Ten Commandments For…

…Avoiding or Surviving a Police Encounter

  • I. Thou shalt not commit a crime
  • II. If thou dost commit a crime, thou shalt not protest when caught, that is for thine lawyer to do for you
  • III. Thou shalt not spout legal knowledge from a google search and argue with an officer
  • IV. Thou shalt not drive without a license nor flee when thou is signalled to stop by the police
  • V. Remember to keep holy thy court date
  • VI.. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s car
  • VII. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s big screen TV
  • VIII. Thou shalt not carry a gun without a permit, a gun does not bring strength but shows cowardice
  • IX. Thou shalt not argue finer points of law in the middle of the night, in a dark alley, while holding a crowbar, standing next to a pried open door
  • X. Thou shalt not do unto others as you would not have done to yourself

If thou would be faithful to these commandments thou shall live long and prosper. If thou can but remember one, remember the First Commandment, it will keep thee well

…Police Officers

  • I. Remember that thou art a servant of justice, not an avenging angel
  • II. Thou shalt treat all with dignity and fairness
  • III. Thy Rod and Thy Sword are to Protect when all else fails not punish for things thou are not endowed with the authority to inflict
  • IV. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy fellow human
  • V. Thou shall not bear enmity toward any
  • VI. Thou shall remember that thou art fallible as are all thou shall encounter
  • VII. Thou shall endeavor to save all, including thyself, from all harm
  • VIII. Remember to keep holy the word, and the spirit, of the law
  • IX. Thou shall carry thy purpose with pride, dignity, and courage with empathy toward all
  • X. Thou are not the instrument of vengeance but the keeper of the peace

Remember these wise words spoken by an officer of great wisdom and experience.

“Always bear in mind that the difference between the officer driving the police car and the person under arrest in the back seat is that the driver never got caught”

The Gospel of Detective Joe Ford

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Defund (Elements) of the Police but Let Cops BE Cops

The movement toward defunding or, in the extreme, eliminating the police has a fundamental logic to it. Although I’m certain many proponents miss the point because they are caught in the fog of emotion. There are public funds allocated to police departments that could be better directed to other programs. Some of my suggestions will be met with outrage, but the simple fact is the most effective departments are those who let cops BE cops. They catch bad guys (in the universal, non-gender specific way.)

Changing police departments without keeping this fundamental truth in mind is Utopian idiocy. These foolish experiments with “autonomous” zones excluding the police are living examples of the Lord of the Flies phenomenon. They will fail, and innocent people will suffer and die amid the anarchy.

Let me state a universal truth.

As long as there are humans, there will be bad guys and the need for those brave enough to stand between them and society.

If one is rational enough to understand this point, then certain corollaries follow. We can no more eliminate the police than we can stop burning fossil fuel without a realistic alternative. But we can get back to basics with police departments. Refocus them on their core functions, and reallocate resources to other services more suited to social welfare agencies.

Over the last few decades, there have been several divergent trends within law enforcement. One toward militarization and one toward a “touchy-feely” gentleness. Neither added to the elemental function nor improved the effectiveness of police departments

Starting back in the days of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, the federal government offered surplus military equipment to police departments.

I recall the glee among many of my fellow officers, including me, over this bonanza of toys. M-16 rifles, night-vision equipment, armored personnel carriers, and more. We thought this was the coolest thing in the world. I mean, come on. Is there anything better than firing automatic weapons and seeing in the dark?

To make it even more palatable, President Reagan reinvigorated the War on Drugs. We had the stuff, we had the war, all we needed was an enemy. Like all wars, most casualties were civilians. We tried to arrest our way out of a health crisis. If you think someone who would steal from their grandmother to buy heroin gave any thought to being caught by the police, you are remarkably naive.

Then, we came up with mandatory sentences, three-strike laws, and asset forfeiture statutes. All well-intentioned, like the proverbial road to hell. The net result? We turned whole swaths of society into convicts and filled our prisons with society’s most disadvantaged.

No one embraced the concept of the war on drugs more than me, and the many officers I worked with. But most cops are an intuitive bunch. We came to see the fallacy and contradiction in what we were doing. Like the war in Vietnam, we had to destroy the village to save it. We lost the enthusiasm for a failed policy.

Back then, no one made the connection that turning police departments, at least in appearance, into what were essentially armies of occupation was a dangerous thing. They held entire training conferences teaching agencies what language to use in the applications.

No one questioned the wisdom or consequences.

These programs were followed by the COPS Grant program, designed to put more officers on the street through technology. And there were others. Each had, what seemed, a logical and beneficial purpose.

They became a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

In parallel with these programs, a kinder and gentler approach took hold. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program rose to prominence in Los Angeles and spread across the country. Community Policing quickly followed on the heels of DARE.

The problem was, in many agencies, these programs became specialized units rather than philosophical changes.

DARE put cops in schools as teachers when most lacked a fundamental understanding of educational theory. No matter how well-intentioned, DARE would prove marginally effective, if at all. Studies show contradictory results from DARE training. One five-year study showed no significant results between schools implementing DARE programs and those that did not. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/dare/effectiveness.html

Community policing, one of the most promising of all the “New Age” programs, had the most potential. Police Departments formed “Community Policing Units” as a way of embracing this new paradigm. This presented a contradiction to the purpose of the philosophy. Community policing is not a thing, not a specialization like CSI or Homicide investigations. To treat it as such is to hobble the beneficial effect.

Community Policing is a philosophy, a paradigm, and a practice to be ingrained within an agency’s approach to police work. But many issues addressed by community policing are better handled by other agencies. In some agencies, Community Policing became little more than a central collection point of information about quality of life issues—loud congregations of youths, trash on the streets, burned-out streetlights, noisy business establishments, road maintenance. The officers then referred this information to the responsible agency. It drew personnel away from the core function of the police. That is not what cops—by training or design— are best suited to do.

Once again, a well-intentioned program clouding the fundamental responsibilities of cops. As a matter of normal course of operations, cops should pay attention to such issues. Small annoyances can escalate into major problems. While the “broken window” theory of law enforcement is largely discounted, an element of its validity persists. Focusing on the small things before they become major issues works.

But cops need to focus on what they do best.

Community Policing drew personnel away from the core function of the police with limited beneficial improvement to the community. The reality is, all policing is intended toward protecting the community. Crime prevention through police presence, apprehending criminals, suppressing disturbances, responding to accidents, all take place within the community.

Attitudes and expectations, both by the police and by the community, need to change. The cops are not the enemy, and the community is not the problem. Community Policing should comprise merging the responsibility of both the community and the police into a partnership to catch bad guys. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/What_Works_in_Community_Policing.pdf

There was once an effort to combine the functions of public safety, i.e., police, fire, ems, into a single agency. In theory, it seemed to make sense. Have those first on the scene cross-trained in all aspects of public safety.

In reality, it was a dismal failure.

When an EMT responds to a shooting, their focus needs to be on treating the victim. When the Fire Department responds to a fire, its focus needs to be on putting out the fire, rescuing individuals, and saving property.

When cops respond to these same incidents, an element of each comes into play—preserving life being the most important. But the officer must also focus on determining if a crime occurred, preserving evidence, and apprehending those who committed the crime.

Differentiation and separation of responsibilities make all public safety operations more effective.

The problem is, in many cities and towns, the police are the agency of last resort. If the trash in the street is infested with rats, if the neighborhood bar blares music to all hours, if the kids on the corner block the way, cops are the simplest solution. If a homeless person, suffering from mental illness, is blocking the entrance to a business, call the police.

Even if they can only deal with the issue temporarily.

There is another, more sinister aspect to things police departments are tasked with performing. The enforcement of traffic laws—intended to save lives and prevent accidents—has become a source of revenue critical to state and municipal budgets. Every department in the country will say they do not mandate a quota for officers. Yet, most agencies use the number of tickets written as a measure of officer performance.

Like the contradiction in government warnings about the dangers of smoking and their dependency on the tax revenue from the sale of tobacco, police department generate revenue from tickets. It is a tax disguised as a public safety function.

If one wants to understand the danger of such dependency on traffic ticket revenue by a municipal government, all one has to do is look at the level of traffic enforcement in Ferguson, MO. The shooting of Michael Brown wasn’t the reason for the unrest and riots in that city, it was the spark that lit the fuse.

The recent revolts across the country are not just because of unjustified police shootings of people of color. They are a reaction to a complex range of issues. Police departments are being forced to contend with many of these, mostly outside their control, and doing it poorly.

We wouldn’t send a carpenter to fix a plumbing problem, why do we expect cops to solve societal issues beyond their control or expertise?

Redirecting funds from police departments to social service agencies make sense. But this is a long-term strategy. We still need to deal with the practical realities of crime. Cops prevent, investigate, and solve crimes. They apprehend bad guys. They should do so with professionalism within the confines of the law. Sometimes, this will involve the use of deadly force. We can set our sights on eliminating that necessity someday. However, we still need to have cops being cops for the foreseeable future.

Before we rush headlong into such irrational actions of disbanding the police. Before we just slash and cut police budgets to satisfy an incensed, but uninformed public. Before we commit ourselves in a rush to judgment to do something, anything, we need to step back and analyze what purpose police departments serve.

The cops are not the adversaries of the public. This is not an us versus them situation. Cops are humans, subject to the same frailties and foibles as everyone else.

We need to let police departments get back to the fundamentals. We need to stop relying on the police as the agency of last resort in dealing with issues outside their skill set. We need to recognize the problems we face are all our responsibility, not just the police departments because they are a convenient 911 call away.

Let cops be cops. Not social workers, not teachers, not mental health providers, not counselors. Let cops do what they signed up to do, stand on the thin blue line, and catch bad guys.

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Erasing History

The recent decision of the United States Marine Corps to ban displays of the Confederate flag is a necessary and welcome policy. I am proud to say, my cousin, Lieutenant General John Broadmeadow, was the senior Marine officer signing and issuing the official command.

Banning symbols associated with those who once fought to preserve slavery is a worthwhile goal. The flag represents two fundamental and undeniable legacies, slavery and a once lethal enemy of the United States of America.

Some have tried to spin the past into a less sinister reality. But the states that seceded from the Union did so to preserve and protect slavery. Every other rationale was ancillary and tangential to the cause.

These are the words three states publicized in justifying their secession.

Georgia

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic…”

Mississippi

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

South Carolina

“But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”

Let there be no doubt about it, the argument for secession by the confederate states was based on slavery. They considered slaves to be nothing more than property. They saw the rising tide of abolition as an unlawful deprivation of their rights to this property by the government. There was no consideration of the black race as anything near as valuable as the white race. The south saw slaves as little more than two-legged pack animals.

 No alteration of facts, or creative interpretation of history, can change that reality.

Yet, the clamor to remove monuments to those who supported the south as a way of cleansing the stain of slavery is an exercise in contradictions and a fool’s mission.

These statues and artifacts represent a period in history important for us to remember. Removing them will not alter the past anymore than denying the reality behind it.

To remove the name of General Braxton Bragg from Fort Bragg, North Carolina cannot stand scrutiny without removing all those who may have held slaves.

One cannot erase history, no matter how unpleasant, unless one will wipe out all of it. And that is impossible.

If we tear down the statues to Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis because they fought in the cause of slavery, should we also remove statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or the sixteen other Presidents who owned slaves?

Jefferson himself, while troubled by the institution of slavery, vacillated in his position. While he lamented the practice, he still held onto his slaves.

“I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach [slavery], in any practicable way. the cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me in a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected: and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. but, as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other”

If we are to remove the name Bragg from the fort, should we rename Washington, DC?

Do we erase from the history books the actions of William Tecumseh Sherman because of his total war in Georgia? Sherman was not an abolitionist. He didn’t care if the south held slaves, he fought to preserve the Union. Are those motivations admirable absent a revulsion to slavery?

Sherman’s own words expressed the nature of his conduct of the Southern Campaign.

“I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers … tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”

Sherman may have detested the realities of “hard war” but he did not shy away from visiting it in all its terror upon his enemies. Is his memorial something to preserve while we demolish those of Robert E. Lee?

Where do we stop trying to whitewash history? Do we remove all the names of soldiers memorialized in Forts and military posts who took part in the genocide of Native Americans?

Much of our history is written in blood. We shouldn’t try to obliterate these histories but learn from them. These statues and portraits represent Americans who lived during a much different time. They stood by their convictions, no matter how we view them now, and their fellow countrymen saw fit to memorialize them.

They are a part of history that is undeniable, unchangeable, and unerasable. Trying to understand the motivations of those who supported the southern cause is important, so such misguided endeavors never happen again.

They also remind us that slavery was the precursor to something many Americans still endure. They carry scars not from the whip but from the crippling pain of racism and discrimination.

The Confederate Flag should be on display in museums and history books. The legacy of slavery should be an important element of every American’s education.

For someone to display the Confederate Flag today is equal to displaying a Nazi flag. We do not celebrate the causes of our enemies. Despite efforts to recharacterize the motivations of secession, the fact remains that the Confederate States took up arms against the United States of America to preserve slavery. One of the most hateful legacies of human history.

Yet it is important, when those enemies were fellow Americans, that we don’t bury history because it is painful to recall it. Remembering something, in its proper perspective, is different than celebrating or endorsing it.

History is a valued teacher if we learn to appreciate and put the lessons into context.

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A Reformation: Restructuring Law Enforcement is Just One Element of a Complex Problem

The wailing, crying, and calls for defunding or eliminating police forces is about as idiotic an idea as ever was conceived. It is comparable to saying we should abandon medicine because a few doctors engage in malpractice or eliminate all lawyers because some innocent people are convicted.

You don’t fix a problem by irrational acts. Nor do you ignore a problem because it is complicated and does not lend itself to simple solutions. If we are serious about addressing racial disparity—within Law Enforcement and society as a whole—we must address all the factors contributing to the issue.

Incidents of black (primarily) men being killed by police officers does not automatically show racial bias. There is a host of studies—https://www.pnas.org/content/116/32/15877,  https://www.nber.org/papers/w22399— that contradict the premise of bias in use of lethal force against blacks by law enforcement.

And there are studies which show there is a bias in use of force—both lethal and non-lethal— by the police against blacks. (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0141854)

What do these contradictions tell us? They tells us we don’t track the data in any meaningfully significant way to draw reasonable conclusions. This leads us to form anecdotal inferences based on personal experience—either positive or negative encounters with the Police—on traditional media reports of incidents, or from social media information.

Using such varied, unreliable, and unconfirmed sources, coupled with our implicit biases, lends itself to forming powerful, but not necessarily accurate, assumptions. The tendency to confirmation bias is inevitable. By ignoring information which contradicts our own perspective, we handicap our ability to understand the full scope of the problem.

Racially motivated use of lethal force by law enforcement—if a full and impartial analysis of the data shows that to be true —is just one aspect of a much bigger problem.

Yet, if the perception among minorities is a systemic racial bias by law enforcement, and a propensity to use lethal force against such groups by police officers, it is critically important we both capture and analyze the data and address the perception as if it were reality.

Arguing the data shows no bias—absent comprehensive and thorough analysis–only fuels mistrust. Ignoring the possibility the data is insufficient to understand the problem is equally dangerous. It is assumptions—blacks are more likely to be involved in violent crimes by nature, cops are inclined to shoot blacks—that have created the problem.

Cultural misconceptions about groups we do not belong to i.e., minorities, cops, etc. all add to the problem. Education is the key to solving such false beliefs, but the process will not be easy or swift.

While we can strive for the ideal, we must face the realities of life.  There are bad people in the world who will assault, rob, attack, and murder their fellow humans. One of the primary functions of Law Enforcement is preventing such crimes and apprehending those who would commit them.

That will not change for the foreseeable future. Using force when necessary to perform such responsibilities will always be an element of policing. Improving the process of hiring officers, eliminating the often political nature of such practices, is critical. Better training in the use of minimum force necessary to accomplish the goal is paramount to reducing unlawful or excessive use of force.

For example, the RI Municipal Police Training Academy training syllabus lists 106 hours of firearms training, 154 hours of Traffic Enforcement, and 57 hours of Police Community Interaction and Dealing with Special Populations.

I suspect the training regimen for most law enforcement agencies would reflect the same allocation of training time.

While I am not suggesting a reduction in firearms training, the emphasis in the initial training phase is on weapons and tactics. Such programs set a tone for priorities. We miss an opportunity to equip officers with skills to de-escalate violent situations and reduce the need for lethal force. This is the best time to give officers confidence in their ability to communicate and interact with the community.

Such skills are as critical as the ability to know how and when to use lethal force in the complex fog of situations officers find themselves in on a daily basis.

The factors which lead most to commit crimes—poverty, lack of education, unemployment, drug addiction—are outside the control of the police.  These must be addressed by our society before we can hope to change the nature of police agencies.

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime”

Aristotle “Politics”

Awareness of the factors that contribute to crime is important. But causality is not a defense to criminal behavior, it is a mitigating factor we must take into consideration when applying appropriate means of correcting such acts.

Three major reformations need to occur before any meaningful restructuring impacts police interaction with the public. Until these matters are addressed, law enforcement will be the agency of last resort for dealing with the problems of society. Under the current structure, they are ill-equipped, ill-trained, and improperly organized to address these problems without these changes.

The three urgent elements requiring change are these.

  1. Judicial reform
  2. Prison reform
  3. Educational reform

If Justice is not equal under the law. If access to Constitutional rights is limited by one’s financial resources. The inevitable results are what we see happening across America.

Blacks account for 13.4% of the U.S. population, yet make up 37.5% of the prison population. We need to understand the reason behind this. There is no race-based propensity for crime, poverty is the primary driving factor regardless of the race of the offender. There are a host of contributory reasons and an unfair Judicial System tipped against poor defendants is one of them.

Coupled with Judicial Reform is Prison Reform.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons budget for 2019 was $7.1 BILLION.  The Federal recidivism rate—those who are released from prison and re-offend—is 49.3%. Almost half of the people we put into the prison “Corrections” system return to prison.  (https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/research-and-publications/research-publications/2016/recidivism_overview.pdf)

In Rhode Island, the recidivism rate is 50%. (https://worldpopulationreview.com/states/recidivism-rates-by-state/)

Does funding a program with a 50% failure rate sound like a wise investment? Couple that with the Federal government embracing private prisons—facilities that need prisoners to be profitable—and you have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Annual spending in 2018 on just prisons in the United States:  $182 billion

If one measures success by our rates of incarceration—we have the largest prison population and the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world—we wildly succeed in imprisoning people and are terrible at corrections and rehabilitation.

Unless the goal is to fill these private prisons, we are good at that. But the cost to society for our policy of mass incarceration is enormous and of questionable benefit. https://www.vera.org/publications/price-of-prisons-what-incarceration-costs-taxpayers

This leads to the key element, the lynchpin of the problem—flawed and unequal public education. Here’s a stark fact of how we set our priorities from a study by the US Department of Education.

“Between 1979 and 2012, state and local government expenditures grew by 107 percent to $534 billion from $258 billion for elementary and secondary education, while corrections spending rose by 324 percent to $71 billion from $17 billion.”

In the 2021 budget, the President has proposed a 10% reduction in spending for the US Department of Education. The same budget calls for a 1.6% decrease in spending for the Bureau of Prisons.

There are myriad related issues—lack of addiction treatment, mental health care, housing, employment opportunities—which all compound the crime problem. Focusing exclusively on the police masks the real problem, and will do nothing to solve the long-term issues.

It is unfair to target law enforcement alone when considering ways to eliminate racial bias in public safety.  Police officers reflect society. The implicit biases we all carry inevitably affect our interaction with others if we are not cognizant and continuously alert to the problem.

Education is the key to better understanding.

Yet absent complete studies clarifying the level of racial bias in applying force by Law Enforcement, it would be wise to err on the side of caution and focus on the issue.  More attention within agencies to the possibility of prejudice will inevitably lead to better policies and controls over the use of force.

The very nature of humans precludes the elimination of all force by the police in many circumstances. There are bad people in the world who will commit violent crimes and resist efforts to stop them. While some level of force will always be an element of being a police officer, we must remember the root causes behind criminal behavior. Lawful application of necessary force is not the problem, brutality is.

Improving trust between the police and the minority community is a two-way street. Refusing to report information of criminal activity, particularly involving firearms and gang activity, because of a perception the police will either over-react or not show up at all just perpetuates the mistrust.

Minority communities rightfully expect police departments to change their behavior and treat everyone fairly. These same communities bear a responsibility to cooperate with the police to eliminate the criminal element which casts a shadow on these communities.

Trust requires both sides to move toward middle ground. Failing to act is not an option. Understanding the causes behind most criminal activity—and the shared responsibility to act to change things—rests with all of us.

Except for the rare sociopath, most crimes result from societal conditions often outside the control of the person committing the crime. Poor educations, inadequate employment opportunities, drug addiction, and mental health issues all contribute to causation.

There is little doubt about the prevalence of racial disparity within America. There is also little doubt things have improved. But until we eliminate as much as humanly possible the unfair treatment of others because of the color of their skin, the lofty goal of all men being equal will remain an illusion.

Until we address these issues, nothing will change. Not within police agencies or society at large. America is a country with a promise of equality unmet by reality. 

We all bear a responsibility to face it and change things.

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed — Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Langston Hughes

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Follow this blog for upcoming information on all new book releases. And please share this with readers everywhere. All comments are welcome. Or if you would like write a piece to be posted on my blog please send me a message.

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Trump’s Brief Shining Moment

For the briefest of moments, I almost believed. The strategic opportunity of the century seemed within grasp. The official end of the Korean War and a denuclearized North Korea rejoining the world are elusive goals.

The moment shattered by the reality of this Presidency.

North Korea was never serious about abandoning its weapons. They played the “master deal maker” for a chump. They essentially bypassed the US to deal with South Korea directly and maneuvered themselves out of sanctions with the Chinese and potentially the rest of the world.

All without giving up anything except a few well-placed explosives to offer a technically meaningless “coup d’état” to their already collapsed nuclear test site. They know, even if Mr. Trump might not, what the Libya-model means.

How did the “hermit” kingdom manage this? Because they understand Trump better than we do. Those of us who disagree with Trump’s policies and those who agree with them share common ground in one respect.

We all think he acts intentionally from a perspective of beliefs and deeply held philosophies. The difference is in our view of his motivation.

Some think him intrinsically evil and bigoted others seem him as a political outsider who cares little for the diplomacy of politics in favor of accomplishing goals and changing the fundamental nature of government.

Both positions give the man way too much credit. He is much simpler to figure out and to predict.

President Trump is consistent. His life has been one persistent crusade for self-aggrandizement and personal satisfaction. He is neither a bigot nor a buffoon, does not demonstrate savant business acumen or financial wizardry, nor does he follow a deep-seated philosophy of life.

He is a man incapable of empathy, devoid of feelings for others, and unable to concede the reality that everyone, including Donald Trump, makes mistakes.

Trump embraces a sort of twisted Buddha-like philosophy in the way he can ignore the past (as if it never happened) and hold no attachment to anything that does not suit him at that moment.

Trump lives in the now. Anything he said, or did, yesterday does not matter. His thought process, when confronted with past statement or actions, creates a three-pronged self-delusion.

I never said (or did) it.

I was misquoted (or they are lying)

It’s fake news.

And with that, he moves on without another passing moment to consider his actions. Each day for him is like a reboot with the same bug in the operating system.

In personal matters between a President and his wife, I do not believe them to be matters of national concern. They are private matters best dealt with in a private setting. But when the President tries to ignore legitimate questions of his truthfulness, such issues are a concern.

A person of character, when facing a personal crisis, takes responsibility for their actions. When Trump was confronted with a threat to unveil an affair outside his marriage, he opted to buy his way out. Had he addressed the issue within the confines of his marriage, and the story still broke, it would be a quick splash and then fade away.

Instead, it serves as another illustration of the man’s character. (For those of you who will feel the need to point out Bill Clinton did the same thing, yes he did. And the same standard applies. Still waiting on a similar episode with President Obama.)

Trump is neither a bigot nor a white supremacist. If Mr. Trump thought embracing MS-13 would help or enrich him, he’d be flashing gang signs and sporting tattoos.

If Mr. Trump thought for a moment that the “horde” of illegal aliens would support him with their vote, he’d disband the Border Patrol and send buses to the Mexican Border.

If Mr. Trump thought he could find a kindred spirit in Black Lives Matter or Alt-right groups, he’d invite them to the White House (but not the Trump Tower, those people don’t belong there.)

Kim Jong Un understands this. They share the same philosophy. If it’s good for me, it’s good until it’s not, then it’s wrong regardless of the cost.

With North Korea, Mr. Trump saw the shiny Nobel prize and wanted it. Even he might admit he is never getting a Nobel Prize for economics or science, so this was his one chance, Kim Jong Un was his opportunity.

And then it wasn’t.

Even when it appeared Trump had awoken to the realities and complexities of geopolitics and canceled the summit, in his letter to the North Korean leader he couldn’t help but turn it into a juvenile pissing contest.

“You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/24/politics/donald-trump-letter-kim-jong-un/index.html)

The US would prevail in a nuclear war. Mr. Trump also knows the personal cost to him would be minimal. He and his family ( maybe Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as well) would be safely ensconced in the bunker.

But the cost in human lives would be unfathomable. This is immaterial in Mr. Trump’s mind. Collateral damage is insignificant if there is a net benefit to Mr. Trump.

The hope those surrounding Mr. Trump bring sanity and a bigger world-view to the administration is fading. The John Boltons of the world are not known for rational and reasoned policies with any nuanced understanding of global complexities.

The Chief of Staff, John Kelly, despite his admirable record as a Marine, has been reduced to nothing more than a doorman at Trump Tower. He has the power to keep most out but can do nothing about those who have bought they way in.

The concept of Mr. Trump being a complex personality of deep thought and contemplation is a false one. He is a nuclear-armed sociopath with severe ADHD. The trick is to make sound policy attractive and, once it is set in motion, divert the President’s attention with something else.

I wonder if Stormy Daniels would consider helping us out, as a matter of patriotic service?

Two Cops got Shot the Other Day

Two Boston Cops got shot the other day

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Not one street protest about how their lives matter.

Not one demand for stricter controls on the kind of person who shot them or the weapons he used.

No crowds of thousands holding hands and praying.

No chanting of “No Justice, No Peace.”

Three families face their worst nightmare. The two officers’ families and the bigger family that is the thin blue line.

The only ones that seem to care are those cops that ran toward gunfire when everyone else ran away.

Where do we find such people willing to risk their lives to save others?

Most of the world hid or tried to video it with cell phones, while brave men and women ran into the line of fire.

They face these dangers alone, comforted only by a thin blue line.

The media will take notice, for fifteen seconds, then resume covering some divorce nonsense of people paid to pretend to be something they are not.

Sorry if we inconvenienced watching “The Voice” or the rest of the drivel that most are so enamored with.

Two cops got shot the other day and there was hardly a pause in this callous world.

Here’s Why Black Lives Matter Fails: Fighting the Wrong Battle

Headline Milwaukee, Police shoot and kill a 23-year old man who was ARMED with a stolen handgun. The man pointed the gun at the police officer, refused to drop the weapon, and was shot and killed.

Protests break out.

Police face violent crowds.

Police cars burn. Property damaged. Looting ensues. Innocent people injured.

car-fire

Someone misread the text message or Facebook post.

The guy was armed with a stolen handgun that he pointed at the police officer and refused to drop it when told.

How many of those “angry” protesters would offer the same opportunity if someone pointed a weapon at them?

I can tell you, none. They’d either run away or, if they had a weapon, shoot first. Yet, they expect the cop to find some alternative way short of returning fire. They are quite willing to sacrifice the officer’s life.

By rioting over the shooting death of a man who had every opportunity to drop the weapon, they demean their cause and make themselves look foolish.

There are many legitimate issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. The message may be difficult to accept but necessary for us to address the issue of racism. But I can tell you this, even someone like myself who readily admits to the racism issue with law enforcement, and society in general, loses respect when people react in such a manner.

Protest peacefully, advocate in the courts, poke the American people out of their comfortable ignorance as needed.

But once you burn cities over the actions of a criminal you lose your credibility and you give back any gains your efforts have made.

Perhaps if you were as vocal about the proliferation of firearms in the hands of criminals and their crimes you would find a great deal more support of your goals.

If the flames of a burning police car reflect your anger, you’ve lost.