Donor (and parents) Beware!

Knowing your children and grandchildren have hearts for giving and service is a great feeling. OneOldCop is blessed with children and grandchildren falling into that category. From volunteering at church and community organizations to involvement with raising funds for various causes, my family does its best to make a difference. The problem, if there is a problem with their efforts, is a tendency to be a bit impulsive at times. For example, the first thing popping up on social media the other day was a fundraising post from a grandson.

That was nothing new in some ways. Requests for funds for church camp, cheerleading, football programs, or other causes show up regularly in one form or another. This one, however, was seeking to raise money to help with medical bills, and the goal was in the upper five-figure range. Additionally, the story in the post read as if it was written by someone a bit older than sixteen. My fraud radar went off immediately, hack job?

The good news is no one hacked my grandson’s social media or email account. He set up the fundraiser, and he posted the information for a friend who was badly hurt in an automobile accident. The bad news is no one hacked his account, and he set up the account, without anyone’s knowledge, permission, or assistance. The worse news is, the fundraising or “crowdfunding” site makes no attempt to verify the age of the “organizer” setting up the account. This, in spite of their minimum age requirement for setting up and withdrawing funds, which my grandson did not meet. When queried about this discrepancy, the agent for the site advised they would verify age before allowing funds to be distributed.

Some of you are probably scratching your heads about now wondering what’s the problem. That was the response of the organization when I first chatted with them about the matter. They thought waiting until funds were raised before enforcing their rules was just fine, and what difference did it make. So, I told them.

First, fraud is rampant on social media. Anyone dealing with fundraising needs to make sure there are safeguards in place. Here, the protection was the money would not be distributed or withdrawn without some verification of the person making the withdrawal meeting their criteria. So, in this case, my grandson might have raised an amount approaching or exceeding $10,000 before being told he could not withdraw the funds. This seemed wrong in at least two ways. It could interfere with the timely distribution of the funds, and it could open the door to fraud.

If you’re thinking fraud is not likely in a case like this, you have not been paying attention to the cases of abuse involving crowdfunding. People have raised tens of thousands of dollars fraudulently through well-known crowdfunding operations. The most egregious, financially, incident of which I am aware involved a trio of miscreants in New Jersey.

A young couple and a homeless guy concocted a story designed to raise a few bucks to reward the homeless fellow for spending his last $20.00 to help the young woman out of a jam. The response was unbelievable! They raised $400,000 to “lift the homeless fellow out of poverty.” It was a scam, and all three were charged with crimes.

Other stories of this nature abound. In some cases, people claim they or family members have severe conditions, such as cancer. In reality, they are looking for easy money from soft-hearted people on social media. Others are set up to raise money in the name of legitimate needs, but the money goes in the pocket of the organizer.

Yes, those things will happen with any fundraising effort. People will misuse money, lie about why they need money, and outright steal if it comes down to it. Yet the incident the other day added a new element to the equation.

What would stop an enterprising person from setting up someone such as my grandson?  He is a trusting young man and selling him a bill of goods might be easy. He also has a bit of a problem with asking for permission, learning somewhere along the way asking for forgiveness might be easier

While the account being discussed here appears legitimate, the campaign was set up without parental knowledge. Luckily, between his parents and his nosey granddad, it did not take long for the situation to come to light. Still, what if no one noticed? If the campaign went unnoticed by family and was successful, the situation could become more problematic.

A minor child, legally speaking, would have raised a significant amount of money, either on his own initiative or at the request of a third party. That in and of itself would not be a horrible problem. What happens next could be.

First, why did he raise the money without telling his parents? Here, I cannot see my grandson intentionally hiding it from his folks, but he might not think it was necessary. Or, he might wait to see if the effort was successful, so he could surprise them.

On the other hand, I can see him withholding the information because he was asked to keep it quiet for some reason. In this case for instance, it seems the information used in the campaign came from the injured friend’s sister. If she asked him to keep it quiet, for whatever reason, he probably would have agreed. What if she was being less than honest about the reason for raising the funds?

