposed to come face-to-face with a would-be fence jumper – who eventually subdued Gonzalez.

The first apparent failure came at the North Gate, where a plainclothes surveillance team posted outside the gate failed to notice Gonzalez clambering over the eight-foot fence.

Then, in quick succession, a guard booth officer, SWAT team, and K-9 unit all failed to respond.

According to the Associated Press, agents decided to hold their fire when they wrongly assessed that Gonzalez wasn’t carrying weapons (he was), nor was he wearing clothing that could easily conceal explosives.

They allowed Gonzales to dart into the White House, which the first family had just left minutes before.

As well intentioned as our politically correct championing of “diversity first” might be, it has morphed into a war against quality.


When some misguided, misconstrued concept of “diversity” undermines quality, then “diversity” must be completely redefined, or jettisoned altogether.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What the NFL’s Domestic Violence Scandals REALLY Teaches



NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell






The NFL has opened the 2014 Season with a firestorm. Unfortunately for the NFL that firestorm hasn’t been around its games as much as around the conduct of some of its players.

The scandal started with the now infamous Ray Rice video and the NFL’s paltry two game suspension for Rice.

In Roger Goodell’s defense, the NFL Commissioner was simply following the SAME tack taken by law enforcement which DID NOT pursue criminal penalties in the case.

Rice was initially charged with assault by the Atlantic City police in the early hours of February 15th. But on March 27th, an Atlantic City grand jury, presumably after watching all the Revel casino security camera videos, increased the charge to aggravated assault-bodily injury in the third degree and one count of simple assault. If convicted, Rice faced a penalty of three to five years in prison.

Rice's defense attorney, Michael J. Diamondstein of Philadelphia, then applied for pretrial intervention (PTI), a remedy that allows defendants to avoid conviction if they complete a court-ordered set of requirements. Apparently Goodell took that and Janay Rice’s testimony supporting her husband into account in rendering the 2 game suspension.

What I’ve taken from this ongoing scandal is two things; (1) there seems to be quite an appetite for a return to chivalry (protecting women) and (2) the media seems to either be belatedly waking up to widespread black dysfunction, OR (perhaps more likely) loves attacking blacks, so long as they are also “rich.” To date, ALL of those ground up in these domestic & now child abuse scandals are black.

I’m somewhat more interested in the former, that apparent return to chivalry, as it seems so incongruous coming, as it does, from those who also strongly support “women in combat,” and “more females in firefighting,” etc. There appears to be a disconnect there.

YES, women tend to be smaller, with far less upper body strength than men, so it would seem they NEED some societal protections, HOWEVER, if we acknowledge that a woman cannot fight a man and win (she CANNOT), then she also SHOULDN’T EVER be allowed in military combat, or in firefighting either...if you can’t fight a man, you almost certainly can’t fight a fire effectively either.

Nature is what it is and we are left to abide by that. We CANNOT and would not want to change the size and strength disparity between males and females, as it is so much a part of the physical attraction that leads to the very propagation of our species, so we set about protecting those who need protecting. Such sentiments tend to go away with women in combat positions, asserting that they can “fight as effectively as any man.”

I blame a LOT of this on that circus clown Bobby Riggs, who while making sport of Billie Jean King’s call for “gender equality in tennis,” also kindled a nefarious fiction that has only grown, despite ALL evidence to the contrary through to today.

In the 1980s male tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis garnered outrage by claiming, “The #1 female tennis player couldn’t beat the a male tennis player in the top 100.”

That “outrage” was itself ignorance. EVERY sport is divided between male and female because no woman in any sport can compete with any high performing male player. That’s why female tennis matches are a best two out of three, while men’s are a best three of five and why female golfers tee off closer to the greens and off of higher “lady tees.”

WHY is it inconvenient to acknowledge such a basic truth?

