Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A few comments on the death in police custody of Mr. Trye Nichols

Like millions of Americans, I’ve been watching the death in police custody of Mr. Trye Nichols with a great deal of interest. It’s the issue de jour at this moment, likely pushing the Biden classified documents scandal off the attention span of the American people. It fits a template of the media, police hate blacks, and even black cops are racist because policing is racist. And this incident, one of over 60 million interactions (e.g., traffic stops, calls for service) from    800 thousand police officers is, according to the usual suspects, the event that justifies disbanding/defunding police agencies across the nation. 


So I’ll give my observations and opinions based on my more than layman’s knowledge of the law, my quarter century in the profession, and my knowledge of the people running over themselves to get in front of a camera and speak on something they know little or nothing about (I would say make a fool out of themselves, but they were fools before this). With the exception of the first point, they are in no particular order of importance.


What those officers did was wrong, and wrong based on current law and likely policy of the Memphis Police. Using reasonable force to take a suspect into custody is legal and justified. This was well beyond reasonable force. It escalated to deadly force, for no defensible reason. At no point during the two incidents was Mr. Nichols a threat to the officers. I don’t’ recall him punching an officer, using a knife or firearm, or any other type of weapon.


A point I’m still not clear on. What were these officers pulling this man over for? I’ve heard multiple times for “reckless driving.” Fair enough, if he was unable to maintain a single lane, cutting people off, following too close behind other vehicles, that is definitely reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop. 


But a traffic stop does not involve rushing the car and pulling a man out of the vehicle. It means 1, 2, 3 officers approach, one goes “contact,” i.e., he speaks with the driver, while the others “cover” the vehicle occupants. The contact officer explains why he was pulled over, gets the driver’s information, license, etc. When you have a “high risk” stop (also known as a “felony stop”), it’s for a reason (e.g., car comes back stolen, the license plate shows a felony warrant on it, etc.) Generally you use at least two officers, stop the vehicle, draw weapons on the driver and passenger (s) and order them to exit the vehicle one at a time. The suspects are secured (i.e., handcuffed, searched and held) until the vehicle is cleared, and the investigation can continue. 


No matter which this was, a traffic stop or high-risk, it was not done in any manner I’ve known or used in my career.


One question I would like answered is why these officers, when they first had Mr. Nichols down, did not use the force of three large men to grab his hands and get him into hand cuffs. Something that was preached to me since I was a rookie, get him into custody, secure him, and safely continue the investigation. 


A few years ago we had a nine-year-old Autistic boy running on a highway. I arrived just after the primary unit, and I told them, “Cuff him, put him in the back of your shop (police vehicle), and let’s get the hell out of here!” They looked a bit puzzled why I wanted a child cuffed, but they did and we met the medic at a gas station parking lot. And once they opened their car door, this kid ran past two cops and three firefighters. Fortunately he couldn’t get far with his hands secured behind him, and we were able to get him medically cleared and transported to the juvenile hall. The point? A cop takes someone into custody, for any reason, that cop is responsible for the safety of the person. Those cops failed that task. 


In the continuum of force, deadly force is reserved for when the officer has “reasonable fear for life or serious bodily injury for themselves or a third person.” One of the officers kicked Mr. Nichols in the head three times, which is, by definition, deadly force (blunt force above the neckline). Mr. Nichols did not have a pistol or knife. If he did, that would have justified the head strike. But there is no evidence Mr. Nichols was a deadly threat to anyone.


In my humble opinion, I don’t think the DA will make a murder charge stick in court. Indictment, sure, as the old saying goes, you can indict a ham sandwich. But looking at a summary of Tennessee’s homicide statue:


Second-Degree Murder: In these homicide cases, a person may have knowingly killed another individual, but did not premeditate their actions. This charge may also apply if a person is killed during the distribution of any Schedule I or II drug. Second-degree murder is a Class A felony, meaning those convicted of this crime can serve between 15 and 60 years behind bars.


I don’t think the DA will be able to show the officers knowingly meant to kill Mr. Nichols. I think he can make a case for manslaughter (i.e. “in a state of passion”) or criminal negligent homicide (“any action that results in a person’s death”). The DA can definitely show aggravated assault (“The individual recklessly or knowingly inflicted serious harm on another party.”). 


Finally, the race baiting poverty industry is fully deployed. The “reverend” Sharpton is scheduled to give a eulogy for the late Mr. Nichols, although he never knew the man’s name before earlier this month. The senior member of the Justice Brothers, the Baby Daddy himself Jesse Jackson, will likely be in the audience. The principle race baiting shyster Ben Crump is going in for the money, and hired a likely prostitute MD to conduct an autopsy which be “finished” in a few days. Finally the family has been invited to Joe Biden’s State of the Union circus as a guest of the Congressional Black Caucus.


Hell, as I was driving today in my shop I saw a black man on the sidewalk look at me and push his hands up in the, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” act. I was tempted to respond with the “Middle fingers up! Go f%^^ yourself!” retort but held my temper.


Again, my observations and opinions, worth what you paid for it. I’ve heard some rumors on the officer’s actions, but I’ll  comment on what we know now. Finally, as I’ve said with other incidents like this, everyone, “Calm down. Let the process play out. Things like this take time.” We don’t know the full story, but one thing I do know, politicians will try to push an anti-law agenda, that will only make matters worse.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

On March 14, 1984, Gary Plauché waited at a wall phone for the man who molested and kidnapped his son. The suspect was found in California with his son, and the boy had been returned a few days before. And the suspect was being escorted to Baton Rouge by police pending trial. On live TV, as the man was walking through the airport, they passed a bank of pay phones. Mr. Plauché turned, aimed, fired (killed the suspect almost instantly, he got off easy), and immediately surrounded to the police. 