Again, this is a hypothetical, but clearly possible situation. Money has been raised in the name of helping a severely injured teen. The campaign organizer, a minor child, contacts the crowdfunding group to withdraw the money, and their response is, “Sorry.” They inform him he needs to appoint an adult beneficiary to withdraw the money.

Hopefully, he would head straight to his mom or dad and tell them what was going on. However, that is not often the way an independent teen thinks. So, instead of his folks, he tells the sister the problem, and she or an older family member or friend says, “Hey! Just put it in my name.” Hopefully, again, that would solve the problem, but what if the money just doesn’t make it to the doctor bills or whatever? Who will be on the hook if the thing turns out to be a scam of some sort?

In the case of the homeless guy and the gambling addicts, the crowdfunding company, if I remember correctly, reimbursed disgruntled donors. That was either a good deed on their part, a wise advertising move, or they listened to their attorneys. What if they had not stepped up?

I will not dig into the muck of what might or might not happen legally in a situation where a minor is tricked or coerced into setting up a fund.   That would depend on the circumstances, the courts, the jurisdictions, and the people involved. Yet, it should be clear someone might have liability here. For instance, it might be hard for the organizer’s family members to avoid legal problems.

Legal ramifications aside, my grandson and his parents would feel responsible to some degree. He would feel used and betrayed. They would be disappointed and might feel a moral obligation to repay people out of their own pocket. If the story got out, as it certainly would, the young man would face ridicule and embarrassment that could scar him for life.

Hopefully the preceding makes it clear this is a potentially damaging situation. The crowdfunding source in question here seems open to changing the age verification policy. One hopes, they will find a way to prevent a minor setting up an account without a sponsor or associate of majority age. Still, there are dozens, if not more, of these organizations operating today.

My guess is most of them have not addressed this issue any more clearly than the one inspiring these comments. Before anyone uses or donates to one of these services, some investigation might be appropriate. This would be especially true in a case such as the one triggering this piece.

A minor organizing one of these efforts under parental supervision is one thing. A child undertaking an initiative of this sort without parental supervision Is a horse of a different color.  The kid’s family may be at risk financially, friends and acquaintances donating to the fund may find they have little recourse in the case of fraud, and the entire system of crowdfunding takes another hit that was avoidable.

© oneoldcop.com-2019

Posted in Daily Life, Family Vaules, Law Enforcement | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World As We Knew It: Untold Stories

For many, September 11, 2001 was the end of the world as they knew it. Suddenly, the entire country faced the reality babyboomers knew since grade school. Some parts of the world hate the United States. Admittedly, it was unsettling to discover the enemy was not a well-defined nation. Instead, the United States might be at war with an ideology spread around the world.

Boomers grew up worrying about someone pushing a red button and wiping countries off the face of the earth. They weathered the storm of the Cuban Missle Crisis, as well as Vietnam and the civil unrest it engendered. The world, as boomers knew it, was always in flux and changed with shifts in the political wind. A war with an ideology was different, but it was still war.

Yes, the sheer magnitude of the attack taking place that day was staggering. So staggering in fact, the way we did business, traveled and defined our enemies changed, but the world was still the same screwed up place it has been since the Iron Age. As for the United States, someone has hated us, tried to attack us, threatened us, and done their level best to make us disappear since the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Please know, the preceding remarks are not to downplay the importance of 9/11. They are not to minimize the prices paid by those who are no longer with us because they decided to go to work that day. Nor, were they written to disparage or cast a shadow over the efforts made to remember the price the nation paid that day, and every day since, for being the United States of America.

The memorials, memorial services, remembrances, and ongoing struggle to control, if not eradicate, terrorist organizations in the world are essential. So were the efforts to save as many as possible that day. The price paid by first responders for rushing into a toxic environment deserves to be recognized, and the heroics of the passengers on Flight 93 lauded. Still, in our desire to memorialize a tragedy of this nature, some stories go unknown or unacknowledged.

