Blue Byline

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

Archives: June 2012


Fast and Furious scandal is much ado about the wrong thing

There is simply no denying that the import-export strategy adopted by Mexico’s uber violent drug cartels (and supported by gangs and assorted criminals in the U.S.) is a recession proof business model: Drugs flow north – guns flow south.

The vast fortunes generated by drug sales have created an alternate reality in Mexico, where a war is being fought against the naked greed of drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). The human cost is staggering: according to an LA Times report 34,000 people have died in the five years since military operations began targeting DTOs.

That statistic fails to account for the bloodthirsty

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Of victims, vigilantes and vendettas

In the last few weeks there has been a disturbing repetition of vigilante justice aimed at sex offenders. In some cases, including the Port Angeles man who killed two registered sex offenders because “it had to be done,” it was vigilante justice. In Shiner, Texas, a rancher killed a man he alleged was molesting his daughter. The sheriff refused to arrest the father and the grand jury concurred.

I previously wrote on both incidents, arguing that the justice system has no need for vigilante executions. It does, however, have a strong need for people willing to step forward and protect

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Choir practice

A few months ago I was in my editor’s office shooting the breeze. We were having a lively discussion about some of the topics I had raised in this column, as well as some of the ideas I had for the future. After I finally exhausted all the possibilities, he gave me a frank look.

“You know,” he said, “you don’t always have to write about police work.”

“Sure,” I said, though I didn’t really mean it.

The reason for my lip service was simple. Though I have been writing in some capacity for The News Tribune and The Peninsula

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Two witnesses to sexual assault, two opposite reactions

Two incidents, separated by time and distance, were reported in last week’s news. Despite the months and miles that separate one from the other, the connection between these disturbing stories says much about human reaction to violence.

The first was an AP report about a Texas rancher who allegedly came upon a man molesting the rancher’s 4 year old daughter. The second story was a Trib update update on the trial of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach on trial for 52 counts of sexual assault.

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Thursday’s front page a case study in wrong impressions

“We all see only that which we are trained to see.” Robert Anton Wilson

Today’s print edition of the Trib carries two similar stories on its front page. The first, spread over the entire width of the page, describes the memorial service for Chance, a Puyallup Police Department K9 that died during a recent medical procedure. The second, which takes up about a third of the space underneath, is a lead for a Page 3 tribute to 2nd Lt Travis Morgada, a 25 year old Army officer killed during

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Revolving door of justice is both illusion and reality

Justice, as it is sometimes said, can be a revolving door.

This frustrating aspect of police work materialized for me many years ago when, as a young officer, I responded to a large fight inside a tavern. The brawl was in full tilt when we arrived. Fists, chairs and bottles were flying. Bloody people were limping out the door, but the battle inside raged on. We waded in and, over several difficult minutes, regained control.

The hardest to stop was, of course, the instigator. He was a mean drunk, and it took several of us to hold him down long

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Youth programs much better news than youth violence

If you read the Trib on Monday, one story may have ruined your day. At least a little.

I refer to the horrific stabbing incident in East Tacoma involving three teenage boys. One of them, Hector Hernandez-Valdez, 15, died after being stabbed at least 34 times. The other two, Luis Arroyo, also 16, and his brother Cristobal, 14, were arrested and recently charged with first degree murder for their role in Hernandez-Valdez’ death. Allegations point to a robbery gone awry.

The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office – one of the nation’s best in my biased opinion –

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Vigilante “justice” gets new definition in trial: homicide

(updated 9/20)

For the record, it didn’t have to be done.

The “it” I refer to are the vigilante killings of two sex offenders, Gary Blanton and Jerry Ray, carried out by one Patrick Drum. The two shootings on the Olympic Peninsula, which occurred on June 2 and June 3 of this year (Trib 6/4), were the result of Drum’s violent frame of mind and his decision that, “it had to be done.”

If that is true, then we have truly made no progress as a civilized society since, well…at least the twelfth century, when Henry

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