Recently female fighter Rhonda Rousey claimed she thought she could beat male boxer Floyd Mayweather in a MMA event. Good publicity, wrong-headed in every other conceivable way. IF such a fight were sanctioned and ended as it invariably would, the SAME champions of Rousey’s calling for such a fight would then deride it as “criminally sanctioned abuse.”

I admit that I am very unfamiliar with MMA fighting and equally unfamiliar with and disinterested in female boxing, BUT my view has always been, “WHY watch female boxing, except for the tits and ass? I am pretty certain that a male high school aged Golden Gloves boxer would beat ANY professional female in the ring.

What do I base that on?

Well, in 1971 I ran a 1:54.2 half mile (slightly more than 800 meters). In the 1976 Summer Olympics Tatyana Kazankina of the then Soviet Union set a women’s World Record in the 800 meters of 1:54.94. In short I beat the women’s world record holder in the Olympics held FIVE years later, when I was in high school.

And my school had 21 guys under 2 minutes in the half mile back then and I was NOT close to the best of us.

If “men and women are not so different,” males and females certainly ARE!


All this chivalry is good, so long as even greater common sense comes out of this. Let’s unceremoniously end any more calls for women in combat and let’s take a much more skeptical look at women in firefighting, commercial fishing, mining and other such “death professions.”

Friday, September 19, 2014

YES, Obeying the Police in America is ABSOLUTELY Mandatory...


Michael Brown





August 15th, 2014


Starting with the unfortunate death of Eric Garner (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/cops-involved-eric-garner-confrontation-asked-target-illegal-cigarette-sales-bratton-article-1.1901612) on my own borough of Staten Island, in New York City, there has been an even more unfortunate and maliciously misguided sympathy for “street people,” who tend to often have unfortunate encounters with the police.

Along with that misplaced sympathy has come quite a bit of antipathy for the police.

Eric Garner was a sympathetic figure primarily because his crime (selling loose cigarettes) was so petty and the result (his death) was so disproportionate with that crime, his plight garnered some sympathy. The fact that he was, despite his resisting a lawful arrest, nonaggressive, never swinging at Officers during the struggle made him even more sympathetic.

However the basic facts remain, Mr. Garner broke the law, and when cops moved in to effect an arrest he told them that “this stops today,” and he began actively resisting arrest. Moreover, Mr. Garner’s litany of health problems made such an early death far more likely for the 6’5”, 350+ pound man.

Of course, Mr. Garner COULD HAVE made his own plight far easier by merely complying with police in that very LAWFUL arrest.

A civilian has NO RIGHT to EVER resist arrest, confront the police, or refuse police orders or directions…the courts have upheld all of that and it is, in the eyes of most of us, “just common sense.”

In the end, Eric Garner had absolutely NO RIGHT to resist arrest, because citizens DO NOT have any right to a “fair hearing” on the streets with police. You get your “fair hearing” in court. That’s what courts are for and the police are for bringing offenders before the courts.

Just how dangerous and tenuous police work is was highlighted just days before the Eric Garner confrontation, when 23 y/o Jersey City police officer, Melvin Santiago was gunned down while responding to a robbery call by career thug Lawrence Campbell, who was thankfully put down in a hail of bullets by other incoming police (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/jersey-city-police-officer-killed-line-duty-reports-article-1.1864902).

A week ago another “unarmed teen” (Michael Brown) was shot by police in a town called Jefferson, MO. (http://www.connectmidmissouri.com/news/story.aspx?id=1083924)

All week protesters AND many in the media demanded the Jefferson Police release the officer’s name and their version of the events.

TODAY, the Jefferson Police Department did just that and the howls of outrage only increased!

The Jefferson, MO. Police Dept. released the officer’s name (Darren Wilson) and relayed that the police officer was treated for unspecified injuries after that incident.

They also released surveillance video that appears to implicate the “unarmed teen” in a “strong-arm robbery” at a local Convenience Store. The video surveillance shows a man dressed and looking like Michael Brown in that robbery (NOT a shoplifting, after the assailant assaulted a store worker), so it seems highly unlikely that, as Brown’s accomplice Dorian Johnson attested, Officer Wilson told them to “Get the F*** off the street,” as they walked down the center of a road. If that part of Johnson’s story is untrue, how much of the rest of his account can be trusted...and can the account of an accomplice in a felony earlier that night be used at all?

A number of local “witnesses” claim that Brown was shot with his hands up, but that too, seems inconsistent with injuries to a police officer. In NYC, there’ve been numerous cases of local “witnesses” not only lying, but hiding weapons after such encounters. In a police shooting at a Brooklyn Housing Project last year, numerous residents testified that the male shot by police was unarmed, which countered police accounts that he was shot after leveling his weapon at police. The wounded suspect’s weapon was recovered inside a resident’s apartment. That resident was subsequently arrested for evidence tampering and obstruction of justice.

IF Brown did confront the officer before he got out of his car and then ran...the Supreme Court has ruled that “police CAN use deadly force upon a fleeing suspect.” Witnesses attest that the confrontation began at the police car. Given that police reports have both Michael Brown’s AND

At this point (Friday, August 15th, 2014) Michael Brown DOES NOT appear to be at all the sympathetic character that Eric Garner was.

While it’s no more surprising that the likes of Al Sharpton would defend a black thug confronting the police, than it is the likes of Tom Metzger defending skin heads targeting and killing an African immigrant in Seattle. Birds of a feather.

Here are the basic facts that we ALL must abide by;

A citizen NEVER has the right to refuse to comply with police orders and directions.

A citizen NEVER has the right to confront police officers in the street. Compliance with police orders is mandatory. The idea that “Citizens do not have to comply with unlawful police orders,” is absolutely in error. ONLY a court of law can determine whether a given order is lawful, or not. Because of that, civilians MUST comply with ALL police orders, cooperate with arrests, even if they believe such an arrest is unlawful. Only a court can determine whether a given police action was just and warranted and unlawful orders CAN BE grounds for a Civil lawsuit.

Police CANNOT ever back away from a civilian who refuses to comply with their directives. Police ARE authorized to use force to effect arrests on those who are non-compliant.

ALL of that is right and necessary and there is no reason to believe that ANY court will ever abridge or modify those police powers.

On the street, obeying/complying with police orders is mandated by law.

Cameras should be installed on every police cruiser and police should use wearable cameras, BUT the public must embrace, even if they find it hard to accept that in ALL cases once police begin to effect a stop, or arrest, they are authorized to use overwhelming force to effect such an action. A civilian confronting police has no “right” to a “fair fight.” In fact, a civilian has NO RIGHT to confront police officers in the street...ever.


In every one of the above cases, it appears that there would’ve been no violence had those civilians involved simply complied with the lawful orders of the police.

1 Week, 3 Racial Hoaxes

liar
Oakland firefighter Keith Jones


IMG955176
Danielle Watts and Brian Lucas





Wow! This has been a banner week for false “racism” claims.

Perhaps the most highlighted one comes from L.A. where the sordid tale of “actress” Danielle Watts claims that cops “mistook her for a prostitute” because she (a black woman) was kissing her white husband in public.

Oh no! More racist white cops?!

Turns out...no, more likely two greedily opportunistic Hollywood D-listers (Watts appeared in a small part in the film “Django Unchained,”) seemed intent on jumping on the anti-cop bandwagon perhaps to boost her name recognition. (http://pagesix.com/2014/09/15/police-django-unchained-actress-was-having-sex/?_ga=1.168532769.1257960020.1404668993)

TMZ (who else) has released some audio of the event and reported that numerous witnesses reported Watts and Lucas having sex in their car with the door open and “cleaning themselves up afterwards with tissues.” Since then photos of her straddling her beaux in the front seat of their car with the door open have surfaced. (http://pagesix.com/2014/09/17/django-actress-public-sex-pictures-leak/?_ga=1.206821267.1257960020.1404668993)

YES, “public lewdness’ is STILL against the law...and YES, cops can legally and rightfully stop, detain and demand identification from those “suspected of criminal wrongdoing,” and yes again, “suspicion” DOES cover a LOT of territory.

Brian Lucas provided ID to the police, Ms. Watts refused, resorting to the “You only picked on me because I’m black” routine.

Ms Watts went into her own racially bigoted diatribe and spoke of her father’s many “humiliations” at the hands of police, in a very real way, pretty much calling bullshit on her father’s claims of abuse, while making very clear that she was indoctrinated with a slew of personal and racial resentments from an early age.

In Brooklyn, a fender bender between a hulking white firefighter and a black mail carrier resulted in hate crime charges over alleged racial comments made by the firefighter (Luke Schreiner). The defendant was acquitted of the hate crime charges, but convicted of misdemeanor assault and harassment over “traffic dispute rage.”

The third phony “racism” charge comes from Oakland, California, where a Black firefighter was caught in a series of inflammatory, racially charged lies against a White police officer. (http://toprightnews.com/?p=5854)

Firefighter Keith Jones and his sons were walking back to their vehicle after a Raiders game when he noticed that the garage door to the fire station he works at had been left open. Mr. Jones entered the building to make sure it was secure and was exiting the open door when a police officer, who was already responding to a call about a possible burglary at that location, pulled up and told Jones and his boys to put their hands up.

According to Jones, the officer had his hand on his gun and was in a shooting stance. Jones said he tried to let the officer see his ID, but the officer refused to let him. He said his boys were terrified that the belligerent officer would shoot their father.

The incident ended without arrest.

But then Jones went on the news to proclaim himself a victim of a racist cop who “views all black males as a threat.”

He also filed a formal complaint against the officer, who he said “never apologized” for stopping him.

Sadly for Mr. Jones, there were two problems in all this...the FIRST being that he’d lied about the incident, and the Second one being that the cop had it all on videotape. Police there wear small, but very powerful video cameras attached to their uniforms.

Turns out, the police officer was neither threatening nor belligerent and not only DID NOT refuse to let Jones show his ID, in fact he asked to see it almost right away....And what’s more, the officer DID apologize — THREE TIMES — despite going by the book throughout the stop and communicating with his precinct about everything he did.

Now, Mr. Jones is a lot less enthusiastic about going appearing on the News stations on which he’d earlier made his false claims.

Interestingly enough, in all three of the above cases video evidence, much of it gained surreptitiously was used to expose maliciously false claims and exonerate those wrongly accused.

We NEED more such surveillance (ALL police should wear small, unobtrusive body cams, people DO NOT need to know they’re being recorded) and harsher penalties for making false charges.

New York City’s PTSD Scam








August 14th, 2014


Disability scamming has always been a subject near and dear to my heart.

America today, finds itself awash with fit and well-fed young people on SSI and other forms of “disability” for, in effect, “anxiety disorders and bad backs.”

Reminds me of what I presciently said about Marxism when I was but a mere slip of a lad, “When you work each according to his abilities and reward each according to his needs, all you wind up with is a nation filled with gluttonous citizens with chronic bad backs.”

Our court system has been rewarding scammers for decades now and the costs are starting to kill us.

PTSD was once called “shell shock” and TODAY, as in yesteryear, REAL sufferers of actual PTSD require a lifetime of institutionalized care. They cannot hold down jobs, balance check books, walk down the street in daylight, however, today our courts have chosen to reward scammers who may actually be suffering from very real “anxiety disorders,” by allowing them to be diagnosed with PTSD.

That’s a scam, plain and simple. At least it WILL BE when the government gets around to shutting down this loophole, remaking the standards for that claim, or setting them back to their earlier default positions.

