Seriously Folks?

Whether one agrees with terms such as fake news, alternative facts, liberal bias, left-wing propaganda, right-wing propaganda, or fair and balanced, most people capable of comprehending the English language realize journalistic standards are a thing of yesteryear. It is unlikely journalism was ever as fair and balanced or truly objective as some would like to think. There were, after all, human beings involved in reporting the news, and objectivity is not humanity’s strong-suit.

With that said, the half-time show for the prime-time example of team somnambulism, Super Bowl LIII, provided an outrageous example of the depths to which the media will descend in 2019. Before the event, I hate to call it a game, there was a constant barrage of “will they” or “won’t they” concerning half-time. After the event, reporters, pundits, and others hyped, twisted, and ranted about one facet or another of the matchup, musical performances, and the question of Tom Brady appearing to plant one on Robert Kraft’s lips.

About here, you might be saying to yourself, “What’s the big deal? The media always tries to turn an event into a circus if possible.” Of course, you would be correct in some ways, but in one way you may be missing a matter of concern. The United States, and possibly much of the world, is now occupied by human beings who are incapable of displaying one iota of common sense.

I know! That last sentence sounds a bit extreme. Still, I feel there is ample reason to believe it is indeed the case. Consider one of the hottest topics of discussion from the halftime show. That would be, of course, Adam Levine’s nipples.

Yes, if you fell asleep during the most boring Super Bowl in history and are finally waking up, Adam took off his shirt. In doing so, he created a stir and controversy the likes of which has not been heard since a past president swore he did not have sex with “that woman.”

After all, Adam intentionally removed his shirt, displaying his tats and breast for all to see. Poor Janet Jackson, according to one post, was “blackballed” for her “accidental” wardrobe malfunction during a half time show fourteen years ago. How could life, and the NFL, be so unfair and discriminatory!

According to multiple online news sources, social media “blew up” with outrage over Levine’s antics. I suppose that might be true if one considers a handful of tweets shared in the multiple posts citing one entertainment article covering the matter constitutes “blowing up.” Still, the very fact multiple sources repeated the story, and it was prominently displayed on various online news homepages means someone thought it was of significant interest.

In some ways, it is easy to see why people writing for the plethora of so-called news outlets competing for the browsing public’s attention would find the story newsworthy. What other story of the day would allow one to write copy mentioning, Adam Levine, Janet Jackson, the Super Bowl, and breasts in a few hundred words? Oh, yes! That piece would also allow the writer to express the outrage everyone should feel over the disparate treatment of public breast bearing by individuals based on their gender.

Seriously! It is easy to understand why someone would write an article or post of discussing Adam’s showcasing of this tats and his abs. Since he and Maroon 5 refused to turn their part of the half-time show into a political statement as many hoped, this gave writers something to say, which brings me to the alleged tweets and posts disparaging Levine for his actions.

Were those reported posts truly the spontaneous commentary of startled fans? If that is true, it says more about society than the state of journalism in the country today. One would hope these posts were more professional or volunteer trolls hoping to stir the pot to achieve fifteen seconds of internet fame or increase their followers.

It is possible some otherwise rational individuals would take offense at the acceptance of Adam’s topless performance due to some warped sense of equal rights. It is possible, but the idea that others would take those people seriously enough to repeat their comments is scary.

On the other hand, one has to hope the comment, “Now I have to explain to my children that adam levine [sic] has nipples,” was an attempt at satire. If that person was serious, parenthood is in more trouble than journalism. Unless of course, those children have never been to the beach, a swimming pool, or seen “The Jungle Book.”

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

Posted in Daily Life, Entertainment, Family Vaules, Journalism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blood, Sweat, and Beer: Revisited

A few of OneOldCop’s old rugby family were waxing nostalgic on Facebook the other day.  I toyed with the idea of posting something new about their musings, but in a day or two another post popped up from another old warrior.  When the third appeared, I decided something new was unnecessary and decided to update and share a piece I wrote some years ago.  

Blood, Sweat, and Beer

 

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Prayer and Predation: Part 1

My alter ego, AnOldSinner, published “Prayer and Predation: Part 1” just after the new year. I am linking to it here as it should be of interest from a societal and law enforcement sense as well as a church or spiritual point of view.

It discusses what I feel is a sexual abuse problem in churches no one wants to address.

Prayer and Predation

 

Posted in Christianity, Daily Life, Law Enforcement, Morality, Police, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Of Signs and Coincidences

Do you believe in signs? In times past, OneOldCop was not what you would call a big advocate of looking for signs from God, the universe, the stars, or other prophetic sources one might consult. I was convinced, as many are, that such phenomena are wishful thinking, random chance, or flat out lies. Then in the throes of a personal crisis many moons ago, I asked God for a sign. I have not asked for one since.

This was shortly after I found my way back to my Christian roots. One could argue I was swayed by my shift from hostile skeptic to someone seeking a closer relationship with Jesus or God if you prefer. While I accept that possibility, I do not believe it, this was too clear, too timely, and too convicting. Also, it was exactly what I did not want to hear. Yet, it turned out to be the sign I needed.

I do still ask for guidance at times. By that, I do not expect a hand to materialize and write on the wall, nor do I expect an angel to appear and tell me what to do. If you are hardcore skeptic about such things, think of it as a form of meditation or self-talk. Whatever it is, talking and praying to God over the years I have seen, heard, and felt things that led me to make solid decisions, feel confident I was on the right track, or change courses entirely.

The potentially disquieting aspect of signs, omens, portents, or prophetic occurrences is when they pop up on their own, so to speak. You know, what I mean.  You are driving down the road and something catches your eye. It might be something you’ve seen dozens of times, but suddenly it reminds you of a promise, obligation, task, or dirty job you successfully ignored or suppressed for some time.  I experienced such a moment this holiday season.

This little episode of what-is-going-on-here started in a relatively straightforward fashion. Our Austin family; daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren; came to spend a few days before Christmas. It was a pleasant surprise of sorts, as they normally came to see us after Christmas.  However, this year things were different.

Our son-in-law lost his father a few months ago. To make matters worse, he lost his mother the year before. Before the loss of his parents, the tradition was to spend Christmas at his family home and come to ours after Christmas.  It was an arrangement we completely understood.  Heck, we would have loved to spend Christmas with his folks at their home in the Texas Hill Country. So, having the Austin branch of our family with us at Christmas time was a mixed blessing for a couple of reasons.

The loss of his father resulted in a massive amount of work and trouble for our son-in-law and the rest of the family. His father and mother did a great job planning for the end that awaits us all.  Still, dealing with the matter was not easy, and the problems encountered led to a strange Christmas time meeting.  We spent a good deal of time the weekend before Christmas talking about End-of-Life issues. Sing Noel? Not!

Truthfully, our daughter and son-in-law’s concerns were understandable. If something happened to one of us, the other would likely need help, and they believed it was essential to make sure we understood the problems that could arise if the paperwork was incomplete, mistakes were made, proper planning was not done, etc. They were hoping to save the survivor, and themselves, as much effort as possible.

On the other hand, I’ve always thought the confusion and hassle one’s passing creates for his or her offspring is just a bit of payback for all the worry lines and gray hair they caused. Dubious efforts at wittiness aside, we had a decent discussion.

I am currently in the middle of duplicating numerous documents, directives, and records they will need if their mother or I should fail to wake up some morning. If that were the end of the story, you would not be reading this, which brings me to the question of signs and coincidences.

Checking email these days in my world is mostly a matter of deleting spam, offers from companies wanting to sell me something, have me sell something for them, help me increase my sales, keep my clients happy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera! Two days after Christmas I took a break from scanning copies of wills, financials, insurance, and other miscellanies, to check email.  Almost immediately, two subject headings caught my eye.

One was from our Medicare Advantage program. The subject line read, “4 Smart Ways to Prepare for Your Own Funeral.” The other was from a senior citizen’s organization, and the subject line was, “Five Things You Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance.” They were emailed within minutes of each other that morning.

I know! It is just a coincidence.  I am, after all, in that age range, and these entities must justify their existence by smothering clients, patients, and prospects with information. Receiving the emails at this time makes some sense, but the timing makes it hard to write off as serendipity. Our family decided to bring this subject up at Christmas of all times, and I have been immersed in this since Christmas Eve. Now, I have two emails discussing two topics we discussed in some detail over the last few days.

Is this a sign that my time is coming soon? Is it a matter of chance? Probably not either of those. Most likely, I was attuned to the topic. Instead of dumping these emails into their respective folders for future reference, I thought, “What does this mean?” Of course, perhaps the sign is my awareness of the possibility. Either way, it could be God, or the universal mind reminding me I am not immortal.

Most of us do not wish to contemplate the inevitable. We would rather have it be a surprise, and possibly go out with a smile on our face thinking about the mess we left for the kids to clean up. The reality is none of us are guaranteed the next breath, much less tomorrow. Failure to plan for our absence is not something any of us should strive to achieve. Preferably, at any age, we need to understand we have a responsibility to those we may leave behind at any minute.

We should make satisfying that responsibility a New Year’s resolution. One we keep!

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

Posted in Daily Life, Family Vaules, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Of Murder and Politics

Thankfully I had just parked my car when DFW radio talker Mark Davis began interviewing Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson concerning the indictment of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger in the death of Botham Jean a few days ago. Had I been driving, I might have wrecked when she began trying to justify the indictment of Ms. Guyger for murder.

To be clear, as a former police chief, police instructor, firearms instructor, and experienced investigator, I have many questions about the death of Mr. Jean. It seems extremely unlikely Ms. Guyger’s actions can be justified. With that said, this piece is not about the shooting itself. Instead, this is about the indictment, and what that indictment might mean for others in the future. The piece also questions the reasoning an allegedly qualified, conservative district attorney used to justify the indictment.

Specifically, Ms. Johnson stated the indictment was justified because of the definition of murder. For the record, the definition to which she alluded is when someone “intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual.” [TPC § 19.02 (b) (1)] Ms. Johnson paraphrased the definition, but her statement was close enough for government work.

At this point, I am tempted to veer off a bit into a technical discussion of murder and other forms of homicide. In this case, that would be akin to carrying sand to the beach. The local media and others on social media have thoroughly explored the options available in this matter. Besides, the concern here is not other possible charges. Instead, the concern here is that the current DA is establishing a precedent the incoming DA may continue or exploit.

Ms. Johnson clearly stated in her defense of the Grand Jury decision that anyone intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another can be true billed on a murder charge in Dallas County. The problem is this. If someone breaks into your home and you defend yourself with deadly force, you may knowingly and intentionally cause the death of another. Yes, you can protect yourself with deadly force under those circumstances, but doing so still places you in jeopardy.

Some may be thinking, “Jeopardy? Not in Texas! Texas has the castle doctrine, and Texans have a right to defend their families and their property.” Yes, they do, but there are limitations, restrictions, and consequences if one makes a mistake in such a situation. Consider a slightly different scenario in the Amber Guyger case.

Suppose former officer Guyger had just come home from her extra long work day and was in her apartment. Due to the double shifts, overtime work, just not getting enough rest or whatever, she fails to close and latch her door.

A short time later, Mr. Jean accidentally parks on the wrong floor, enters the building, walks to what he thinks is his apartment, pushes open the door, and confronts Ms. Guyger in the darkened apartment. Or in other words, made the same mistake Ms. Guyger allegedly made on the night of Mr. Jean’s death.  A confrontation ensues, and Mr. Jean is killed.

Given the world in which we live today, does anyone really believe the outcome would be any different? Technically, if Ms. Guyger were in her residence and felt threatened or thought Mr. Jean was there to rob her, she would probably be within her rights to use deadly force. Still, under the definition of murder in the penal code, and as stated by the current DA, she could be indicted for murder.

Some might scoff at the hypothetical scenario and outcome above. The idea that someone might be charged, indicted, and tried for shooting an intruder in their home seems ludicrous in Texas. While that might have been true in our parents’ Texas, things are different today. Between the racial component of this case and social media, it is likely the aftermath of the hypothetical situation would be the same as what the officer faces today. There is just too much pressure on elected and appointed officials, including prosecuting attorneys and judges for them to stand up to accusations such as they encounter in 2018.

