Blue Byline

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

Archives: Aug. 2012


Voter ID legislation requires a carrot not a stick

Chances are good that the first words most people will hear when meeting a police officer will be, “Identification, please.” There are many reasons for this requirement, including the need to protect the officer’s safety or to locate wanted subjects, to name but two. Likewise, there are also a number of reasons why proper credentials are essential for legitimate business and government functions.

One might think that legislation mandating proper identification would be a protective measure easily embraced by everyone. However, when said mandate has political strings attached, one would be wrong. The political strings attached to 

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All American, Destined, Wired or Gritty, Tacoma is all that

While on a bike ride across the Narrows bridge this morning my eyes drifted up from the pavement to a sign on the eastern shoreline. It was one I’ve seen hundreds of times and it read, “Tacoma – All American City” (or something like that – my brain was in vapor lock). For some reason I always failed to notice that there were numbers underneath those words: “1998  1984  1956″.

Instead of thinking, “Wow, Tacoma was an All American City three times?” I actually thought, “Wow, Tacoma was an All American City only three times in the last 56 years

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Policy trumps compassion in Akin’s reality

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.

When someone screws up at the cop shop the general notion is that it was his or her turn in the barrel. Left unsaid is whether or not the barrel and its occupant will survive the trip over the falls. Today that is a “legitimate” question for one Todd Akin, a conservative congressman from Missouri.

Akin’s scandalous comments (excerpted from Eugene Robinson’s column) are now at the forefront in his bid to

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Funding mental health means saving lives

On a warm and sunny day a few years ago my partner and I were rolling slowly on police mountain bikes up 7th St in the Hilltop neighborhood. I remember hearing a loud noise from behind us, a noise that sounded like a wild animal screaming, when something crashed into me. I flew threw the air, landed on the street and tasted pavement.

That something that tossed me off my bike and into next week was a human being. In fact, it turned out to be a homeless man with whom I was familiar. At least I thought I knew him.

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Political and media pressure lead to appeal for Jason Puracal

As a first generation American I have been witness to the freedoms and possibilities that life in this country guarantee. My parents moved here from Ireland and Canada in search of a cliche: The American Dream. My family’s prosperity is proof of its existence.

Flip that coin over and you will find the unfortunate expatriate, someone caught in the grip of a broken justice system. Far from their home, they have lost the basic freedoms guaranteed to Americans. They can only cling to the hope that the land of their birth has not forgotten them. That is the horrible reality of

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A little good news from the beat

Sometimes scanning the news can be a real drag. Trauma, death and scandal seem to be the only competitors for the front page, leaving us to continually wonder why the big news is usually bad news.

It is a disturbing question that may say less about the media and more about us, the media consumers.

That fact is especially true if your daily bread is criminal justice. Incidents involving the police or the actions of specific officers are the type of news stories that usually land a spot on the front page and fester there for days.

So when three

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Apples and oranges: The Canadian perspective on American gun control

For many years I have spent a week each summer visiting family in Vancouver, B.C., a uniquely picturesque Canadian city enveloped in mountains and floating on tidal waterways.

Its citizens and businesses are much the same as our own, even if their clothing is more fashionable and the prices a notch higher, but for all its familiarity, the Vancouver situated 180 miles north is more European than American. It is, in essence, distinctly Canadian, and nowhere is that more obvious than its restrictions on the private ownership of firearms.

For proof, one need look no further than the city’s daily

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