This past January 7th, the New York Daily News reported;

“Eighty greedy NYPD and FDNY retirees, whose departments suffered devastating losses on 9/11, collected millions of dollars in disability-pension benefits by pretending they were at Ground Zero and suffered emotional trauma, authorities said Tuesday.

“They were among 106 alleged scammers arrested in a $400 million Social Security rip-off — one of the largest in history — that also included city Correction officers and a former Nassau County cop.

“Many of them claimed they couldn’t sleep, do simple arithmetic or even leave their own home — but investigators found that they’d been piloting helicopters, riding Jet Skis, teaching karate, deep-sea fishing and even running half-marathons.

“Up to 1,000 people could be involved in the scam, “and I can say that ultimately, the estimates add up to $400 million,” Vance said, noting the investigation is far from over.

The Post first revealed in 2010 that two dozen retired cops were under investigation for claiming mental illness to receive Social Security disability payments while still holding gun permits.

Their disability applications “indicated that they were incapable of owning firearms,” said NYPD Chief of Internal Affairs Charles Campisi.

“However, when we dug deeper and we checked the forms that they filed with the Police Department in order to get pistol permits, they indicated that they were of sound mind. So we had a discrepancy.”

Did you see that?! “Up to 1,000 people could be involved in the scam!”

And these are Police and Officers and firefighters who have been documented in numerous cases of going “above and beyond the call of duty” at various incidents. You see how quickly, the honored hero becomes the “greedy pensioner”? Count on a LOT more of this, because so many of us have succumbed to the incentives for claiming disability status.

ONE very real problem is that so many such government workers feel entitled...they feel “they’re OWED” something extra and a tax-free disability pension nicely fits the bill.

A few years earlier dozens of LIRR workers wrangled disability pensions from a handful of unscrupulous physicians, one of whom has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for his part in the estimated $1 BILLION scam!

The “dirty little secret” of Giuliani’s “Welfare Reform” was that as the welfare rolls shrunk, the disability rolls exploded!

No claim has been as abused and over-used as “PTSD.” Partly because the government and some mental health professionals have allowed anxiety disorders to be classified as PTSD...for now.

In government work, ALL government work, “You’re the GOOD guy UNTIL they make you the BAD guy.” That is, when an agency needs you to work a ton of overtime, you’re a “team player,” by working the extra hours. When the budget inevitably busts, the administration is going to blame…the lowly worker.

SAME here, just as Captain Renault was “shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment,” in the film Casablanca, once the lid s blown off the extent of the PTSD claims over the past decade, a LOT of yesterday’s heroes are going to wind up tomorrow’s villains.


I know a lot of people are squeamish about such things, but the truth often does hurt.

This Perversion Called “Celebrity Culture”


Robin Williams



August 14th, 2014



In the aftermath of Robin Williams’ death, most headlines and news stories have started with “Robin’s inner pain,” and “Robin’s battle with depression.”

Who’s this “Robin”?

I’m vaguely familiar with T.S. Garp (The World According to Garp) and John Keating (The Dead Poets Society), a couple of memorable characters that Mr. Williams played and a little familiar with the standup comedy of Robin Williams, but ALL of these were personas, or masks that he wore for public consumption.

I never knew this “Robin.”

Was his suicide tragic?

I can’t say. I never knew Mr. Williams.

Ernest Hemingway killed himself in 1962, reportedly to avoid a painful and protracted demise via advanced cancer. If that’s true, was Hemingway’s suicide “tragic”?

From my own perspective, if those reports are true I’d say no.

To me, it seems he made a rational, reasonable decision, accepting that the person he’d been his entire life was already gone. BUT again, I didn’t truly KNOW either of these guys. I read the books of one and am familiar with some of the characters portrayed by the other...nothing more.

I did know John Garcia. He worked in a neighboring firehouse in the South Bronx for many years.

John was a Lieutenant working in Engine 24 in lower Manhattan, when he led firefighters Robert “Bobby” Beddia and Joe Graffagnino in the Deutsche Bank fire in August of 2007.

The Deutsche Bank Building had been heavily damaged in the September 11th attacks in 2001 after being blasted by an avalanche of debris, ash, dust, and asbestos that spread from the collapse of the South Tower. In fact, the collapse of 2 World Trade Center during the September 11th attacks tore a 24-story gash into the facade of the Deutsche Bank Building. Steel and concrete were sticking out of the building for months afterward. This was eventually cleaned up, but due to extensive contamination it was decided that the 39 story ruin was to be taken down. After the 9/11 attacks, netting was placed around the remains of the building. The bank maintained that the building could not be restored to habitable condition, while its insurers sought to treat the incident as recoverable damage rather than a total loss. Work on the building was deferred for over two years during which the condition of the building deteriorated.

The three became separated in the pitch black just after the FDNY finally got water into the building despite a severed standpipe system inside that building. Engine 24 was on the 14th floor in blinding smoke and intense heat, but with no visible fire at which to direct the nozzle. In keeping with standard practice, the lieutenant working with Engine 24 ventured away from the line to search for the fire and direct where the water should go.

From that point their situation grew much worse. In the maze-like conditions, the members of Engine 24 were unable to reconnect. Lt. John Garcia, fell through the plastic sheeting that had replaced the building’s windows and, like dozens of other firefighters that day, onto the scaffolding some 6’ to 8’ below. Had it not been for that scaffolding, August 18th would’ve certainly been the 2nd deadliest day for the FDNY after September 11th.

Firefighters Beddia and Graffagnino both died inside that building after running out of air.

There’s always “survivor’s guilt” that accompanies any fatal fire and for an Officer that is typically much worse. Garcia, retired in 2009 after being diagnosed with PTSD and often blamed himself for the deaths of Robert Beddia and Joe Graffagnino.

At trial the wealthy bankers seeking to defend a dishonorable bank from the indefensible (the Deutsche Bank Building was supposed to have been already torn down, but for wrangling with insurers over fiscal matters) and craven city officials and cowardly FDNY “Higher Ups” sought to deflect scrutiny away from their own incompetence and poor decisions by throwing a lowly “line officer” under the bus. After continually being badgered and harangued by both Deutsche bank and City attorneys over the two deaths, John Garcia was finally driven to suicide on May 13th, 2011. In that way a good and honorable and innocent man was driven to suicide by those looking to desperately deflect the rightful blame that belonged to themselves.

I knew John Garcia, from our days in the Bronx. I lament his death and remain diminished by it.

I DO NOT feel the same way, nor even close about the death of Mr. Robin Williams. His death may be regrettable, or it may have been a reasonable, rational decision like Mr. Ernest Hemingway’s...I can’t know which from this distance and it’s not for me to know.

I do know that suicide tends to afflict the most advanced countries, especially among the most affluent and well-educated...the people with the most leisure time and the greatest propensity for existential naval gazing.

I’m certain early hunting and gathering man didn’t do much naval gazing...too busy expending all their energies trying to survive. The same seems true today for people who live in crisis, either in war torn regions were the next time you turn a corner might be your last act on earth, or those in grinding, oppressive poverty that makes mere survival a full time endeavor.

That’s not to say that our Western obsession with naval gazing (“Why am I here,” “What’s the meaning of life,” and “Why do I feel so empty”) isn’t rooted in reality. It IS! It’s very much rooted in our modern reality, such as it is.

Nearly everyone who’s worked in any emergency service in “busy” (high crime, high fire) areas, has had their close calls. I can think of a few off hand – getting caught in a collapse on 169th Street and Walton Avenue in May of 1990, getting lost in a fire at the Fordham Hill Oval in 1988 and having my car totaled after it was hit by a tractor-trailer in 1990.

In every one of those instances, there was a moment when the ONLY thought that completely dominated my mind was, “I’m gonna die right here...right now.”

There was a peace that came over me in every incident. Not that I was going to “go easy,” that’s not my way...never has been, but there was an overwhelming peace that washed over me...no life flashing before my eyes, none of that, but a calm peace...definitely.

I laughed after every one of those incidents. I laughed hard over “dodging a bullet,” or “getting away with it”...or “cheating death,” at least for now. I slept easy too and have slept easy in all the nights since.

I never shared any of those experiences with john Garcia, never spoke about such things either. I’m sure he’d had his own close calls, his own near calamities. So there’s never a need to talk about such things.

I also know that different people can interpret and react to similar, even the same event in vastly different ways. Some, like me, walk away with a deep and abiding gratitude and the ability to savor the sweetness of the next breath even more, while some seem shocked to regard the arbitrary randomness of life.

There’s no “wrong” answer…no right or wrong way to process such things. Myself, I’d already long ago considered the arbitrary randomness that is such a large part of life, but that, to me, is best exemplified by the car killed by a falling tree on a highway on his way home from work, or the 6 y/o killed by a tree falling through his roof at 3 am. As emergency workers we put ourselves into such scenarios, at least we’ve taken a job that makes us prone to being involved in such things much more likely and so my own survival has brought me only a sense of profound gratitude.

Which brings me back to why I am so uncomfortable with all this familiarity with people we don’t know. I don’t know this “Robin,” only T.S. Garp and John Keating. His death seems like it SHOULD BE a private, personal matter.

If he chose an early exit the way Hemingway allegedly did, more power to him.

If he succumbed to a clinical depression, WHY is that any of our business? It certainly WAS the business of those close to him...but me? I didn’t know this “Robin.”


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eric Garner and Melvin Santiago - Two Horns of the Very Same Dilemma


Officer Melvin Santiago (L)....Eric Garner (R)     




One week ago today, 23 y/o Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago was murdered by a 27 y/o career violent thug named Lawrence Campbell.

Just four days later and about 10 miles away, on Thursday, July 17th, a Staten Island man named Eric Garner was killed by police officers in a scuffle (allegedly over his selling “illegal cigarettes”) in the Tompkinsville section of that borough.

The two cases clearly define the very rough edge between the two prominent urban cultures, the productive mainstream and the “thug-life” culture of the urban poor.

To be sure, BOTH Santiago and Garner were victims of that stark culture clash. Santiago was targeted by a violent career thug because he was a cop. The assailant was so insipidly convinced of the weakness of “polite society” that he told friends to “watch TV tonight, I’m gonna be famous.” He actually thought he’d live through that wanton act of war.

And why not? His family and friends quickly erected a street memorial in his honor (which the Mayor of Jersey City promptly had torn down). His widow ruefully added, “He should’ve killed more cops.”

On Staten Island, Eric Garner was no Lawrence Campbell. If anything he was an “anti-Campbell.” While Garner also had a “lengthy arrest record,” it was mostly for his “crime of choice” selling “loosies” (single cigarettes) to make a few extra bucks. From all accounts, he appeared to be a “gentle giant” (he stood over 6’4” and over 300 pounds).

In the exchange between Staten Island Police and Garner, he seemed polite, though uncooperative, “Every time you see me, you want to mess with me,” Garner can be heard saying on the cell phone video, “I'm tired of it. It stops today. I'm minding my business please just leave me alone."

The line, “It stops today,” is probably what angered Police, who probably took that as a challenge to their authority and decided, at that point that they wouldn’t talk to Garner any further and couldn’t walk away from even this low level, “crime.”

For the Police Officer’s part, they are far more used to dealing with the Lawrence Campbell’s of the world than the Eric Garner’s and ultimately they all wind up getting lumped into the same category; “low-life skell.”

Both Santiago’s and Garner’s deaths were equally shocking, equally outrageous, and should be equally disturbing, but the reaction to Garner’s death at the hands of a number of much smaller Police Officers has been of a much higher pitch and volume and that volume seems only to be growing as that over Officer Santiago’s assassination fades fainter with each passing day.

