Blue Byline

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

Archives: July 2011


When it comes to marijuana the feds have the final word

The old story, medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal, is the new story.  Or is it?

Lately, the debate on legalized marijuana is bearing a striking resemblance to the hokey-pokey. With state and local governments calling the dance, dispensers are taking their open signs in and then taking them back out on almost a weekly basis. It’s hard to keep track.

Seattle has chosen sides. After a city council resolution to minimize the priority of marijuana possession crimes, it comes as no surprise that the city appears to be welcoming medical marijuana merchants.

Tacoma, well, not so much. Mayor Strickland appears to be saying no in a recent Trib article, but the negative doesn’t seem to have much of a punch. At question is whether or not there will be any enforcement on the current dispensaries.

What, exactly, is going on? The roadblock, or the grease, depending upon your point of view, is the federal government.

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Media now complicit in Oslo shooter’s rampage

Well, at least we now know why an estimated 68 individuals, mostly young people, were killed in Oslo. It was a marketing scheme.

That, at least, is the story the cowardly psychopath gave for his decision to blow up a building and then go on a sadistic hunt for youth campers on an island protected by a single off-duty cop. His court-appointed lawyer has, of course, added that his client is also crazy.  If so, then he’s a crazy mass murderer with a savvy business plan.

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Plenty of gun violence at home and abroad

Whether you were reading the local or world news, it was a nasty weekend for gun violence.

Most recent was the domestic violence-related shooting at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, which happened Sunday morning at 1:30AM and left seven people wounded. Backing up ten hours from that point, at least a dozen people were shot during a car show in Kent on Saturday afternoon. And in perhaps the unlikeliest corner of the world to experience gun violence, residents of Oslo experienced a Friday that will surely stain the Norwegian psyche for years to come.

Are you numb, yet?

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Puyallup cyclist was a victim of sociopathic violence

Not all crime is created equal.

Property crimes, such as car thefts, burglaries and graffiti, can be an expensive, infuriating and invasive experience. Crimes against persons, as they are known in police agencies, usually include some form of assault, most typically stemming from a domestic relationship.

Less typical are the crimes committed by an individual against a complete stranger. Such an offense was described in the Trib, with the latest follow-up article appearing online today.

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A father and son reflection on Harry Potter

The first time I read aloud I held my firstborn son in one arm and the book in the other. We started with kiddie books, with spines the size of a dictionary and at most a handful of words per illustrated page.  Together, we slowly moved up the literary food chain passing from “Goodnight Moon” to “Green Eggs and Ham” and beyond.

As they got old enough to handle fewer pictures and more words, I looked around for something suitable. A friend told me about a particular book with a cumbersome name, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” so I bought it and took a chance.

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Defending the system ends at court’s ruling on child porn

I have spent a great deal of time, energy and words defending what I consider to be our excellent system of criminal justice. Then comes this headline from a News Tribune article, “Lake Tapps sex-crimes defendant gets OK to view child porn in jail.”

I am done defending this system, at least for the moment.

In 2007 our State Supreme Court ruled that access to child pornography should be provided to the attorney for the defense. These noble jurists, with their high LSAT scores and well-laundered robes undoubtedly thought this a fair ruling. But in

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Fighting elder abuse means defending the defenseless

A neighbor had been hearing the elderly woman next door for weeks, screaming “Help me!” Not wanting to get involved, the neighbor did nothing. Finally, the incessant pleas overcame his lack of concern and he called the police.

Officers from my department arrived to investigate and soon uncovered an ugly truth. The elderly woman had been living a nightmare in which her caregiver had been assaulting and raping her for a period of months if not years.

What a hellish existence it must be when the only person you can turn to for help is your tormentor.

Abuse of the elderly, the infirm and disabled has been getting a lot of attention lately. Because this criminal activity is rarely seen in public, much less reported (as evidenced by the above recent incident), so the current discussion in prosecutor’s offices and news agencies can only help to educate people on the plight of victims who have no means to defend themselves.

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Heroin: What was old is new again

Driving through downtown Tacoma I sometimes revert to old guy mode, as in “I remember when that building used to be a cave.” I love looking at both the new and remodeled structures, especially when I recall how bad it used to look in the mid-90’s when I worked in a street crime unit downtown.

I was reminded of some of those old streets and structures when I read a Trib story about the reemergence of heroin.

The word heroin conjures up memories of the 1500 block of S. Commerce St., former home of both the Nativity House and Rescue Mission, a soup kitchen and shelter respectively. Their altruistic presence was daily perverted by the drug dealers and users that made the sidewalk in front the largest open air heroin market in the region. That spot is now the location of the beautiful Hotel Murano and a gathering spot for business people and travelers instead.

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