Some Nutbag Killed Nine People; We Don’t Do That In Our Family

Last week’s killing of 9 bible study group members in Charleston, South Carolina, reminds me of an event which happened 20 years ago this year.

On April 19, 1995, I owned five radio stations in Oklahoma, including stations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

That morning, a rental truck containing a bomb made of fertilizer and diesel fuel blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. In a time frame not dissimilar to the amount of time it took to arrest the perp in last week’s killings, Oklahoma authorities arrested Tim McVeigh, who was tried, found guilty, and executed in 2001 (ironically a few months before 9-11).

I’ve always been extremely proud of the way my people covered McVeigh’s crime.

The next morning, we got a call from a television group in New York that produced a long-forgotten show called Talk Television, hosted by a forgettable New York TV reporter named Lisa Evers (back then known as Lisa Sliwa). They wanted to hook up with our Tulsa-based morning show.  We said ok.

The show they booked included some sort of psychobabble expert, and they wanted to know what we were doing for “the children.”

My afternoon guy—whose voice you have heard on many national commercials—called in to say that he told his three-year-old that some nutbag blew up a building over in Oklahoma City and that “we don’t do that in our family.”

The folks from New York were horrified. They didn’t know what to say.

I was like a proud father. Couldn’t have put it better myself. (It was an all-hands-on-deck week; and all the credit should go to Howard Miller, Tim Carroll, Jeff Brucculeri, Pat Richardson, and Jim Fellows in no particular order because they all did what they did best as well as they have ever done it.)

What horrified the New York psychobabble experts fits the clown in South Carolina as well.

I don’t care about his online “manifesto” any more than I cared about McVeigh’s bullcrap (which can still be found online). It was immediately disqualified from consideration when he started killing innocent people in a civilized society to make whatever point he thought he was making. Besides, it is mostly nonsense.

This isn’t about civil rights or guns or violence.

It’s about some nutbag who killed nine people for no real reason no matter how sophisticated he thought his ranting may have sounded.

And the same applies to politicians who try to make some political hay from the situation.

In fairness, at least McVeigh didn’t use guns–so Bill Clinton could not have used the bombing to call for gun control. Barack Obama had no such impediment because a gun was, indeed, used; and Obama immediately took the cheap shot as if taking away the right from law-abiding citizens to defend themselves would have had any impact at all.

But in fairness, Obama also said this:

“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public… That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

Whatever else it is, it’s a tacit admission that you cannot legislate the way people interact with each other all the time.

That said, again, this wasn’t about race. It was about some nutbag who shot nine people dead in a church because he was, well, a nutbag. And in the vast majority of the United States of America, we don’t do that in our families.

There are no real answers.

Because in 330,000,000 people, there are going to be some nutbags.

There is no law you can pass, no police action you can take to cure that. Nor should there be in a free society. Because Ben Franklin said this:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

What you CAN do as parents and family members is to make sure that, growing up, the Dylann Roofs and the Tim McVeighs of the world know that we don’t do that in our families.

It’s ALL we can do.

Racism, gun control, and fertilizer control are all debates for another day.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Sorry Conservatives, But You Can’t Blindly Defend Law Enforcement

Last week, I wrote a column suggesting that you are under no obligation to have respect for a policeman who has no respect for you.

It went up on Westernjournalism.com, and some of the very same people who call the Commander-in-Chief names and want to lynch Lois Lerner were willing to defend the police officer in McKinney, Texas, who was so obviously out of control on the video that he “resigned” from the force.

OK, I’ll ignore the curses and generally inarticulate uttering of some of the commenters and ask this question of all of them:

Is there a line? If there is, where is it?

After we defeated the Germans in World War II, we gathered up the worst of the worst and put them on trial for war crimes against humanity. Nazi war criminals who were charged with genocide, mass murder, torture, and other atrocities used the defense “I was only following orders” so frequently that the argument became known as “The Nuremberg Defense”.

Is that how “conservatives” now defend what even the Police Chief of McKinney called “indefensible”?

To put it in modern context: “I am enforcing the law, and you must respect me; or I can shoot you or abuse you because I have a badge and a gun. I am right, and you are wrong.”

Apparently, many of those people who commented last week have forgotten how this country came about. Our forefathers didn’t like how the British were policing them. So they fought an armed revolution. And the eventual result of that armed revolution is that I have the right to write a column criticizing out-of-control police actions, and they can sit in their pajamas and call me names on Facebook.

So, back to my original point.

Of course there is a line. Where is it?

Is it in North Charleston, South Carolina, where an officer shot a guy in the back and then appeared to drop a gun next to him so that there would be some evidence he was “in fear of his life”?  Is that the line?

Or, is Lois Lerner the line?

Not fair, you say? Not fair to bring the IRS into a discussion of out-of-control policing?