I refuse to accept the inane idea that this is somehow due to the productive mainstream being inherently “more self-reflective.”

Officer Santiago DID NOT die taking on “the inherent risks of that job.” He was targeted for assassination by an entire community...a community rooted in the culture that they are oppressed by the productive mainstream and have rightful grievances against that community, its established order and certainly against the representatives of that established order on the streets – the Police.

THAT is the crux of this dilemma.

And for the record, the “thuglife” culture does NOT “have a point,” they have NO actual grievances rooted in reality. That culture is a cancer and so is the socio-political movement that has sprung up around it, led by the likes of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other (political and legal) parasitic opportunists more than happy to make hay off the deaths of the urban poor for their own personal gain.

Today editorialists across the country, who as Denis Hamil acknowledges, have many times praised other, heroic cops and their selfless, ultimate sacrifices for our city,” are now deriding the cops who apparently and egregiously overreacted in subduing a man who was non-violently resisting arrest as “punks” and “cowards.”

Without any apparent irony, Denis Hamil recalls how, “I mourned with 8 million others when Officer Pete Figoski gave his life bravely to a punk’s bullet in the 75th Precinct two weeks before Christmas three years ago, leaving four shattered kids”...AND “...gazed into the hole in the city’s heart at Officer Dennis Guerra’s funeral as his widow and children watched his coffin carried from the requiem Mass in Rockaway after he perished trying to save lives in a Coney Island fire.”

Is that the standard Hamil wishes to employ; “dead cop = good/hero, while those who put their own safety first = bad/abusive”?

For THAT is very much the basic protocol of the NYPD and Police Departments everywhere – “Put the safety and the lives of our Officers FIRST...second and third.”

What happened to Eric Garner should never happen to anyone and it DOES bring into question many legitimate Civil Liberties issues.

WHY was Garner apparently continually targeted by Police over such a minor offense.

WHAT justified the initial NYPD stop over “selling unlicensed cigarettes,” given that he had just broken up a fight and seemingly was NOT engaged in selling contraband at the time? Granted that once he began resisting arrest (yes, even non-violently) Police procedures didn’t allow them to “back off,” but WHY the initial confrontation?

Virtually every witness attests that Eric Garner had just broken up a fight before being confronted by Police. So WHY such a large police response to such a non-violent crime and a suspect who, according to the available videos, was not acting aggressively with Police in any perceptible way?

These are issues that the objections to the broad “discretion” given to Officers under the recently eliminated “Stop & Frisk” policy were based upon.

However, it also goes to the heart of the basic theory that Bill Bratton (Mayor DeBlasio’s hand-picked Police Commissioner) has staked his entire police career and reputation on – that by vigorously prosecuting low-level offenders, many high-level offenders with outstanding warrants will be swept up and off the streets.

Without question, crime is the key distinction AND the primary trigger in the war between the productive mainstream and the “thuglife” cultures. To the former crime is not only chaotic and dysgenic (high-value people are most often victimized by very low-value individuals), but it’s also...and more importantly, “very bad for business”...however, to the latter, crime is both a protest against the seemingly often arbitrary rules of the established order, but their most effective, if not only way to “fight back.”

Street cops know this. They know they are in a very real war being waged by a small, but sizable culture within a culture, fed and encouraged by dozens of community activists and lawyers looking to profit off the mayhem.

Horrifically enough, it’s this warlike clash of cultures, along with the protocols of our Police Departments (NEVER back down from a criminal suspect) that triggers tragedies like what happened to Eric Garner.

It comes down, in part, to how vigorously the productive mainstream wants its streets policed?

To completely “lock crime down,” offers the ugly specter of more Eric Garners, while a less vigorous approach serves entirely the interests of the Lawrence Campbell’s of this world.


There’s really no good outcome UNTIL the entire “thuglife” culture is eradicated either through education or incarceration.
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