Blue Byline

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

Category: Left field

March
4th

A tribute to Congressman Dicks

This column ran in 2011, but I am dusting it off in recognition of Congressman Norm Dicks’ plans to retire.

I stood by the open cockpit door of the little four-passenger Piper and imagined myself the very image of a nonchalant charter pilot. Then my passenger, Congressman Norm Dicks, stormed up, hot with anger, and my cool demeanor evaporated like water on the sun-drenched tarmac. He had just been told that I was his ride to Hoquiam, and I swear I saw smoke coming out of his ears.

That was back in 2000. I had just left Tacoma P.D.

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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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Oct.
20th

Dawgs making it easy to wear the W

Collegiate sports may be fought in the turf or on the floorboards, but the competition also rages in one unexpected place: the office.

In just about any business setting, whether in the cozy corner offices of corporate officials or the fuzzy-walled world of government cubicles, you will find the logo of many proud alma maters.

And right now the UW banners are hanging high.

If you’ll pardon the smug and self-serving props to the Dawg’s, it can not be denied that their stellar record (5-1 in Pac 12 play) has far exceeded expectations in this first season of the post-Jake

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Oct.
18th

Sin City still sizzles

I ask you, in all the wide world is there anyplace quite like Las Vegas?

I just returned from a 3-day trip to Sin City where the sun is shining, the dice are rolling and that sucking sound is the noise of money escaping one’s wallet. Nothing is cheap in Vegas, not even the free stuff.

But while I did return with less green in my pocket and more red on my face (and shoulders and back), I still had a great vacation.

Las Vegas is a town with something for everybody whether you’re a gambler (I’m not), a hiker

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Sep.
21st

Norm Dicks, me and the big blue sky

I stood by the open cockpit door of the little four-passenger Piper and imagined myself the very image of a nonchalant charter pilot. Then my passenger, Congressman Norm Dicks, stormed up and my cool demeanor evaporated like water on the hot tarmac. When he realized I was his ride to Hoquiam I swear I saw smoke coming out of his ears.

That was back in 2000. I had just left Tacoma P.D. to pursue an ill-fated dream of being an airline pilot (a year later I would lose my job at Horizon Air when the Twin Towers came crashing down).

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Aug.
2nd

So, what do you want to talk about?

After almost four months of dishing on topics like marijuana legalization and gun violence, as well as sharing stories about police work or motorcycle trips, I thought I might ask readers what topics they would like to discuss.

If writing this column has taught me one thing, it’s that this is not a lecture platform. Because so many people have such strong feelings about how we enforcement laws and deal with crime, this online column is less one-way narrative and more a forum for exchanging points of view. Certainly, there are specific experiences that give those of us in law

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July
18th

A father and son reflection on Harry Potter

The first time I read aloud I held my firstborn son in one arm and the book in the other. We started with kiddie books, with spines the size of a dictionary and at most a handful of words per illustrated page.  Together, we slowly moved up the literary food chain passing from “Goodnight Moon” to “Green Eggs and Ham” and beyond.

As they got old enough to handle fewer pictures and more words, I looked around for something suitable. A friend told me about a particular book with a cumbersome name, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” so I bought it and took a chance.

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April
22nd

Tired of being told what’s wrong with us? Me too.

“You know what’s wrong with America?”

I gotta be honest, I can’t stand that question. For some reason it has become the pop culture question of the decade, just as comfortable on the lips of a Fox News Anchor or an NPR analyst; it shows up on the front of a weekly news magazine or the cover of a book put out by the latest batch of political know-it-alls. It will definitely be asked more and more as November 2012 approaches.

To me this question, which smugly suggests that the speaker has the answer and that one answer reigns supreme, rings false. For our country this question has become an interrogative phrase dripping in divisiveness and seeking no real truth. It serves only to broaden the chasm between fellow Americans with increasingly divergent self-interests.

A conservative may profer the answer one day that it is crime. Another day that it is terrorism. Still another that it is taxes. A liberal (unless that’s now an undesirable word) might one day provide the answer as poverty. Or lack of health care. Or not enough taxes. The point is that at the moment the rhetorical question is raised, there’s only one answer; please hold while (fill in the blank) provides your answer. Read more »