The assistant district attorney who taught my police academy class criminal law had a phrase: "Some people just need killing!" He qualified. Sometimes justice is served outside of the justice system. So did this sack of shit. 

Well, looks like someone has also handled a matter where the justice system failed. 

Teen Who Got Lenient Sentence For Plowing Car Into Mother And Baby Is Fatally Shot After Release

Palmdale, CA – A California teen who was sentenced to just a few months in a juvenile probation camp for mowing down a mother with a stolen car as she was walking with her eight-month-old son in a stroller in 2021 was found shot to death last week.

Sources close to the investigation said that 17-year-old Kristopher Baca had gone to a fast-food restaurant on Jan. 18 in an attempt to “get with a girl,” according to FOX News.

He was walking home alone in the 83600-block of 11th Street East when a vehicle pulled up alongside him, according to the source.

An argument ensued and someone inside the car ultimately opened fire on Baca before speeding away, FOX News reported.

Los Angeles County deputies found him dead at the scene.

You can only speculate if given time he would have gotten his life together or not. But I think it's safe to say he wasn't headed to being the valedictorian of his high school, followed by Harvard and Yale medical school. Why am I so sure:

Baca was already on probation for poisoning a high school girl’s drink when the then-15-year-old slammed into a woman and her child on a one-way backstreet in Venice on Aug. 6, 2021, FOX News reported.

He was behind the wheel of a stolen car at the time.

Security footage showed the young mother trying to push herself and her child up against a wall as the speeding car came barreling towards them.

She turned her body towards the car at the last minute in a futile apparent attempt to protect her son, but the force of the impact threw her into the air and violently toppled the stroller.

The woman immediately scrambled to her feet and rushed to her baby as Baca sped off down the road, the video showed.

Several witnesses chased after the fleeing teen, who was ultimately stopped when the driver of a large pickup truck slammed into him head-on.

Thankfully some real public servants stopped the waste of sperm and took him into custody for the cops. A man driving a truck hit the stolen car to stop him. Hopefully the civilians severely detained him for the police. 

Seeing this is Los Angeles, he of course was given a slap on the wrist by the DA's office, and sentenced to juvenile probation camp. Not exactly club fed, but close. 

I do feel sorry for his mother, see has to bury her son, a nightmare I would not wish on my worse enemy. That being said...mom, he didn't concern himself with his life or anyone else's. Perhaps if he did, you would not being dealing with this now. But I don't think many other people should weep for his passing. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

I remember speaking with a female friend a few years back about Pat Benatar, can't recall why we got on her. But I made the point, "I really doubt I was the only teenage boy in this country with overactive hormones and fantasies of that woman in her spandex and leather." 

Well, the years have gone on and she has continues to rock on. I got to see her at the House of Blues in 2010, she can still rock like crazy. But it blows me away she turned 70n on January 10th. But is one sexy senior citizen, aging well. Good lord I'm feeling old.

With that said, I wanted to post this last week in commemoration of that event, but I posted instead on the passing of David Crosby. But her birthday cannot go unnoticed. 

She and her husband Neil Giraldo have written and produced countless awesome songs. But I must say my two favorites songs from Pat are covers. At the top of the list is her cover of Billy Thermal's I'm Gonna Follow You. But a close second is her cover of Kate Bush's Withering Heights.       

From what I understand Bush had never read the novel, but saw the 1967 BBC movie and within a few hours, wrote a classic. I've heard her song, good, but Pat knocked it out the park. And can't think of a better way to say Happy Birthday Pat. 

From her 1980 album "Crimes of Passion." Enjoy and have a great weekend. 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

A now retired Miami cops Burning Bridges on the way out...

All the burning bridges that have fallen after me

All the lonely feelings and the burning memories

Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door

Burning bridges lost forevermore

"Burning Bridges"

The Mike Curb Congregation

I (and countless other cops) have posted on how the career of law enforcement is in peril, and for the first time in memory, cops are telling others (like three kids) don't come in this career path. The man who Houston Police Department over a quarter century ago is now retired, and he's told his children to not follow in his footsteps. When officers are afraid of making one mistake, or no  mistake and being back stabbed, they will not make any effort to control crime or show any initiative. 

As I've said countless times, cops are joining the fire department. They are signing onto their units, going to their "safe space," and then they will answer their calls for service, but they will not go out or show initiative. And two be effectivelaw enforcement must by assertive, going out there, interacting with the public and searching for the bad guys.

Well, found this interesting. A Miami Police sergeant was saying goodby, and she let the former great department have it:

MIAMI – A veteran City of Miami Police Sergeant retired on Thursday, and she may have burned a few bridges on her way out.

It is routine for an officer, when they retire, to announce it over the radio.

But for 33-year veteran Sgt. Marilin Garcia, goodbye was anything but routine.

“This place was an amazing department to work for until the back stabbing and personal attacks started from my immediate supervisors and the First,” Garcia said over the police radio. “And if you don’t know who the First is, the First of nothing. To the chief and the First of nothing, you guys are in denial. You think you’re doing an amazing job, but in reality, you have destroyed this police department and the morale, except for your circle, which is definitely took care of.”

Garcia then refers to the prior police chief, Art Acevedo.