As of this moment, no one knows the eventual outcome of this case. Perhaps there is evidence of misconduct beyond poor judgment and overreaction on the part of the officer. If such evidence exists a conviction on a murder charge or a lesser criminal offense is possible. Whether there is or not, the former officer might plead to a lesser charge, which will bring more public outcry, but avoid a possibly messy trail and the resulting public response.

Whatever the outcome of the criminal proceedings, Ms. Guyger’s life is ruined. Whether she is convicted or not is to some degree a moot point. The only difference between a conviction and acquittal in a case such as this is how one serves his or her time. Conviction means prison time, but guilty or not guilty Guyger has nothing pleasant in her future. She faces being a pawn in a civil court battle that could include more public scrutiny, substantial legal bills, and other personal consequences beyond what one can easily imagine.1


1. For more on the consequences of using deadly force, check out: Option, Saga, Question

© OneOldCop.com – 2018

Posted in Law Enforcement, Police, Politics, Self Protection | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Thank You for Your Service?

Here we are, the week after Thanksgiving. We have recovered from turkey, stuffing, overeating, football games, family, and steering clear of politics around the dinner table or during half-time. Christmas is just over the horizon, and Veterans Day 2018 is a fading memory.

If not today, very soon asking someone what they did on Veterans Day will likely bring a blank stare or one of those, is-he-kidding looks. After all, it is just one of those holidays designed to interrupt our mail service and give federal employees another day off. At least that is the way many may think of it if they think of it at all before next November.

Fortunately, some folks understand Veterans Day is more than an excuse for a day off or a cookout. Many of these people believe honoring those who served, and in many cases died, in the service of our country is a privilege, possibly a duty. Even more seem to feel a need to honor our veterans in some fashion, though they may not be sure why.

Confusion in the area of honoring, acknowledging, or thanking veterans is nothing new. Over the decades one could watch the ebb and flow of our respect for those who wear this nation’s uniforms, risking life and limb to keep it secure. From the honor shown to the Greatest Generation following World War II to the disdain, even disgust, shown those who served in Vietnam, to the confusion created by 9/11 and the hostilities in the Middle East, the nation has struggled to know when, where, and how to say thank you to those who risk their lives to keep us safe.

The horrific events of 9/11 changed the nation’s understanding of warfare, service, and sacrifice. For the first time in modern history, the U. S. mainland suffered an attack resulting in mass casualties. Those atrocities changed a nation’s understanding of what it means to serve one’s country.

Suddenly, the nation understood those who serve in uniform, whether they be firefighters, police officers, soldiers, sailors, or other uniformed services were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us and our country safe. Their sacrifices, at ground zero and later in the Middle East, lifted the veil of uncertainty from a population still wondering about the Vietnam era. Once again, it was time to say thank you to the men and women who protect and serve this country.

Sadly, another problem arose. How, precisely, does one express gratitude to a serviceman or woman for going to battle in some far off land? How does one, or should one, thank a firefighter or police officer for, most of the time, merely doing the job? If that were not enough of a quandary, another issue became apparent over time. How the focus of one’s gratitude reacted.

Over the years I watched people struggle with knowing how and when to approach someone in uniform and say thank you. More important, I watched and heard how hard it was for those in uniform to respond to those who want to express their thanks.

In many cases, the soldier, officer, or other service member looked like a deer in the headlights before mumbling a thank you. I also watched those who offered their thanks walk away shaking their heads wondering why the object of their effort reacted in such a low key manner. In too many instances, the contact was mutually frustrating instead of gratifying.

It is possible such interaction can be precisely what one hopes. A person walks up to someone in uniform and says, “Thank you for your service.” The recipient of the thanks handles the contact just as one might expect, and they part company feeling a little better about their world that day. If only they were all like that.

Quite often, the problem is on the receiving end. The majority of the people who serve, regardless of how or where they serve, are not seeking praise, or even recognition. They are serving because they are called, at some level, to do so. Their recognition comes from those with whom they serve, their family, and friends. They would quite often rather someone threaten them than say thanks. Those who serve know how to handle aggression. Kindness, on the other hand, is unexpected, possibly suspicious, and to some degree embarrassing.

Assuming my thoughts are right, what is the point of this piece. Am I suggesting thanking someone for their service is wrong? Am I accusing those who wish to thank someone of having an ulterior motive? Am I blaming those who wear the uniforms of being ungrateful? No, no, and no!

What I am saying is this. Should you choose to thank a member of the military, a firefighter, a police officer, a paramedic, or anyone else for their service go ahead. Understand, however, that not everyone you approach knows how to accept your comments. This can be especially true when using the term, thank you for your service. As noted above, many find this embarrassing, and will not react with what you perceive as gratitude. That does not mean they do not appreciate the gesture. It just shows they do not know how to respond.

You on the other hand, if your comment was sincere, have tried to do something nice.  Regardless of their reaction, you can walk away knowing you reached out and can feel good about your effort. With that said, it may be possible to express your gratitude in a way that the service member can understand and accept more easily. 

My thoughts on this issue were triggered by an unfortunate situation developing just prior to Veterans Day. The incident involved a poorly thought out comedic skit on television.  

The skit, in the form of a satirical news commentary, ridiculed a newly elected member of Congress and disabled veteran, Dan Crenshaw. The skit was, to say the least, offensive. So offensive in fact viewer reaction resulted in a public and hopefully heartfelt apology on the part of the comedian and the show.

In addition to the apology, Congressman-elect Crenshaw appeared on television with the comedian. They then engaged in their own little skit concerning the incident, and the Congressman-elect was given time to comment on the situation and how to thank veterans of all types.

Lt. Commander Crenshaw, Ret. shared the need for us to settle our differences in a fashion similar to what we witnessed on television that evening. He went on to suggest a different way to connect with military veterans, and, by implication, others who served or sacrificed in the line of duty. He suggested we use the phrase, “Never forget” instead of “Thank you for your service.” His comments rang true to me, which is why you are reading them.

Before, closing I have one more thought to share with those who might want to thank someone for their service or tell them never forget. Do not say it if you do not mean it. Thank you for your service has become the have-a-good-day of the twenty-first century United States. People throw out thank-you-for-your-service in a knee-jerk fashion, and everyone knows it. None who served or serve in any capacity want a thank you that is meaningless or a platitude. If you aren’t certain you can give a heartfelt thanks, just smile, nod, and pass on by. 

I cannot swear the Congressman-elect was right about his suggestion.  Some approached that way may have a quizzical never-forget-what look on their face. Still, it may be worth trying.  To that end, I will close with the following.

I have something to say to Robert Tuel, Michael Lynch, and the others with whom I’ve worked, shared a story, cried, or laughed throughout the years. “Never Forget!”

© OneOldCop – 2018

Posted in Civility, Daily Life, Manners, Veterans, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Date With Destiny?

Boy! You come up with what you think is a cool title, and some guy named Tony Robbins is using it for his latest lecture series. Sad, but one must do the best one can with the tools he is given. So, I will soldier on in the hopes my use of the term will make sense, even if it does not help you find your purpose in life!

Okay! Sarcasm aside, I am writing today to share a story I hope you will find interesting and helpful. It is my little story and does lead to a date with destiny of sorts. That date was October 19, 2018, and the destiny part included an ice cold operating room, a cardiac surgeon, and one of those afternoons everyone would rather avoid.

This little saga started several years ago with a medical diagnosis that was more confusing than unsettling. My heart, yes, I do have a heart though some of my former subordinates often wondered about it, was never normal. By that I mean one section of it was somewhat enlarged and tortuous, and a regular heartbeat was pretty much not in its repertory. Perhaps that is one reason I winced whenever someone broke into Ella Fitzgerald’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

Suddenly, I found out I had another irregularity. Something called AFib joined with my long-standing premature ventricular contractions to confuse my doctors and complicate my life. The funny thing was, I had no idea. I did not feel bad. I worked out five to six days a week, had plenty of energy, and no symptoms to indicate something was wrong. I thought I was, except for being overweight, the picture of health. Well, my doctors torpedoed that self-image pretty quickly.

To be fair to the doctors and to save a bit of time, I will not detail the next few years. Let’s just say my faith in the medical profession was tested. I found myself over medicated and undergoing risky procedures that were of little or no help.

Finally, I was left with two poor choices. The first was to take a boatload of medication. The problem with this choice was the medication made me feel somewhat like a zombie, reduced my stamina to the point any form of workout was draining and lowered my heart rate to the point I was in danger of passing out without warning. The other option was to carry on as before with an increased risk of stroke. I decided on another strategy.

I decided it was time to fire my docs, at least the heart doc, and find some new ones. Amazingly, when I broached this subject with my primary care doctor, and he spoke with the cardiologist another alternative was discovered.

To be clear, the new alternative was not one I particularly liked. I did, however, agree to consider it when my cardiologist agreed additional and more extensive testing concerning my condition was in order. After the testing, he admitted a mistake had been made, and my situation could be treated differently. It was not one that appealed to me, but after a good deal of research and discussion, I agreed.

The next step led me to a gurney in a frigid operating room trying to entertain the nurses, anesthetist, and doctor with my gallows humor. Yes, I am one of those guys. I like to impress those around me with coolness under fire. Some will argue people like me make jokes at times like these to alleviate their fears. I think of it differently.

I have been in plenty of tense situations over the decades. Due to my experiences, I came to believe a little levity lets those around me know I am at least somewhat in control of myself. Also, if they are stressed, it might help them a bit to at least chuckle at the poor slob trying to impress them. It seemed to work again, as I did get one nurse to give me what I thought was a real laugh, not just a let’s humor him chuckle.

Since I would be at least partially conscious for much of the procedure, the nurse needed to block my view of the proceedings.  This was done by placing a frame and surgical drape over my face and head. The surgical team could keep an eye on me, without me seeing any squirting blood or worried looks on anyone’s face.

The nurse working on the screening made several adjustments to the draping before the procedure started.  Finally, she asked if I was comfortable with the arrangement. I replied, “I’m great as long as you don’t start pouring water over it.” She actually laughed when she replied, “No waterboarding today.”

I was groggy, but awake for much of the surgery. It was not my first time to undergo surgery where one can feel sensations are associated with actions that should hurt, or hurt a lot more. I did experience some pain with this surgery, but not enough to ask for more anesthesia. I just wanted it finished.

To wrap this up, I left the OR with a brand spanking new, state of the art pacemaker. I also left it with a whole list of new medications I really did not want to take, but the extra tests and research I had done confirmed the doctor’s final diagnosis. The pacemaker would keep my heart from slowing to the point of unconsciousness, or worse, and the medications would deal with the irregularities in my rhythm.

I could tell there was an improvement in my condition by the next afternoon. I had just undergone surgery, had a very sore shoulder and chest, but felt better than the day before the surgery. Today, a month after the surgery, my heart is staying in rhythm, I am back to working out almost every day, and my measurable fitness or workout level is approaching the marks I hit last year.

All right! So much for sharing my little saga and having a bit of fun. Here is why I wrote this piece. I wrote it to tell anyone who is interested a couple of things. First, you are responsible for your life and well being, not your doctor. I was not happy with the treatment I was receiving from my cardiologist for a couple of years, but I stuck with it because my primary care doctor supported him. They are both great doctors, but even great doctors make mistakes. I finally decided I was going to seek another opinion and that started the ball rolling to resolving my issue.

Second, don’t just run off on the advice of a friend or anyone else and get a second opinion. I almost did that, and I firmly believe that would have been a mistake. If you have a good relationship with your primary care doctor give him or her a chance to help you sort this out. You can handle it any way that is comfortable for you, but I believe documentation is important.

I wrote a memo to my primary care doctor detailing my concerns, complaints, and questions. He used that to get my cardiologist’s attention. Today I have a good relationship with two doctors I have worked with for years. I am not building a relationship with a new cardiologist and possibly a new primary care doctor.

Also, I wrote this to get back in gear on writing. I let my heart issue, and some other matters interfere with writing. I am working on a major writing project, but I have many shorter pieces started I would like to finish and share. Let’s see if I can make that happen.

I have a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am confident you have as well.  So, Happy Thanksgiving!  May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year as well.

Thanks for reading.

 © OneOldCop – 2018 

 

Posted in Daily Life, Holidays, Medicine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment