Blue Byline

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

Archives: Sep. 2013


Forgotten paperwork and an unforgettable crime

What happened to Lawrence Howse was an unspeakable tragedy. In the confines of his enclosed parking garage, he was robbed at gunpoint, and when he refused to remove his pants for the amusement of his two assailants, he was executed in cold blood.

Updates on the investigation have been front page news since the murder last month. That includes the recent arrest of two men in connection with the killing, whose faces appeared on page one of Saturday’s TNT. This is not a sensational ploy to sell papers – the public deserves to know that the police department and prosecutor’s

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Is America even interested in breaking the cycle of gun violence?

As Apple rolled out its new iPhone and Tacoma employees learned that flip-flops were not proper work attire (who knew?), gunshots and explosions took scores of lives in some of the world’s most violent places.

Africa: Alleged al-Shabab terrorists used explosives and gunfire to kill as many as 62 people in a Kenyan shopping mall on Saturday, an incident that has yet to conclude (TNT 9/23).

Iraq: News reports indicate 120 people were killed in several explosions in Baghdad last week (TNT 9/22) in the latest round of sectarian violence.

Pakistan: Two suicide

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Feud over jail budget years in the making

These days it is next to impossible to follow the news without getting a daily injection of political invective. There is a new reality in the halls of federal and state power –  acrimony has replaced compromise, consensus across the aisle is a distant memory and fingerpointing is the new national pastime.

Judging by recent events, one could assume that Pierce County officials have fallen into this same trap.

I refer to the Pierce County Council’s upcoming vote on a plan to furlough sixteen jail deputies. The debate comes after a wave of budgetary woes – the Great Recession, a

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Forget Castro’s cowardice, remember his victims’ courage

Before his name is thankfully lost to the passage of time, one more comment on the life and death of Ariel Castro.

Castro was the infamous kidnapper who held three women captive for a decade. Raping them repeatedly, and killing all but one of his illegitimate offspring, he was a monster without mercy, a jailer with the power of life and death.

Yet after ten years living in hell, his victims, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, pledged to live the rest of their lives free from Castro’s psychological grasp. How many of us could endure so much, could

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Bathroom cameras cross the line of human dignity

For the record, jails aren’t fun places.

Entering at the sally port, an arrestee passes through several layers of challenges and security doors, his progress monitored remotely, until he arrives at the booking area where a thorough – some might say intimate – pat down search awaits.

From that point on, the level of intrusion may vary depending on the specific charges and court mandate. Strip searches are conducted on a case-by-case basis, and always supervised by same-sex staff members. In my experience, that level of dehumanization represented the limits of an incarceration facility’s authority.

A recent

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