“I thought that Acevedo was bad, but at least one things for sure, I knew where he was coming from. To the First, you have a nasty attitude. So do yourself a favor and take some interpersonal skill classes so you know how to treat people right. And finally, to my immediate supervisor, Maj. Garrido. You are a liar, a snake in the grass, a cancer to this department. The hardest thing of being a female in this department was being surrounded by many males knowing that I was more of a man than you.”

She concluded with this message for her now-former fellow officers.

“Please take care of yourself. Back each other up because they don’t care about you, your family,” Garcia said...

Ouch. When you have people saying that on the way out, what do they think as they are in. And I'll second what she said about Acevedo, I met the man in 2011 in Austin when he was chief there. We were about to have the Police Memorial Ride around the capital and I was speaking with some local cops when he walked up, shaking hands like a good politician. After he left I asked the officers, "What's he like?" Their response, "He'll smile in your face while he's f^&*ing you dry." I found about that a few years later. 

But this shows the continued degrading of policing throughout the country, and it's only going to get worse. A few sheriff's ago in Harris County (Houston TX), I called then sheriff, Ron Hickman, "A Cop's Cop." Sheriff Hickman succeeded a political in uniform, and unfortunately he was succeeded by another politician in uniform. How bad? Well, Biden wanted him for his ICE director. In that position, Mr. Gonzales only job would be to keep our borders wide open and help the invasion continue.

It's taken over a generation to screw this up, but it will take longer for it to be fixed. People inclined to be cops are not trusting to begin with (we deal with a lot of lying people). Getting lied to from our "customers," is expected. Not knowing what to believe from your command group or political leadership is worse. 

To my fellow cops out there, watch your back. The climate is very hostile to you right now, don't stick your neck out, and if any of these liberal sacks of s^&* complain about you, tell them to call BLM or Antifa. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Just A Song Before You Go. RIP David Crosby

Another great one gone. I generally finish the week with an uplifting song for the weekend, but last night's news puts a bit of a damper on that. 

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and occasionally Young, were an awesome group of singers, musicians, but more critically, song writers. Says enough you hear the first note on Ohio, Southern Cross, or Wasted on the Way, you immediately recall all the song lyrics. Says enough. 

With the mileage he's been though, he had a long run. Thankfully he managed to defeat his addictions and continue on doing what he did best, entertaining people with awesome music. 

Can't think of a better song to send him off with. RIP David Crosby. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Evidence collection. A two way street.

A point I've made about the 21st century. It never ceases to amaze me how little privacy you have. 

Now I'm a bit torn on this case. For those you don't know, when a woman is raped the most critical evidence we can collect comes from a sexual assault examination kit, commonly called a "Rape Kit." By all accounts, it's almost as bad as the rape itself. You are stripped of all your clothing (it's retained for examination for evidence and prosecution), your pubic hair is combed or cut, your fingernails are scraped to collect forensic evidence. Not pleasant, to say the least, while you are likely still in shock.

During the police academy the staff showed a video of an actual exam (yes, the woman had been raped, but she consented and her face was obscured). This is a video using CGI for the medical personnel and victim.


Now we have an interesting case from the People's Democratic Republic of Kalifornia. A woman had her DNA collected in a sexual assault investigation. This evidence was later used against her in an unrelated crime.  

Woman whose rape kit DNA was used to arrest her intends to sue San Francisco

The San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab has stopped the practice of using DNA collected from victims of rape and sexual assault to connect them to unrelated crimes, a police spokesperson said.

A woman whose DNA from a sexual assault examination was later used by police to arrest her in connection with an unrelated property crime plans to sue the city and county of San Francisco, her attorney announced Thursday.

Adante Pointer and his client intend to file the lawsuit after a 45-day waiting period mandated by law for officials to respond to the notice of intent to file suit, Pointer told The Times.

The San Francisco Police Department “and perhaps other police departments have been compiling a Google-like database of crime survivors’ DNA, which they then use to investigate unrelated crimes,” Pointer said.

There doesn’t appear to be an expiration date or limit on how authorities use the DNA, the attorney said, and victims aren’t provided notice that their DNA is being stored for use in future criminal investigations and “any number of other activities...”

I'm in no way soft on crime, but in this case, I would agree that this evidence should not be used for other offenses. One, it will discourage rape victims from coming forward if they know the evidence make be used against them in unrelated cases. Two, medical information is, for the most part, confidential or in some cases privileged. While privileged information cannot be obtained, confidential can be with legal authorization (e.g., search warrant). If the evidence can show a homicide suspect, then a judge should look that over before the cops get access. But not for a property crime.

Well, it looks like this matter will be handled by the legislature. The people who should handle. 

...State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill Feb. 17 that would ban law enforcement from using DNA gathered as part of sexual assault and rape examinations against victims...

Thank you Sen. Wiener for handing this matter. I think an absolute ban may not be the way to go, it should not be open season on rape victims. 

Officer Down


Deputy Sheriff Darnell Calhoun
Riverside County Sheriff's Department, California
End of Watch Friday, January 13, 2023
Age 30
Tour 3 years
Cause Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff Darnell Calhoun was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call in the 18500 block of Hilldale Lane in Lake Elsinore.

A call-taker heard the sounds of a struggle after an occupant of the home had called to report a child custody issue at the residence. Deputy Calhoun was the first deputy to arrive on the scene and was shot. Deputy Calhoun's backup arrived and discovered him wounded in the street. The second deputy became engaged in a shootout with the subject and wounded the man.

Deputy Calhoun was transported to Valley Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds.

