Innocent Until…Unless We Say Differently

An article from the Guardian about a petition by some Arizona State University students caught my eye. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/29/kyle-rittenhouse-arizona-statue-university-classes.

Apparently, several groups  Students for Socialism ASU, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Multicultural Solidarity Coalition and Mecha de ASU, want the university to withdraw Kyle Rittenhouse from his enrollment in an online program at ASU.

“Our campus is already unsafe as is and we would like to abate this danger as much as possible,” a spokesperson for Students for Socialism ASU told Fox News in a statement. “The goal of these demands is to let the ASU administration know that we do not feel safe knowing that a mass shooter, who has expressed violent intentions about ‘protecting property’ over people, is so carelessly allowed to be admitted to the school at all.”

See above link to article.

Where do I begin?

This is not a defense of Rittenhouse, who I suspect is a misguided pawn in the rightwing world, but it is a defense of the basic premise of our justice system.

Like it or not, Mr. Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges. He went into the justice system bearing the undeniable mantel of innocence and, after trial, was found not guilty. To demand he be withdrawn because some lunatic fringe leftist groups are “afraid” is laughable on its face.

If they are “afraid” of the environment at ASU, then they are free to withdraw and find a “safe” place for them to espouse their philosophy without facing criticism. I hope they find such a haven. But if they expect such tolerance of their positions to be based on excluding all others, they aren’t going to find it in this country.

Mr Rittenhouse, until such time as he stands convicted of a crime, is entitled to the same rights and privileges as any other American citizen. Nothing could be further from the spirit or letter of the law in this country than to demand a person suffer consequences for a crime they have been judged not guilty.

Perhaps, instead of demanding the withdrawal of an innocent student and submitting idiotic petitions, they should spend a few moments and actually read the Constitution.

Juries, Judgments, Justice

“Not Guilty, so sayeth we all” was the decision of the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and, as distasteful as it may be, we must accept the verdict. To paraphrase a quote (often attributed to Winston Churchill who actually said it but was quoting some other unknown orator)

“The Jury system is the worst form of Justice except for all the others that have been tried.”

Judgment by jury of our peers achieves a balance of power between the government’s obligation to enforce laws and the peoples’ right to be free from unfettered prosecutorial zealots. It is a costly but necessary price.

In the Rittenhouse case—if one read the jury instructions and understood the elements of self-defense embedded in the state law—the jury’s focus was narrowly defined. And, given this focus, the verdict almost inevitable.

What it leaves unanswered is why a seventeen-year-old boy—carrying a powerful semi-automatic rifle, with no formal law enforcement or military background to prepare himself for dealing with chaotic and dynamic situations—was in that situation in the first place.

“The Jury system is the worst form of Justice except for all the others that have been tried

Author

It also calls into question the competency of his mother who allowed her son access to the weapon and, implicitly at least, encouraged him to place himself in a situation he was ill-equipped to handle.

If Mr. Rittenhouse aspires to be a law enforcer or protector of life and property, let him join the military or work towards becoming a police officer and prove his mettle to assume such a role. (Let’s hope he never does. Police departments are already dealing with a dearth of competent candidates and the last thing they need is someone joining the ranks who will likely put two notches on his gun when he gets it back . And he will get it back.)

Merely having the means (without the requisite skills or competence which is more than the ability to load, aim, and fire a weapon) to pretend to be an armed guardian angel is nothing more than delusional vigilantisms.

Here is what is clear and troubling. Mr. Rittenhouse had the right to defend himself in the face of perceived threats. Those who posed that threat—at the risk here of blaming the victims—put themselves in the situation and paid the price. What’s troubling is that there seems to be little or no consequences for Mr. Rittenhouse creating the situation in the first place.

Juries pass judgment, they do not dispense justice. Neither does Mr. Rittenhouse, who I fear we will hear about again, nor those who will be emboldened by the verdict and see it as an opportunity to emulate such behavior.

I fear we have opened a Pandora’s Box of vigilantism and are yet to find hope in the chaos.

We Are a Country of Laws not Allegations

We are a country of law—not opinions, not perceptions, not beliefs, not accusations, but law. And it is under the law that this country survives.

No person, no institution, no office is above the law, nor do they get to determine of their own volition how the law may be applied. Congress enacts laws, the Executive branch enforces the laws, and the Judiciary interprets the law. Each of these elements must operate under the law.

No one individual can circumvent that for any purpose. We do not derail the peaceful transfer of power solely on the word of one man, not even if that man is a sitting President.

Theodore Boutrous: A First Amendment Blind Spot - WSJ

President Trump is on the brink of defying the people’s will by taking the law into his own hands. His purpose or rationalization is meaningless. His intent is unworthy of consideration. It is his actions that cause great concern.

He would have us abandon a two hundred and thirty year tradition of the peaceful transfer of power based on an allegation unsupported by any evidence, let alone a finding in a court of law.

By delaying the transition of power, he is violating the spirit of the law and the long history of this process. Once the individual states certify the vote, and the Electoral college casts the ballots giving Mr. Biden the total to become the next President, the law is clear. Mr. Trump’s continued refusal to abide by the spirit of the law will cross the line from obstinance to a criminal act .

I would remind those who support him that, not that long ago, many people and sitting members of Congress believed Mr. Trump guilty of impeachable offenses.

But the law determined he was not guilty, because the evidence did not support it. How one felt or what one thought about the decision doesn’t matter, it was made within the framework of the law. The same law we live by and need support.

Opinions, no matter how sincerely held, are meaningless under the law. Whether or not you supported the decision against impeachment is pointless. Whether you believe it was strictly political maneuvering that started the process and similar political maneuvering that ended it is meaningless.

The only thing that matters is the finding under the law.

Allegations of voter fraud are meaningless until a court decides under the law affirming such crimes. Until then, the presumption of any who may face charges is that they are innocent.

Thus, under our law, the integrity of the system remains trustworthy.

For Mr. Trump to recklessly and unlawfully obstruct the transition of power after the vote is certified because he “believes” there was widespread voter fraud is tantamount to a crime against the United States. A criminal act for which he, and anyone who actively takes part in this obstruction of the transition of power, should face charges.

Under our system, should this alleged widespread voter fraud be proven in court, Congress has remedies to address the issue. Until then, it is incumbent on all duly elected officials to support the peaceful transfer of power and to stand firm against a President seeking to subvert the system for his own benefit.

************************************************************************

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

If I Had Known There Was a Test…

Recently I wrote a piece about why I intend to vote for Joe Biden rather than against President Trump.  (https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2020/08/21/why-joe-biden/)

This sparked the usual round of responses both for and against. At one point, I was asked my opinion on a litany of issues.  These were both too complex and too numerous to answer on social media alone, thus the genesis of this latest blog.

File:Test-Logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

And he went to Paris looking for answers
To questions that bother him so…

Jimmy Buffett, He Went to Paris

As always, I welcome anyone who wishes to write a piece addressing these or any issues. Submit it to me (joseph.broadmeadow@gmail.com) and I will happily publish it on the blog. My only caveat is the discussion be respectful. Passion is good, impoliteness is not.

Now, here are the questions and my answers.

Are you for legal immigration?

This one is easy. I support legal immigration. No rational person supports illegal immigration, if by illegal immigration you mean someone unlawfully entering this country absent a legitimate amnesty need. But there are exceptions. Creating a path to citizenship for those who were brought here as children by their parents without legal documents is the American thing to do.

However, there needs to be a time limit on the window of opportunity.  For example, once an individual reaches eighteen years of age or, if already 18 or older, upon the creation of this program, they must apply for the citizenship process within two years.  Miss that window of opportunity, and you are subject to deportation.

Are you for free enterprise?

Again, an easy one. Yes I am. But government regulations play an essential role in ensuring a level playing field. Labor laws, OSHA regulations, EPA standards, and others are all necessary to protect workers, customers, the environment, and those operating a business.

At one time, child labor was a significant contributor to a free capitalist market. Such conditions and practices are abhorrent and government regulations necessary to prevent such abuses.

And Joe Biden hit on something critically important to free enterprise, labor unions. 

Labor unions, more than government regulations, made workplaces safer, pay and benefits more fair, and established a balance of power between management and labor. The pendulum swing away from union membership is partially responsible for the earnings gap. In 1983 union membership was 20.1% of workers, today it is 10.1%.

In 1965,the ratio of CEO to Worker compensation was 20 to 1. In 1989, it was 58 to 1. Today, it is 278 to 1. CEO compensation has risen 940% while only 11.9% for workers.

That some unions were corrupted is not an indictment of all unions or union members any more than the prosecution of corporate executives, say Brietbart for example, is an indictment of all executives.

Are you for energy independence?

Seeking energy independence is a critical national security matter. I support renewable energy research and alternative energy sources.  Coal, which accounts for almost 25% of electricity production in the US (and more elsewhere) combined with other fossil fuels (which account for 62%,) are two of the most significant contributors to anthropogenic accelerated global warming.