Why not? They have badges and guns, and all they care about IS YOUR MONEY!

Lois Lerner proved to be lying scum. Is she over the line?

A badge and a gun may confer some authority, but those two items are NOT synonymous with good judgment.

At the end of the day, the police—at all levels—are our employees; and we have the absolute right to expect—actually to demand—a level of performance which exceeds what we have seen recently.

And lest anyone be confused, I believe that the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, WAS justified. But I also believe that the city and its police force had been riding roughshod over the citizens of the community, as much as it pains me to agree with anything Eric Holder says.

The death of Eric Garner in New York may or may not have actually been related to his arrest. There is some evidence of a previous medical condition. But we have to observe that he was taken down by five cops for selling loose cigarettes, which is hardly the use of police that our forefathers envisioned. Not after the Boston Tea Party.

At some point, we have to deal with the term “proportionate response.”

I simply don’t buy the explanation I’ve heard for many officer-involved shootings in the last 10 years.

Or, put it another way.

If a BLM sniper had killed Cliven Bundy last year, how would you defend the sniper? He was just following orders?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Why Respect A Cop Who Does NOT Respect You?

I’m sorry, folks. You just cannot treat people like animals headed for slaughter and expect that they will not respond in kind.

We keep having incidents where cops keep responding to provocation completely disproportionately and the faux “law and order” Republicans don’t recognize that fact.  “When a cop tells you do something, do it,” they say.

I call “bulls**t.”

Just because we give cops badges and guns and some limited authority over our lives doesn’t mean that their good judgment should drain out of their butts at the same time.

Two events from last weekend illustrate the danger of cops with bad judgment.

The first happened in McKinney, Texas, where a young cop trying to disperse a crowd of teens threw a young teen girl wearing a bathing suit, obviously unarmed and no threat, to the ground to cuff her and then pulled his gun on a couple of teen boys who went to help her. It was all captured on the cell phone of Brandon Brooks and posted to YouTube for all to see.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas—which occasionally falls down the Al Sharpton rabbit hole, hit it right on the head with the following statement:

While we don’t know all the facts about the party, the crowd, or whether a fight broke out, what we do know is that the police response, as seen on the video, appears to be a textbook case of overuse of force. A well-trained police department would have responded more cautiously, with less hostility, and using sophisticated crowd control methods that favor de-escalation not escalation. Without question, guns were not needed and in fact risked turning a group of partying teenagers into a violent encounter that could have turned deadly.

Police departments are intended to be organizations that protect and serve their constituents. But increasingly in this country we have two kinds of policing and we saw both in this incident: protecting and serving white communities and criminalizing and controlling black communities.

Watch the six minutes of video.  When they’re right, they’re right.

And then there’s the New Jersey State Police and the Hot97 Summer Jam concert at the ironically-named Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

What appeared to be a police riot ensued when somebody made the decision to stop letting people inside the venue—even those who had tickets. And the New Jersey State Police went into full riot mode.

The New York radio station which sponsored the event is giving money back to those ticket holders who were denied entrance, but one might correctly wonder if any of these actions would have been taken if it were a Toby Keith Summer Jam as opposed to a hip-hop event attended largely by black folks.

Nobody will ever mistake me for Al Sharpton. Or, even Jesse Jackson.

But one wonders what might happen if, called to a minor disturbance, a police officer began by saying “good evening ladies and gentlemen, what seems to be the issue here” as opposed to the foul-mouthed nonsense coming from the McKinney police officer, which seems to be closer to the norm.

Once again, if you treat people like animals—all people—they will most assuredly exceed your expectations.

I’ve heard every excuse and defense in the law-and-order handbook. I’ve heard that the thin blue line is our sole defense against the base elements of society.

Sorry, folks.

Even Clint Eastwood will be happy to tell you that Dirty Harry Callahan was a character he played in the movies, not what the cops should be in real life.

I know that many of the folks who read this are going to be upset at my lack of respect for law enforcement. But, folks, the fact is that respect is earned, not given; and the truth is that it is hard to respect people who have little or no respect for you.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Juries To Law Enforcement: Go Find Some REAL Criminals

Last week, in the state of Nevada, three things happened of which we should all take note.

  1. In Las Vegas, a jury acquitted a man of marijuana charges which went to trial despite the fact that in a few week,s you will be able to go into a state-licensed dispensary and buy what he was charged with growing for his own use back when medical marijuana users—which he was—had to grow their own.
  2. In Reno, a jury acquitted a man of murder charges which went to trial despite the fact that the “murder” happened when he caught a couple of methheads trespassing in his vacant rental property and thought they were going to shoot him with what turned out to be a flashlight once the lights came on. It never occurred to the prosecutor that the defendant was engaged in an act of self-defense despite the fact that he was in his own property and was the only person authorized to be there.
  3. Also in Reno, a Judge denied a writ of habeas corpus sought by a young man who was charged by that same prosecutor with false imprisonment with a deadly weapon in spite of the fact that the act occurred in his third floor apartment, the “victim” came over the balcony, and it was the defendant who called 911 after effecting a citizen’s arrest–which means in all probability that this case will also go to trial.

On the internet version of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s story about the first case, a commenter said that juries are sending a message to prosecutors and police: GO FIND REAL CRIMINALS!

That is correct.

There is no reason, based on the Reno murder trial and a similar verdict several months ago, that a jury in the third case will not tell the prosecutors the same thing.

The judge who denied the habeas petition did so on the basis of “marginal or slight evidence” that a crime was actually committed and said, after an hour-and-a half-hearing, that she was obligated to construe what little evidence—which is to say almost none—there was in the “most favorable” light to the state.

Kind of makes a mockery of innocent until proven guilty, doesn’t it?

The problem with such nonsense is that trials are expensive for both the taxpayers and defendants. I’m willing to bet that before the three cases I described above are all accounted for, the better part of a million and a half dollars will have been expended, lives will have been changed, and defendants will have been wrongfully exposed to years of prison time for no reason. And, as a side note, in the Las Vegas case, some $51,000 was seized (and there is some doubt that the defendant is going to get it back easily because, get this: there is no law that says that just because you have been found not guilty of a crime, you get your money back.)

A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice. Justice is not achieved when some douchebag DA doesn’t have the guts to say that there is no case here because the accused did not violate any law.

You know what is achieved?

The taxpayers get screwed. Because prosecutors have finite resources, and every time they commit to a trial for a loser like one of the cases I listed above, they have let some truly violent criminals slide. If it looks egregious enough (translation: they look stupid enough), they come to the legislature and ask for more money because they need more resources.

And it’s not just the state of Nevada.

Last week, while Barack Obama was telling us that ISIS (which he insists is ISIL) isn’t a problem, the Department of Justice went after that criminal cartel in…Switzerland.  The guys who run the soccer federation, FIFA, because they shook down the South Africans using US Banks for $10,000,000 to locate a World Cup event there.

Never mind the fact that one of Obama’s first acts was to try something very similar to get the International Olympic Committee to consider Chicago. Also last week, they indicted former House Speaker Dennis Hastert for structuring withdrawals of his own money from a bank to put together a bunch of money to pay off some guy who was extorting him. No charges were filed against the extortionist.

We should put signs at Ellis Island saying: “Welcome to the United States of America, where Everybody is a Criminal.”

Despite the best efforts of the bureaucracies we enable with our tax dollars, you cannot put a cop on every corner.

Our system depends on voluntary compliance. Voluntary compliance only happens when there is respect for the system.

How can you respect this system?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

If You’re Going To Have Two TV Icons Go Gay, At Least Have Aaron Sorkin Write It

I’m sorry.

I just cannot handle President Josiah Bartlett kissing New York District Attorney Jack McCoy on the lips.

I know that Grace and Frankie (a Netflix original series) is supposed to be a comedy about Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston coming out as gay and leaving their wives, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, to marry each other.

I understand that homosexuality is the new big thing.

I understand that homosexuals have a lobby that would make the National Rifle Association or the Realtors blush.

I understand that according to their own lobby, 3.8% of Americans identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. That’s as opposed to the 2% of Americans Mensa considers geniuses.

But wait. Only 1.7% of that 3.8% consider themselves gay or lesbian, which means that if their own statistics can be believed, there are actually more geniuses in the United States than people who have been making society uncomfortable with their attraction to the same sex.

That’s all great, but now we’re screwing with icons.

Liberal icons, but TV icons nonetheless.

I actually had to watch an episode of West Wing—fortunately, also on Netflix—to get rid of the bad taste of President Bartlett kissing DA McCoy on the lips. (“Decisions are made by those who show up.” Season 1 finale.)

And, with all due respect to the people who could put Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda in a single cast, it was hardly Aaron Sorkin’s (West Wing) or Dick Wolf’s (Law and Order) writing.

In fact, it wasn’t even the Dick Van Dyke Show. (Where’s Rose Marie when you need her?)

That’s right. You can have the best jockeys in the history of racing–but if they’re riding dogs, you lose in the gate.

This show might have had legs with better writing. It will get some favorable reviews because it is about being gay. It will get other favorable reviews because of the cast.

But, at best, it will have its life prolonged only because it is on Netflix and not a broadcast TV network where the ratings are transparent.

If Netflix really wants to make a contribution to TV, it should pick up West Wing where the series left off, convince Sheen to become a Supreme Court Justice to Jimmy Smits’ President, and make Waterston the Attorney General. That ought to be good for another four seasons. In the words of President Bartlett, what’s next?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth