Blue Byline

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

Category: My take

May
12th

Gruesome murder raises question: Is homicide ever a sane act?

A homicide trial is no place for the faint of heart. That is especially true in the murder trial of John Ben Jones Jr., a Tacoma man whose crime requires adjectives usually reserved for the jacket of a Stephen King novel.

Start with macabre. According to Sean Robinson’s article (TNT 5/9), a foul smell emanating from Jones’ room led his mother to discover a man’s decomposing body.

Move on to grisly. The body, that of Jones’ friend, Wayne Williams, had been partially dismembered and stuffed into trash bags.

The shock value of Jones’ crime is undeniable.

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May
4th

Extremism, not gay marriage, will kill the Constitution

According to the National Archives website the U.S. Constitution is written on animal skin.

In describing the process of creating parchment (scraping, stretching and drying the dead flesh of farm animals), the conservators of our nation’s foremost document fail to mention its most compelling attribute: It is elastic.

How else would one describe these five pages which together create the framework for a legal system that has withstood a savage tug of war for more than two centuries?

An example of the Constitution’s elasticity played out in Tacoma last week when Roy Moore, the controversial chief

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April
28th

Dome gunshow a vestige of a bygone era

The year was 1991. Bryan Adams topped the music charts, cell phones were beginning to shed unsightly pounds and The Silence of the Lambs ruled the box offices. And the Tacoma Dome hosted its last gun show.

In the ensuing 23 years our country has endured a major terrorist attack, two lengthy foreign wars and a tortuous economic spiral. It is a new era indeed, yet for all of that some aspects of society stubbornly resist change.

For example, if you were to attend the 1991 gun show at the Dome with the intent of purchasing a firearm from a private

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April
21st

Hate crimes: the slippery slope to genocide

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”                         -William Burke

Last week I had the great fortune to visit the other Washington for the first time. I found our nation’s capital to be so much more than just the seat of power. It is a global crossroads.

There one can find embassies and consulates, lobbyists and think tanks, all symbiotically (or parasitically, depending upon one’s view) situated next to the Capitol, the White House, the Department of Justice, as well as countless

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April
6th

“New” overdose drug will save lives on the street

As I stood over the prone body of a man, his pale face relaxed as if in sleep, I wondered what his last thoughts had been.

Had he thought of his family? Perhaps a girlfriend or wife? Or had his only thought been for the heroin seeping into his vein, taking him away from all such concerns and killing him so swiftly that the needle was still embedded in his cold, lifeless arm?

More important, what if the medics had arrived in time to administer the drug that could have saved his life? Of course it is impossible to say what

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April
2nd

Rescuers are case study in courage, compassion

The cloud was orange. It lifted above the cranes and smokestacks, a giant toxic mushroom lit from within by the industrial halogen beams emanating from the Port of Tacoma’s sprawling terminals.

The location of the spill itself was hidden inside the opaque orange mass settling gently over a large portion of the rail yard. As I headed towards the site, I passed a stream of semis and smaller trucks moving steadily away. I also passed several groups of Tacoma firefighters, all of them donning HAZMAT suits alongside their fire trucks. A lone firefighter wearing an oxygen mask waved my patrol car along, past

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March
27th

Lost aircraft, devastating mudslide a reminder of the limits of human endeavor

Your basic modern human lives in a world of his own creation. With the Internet and big box stores, virtually any product is within reach. The answer to nearly every conceivable question requires little more than a few taps on a smartphone. With modern transportation, nearly any part of the globe is accessible within a day.

We control our world, or so our hubris would have us believe. My gawd, are we stupid.

All it took was the loss of a single aircraft, Malaysian Flight 370 to be specific, for many of us to question our

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March
19th

Infused cannabis: the unholy marriage of marijuana and munchies

In Colorado, marijuana is getting a makeover. For the entrepreneurs trying their hand in this newly legalized marketplace, the image of Cheech and Chong giggling behind a reeking cloud of pot smoke is no longer profitable.

Instead, their new mascot must be Willy Wonka.

How else to explain the new line of cannabis infused treats like mints, candy bars and cakes (whatever happened to plain old brownies?) being created at startups such as Denver’s Dixie Elixirs. According to Jordan Schrader’s well researched articles on Colorado’s nascent industry, this is just the first of many entrepreneurial

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