Blue Byline

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

Archives: 2012


The prime time crime of 2012

Year end reviews are a time-honored tradition in print journalism. Looking back on the year’s crime stories may not match the feel-good quality of other reviews, but it may highlight our progress on the many challenges we have faced. And vice versa.

So, here is a laundry list of the most popular topics addressed in Blue Byline this past year (based on site visits and commentary).

January: We began the year with the steamy topic of marijuana legislation. The state legislature was under a great deal of pressure to fix the gaping, truck-sized holes in the then current statute, and

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After months of conflict, a day of peace

Consider the many events and issues that pushed us all apart during the last few months: a presidential election; several polarizing votes on such measures as gay marriage and legalized marijuana, to name but two; a grinding foreign war that no one would have imagined we’d still be waging more than ten years later; the random killing of innocents that sparked an ongoing verbal slugfest on gun control.

How would one describe this contentious period? As a hockey player, the only metaphor that fits is a benches-clearing brawl.

Ironically, this became more evident while

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A safer nation? Make compromises and pay the costs

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

What may have been true in 1933, at least in the context of FDR’s speech, seems pathetically out of place today. Our current state of fear is no mere metaphor. Mass shootings are a phenomena as real and violent as they are random and impersonal.

We have become so numb to these events that the least informed among us could write the script: disaffected, deranged loner shoots at people in a public place; the news media hone in on the perp, pasting his photo, his gun collection,

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Are we merely sheep for a mass shooter’s slaughter?

NOTE: The following column was written and titled two days prior to the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. While I believe the content is that much more relevant, the events in Newtown are so horrific that I apologize if the following piece appears blithe by comparison.

Quick question- is the following a news headline or a statement so ubiquitous it might well be classified as cliche?

“Masked gunman opens fire in crowded public place, killing several before taking his own life”

The answer, of course, is that this line not only describes the latest mass shooting

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Wrapping up the week

There were quite a few notable news stories this past week. While I wish there were time enough to dissect them all, alas, there is only time for the briefest of post-mortems (with apologies for the depressing metaphor).

The Powell saga: The AP finally received thousands of photos from a public records request seeking Steven Powell’s computer files. Those images are, if nothing else, proof that Powell had a deeply disturbing and prolonged attraction to his daughter-in-law, Susan Powell. It can be argued that Steven Powell (convicted of voyeurism on the basis of related photos and

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Cop’s compassion shouldn’t be a surprise

The video of a bedraggled homeless man sitting on the cold concrete, his blistered feet exposed to the night time elements, should be nothing new to anyone who has spent even a moment in an urban environment. However, when a young New York City police officer approached and offered the unfortunate man a new pair of boots, the cell phone video went viral.

According to one article (The Blaze 11/29), the video taken by an Arizona tourist, Jennifer Foster, has been viewed over 1.6 million times. Just as significant, NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo’s random act of

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The tragic relativity of time

Three years is a long time.

Since 2009, I have watched my youngest teenager add a foot in height, seen our economy rise from the ashes and struggled to make sense of the politics behind our embittered national election.

Reading the paper this morning, I recalled another horrific milestone now three years in our rearview mirror. On November 29, in 2009, four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed in a Lakewood coffee shop.

We all know the brutally tragic story of Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Mark Richards, Tina Griswold and Ronald Owens. I remember hearing the news, the

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The ephemeral quality of leadership

Since I began writing this blog some 18 months ago, I have become a cover-to-cover news junkie. I look for stories that capture my attention, especially those which have a common thread. When I find such articles, ones with a tangible connection to an intriguing theme, it becomes a column.

Case in point are three unlikely recent samplings from the News Tribune: the latest on the Petraeus scandal; a “Dilbert” comic poking fun at managers; an article about a Gig Harbor police sergeant currently suing her department for harassment.

The nexus which connects these three disparate topics is leadership, a

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