Blue Byline

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

Tag: Arizona


Supreme Court’s ruling on divisive law should give feds a wakeup call

You can say one thing for Arizona’s controversial new immigration law. It separates its supporters and critics as easily as a hot knife through butter.

Arizona SB 1070 is headed for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. At issue are the four provisions that have been the exclusive privilege of the federal government (at least up until now):

(1) require police to verify the immigration status of anyone they stop if they suspect he or she is undocumented;

(2) make it a state crime for a non-citizen to be without registration papers;

(3) make it illegal for

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A Tombstone state of mind

“Arizona really was a gas…mind-blowing all the way, you know, just out of sight.”  Scorpions (1982)

After riding motorcycles in Arizona last week, I returned a couple days ago with a new facial tone (burnt red), miles of motorcycle riding etched into my vertebrae and a bar tab that makes me wonder if my buddies were squatting on my credit card.

Now that I’m home I realize that my trip to the desert gave me more than just sunburn and a hangover. It gave me a broader perspective. Normally that’s an unlikely accomplishment after only a couple hours in the air and four days on the ground, but the Grand Canyon State is unique. Amidst the red peaks and baked desert, Arizona is nothing less than a windblown and broiled version of the wild, wild west.

As I cruised the highways, the burnt wind pulling vapor out of my body without the usual method of sweating, I began to notice the guns. As a cop I consider myself more attuned to the presence of firearms than the average person, but one would have to be extremely dense to miss the ubiquitous presence of individuals who were openly expressing their 2nd Amendment Rights. Wandering around town I scanned the belts of random people and found many whose cell phones on one side were balanced by sidearms on the other. It was just so natural and casual that it didn’t seem to bother anybody except me.

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Arizona from the saddle of a Harley

“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name; it felt good to be out of the rain.”  -America (1972)

I’ve been out of town a few days. Beyond a few shifts at work, some blogging, and rain that apparently reached biblical proportions, I don’t think I missed much here in Western Washington. In exchange I was extremely lucky to experience Arizona. It was a paradox of discomfort and adrenalin rush, desolation and breathtaking scenery, dangerous riding and freedom beyond compare.

Along with seven buddies, I flew into Phoenix, rented a Harley and rode a big loop through the Grand Canyon State. We went south to the border and the historic mining town of Bisbee, north through the Devil’s Highway and its 400 switchbacks topping out at 9000 feet, and then back south through the red rocks of Sedona. We managed to see everything but the big canyon itself.

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