Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

June
17th

Three years later, a blue wrap-up

In 1988 I was a big fan of the cop drama, Hill Street Blues. It was a brilliantly poignant show that myself and many of my academy classmates credited for driving our decision to become police officers. Fast forward to April 2011, and that career choice spurred a new gig as a News Tribune blogger.

Hard to believe it’s been over three years since I first started writing Blue Byline. Back then I was a cop with a penchant for writing hackneyed diatribes, small 600 word missives forever destined to change the way TNT readers viewed the world of law enforcement.

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June
9th

Mass shooter: the rise of the anti-hero

This time it happened close to home. One victim dead and three wounded on a college campus. A lone gunman taken into custody.

Once again it was our turn to stare in shock at the breaking news on the television – a mass shooting at Seattle Pacific University, the quiet, tree-lined campus that hugs Queen Anne Hill (TNT 6/7).

Our reaction to such senseless violence should not depend on proximity, but of course it does.

In an achingly familiar cycle, we first experience panicked shock as we recall the faces and names of students we know (four,

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June
2nd

Red-flagging unstable individuals is not without risk

Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men?

Simple answer: God. Since he isn’t sharing, and the Shadow (whose catch phrase this is), is a fictional character, that leaves the rest of us to blunder our way through life, locking our doors both figuratively and literally, trying to keep the unknown forces of malice at bay.

Yet in defiance of logic, we often demand that our authority figures predict the future. We curse the weather forecasters. We make boogeymen out of politicians (sometimes rightly so). We point the finger of blame at law enforcement when killers emerge from

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May
25th

A college commencement speech you’ll never hear

If I were a snippy kind of guy, the fact that I didn’t receive a single invitation to deliver a college commencement address might irk me. But I’m not. Sniff.

Outside of a handful of web-surfing insomniacs I recognize that few people have heard of me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to contribute to the graduation zeitgist (whatever that is). This is the speech I might have given, if anyone had asked.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Hey kids. Thanks for inviting me to speak at the commencement of the class of 2014. You guys look great in those caps and

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May
19th

Eatonville tragedy another stat in a quiet epidemic

Cognitive dissonance: (noun) the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Thursday’s scathing news assaulted our senses: A man kills his wife and turns the gun on himself. In that short sentence are a thousand unspoken fragments. Two children, orphans. Family, friends, confusion, grief.

Sadly, this story could easily be supplanted in the headlines of any newspaper virtually anywhere. That it happened in Eatonville is just coincidental (TNT 5/15). It has shaken this small town, yet for all the disbelief and outrage, experience suggests this crime

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May
12th

Gruesome murder raises question: Is homicide ever a sane act?

A homicide trial is no place for the faint of heart. That is especially true in the murder trial of John Ben Jones Jr., a Tacoma man whose crime requires adjectives usually reserved for the jacket of a Stephen King novel.

Start with macabre. According to Sean Robinson’s article (TNT 5/9), a foul smell emanating from Jones’ room led his mother to discover a man’s decomposing body.

Move on to grisly. The body, that of Jones’ friend, Wayne Williams, had been partially dismembered and stuffed into trash bags.

The shock value of Jones’ crime is undeniable.

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May
4th

Extremism, not gay marriage, will kill the Constitution

According to the National Archives website the U.S. Constitution is written on animal skin.

In describing the process of creating parchment (scraping, stretching and drying the dead flesh of farm animals), the conservators of our nation’s foremost document fail to mention its most compelling attribute: It is elastic.

How else would one describe these five pages which together create the framework for a legal system that has withstood a savage tug of war for more than two centuries?

An example of the Constitution’s elasticity played out in Tacoma last week when Roy Moore, the controversial chief

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April
28th

Dome gunshow a vestige of a bygone era

The year was 1991. Bryan Adams topped the music charts, cell phones were beginning to shed unsightly pounds and The Silence of the Lambs ruled the box offices. And the Tacoma Dome hosted its last gun show.

In the ensuing 23 years our country has endured a major terrorist attack, two lengthy foreign wars and a tortuous economic spiral. It is a new era indeed, yet for all of that some aspects of society stubbornly resist change.

For example, if you were to attend the 1991 gun show at the Dome with the intent of purchasing a firearm from a private

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