Judy* was a widow whose husband died unexpectedly and relatively young. He was in the prime of life, with school-age children, and a beautiful wife. However, he left home one morning and never returned. I do not remember what took his life, but I believe it was natural causes and totally unexpected. Judy ended up seeking help with her grief and her future from the para-ministry with which I was involved.

As with many who seek help, this writer included, Judy remained with the ministry to help others. We became friends and colleagues, which is why I know how the events at the World Trade Center changed her life. You see, Judy was in New York that day, a few blocks from ground zero.

Can you imagine what it was like? Not that many years before the world as she knew it changed dramatically. Now she was only a few blocks from something devastating, trapped, with no way to call her family or find out what was happening elsewhere. It took hours for her to make contact with anyone from home, and it was days before she could make it back to her family. When she returned to Texas, her world had changed, again.

Harry* was a young man who came to work with me after leaving the military. He liked being in uniform and thought law enforcement would be a good job. He hoped it would allow him to help others, build a career, even a legacy.

The military was the ticket out of Harry’s small-town life. He came from a rural area of Texas where he felt mistreated. In the Army, he was no longer the poor black kid from the wrong side of the tracks, at least for a time. Unfortunately, he discovered discrimination and stereotyping were not limited to the boonies. He left the military a bit older, a bit more resilient, but still hurting.

Law enforcement was good for him to a point. Our department valued diversity and pushed public service more than traditional police agencies. Unfortunately, the department operated in an area with its share of rednecks and bigots. His response to some of those individuals and his inability to handle his emotions almost cost him his badge.

Then he found a new way of thinking. He found a religion that helped him with his self-worth and helped him realize it was not about the small-minded people who only saw the color of his skin. He changed right before our eyes, becoming a more mature, more stable friend, colleague, husband, and father.

If Harry had worked in New York City and been near the towers on that fateful September morning, he might have been one of those rushing into harm’s way. He was that kind of person and cop. Instead, he served along with all the other officers in the United States waiting for the next shoe to drop, wondering what might happen and where it would happen. He had a community to help protect, and he wanted to do a good job.

Harry soldiered on, doing his job, taking care of his family, and growing in his faith. Unfortunately, his faith was Islam. His efforts to overcome frustrations from his youth were negated by the response of many people to his faith. The 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, all Muslims must be dangerous.

Harry’s family was harassed and threatened. His personal property was vandalized, and he was mistreated when he was not in uniform or performing official duties. As a grown man, an experienced police officer, he suddenly found himself once again on the wrong side, figuratively speaking, of the tracks and with the “wrong” religion in the view of many.

Judy’s experiences surrounding 9/11 led her to question her life and her future. She wondered if there was anything out there for her. She was alone and had just experienced one of those, “What if I’d been in that building” moments. She had to be strong for her children, but there was no one close to be strong for her. No one to hold her in the night when she remembered the fear she felt that day. There was no one to comfort her when she cried.

Then, she ended up in my office. Among others, I helped her recover from the loss of her husband. She trusted me and shared her fears and longings readily. Her proximity to the attack on New York made her realize her vulnerability and her desire to have a partner in life. She just had no clue how to fill the void she now recognized so clearly. Thankfully, what she needed was already a part of her life, which made my job simple. All I had to do was point out the obvious.

She and her best male friend and confidant were married a few months later. He had loved her for a long time but knew she needed time and space. He was patient, standing by as she struggled with grief and was still there after 9/11. They are together to this day, happy and healthy.

I wish I could say the same about Harry. The alienation he felt as a young black Baptist in rural Texas was nothing compared to the isolation he felt as middle-aged black Muslim in Dallas after 9/11. He withdrew from his long-time friends and colleagues, depending more and more on new friends who shared his religion.

On the surface, he made the right choice. Most faiths believe being surrounded and supported by fellow believers is essential, and if that is true, Harry was in a good position. He was a leader in his neighborhood and congregation.

Unfortunately, Islam is no different than Catholicism, Christianity, or other religions in one critical way. Sinners hide behind the trappings of faith in all of them. Harry became involved with a fellow believer who was not part of the same congregation. However, Harry trusted him because of their shared beliefs. That was a mistake.

The fellow in question was accused of some serious crimes. His attempts to mitigate his punishment included offering the prosecutors information on a “dirty cop.” There was, as far as I know, little if any evidence to support his charges against Harry. In the end, the lack of evidence did not matter.

Harry’s involvement with the person was enough to call his judgment into question. There were plenty of signs this guy was not to be trusted, but Harry believed in him because of their shared faith. The prosecutors agreed to close the investigation on Harry if he would resign from law enforcement. His career was over, as the reason for his resignation was part of his official record.

These are simply two small stories remembered eighteen years after 9/11. One is uplifting the other is not. Either way, they represent the thousands of other stories which likely played out and will play out over the years. The world changed that day, and people of whom we’ve never heard are living with the consequences of that change. Now and in the future, take a moment and pray for the Judys and Harrys whose lives were changed by 9/11. Pray they all find, or found, a way to have full and love-filled lives as Judy did.**


* Pseudonyms

**To be fair and transparent, I have reason to believe Harry went on to recover from the situation which caused him to give up his law enforcement career. I would hope his friends and family supported him as he built a new career for himself.

© oneoldcop.com-2019

Posted in Daily Life, family, Law Enforcement, Leadership, Patriotism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Of Life and Limb

An online dialogue between some old cops reminded this old cop of an incident from the early days of my law enforcement career.  This particular episode of my time in the field was dangerous, amusing, and are-you-kidding-me all in one package. As with many stories of this nature, it started on a slow Thursday night.[i]

The call was to somewhat routine.  One of our regulars was mixing his poisons again. His folks called to let us know he’d run off down the street chasing ghosts or something.  The guy was in his twenties or early thirties, physically and chronologically.  Emotionally and intellectually, he was a damaged teenager on ineffective medication.  Medication which did not interact well with the street drugs and alcohol he’d consumed that evening and many other evenings.

Typically, the guy, let’s call him Larry, would turn up in an hour or two.  He’d either find his way home after sobering up a bit, or one of us would find him somewhere and provide a place for him to sleep it off, whatever “it” was. The concern this evening was the creek or drainage ditch near where he lived. If he’d chased his demons into the creek, it might be challenging to find him or retrieve him.  As it turned out that was the least of our problems.

Several patrol units responded to the area. No one, his folks or the neighbors seemed to have any idea where he might be. Since he wasn’t attracting attention to himself at the moment,  we figured he was either hiding down in the creek, curled up under a porch, or passed out behind someone’s shed or garage. Whatever the reality, walking the area was the only possibility of finding him. Thankfully the neighborhood was small and compact. Still, we had no luck. Then, we got a break.

Someone called and reported hearing cries for help near the south end of Railroad Avenue. Railroad bordered the tracks, stopping just short of the wooded area near the creek. It was the kind of place Larry might hide if he was afraid. Still, when we made it to the location, we couldn’t hear or find anything.

We were about to call it a night and head back to our regular assignments when we heard a faint cry of some sort coming from overhead.  We immediately assumed the “cries for help” were coming from a cat stuck in a tree. Still, we had to check.

Flashlights in those days were not the flame-throwing LED lights of today.  Most were the two D-cell lights the department issued. They were good enough for checking the interior of a car or finding something you dropped.  We did not expect to see much with them unless the cat’s eyes caught the light just right.  Well, it wasn’t a cat, and the eyes of the large pale creature in the tree did not glow.

Larry was in the tree. Not only was he in a tree, he was in the uppermost branches. Not only was he in the topmost branches, he was hanging upside down by one leg which was caught where a large limb forked off the trunk.  Not only was he hanging upside down in a tree fork in the upper reaches of the tree, he was stark naked.

