Blue Byline

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

Archives: Nov. 2011

Nov.
30th

Pitts’ video rant requires a rethink

As much as I admire him, my relationship with Leonard Pitts is…complex.

Pitts, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist whose syndicated column appears regularly in the Trib, is a master of the short essay and a champion of many righteous causes.

That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he writes, of course. Our relationship–if you call forking over money to hear him speak at UPS a relationship–has more to do with craft and less to do with ideology.

In last Sunday’s column (11/27), Pitts denounced the infamous police pepper-spraying incident at UC Davis. Others, including myself, have likewise nibbled at

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Nov.
28th

Putting a purple perspective on global events

After a quick scan of the paper over the last week there can be only one conclusion – we live in amazing times.

If you’re into extreme theoretical physics (or just a follower of “The Big Bang Theory”) then you would have been struck by news out of CERN, a world reknown physics lab in Switzerland. This uber geek think tank has taken on the arrogant and daunting challenge of disproving Einstein’s theory that the speed of light is our universal and absolute speed limit. After blasting their neutrinos from Geneva to Italy, physicists are almost

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Nov.
25th

The power of redemption

I have spent many nights on third watch, graveyard or whatever one’s term is for the time period when most hard-working, reasonable and sober people are sound asleep. The hours just before and after midnight are often harsh and violent. The alternate reality of night shift can also wear away on the softer natures of those who ply their trade in the dark: the nurses and docs who labor in the chaotic ER; the paramedics roused from sleep to perform CPR in the gutter; the cops who prowl the dimly lit streets.

When you spend enough time working the wrong side of

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Nov.
21st

At UC Davis there’s plenty of blame to go around

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But a thousand words would be woefully insufficient to contain the outrage against the campus cops depicted here in the now infamous UC Davis pepper spraying incident.

Last Friday afternoon UC Davis students staged a protest an Occupy Wall Street protest, specifically targeting the sharp increase in tuition. During their sit-in police in riot gear responded to their protests. In response, the students linked arms and refused to move. One of the officers in the viral Youtube video (585,727 views and growing) produced a riot-sized canister of

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Nov.
19th

Interim City Manager playing poker with city budget

If Tacoma’s Interim City Manager Rey Arellano thinks his latest budget proposal is a joke, I have news for him. It ain’t funny.

With $23 million in expected cuts coming in 2012, potential job losses come as no surprise. The number of jobs–165 jobs according to the latest Trib report–does put a hefty human toll, especially given the nation’s unemployment woes.

But those figures blur when the two job classifications taking the majority of the cuts come into focus: Police officers and firefighters.

In all fairness I know people in both agencies, and will indirectly

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Nov.
16th

Sandusky puts classic spin on pedophile story

Jerry Sandusky was given a prime-time opportunity to set the record straight. And so he did.

In response to Bob Costas’ very blunt and provocative questions about his alleged crimes against numerous young boys, Sandusky talked. And talked. In a Monday night NBC interview, wherein Sandusky made a creepy attempt to reframe his actions, he also made several damning statements.

The first of these missteps was in reference to a graduate assistant’s assertion that he witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy. In downplaying the action as ”horseplay” he not only confirmed that the incident–albeit minus a confession of rape–actually occurred, but also opened up a

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Nov.
14th

Synthetic drugs and ignorance are dangerous mix

Consider, if you will, a drug specifically engineered for the pleasure of the recreational drug user. Compared to its natural derivative, marijuana, this synthetic version can produce a high up to 800 times stronger, last hours longer, and foil routine drug screen tests. All that for just a few dollars more than the comparative cost of a joint.

For people willing to risk their health and freedom on illegal drugs, synthetic marijuana must sound pretty darn good. Instead, they would find this perception to be unequivocally and tragically wrong.

There is a general lack of public knowledge regarding the newly

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Nov.
12th

Media chose the wrong Penn State story

Several years ago I was sitting quietly in a training class, listening to the instructor discuss the psyche of sex offenders. The lecturer, a psychiatrist at a state penitentiary, led a discussion that became an abhorrent descent into the mind of a pedophile.

At its completion it left me distraught. As contemptible as this topic was, it should have been required instruction for any journalist who took allegations of a serial child rapist and warped it into “Joe Paterno’s Sex Scandal.”

That media frenzy has long-since eclipsed reports of child rape involving Penn

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