Deputy Calhoun had served with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for 11 months and had previously served with the San Diego Police Department for two years. He is survived by his expectant wife.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Churchill, cigars, and scotch...

I took my first cigar back in the mid-90s and over the years I've enjoyed countless ones. Is it a habit? I'd say no, I smoke 1-3 a week, usually with a drink and a book. Something to relax at the end of a week or day. 

At the other end of the spectrum, Sir Winston Churchill. His love of cigars started soon after graduating college, and it grew to as many as ten a day (the most I've ever done is 3 in one day). He was known to wake up, start a cigar, and begin his daily paperwork with a scotch. One fact of Manchester's three volume bio of Churchill was the question of his alcohol consumption. Was Churchill an alcoholic? No, in the opinion of the people near him. No alcoholic could drink that much and be functional

I found this article on Churchill and his habits. Extractions with comment below.

Winston Churchill had a legendary love of cigars and drinks. We asked two experts to examine his taste for the good life, and separate fact from fiction

Imagining the great Sir Winston Churchill without a cigar clamped in his jaws or between his fingers is almost impossible. Stories that relate his prodigious drinking abound. His appetites for both, in quantities that would render even the hardiest among us incapacitated, seem superhuman. What is real and what is legend? Was he truly—as he is so often portrayed—never without a smoke, drinking morning, noon and night? To uncover the truth, we reached out to the experts: Lee Pollock, trustee and advisor to the Board of The International Churchill Society, and Rob Fox, a co-owner of James J. Fox in London and Ireland.

Legend: Churchill smoked a staggering amount of cigars.

Reality: By any reasonable standard.

“The number of cigars he smoked is truly extraordinary,” says Fox, whose company sold its first cigars in 1787. Churchill was a client of the store (then called Robert Lewis) at London’s 19 St. James Street. Fox has handwritten ledgers, telegrams and other records that document that the soldier/statesman bought hundreds of thousands of cigars there. During one six-month stretch in 1964—the year before he died—Churchill bought 825 cigars: 250 in April, 275 cigars in June and 100 per month in July, August and September. “It was a pretty consistent pattern of what he was buying,” says Fox. And that wasn’t the only shop supplying him with cigars. “He was doing business with a lot of cigar stores,” says Fox, “but we were one of his largest suppliers.”

Legend: He would smoke just about anywhere.

Reality: According to photographic evidence.

While visiting New York City in 1931, Churchill momentarily forgot that Americans drive on the right (or wrong, in his view) side of the road and was struck by a car. Upon his return home to England, Churchill was strapped to a gurney and put into an ambulance. A photo of the moment shows him smiling happily, puffing on his cigar. It wasn’t the only time Churchill was photographed on a stretcher smoking a cigar...

Legend: He had vast stocks of smokes.

Reality: How big is your humidor?

“At Chartwell, his home in Kent, he had a cigar storage area with 3,000 or 4,000 cigars,” says Pollock.

Legend: His day began with a glass of Scotch.

Reality: It did indeed.

Just as portrayed in the film Darkest Hour, Churchill greeted the morning with a cigar and a Scotch and soda while in bed. Pollock explains that he would wake around 8 a.m. and begin reading through a stack of newspapers, not leaving bed until about 10. He would sip his Scotch, adding water to it throughout the day.

Legend: He was often inebriated.

Reality: He held his liquor.

“He drank a lot, but he didn’t drink near as much as popular legend would have it,” says Pollock. “The amount he drank was exaggerated.” It is true that Churchill drank Champagne with lunch, French reds and whites with other meals, Cognac later in the day and more Scotch at night. He also liked Martinis. (And he liked them exceptionally dry, unlike his ally, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who made them “very long on vermouth,” says Pollock.) But all this drinking didn’t mean Churchill was stumbling around. “There’s almost no record of him being drunk in public,” says Pollock, giving credence to Churchill’s famous line: “I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.”

Legend: He was brand loyal.

Reality: True, for his drinks….

Churchill’s Scotch of choice was Johnnie Walker Red or Black (blends were far more prevalent than single malts in his day) and he adored Pol Roger Champagne. “He became quite friendly with the Pol Roger family,” says Pollock. Pol Roger created a special Champagne in his honor, Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill.

…But not his cigars. “His favorite brand was Romeo y Julieta, but it wasn’t the only brand he smoked,” says Fox. Most cigar smokers in Churchill’s day stuck to one size from one brand. Not Sir Winston, who puffed a variety, much like the cigar smoker of today, only on a far grander scale. “He was buying all sorts of different brands and sizes,” says Fox. “He bought multiple boxes of multiple lines per order. One order could be three or four brands, and multiple boxes within those lines.”

Legend: He left few cigars behind.

Reality: He smoked most of them.

“There was never a big, huge auction of cigars at the end of Churchill’s life. It wasn’t as if he was buying to collect,” says Fox. “He was buying to consume.” A box of cigars once owned by Sir Winston—along with the Romeo y Julietas it contained—is on display at Fox’s shop in London, under glass, along with a cigar case once carried by the Prime Minister. 

In 2004, Tom Selleck portrayed Eisenhower in Ike: Countdown to D-Day. I've always loved this scene. General Montgomery despised smoking, and Ike smoked four packs a day (leading up to D-Day, it surged to six). They are preparing to brief King George VI and the Prime Minister on the Overlord plan. After the VIPs enter and the introductions are made, the briefing begins. The first thing that happens is the King lights up a cigarette (HRH smoked 60-100 Chesterfields a day), and Churchill starts a cigar. Monty can't stop  them from smoking, so Ike says, "I guess smoking is allowed," as he lights up his Camel. 

I can only image the PM is up there with an unlimited humidor and barrels of scotch for his enjoyment. I'll be enjoying a Romeo y Julieta later. Hope you're having a great weekend. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Happy Friday the 13th!

Hope you're having a great week. Looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends tonight at a late Christmas gathering known as The Deplorables Party (Kiss our asses Mrs. Bill Clinton). Tomorrow the wife, an old friend and I are going to see William Shatner...Star Trek II and the Wrath of Khan tomorrow in Sugar Land TX. And I took Sunday off of work, so I have a long weekend. Looking forward it it. 

Don't know why I posted this song, other than it's been in my head for the last few days and I love it. Brings back memories of a summer trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in 1979 (not sure when we'll visit the Mediocre Hazy Hills, but that's coming).

Two great artist working together, John Stewart and Stevie Nicks, "Gold," 1979. Enjoy and have an even better weekend. 

Not exactly Boris and Natasha here,...

Being an intel geek, spying has fascinated me for ages. I remember the Walker case, and it's been reviewed for ages. Talk about a cluster f^&*. 

John Anthony Walker Jr. Spy Case

In 1985, dubbed by the press as the “Year of the Spy,” former U.S. Navy warrant officer John Anthony Walker Jr. was arrested for selling U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union.

Walker’s espionage began in 1967 when he walked into the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C., with material that would allow the Soviets to read encrypted naval messages.

During Walker’s time as an active spy, the Soviets went as far as to give him a device that, when placed on top of a cryptographic machine, would record the rotor settings, thus allowing the Soviets to decipher all communication sent using the machines. Among the information Walker provided the Soviets was naval cryptographic technology...

There are spies you rank with Walker, like the Rosenbergs. Then you have people like this:

Nuclear engineer, wife who tried to sell Navy secrets in peanut butter sandwich sentenced for espionage

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A former Navy nuclear engineer and his wife, who were accused of trying to sell military secrets using a peanut butter sandwich, found out how long they will spend in prison Wednesday.

A judge sentenced Jonathan Toebbe, 44, of Annapolis to 19 years and 4 months. He also ordered Toebbe to pay a fine of $47,500.

His wife, Diana Toebbe, 46, received a longer sentence: 21 years and 10 months. The judge ordered her to pay $50,000.

Federal investigators said the Toebbes tried to sell restricted data related to the design of of nuclear-powered Navy ships...

...“If not for the remarkable efforts of FBI agents, the sensitive data stolen by Mr. Toebbe could have ended up in the hands of an adversary of the United States and put the safety of our military and our nation at risk,” said U.S. William Attorney Ihlenfeld in a news release, issued the day of the sentencing. “The FBI keeps American citizens safe from enemies both foreign and domestic and this case is an excellent reminder of their important work.”

Peanut better. Sandy Burger was caught trying to sneak classified data out in his socks. Another example of how not to do it. But as I've said countless times, I don't knock stupid people. They insure I have a job.  :<)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Drones and force projection...

 A three-year-old meme on Facebook shows how force projection has changed in the last few  decades:



Sucks to be him.


But it points out how drones are changing warfare, especially force projection. The United States (and to a lesser degree Great Britain and other allies) have used aircraft carriers to project power far over our shores to secure the sea lanes since the mid-20th century. This method cost a fortune (the new Ford Class carrier is 13 billion for the ship alone), complicated, requires other ships to form carrier fleets, and is becoming more problematic as other weapons are coming on to challenge these capital vessels. An open discussion these days, is the carrier today at the stage of the battleship a century ago? For my post, another discussion for another day.


Now I found this article very interesting, looking at the issue on how drones, and particularly drone sales, are shaping alliances and diplomacy.  


The Dawn of Drone Diplomacy


Unmanned Vehicles Are Upending the Arms Trade—and the Balance of Power

By Erik Lin-Greenberg December 20, 2022


Iranian-built drones now routinely puncture the skies over Kyiv. Elsewhere in Ukraine, Turkish- and American-manufactured drones help Ukrainian forces target Russian troops. These operations demonstrate the growing role of remote-controlled weapons in battle. The conflict also showcases how drone exports have increasingly become an instrument of diplomacy.


With drone use on the rise, states have capitalized on drone exports to increase their global clout. To be sure, this is part of an established trend: governments have long leveraged arms exports as a diplomatic tool. Beyond filling state coffers and defraying research and development costs, arms sales help states advance their foreign policy agendas. Selling or donating weapons to like-minded partners can be used to extract concessions, exert influence, counter rivals, and strengthen military ties. A new era of arms trade is emerging, in which new exporters such as Iran and Turkey are displacing traditional weapons suppliers and are using drone exports to extend influence beyond their borders. These exports threaten Washington’s influence and the security of its partners. To keep ahead, U.S. policymakers should help allies build drone programs while developing approaches to counter the threat of rival drones…


Drone diplomacy is on the rise because it meets a growing demand. International leaders are increasingly convinced that their defense and foreign policy ambitions hinge on possessing remote-controlled weapons. Drones have changed the character of modern conflict by allowing states to project power while minimizing risk to friendly personnel


Recent combat operations in the Ukraine are the best advertising for this relatively new industry, showing smaller nations how to engage at distance with little cost…


While the US initially dominated the market, it became a signer of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR, limiting sales of US drones, even to allies. China and Israel, not signers of the MTCR, quickly filled the void…


Drone sales help the supplier’s diplomacy by deepening ties with the client government, by enabling the buyer nation to challenge adversaries for low cost, and allowing seller counties to use drone sales to leverage buyer nations for other items…  


…By deepening ties with client states, countering rivals, and extracting quid pro quo concessions, drone diplomacy threatens regional stability and challenges the influence of established arms exporters such as the United States. Indeed, drone suppliers such as Iran routinely arm states such as Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela that were otherwise unable to acquire drones because of sanctions and other political roadblocks. Newly acquired drones allow these states to reignite frozen conflicts, violate human rights, and undercut internationally led conflict-resolution efforts. In recent years, activists and lawmakers criticized Turkey’s sale of TB2 drones to Ethiopia for enabling strikes that reportedly killed dozens of civilians...


And the Biden administration wants to loosen sanctions on Iran. Wait, did I say that? Yes, allowing them to continue to expand their sales to disabling regimes all over the world.


I won’t go as far as saying the carrier is at the end of its life, but it’s sailing into the sunset. As of right now, we use massive carrier task forces to project power. But a 2nd rate nation can field a few dozen drones and strike or recon a few dozen miles over the battlefield. When will they be able to develop/buy/deploy a few submarines that can launch single use drones and attack one-hundred miles deep into a country. When will that increase to five-hundred? One-thousand? And for the cost of a ten-thousand-dollar drone, eventually with artificial intelligence, not a 35-million-dollar airplane with a pilot. 


Better war through technology. We better be engaged now; our adversaries are already moving to fill the market. And a piece of paper like the Missile Technology Control Regime will be as effective at stopping future war as the 1922 Washington Naval Conference did in stopping World War II. 







Saturday, January 7, 2023

Something great on a Saturday afternoon...

As I enjoy a pleasant afternoon with a scotch and finishing an excellent cigar (Rocky Patel Disciple), I picked up the mail and found a package in the box. A few weeks back I finished a great book, Extreme Ownership, written by two retired Navy SEALS who have moved into the corporate world, consulting on leadership. An excellent book on how leaders most own it, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Extreme Ownership is a book to be used, a how to manual if you will. I remember a great commander said of an Army Technical Manuel, they should be written on, dirty, have folded edges. Shows it's been used.  It has a lot of marks and writing in it. Here is the book from the top:

Just before Christmas I mailed it to their corporate office for them to sign. Last few years I've been sending books to the authors for signature. Find making it easy for them, i.e. inclosing return postage, helps! :<)

First it has the signature inside the book:


Thanks for serving in the world's finest army, and for sharing your lessons on command and leadership. Persistence wins the world. Lead + win. 


1-1 AD "Army SEAL" 

To explain, they were SEALS attached to the 1st Armored Division in Iraq. Many lessons in the book from their experience with the Army. 

There was also a note attached. 

Michael, A well-tabbed, highlighted and underlined book is the best complement you can pay any author. Thanks for serving in Army intelligence. As Jocko and I often say, we didn’t invent anything new. There is only what works and what doesn’t. Keep getting after it! Leif. 


Going to my shelve for signed books.  I feel as high as a kite now (Yes, a bit of nerd high). I think this will justify another excellent stick and some more whiskey (like I need justification). I told my wife about this and ended it with the quote from The Duke:

And I am not intoxicated...YET!

Gonna be fun at work at 0600 tomorrow!  

Friday, January 6, 2023

Not sure I'm fired up...

But looking forward to this year, in spite of feeling old.

With the wife out of town for a few days, I have some times to myself. Really great day, spent most of it cleaning, middle age sucks. But it is the first weekend of the year, and I'm actually looking forward it it.

Next weekend starts off with a party of several high school friends on Friday. The on Saturday we're attending a William Shatner presentation, get to see him live before he rejoins, I hate to say, most of his crew. He's doing a tour, giving the "inside" view of the making of the series and the movies. What the hell, I've spent money on other things that see to be a waste, but if you want to, it's not a waste. And I'll say this, he's 91 and still going strong for a man that age. I'm really wondering if he will outlast George Takei (85) and Walter Koenig (86).

In March my beautiful wife and I we celebrate 10 years together. To celebrate, in May we're heading on a cruise to Alaska. We will be attending the Blue Knights Regional Conference in April, and hopefully attending the International Conference in July. 

All in all, hope to have a great 2023, last few years have sucked. 

In hope for a quick start on a great year, from Pat Benatar''s seventh album Wide Awake in Dreamland, her first release, "All Fired Up," I can't believe I got that album during my Army basic course at Ft. Huachuca AZ in the spring of 1988. Damn time flies. But it's a kick ass song and one thing I will do before this month is out is watch Pat and Neil "Spider" Giraldo's admission into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame a few months back. Long overdue IMHO.

With that, enjoy this video, and have a great weekend. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The signs a young man is beyond help...

As a cop, you deal with a lot of screwed up situations. I saw this article and immediately thought the usual suspects would scream about "gun violence" or the need for more gun laws against law abiding citizens. 

A cliche is people call the cops when they want us to immediately solve an issue that's taken years to develop, or more accurately state, deteriorate. Well, let's look at this. Any other "expert" out there know how to handle this situation? 

10-Year-Old Boy Confessed To Shooting Mom In Face For Refusing To Buy Him Virtual Reality Headset, Police Say

Milwaukee, WI – A 10-year-old boy accused of shooting his mother in the face for refusing to buy him a virtual reality headset has been charged as an adult.

The boy’s attorney urged the court to set his bail at just $100 on the murder charge, noting that the suspect has no money, WITI reported...

...But the argument failed to sway Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Jane Carroll, who ultimately set the boy’s bail at $50,000, WITI reported.

“The nature, number and gravity of the alleged offenses are significant,” Carroll said, according to WITI. “This is an extremely aggravated offense…The facts of this case warrant significant cash bail.”

Your Honor, thank you. You have secured the general public and his family from the threat from this future serial killer. I'm not making a joke. More on that in a bit, but look at the details on this case.

The shooting occurred on Nov. 21 at the family’s home...according to police.

Investigators said the boy initially told them he shot his 44-year-old mother in the face by accident while twirling the gun on his finger, but that he later confessed to having shot her on purpose because she woke him up early and refused to buy him a virtual reality headset, CBS News reported.

“The bullet entered through the victim’s right eye, traveled through the victim’s brain, and then, bullet fragment(s) exited out the back side of the victim’s head through her skull,” court documents read, according to The Daily Beast. “The victim’s face had stippling on it, indicating that the gun was fired at the victim at close range.”

Now the deceased mom did take precautions. Per the police, the gun was locked up, but her son stole the keys and opened the safe the gun was store in. To make this even more screwed up. 

The boy also allegedly logged onto his mom’s Amazon account one day after the fatal shooting and ordered the virtual reality headset he’d been wanting, police said.

“When [the boy] saw his grandmother crying, he stated without any empathy or compassion: ‘I’m really sorry for what happened. I’m sorry for killing my mom,’” the criminal complaint read, according to The Daily Beast. “After apologizing for killing his mother, asked if his Amazon package arrived...”

The family seemed to understand this boy had serious issues:

The court was advised that none of the boy’s relatives have agreed to take him into their care if he is released from jail...

Police said one of the boy’s family members said they have been concerned about the suspect’s “rage” for years, WLS reported.

His relatives alleged he swung a puppy around by its tail when he was four, causing the animal to cry out in pain, according to police...

...One family member allegedly told police that they “felt bad for not stepping in earlier…because they knew that eventually something bad was going to happen,” WLS reported.

“He’s always said that he hears voices,” the boy’s grandmother, Lueritha Mann, told The Daily Beast. “There’s two little girls inside his head telling him to do things. And he has an imaginary friend that will tell him to do really bad things...” 

I wonder if they raised the issue with the parent (s) before. There was more than enough cause. A classic sigh  of mental issues is cruelty of animals. At four years of age, this kid decided to harm a puppy, knowingly inflicting pain on it. An animal today, humans tomorrow. From The News Minute:

...How often have we seen children taunting and pestering animals while the adults around them simply look the other way? How often do even egregious acts of cruelty to animals get treated with the seriousness and significance they deserve?

Often cruelty to animals is dismissed as a question of insufficient compassion towards other living creatures. But the problem goes deeper as, over time, various studies have shown that cruelty to animals can be a sign of mental illness and often be followed by more abusive behavior.

When people are cruel to animals, it means they feel no empathy,” says Dr Jayanthini, a psychiatrist from Chennai. “Usually when we get a case of a child who displays aggressive behaviour, we try to ascertain whether he or she has been cruel to animals also, apart from other people. If he or she hasn’t, there is some semblance of empathy there,” she says.

The issues were visible before this kid would be going to Pre K. Could placement into a mental program help, we can only speculate. One thing I notice in this article is there is not mention of a father, so I'll assume the mother was a single parent. You can only speculate if a father (or other strong male influence such as an uncle, pastor, or family friend) was raising him, this boy's life may have gone another way. 

I'm not that familiar with Wisconsin law, but this kid's life is basically ruined. I wonder if we will hear from the terrorist group BLM, or will the usual race baiting poverty pimps show up to support the mom's family right now, having to bury one family member, and having a child heading to prison. On second thought, we know the answer. And no, no government program will have stopped this. Love, guidance, discipline. If the family won't act, a social worker can't put in what the parent (s) failed to.


I read this article on Saturday morning.

A 6-year-old boy shot and wounded an elementary school teacher Friday in Newport News, Va., in a classroom with other pupils present, authorities said.

The female teacher, whose name was not disclosed, was shot with a handgun at about 2 p.m. at Richneck Elementary School, Newport News Police Chief Steve R. Drew said at a news briefing. He said the 6-year-old first-grader, who was taken into custody, had been involved in an altercation with the teacher. No students in the classroom were hurt.

...Newport News Public Schools Superintendent George Parker III said at the evening news conference that “today, our students got a lesson in gun violence,” and asked for community support to make sure guns were not available to youth. Teachers, he said, “cannot control access to weapons.”

“I’m sounding like a broken record today because I continue to reiterate that we need to keep the guns out of the hands of our young people,” he said. “This is evidence today that these are the things that happen when we have access to weapons...”

I don’t argue this boy should not have had access to a firearm at all. However, it’s too early in this (as of Saturday afternoon, nothing’s been released about how he got the gun) to see all the basic facts, and a critical question unanswered. Where are the parents? Still an open case. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Officer Down

Chief of Police Justin McIntire
Brackenridge Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania
End of Watch Monday, January 2, 2023
Age 46
Badge 1501

Chief of Police Justin McIntire was shot and killed near the intersection of Brackenridge Avenue and Morgan Street during a foot pursuit of a wanted subject.

The man was wanted for a probation violation involving weapons and had fled from the Pennsylvania State Police during a traffic stop the previous night. He then fled on foot from Harrison Township the following morning during a traffic stop. At about 2:00 pm he was located near the border of Brackenridge Borough and Tarentum Borough and led officers on a foot pursuit for over two hours. He opened fire on officers in the 900 block of Brackenridge Avenue and again in the 800 block of 3rd Avenue in which Chief McIntire was killed and a Tarentum Borough officer was wounded.
After shooting both officers the man carjacked a vehicle and fled into the city of Pittsburgh. He fled into a wooded area following a vehicle pursuit and then opened fire on officers. He was shot and killed by return fire.

Chief McIntire had been sworn in as police chief of the Brackenridge Borough Police Department exactly four years earlier.

Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh. Rest in Peace Bro…We Got The Watch

Nemo me impune lacessit

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the lake, From the hills, From the sky. All is well, Safely rest, God is nigh.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Artillery issues in the Russian-Ukrainian War

Last week I posted on how supporting the Ukrainians has depleted both our supplies of Stinger air defense missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles. Now another interesting point has been brought up.

Friend, mentor, and fellow officer Colonel Sam Pearson, US Army (Retired) started life in a fun branch, Field Artillery. He got to shoot big guns which make a lot of noise and blew up stuff. But like most officers in the service, he had to grow up and become something that's not fun, just critical. Logistics. It's been a while since he's handled a howitzer, but he's still an expert in both. 

Last week COL Pearson had an excellent post on his Facebook page on the shortcomings of artillery ammunition in the Russian army, also reflecting issues with Iranian and North Korean shells. Reprinted with permission, emphases mine:
An artilleryman’s strategic view of what is happening in the Ukraine/ Russia conflict. 
In the last few months Ukrainian troops have noticed reduced use of artillery by the Russians. Better yet, more of the Russian shells and rockets are duds and don’t explode when they hit the ground. Ukrainian troops learned how to use their artillery ammo carefully because NATO nations did not have as much to provide as Russia already had. That’s because the Russians maintained larger stockpiles of munitions and had a lot older stuff that could be used somewhat safely by Russian artillerymen, but were more likely to fail to explode to land where aimed.
For the first six months of the war Russia was able to fire a lot more shells and rockets at the Ukrainians than the Ukrainian were capable of. That changed because Russia, like the NATO nations supplying Ukraine, is running out of artillery ammunition. Existing inventories are largely gone and munitions firms worldwide have all the business they can handle. Russia does not have as much capacity for manufacturing enough munitions to replace what has been expended or destroyed by the Ukrainians, who carefully attacked all Russian ammo stocks they could find and hit. Plus they captured a lot and promptly used those on the Russians, notably after their breakout from Kharkhiv this fall. Russia has few foreign sources of munitions and those sources have encountered problems. For example, North Korea sold Russia large quantities of shells, much of it near its “use by” date. These munitions were moved to Ukraine via the Trans-Siberian railroad. Russia has had problems lately with that rail line and that has delayed some of the North Korea munitions shipments. Another source was Iran, which didn’t have as much to spare as North Korea but was able to get it to the Russians quickly.
That left neighboring Belarus, which Russia has pressured to enter the war to assist Russian forces in Ukraine. The Belarussian leader is pro-Russia but most Belarussians are not and support Ukraine. Because of that, Belarus cannot send troops into Ukraine but Belarussian ammo stocks and manufacturing capabilities are available. As with Iran and North Korea, Belarus has to be paid
One of the problems Russia has is that the shelf life of most munitions varies from 5-20 years, depending on the component (shell, fuze, electronics, batteries or propellant.) Artillery shells and rockets use various types of explosives, notably as propellants, that degrade over time. Western nations spend a lot of money to remove elderly munitions by recycling them. This is expensive but it is a major reason why Western munitions are more reliable and less dangerous for users.
When the Cold War ended in 1991 Western nations were able to safely dispose of munitions that were too old to be safe and reliable. Russia had more of these munitions and little cash or sense of urgency in safely disposing of their elderly artillery shells and rockets. Storage facilities containing these expired munitions eventually began to randomly explode in a spectacular fashion. Russia then sought to dispose of the oldest and most unstable munitions in controlled explosions that did not destroy structures and kill or injure nearby military or civilian personnel. This disposal process is still underway and Russia keeps track of how old munitions are and knows which munitions recently passed their use-by date and can be safely delivered to artillery units for use. This is one reason why Ukrainians experience many Russian shells and rockets fired at them that are very inaccurate and often do not detonate when they land. For Russian artillerymen, a few of these shells and rockets explode when fired, often killing or injuring members of the gun crew.
Blow up when you pull the lanyard? Hate it when that happens. Then again the Russian Army is hurting for manpower right now, likely one of the reasons here.

As artillery is a major weapon on both sides of this war, the Ukrainians are making efficient use of their assets. The Russians reportedly are burning through stockpiles faster than can be refurbished. From The Telegraph:
While forces had previously used 60,000 artillery shells per day, they now only use 19,000 to 20,000 shells. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said that troops will have to scale back.
I've often wondered if Putin really considered what would happen if he crossed the border with Ukraine. Perhaps his generals believed this would be a pushover attack, or maybe  Putin believed it. I can only speculate. But something Vlad would have been wise to remember, the three word question General of the Army and later President Dwight Eisenhower would always ask his staff when looking at an operation: "And then what?" Ike wanted ideas though though. Putin either didn't think, or didn't think it thorough.