All right! Fire department time! Police officers did not climb trees to rescue cats or people.  That was the smoke eater’s job. True to form, the fire department responded in style, bringing their ladder truck, and all their fancy gear.  Then they called a supervisor, who called the chief, who decided no one from the fire department was going up that ladder to rescue a naked, intoxicated, and stoned psycho, their words not mine.

Now we had a problem. We were street cops.  We were ready willing and able to jump in a lake, dive into a burning car, kick in a door, or do almost anything else necessary to assist someone in distress. Climbing thirty or forty feet up a tree to extract a naked, frightened, drunk, was a bit out of our comfort zones.  Still, some of us were attempting to suck it up enough to at least give it a try when our savior arrived.

Yes, two of our detectives pulled up to see what all the fuss was about. Now, street cops all wanted to be detectives at some point. That did not mean we wanted detectives involved in a situation like this. In many cases, detectives were ill-prepared and ill-equipped to respond to routine police calls.

For instance, there was the time two detectives decided to assist the nightshift with a burglary in progress call. They arrived ahead of the uniformed officers, with no flashlights and no plan. Thankfully, the only injury was when the burglar accidentally shot himself. Perhaps, I’ll write about that near comedic tragedy at a later date. Here, the detectives, at least one of them, was a lifesaver, literally.

His name was Don West. He was one of the smaller guys in the department, and I do not remember him being that fit.  However, he looked at the firefighters and street cops pointing fingers at each other, said a few bad words, took off his sport coat and climbed up the ladder.  Not only did he climb all the way up, but he also managed to calm Larry, help him extract himself from the tree fork, and got him down to the ground.

Once the suspect was on the ground, routine took over.  Larry was dealt with appropriately, and Don went home to clean up and get some rest.  The neighborhood went back to sleep, or whatever they did in the wee hours of the morning.  The excitement and confusion were over for that night.

So, why did I share this story?  Is there a point or moral? There are lessons to be learned from any incident of this nature. Yet, that is not the reason for telling the story here. It is told here to remember Don West.

As I mentioned, Don was not a big guy. He was not trained to rescue people from hanging upside down in a tree, and could easily have taken the position that was not his job. The Fire Department guys who, theoretically at least, underwent rescue training, were refusing to go, and the street cops responsible for the call were waffling, including me. He could have driven off into the night with a clear conscience.

That wasn’t Don though.  He risked life and limb to rescue someone who spent much of his time attempting to drink himself to an early grave.  He had a record of attempted suicides, and everyone knew it was simply a matter of time before he’d succeed. In fact, not long after this incident, he finally did.

Don knew that was a possibility. He knew he was going to risk his life to help someone who was, at best, going to die at an early age of liver problems. Yet, Don did not hesitate to place himself in danger to help someone in distress.  If nothing else, I thought this little bit of Don’s story deserved to be shared.[ii]


[i] Okay, it may not have been a Thursday, but Thursdays were often the slowest night of the week in our part of the world. Also, when something did happen, it was often weird, frightening, unexpected, and different.
[ii] Like a lot of guys Don left our PD to pursue other interests, going on to make a living as a polygraph operator and investigator as I understand it.  Sadly, it appears Don passed away earlier this year, and that is another reason to share this story. May he rest in peace.

 

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

 

Posted in Commitment, Ethics, Law Enforcement, Leadership, Morality, Police | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day this year had a different feel to me for some reason.  Perhaps, my own mortality is beginning to seem more real or the posthumous reuniting of my father and brother has me waxing more nostalgic than usual.

Or, it may be the uncomfortable feelings I felt watching the coverage as it switched from one matter to another. One talking head, personality, veteran, politico or celebrity would speak almost reverently about those who sacrificed their lives for our country.  The very next instant, someone else would be raving about a rack of smoked ribs and lawn parties.

Or, it may have been the almost slapstick antics of some folks followed closely by a tender shot of a military widow and child laying on the grave of their fallen hero. Talk about cognitive dissonance! Whatever the reality, I decided this was not the year for me to write a new piece about Memorial Day.

Instead, I thought it might be appropriate to share pieces from the past people might have forgotten or not have seen.  Accordingly, I offer the following links to pieces from the past that I hope you will find of interest.

Names on the Wall

One Day at a Time

At the Wall

Something Left Behind

Lest We Forget

After the War (video)

 

Posted in National Defense, Veterans, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Of Peacemakers and Padres

A bit over a year ago, Engage Your Brain was published on An Old Sinner’s Place.  It was my response to someone injecting their understanding of theology into a discussion unnecessarily. Not only was the comment unnecessary, but it was, in my not so humble opinion, inappropriate and offensive.

A short time later, an old friend, a man of the cloth, questioned a post implying police officers were peacemakers as referred to in Matthew 5:9. Both comments were made in response to posts intended to memorialize or remember police officers who fell in the line of duty.

At the time, I simply ignored my old friend’s comment. He is, after all, a bit of a provocateur. Many times his comments are designed to stir the pot or make one think. Yet, in this case, given his openly stated views socially and politically, it seemed clear he was taking exception to images such as the one above. With National Law Enforcement Week, and Peace Officer Memorial Day just past, it seems appropriate to resurrect this issue.

Are police officers peacemakers?  My pastor friend may not think so, and the person taking umbrage with the police version of The Final Inspection might agree.  In fact, it is likely many people in the United States, even the world, view law enforcement as a necessary evil or simply evil.  In some ways, that can be understood.

Anyone paying attention to current events knows that in some parts of the U.S. and many other countries the police are, shall we say, less professional and honest than one would hope. Still, in the States at least, the vast majority of police officers are doing the best they can to protect, serve, and keep the peace.  With that said, is keeping order the same as being a peacemaker, as Jesus used the word? Unfortunately, that is not an easy question to answer.

The problem is multi-faceted. First, there is the language issue. The term peacemaker in Greek can be interpreted in several ways, as can the word peacemaker in English.  In Hebrew, I cannot find a word that directly translates to peacemaker, though peace and tranquility are easy to find.  Then, there is the issue of how did Jesus mean it, and what exactly was he talking about. As with many of His lessons and statements, Jesus did not explain what He meant. With that said, consider the following.

A peacemaker can be defined, in modern terms, as “one who makes peace especially by reconciling parties at variance.” The thought-provoking aspect of this definition may sound a bit heretical, but it is true. Jesus might not fit this definition. In fact, He explicitly denied being a peacemaker, according to Matthew, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (10:34) So, where does that leave us on the question of police officers as peacemakers?

The reality, regardless of what anyone feels, police officers are peace officers or peacemakers. Their job is to fulfill the role of peacemaker, which includes several functions according to the current definition. Merriam-Webster provides the following list of synonyms for peacemaker in modern terms.  They include, “broker, buffer, conciliator, go-between, honest broker, interceder, intercessor, intermediary, intermediate, interposer, mediator, middleman.”

Every police officer in every circumstance may not meet all of the criteria set out by our modern understanding of the term peacemaker. Still, every police officer who works for longer than a few days will find him or herself in one of the roles listed above. Even an officer who never does anything beyond enforcing the letter of the law, a complete impossibility, by the way, will be a peacemaker.

Anyone, including the highest authority in any religion, who does not understand police officers are peacemakers needs to do a bit more than play word games. That pastor, priest, preacher, reverend, minister, imam, or chief potentate needs to do some soul searching, and a lot of praying about the matter before opining police officers do not fit the definition, biblically or otherwise, of peacemaker.

 

© oneoldcop.com

Posted in Ethics, Law Enforcement, Morality, Police, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Once Upon a Time . . . special deputy

Writing “Once Upon a Time . . . the news” reminded me of something only other old cops might fully appreciate. Still, I thought it might be fun to share, as it highlights a tiny bit of Fort Worth history and politics.

My dad, Ralph Marshall Jackson was a lot of things. I won’t go into most of them, but the one that takes front and center today was his gift for gab. He was a first-class schmoozer, and his prowess in this area brought him a good deal of short term success over the years. It also put him in the hot-seat on more than one occasion.

His award-winning coverage of the 1958 military airplane crash near Bridgeport, Texas was one of those good news-bad news situations. It won him praise from executives at WFAA Television, ABC Television, and national exposure through Movietone News. On the other hand, he caught a lot of flack from the other reporters, freelancers, and news agencies covering the tragedy because of the way he scooped them.  Of course, one-upmanship and professional jealousies were part and parcel of the news business.  The real problem, for him, in the long run, was the political impact of his actions.

In those days, law enforcement was much like the old western movies. A sheriff could pretty much deputize anyone, and Ralph Jackson always wanted a badge and a gun. He couldn’t talk fast enough to warrant carrying a six-shooter. Still, he talked smoothly enough to convince then Sheriff Harlan Wright he should be a “Special Deputy.” That won him a badge, and permission to equip his personal vehicle with red lights, sirens, and a police radio.

At that time, he was driving a bright red, 1957 Dodge coupe. Equipped with red lights, in the grill, a police frequency two-way radio, and the 102″ whip antenna required by the radio, it looked more like a fire department vehicle than a cop car. Dad could not care less. All he cared about was tooling around town at night monitoring the police radio, and getting to stories before anyone else would even know something was going down.

Most people, including the reporters and other folks in the news business, did not have a problem with the arrangement. Sheriffs were not all-powerful, but they had a lot of leeway. Sheriff Wright ran his department as he pleased. Also, truth be known, none of the other news folks wanted to go to the trouble and expense involved with installing police equipment in their cars. They were content to let dad play deputy. That is, they were okay with it until the Bridgeport crash.

I mentioned in the story about the crash dad was the first Dallas-Fort Worth reporter on the scene. He was the first on the scene because he used his red lights and siren to beat everyone else to the crash site. He then used them to take his film to the television station in Dallas, allowing Channel 8 to show footage of the crash hours before the other stations.

To say the other reporters and their bosses were upset would be like saying Hillary Clinton was a bit miffed that Donald Trump won the election. First, they realized dad’s relationship with the sheriff had given him a significant advantage in reporting the biggest story of the year, if not the decade. Additionally, some of them were more than a little embarrassed when they realized that red car with lights and siren they pulled over for was the competition, not the authorities.

They were hopping mad, and they let anyone who would listen, know it. Dad, of course, was happy as a clam. The sheriff did remind him he was not a real deputy, and getting to a news story was not an emergency. Other than that dad continued to operate as he pleased, for a time.

Two years later the sheriff may have regretted letting dad slide. Lon Evans defeated Sheriff Wright in the election. As I remember it, one of Mr. Evan’s campaign promises was to stop the abuse of the sheriff’s authority in the area of special deputies.

Dad’s little stunt to scoop everyone on the Bridgeport story helped unseat Sheriff Wright. Since there was a new sheriff in town, literally, dad’s badge, red lights, and radio were quickly history.  That, folks, is the story of my dad’s life. He spent a lot of his time pedal to the metal, red lights flashing, siren wailing, laughing at those who could not keep up, and never considering the consequences until they bit him on the butt.

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

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Of Critical Mass and Open Borders

Critical mass and open borders are not terms you might expect to see paired as they are here.  After all, critical mass is a term customarily related to nuclear bombs.  No! I am not proposing nuking the borders or caravans. I am, however, about to argue the situation at the border is a societal problem that could be as devastating in some ways as nuclear war.

If you are still reading, there are likely one of two reasons. First, you may be wanting to see if I can support my last statement.  Second, you are waiting to see how big a fool or nut case I am.  Either way, thanks for sticking around.

At one time, I could assume most people reading this would understand the term critical mass.  Unfortunately, that is not the case today.  Whether one blames the lack of knowledge on changes in educational emphasis or the amount of time students today spend on social media, an understanding of science is not a high priority in the modern world.

The term critical mass came from the world of physics and was first used, according to one source, in 1945.  At that point, it referred to the amount of nuclear material needed to begin the process of nuclear fission. Then, scientists were talking about the tipping point beyond which an atomic reaction became uncontrollable. In other words, when an atomic bomb might go boom. In less explosive terms, it is the point at which one kind of matter or another overcomes the constraints placed upon it by other forces.

For instance, think of a dam, levee, waterway or flood control channel. Anyone living near or downstream from something of this nature should understand they are designed to control a particular kind of matter; water. The residents in those areas should also understand the possibility of the water achieving critical mass is real. If that happens, the results can be catastrophic.

A dam can fail, the levee can break, or the flood channel can overflow.  The result, as many discovered during Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding in other parts of the country this past winter, can be devastating.

Even if the dam or other barrier is not allowed to fail, the necessity of keeping the amount of water below the point of critical mass can wreak havoc.  Just ask the folks living downstream from the Lake Conroe dam outside of Houston. There, officials were forced to open floodgates in the dam to avoid it collapsing due to the mass of water behind it.

So, you say, what do nuclear material or water have to do with the border? I am so glad you asked.

In their natural state, uranium and water are merely part of the environment in which we live. Both can be dangerous in some circumstances, but, for the most part, every human on this planet is exposed to these elements daily, with no ill effects.  They are only dangerous under specific circumstances, concentrations or amounts (masses), which brings me back to the border.

Immigration, legal, illegal, intentional, accidental, or whatever, is not necessarily dangerous in the short term.  However, as with water and uranium, as the mass (of immigrants) increases the more unstable the situation (society) can become.

Think back to the question of the water behind a dam.  The dam has no problem holding the water back daily.  Even when it rains for a few days, most such barriers continue to function normally.  The problem arises when a deluge comes and continues.  Eventually, water will need to be released in quantities so large homes, and land below the dam are endangered or damaged. Worse, in spite of the efforts to control the mass, the dam may collapse, and everything below it is swept away.

As with any simile or allegory, the water and uranium comparison begins to break down at some point.  The border, walled or otherwise, is not a dam.  The immigrants are not water or nuclear material.  On the other hand, the impact the immigrants will eventually have on the United States unless something is done will be just as damaging to the economy, society, and to the lives of all who live in this country as flood waters and explosions are to the physical world.

Critical mass as it applies to immigration will be when the number of people entering the country, legally or illegally, is so high, they can lawfully or unlawfully control the civil processes driving society. Public school systems and publicly supported health care are already challenged by the needs of the resident population.  Adding hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of immigrants who, in many cases, cannot support themselves to the mix will make the challenges even more significant.

Yes, the country as it exists today would not exist if it had not been for immigration. From the original immigrants to those forced to immigrate against their will to those who fled the horrors of two world wars, immigrants played an integral part in the development of the United States. With that said, believing current and future immigration will play a similar role in the country is unrealistic.

In past generations, immigrants could be self-sufficient much more quickly than today.  A farmer from Russia, a cobbler from Europe, a seamstress from France, a baker from Germany, a butcher from Poland, or an artisan from Spain could find work or start a business. The country was growing, needs were expanding, and land was plentiful. From sharecroppers to wheelwrights, it was possible for an immigrant to provide for a family, and survive. Today that is not the case.

Today, immigrants and refugees can find themselves dependent on government and charitable support for survival. As more and more arrive, the number depending on government assistance becomes greater. At some point, the socio-economic imbalance will overwhelm the systems, and implosion will occur.

At that point, as with the dam simile, it will make little difference which side of the issue one finds him or herself. Chaos and disaster will be just one mistake, one unexpected problem away.

© oneoldcop.com – 2019

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