The Department of Defense, those ultimately responsible for defending this nation, has identified climate change as one of the most significant national security challenges facing this country.

We are at the point where the level of Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference (DAI) with the climate may be unrecoverable. Energy independence for the US must also include a significant investment in new energy sources, not just a surge in coal mining or improving fossil fuel extraction technology.

I know this may be heresy to some, but nuclear energy provided by the latest generation of reactors is dramatically less harmful to the environment, and safer overall, than fossil fuels. From an overall safety and environmental perspective, the more you know about fossil fuel, the more concerned you become. The more you know about nuclear energy, the less concerned you become. Once again, it is science that offers the answers, non politicized and unbiased.

Are you for more government regulations?

I support necessary government regulations; Health and Safety (OSHA), labor laws, automotive safety standards, FDA regulations. Speed limits on roadways limiting the speed at which cars can operate, even though they are capable of much higher speeds, makes everyone safer. Same thing with most regulations.

Do you support abortion on demand?

I support a woman’s right to choose and the guidelines laid out in Roe v. Wade.  The one aspect of Roe that gets lost in the rancor and emotion is that Roe was about fair and equitable access to abortions. Abortion for medical reasons has always been legal. It was the discrepancy in access to abortions that Roe addressed.

Wealthy individuals always had access to safe and legal abortions because they could afford to find a doctor who would deem the procedure medically necessary. 

Poor people did not have that option.

The decision to seek an abortion, for whatever reason, is the most difficult personal choice a woman has to make.  The government has no business interfering with such a significant private matter.

The other myth of abortions is that women will use this as birth control.  The data shows otherwise.  I suggest one read the book The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied—an Abortion (https://www.amazon.com/Turnaway-Study-Consequences-Having-Denied-ebook/dp/B0831S4XB2)

One certain way to reduce the need for abortions is a comprehensive health care system offering contraception, family planning, pre- and post-natal care and support, and a strong system of child care assistance for those in need.

Do you think the Iran deal was a good one?

I believe the Iran deal was the best solution to an insoluble problem absent the elimination of theocratic governments. What is now clear, by withdrawing from the Iran agreement, the US has created more instability in the region and lost any opportunity to build a coalition against further nuclear development by Iran.

Instead, we have left it to the Israelis to deal with the problem militarily, which increases the likelihood of open conflict in the Middle East.

The only lasting solution to the Iranian problem will have to come from the Iranian people. By imposing sanctions on a government that cares little for the welfare of its citizens, the ones who suffer most are the very people we need to achieve success.

Much like the Treaty of Versailles, we are imposing draconian demands that will, over time, have the exact opposite effect to what we need in the region.



Organizations like BLM will never gain the support of a majority of Americans until they decry the illegal possession and use of firearms as much as they criticize the actions of law enforcement.

Are you for defunding the police?

Another softball. Of course not.  But re-evaluating the tasks assigned to police departments and reallocating funds to more appropriate solutions makes sense. This trend toward the militarization of police (begun when I was on the job and no one embraced the toys more than us) was, in hindsight, a mistake.

But with that said, the reality of American society presents different challenges to police officers than other developed democratic countries. While police officers in many countries do not routinely carry firearms, the fact that there are 300 million weapons in civilian hands makes arming American officers critical.

Most gun owners never commit a crime. But the easy availability of weapons—both legal and illegal—makes their use in the commission of crimes more frequent and thus more of a risk factor.

Organizations like BLM will never gain the support of a majority of Americans until they decry the illegal possession and use of firearms as much as they criticize the actions of law enforcement. 

The implicit racism by many officers to persons of color is reinforced by the number of crimes committed by those who illegally possess weapons. This is not blaming the victims of unlawful police actions. This is bringing to the forefront the realities cops must deal with on the streets.

The perception of persons of color having a higher propensity to violence is one of the worst aspects of implicit racism, yet it is equally promulgated by ignorant racists and those who commit violent crimes with firearms.

And the inequities in the criminal justice system–where persons of color face longer sentences and make up a disproportionate number of those in prison–further reinforces the myth absent an understanding of the conditions behind the statistics.

Each of these factors reinforce to equal measure the misconception.

Do you think we should defend Federal Buildings?

Defend them, of course. Intercede in local situations absent specific requests from local law enforcement or elected officials, or absent evidence of abdication of responsibility by local authorities, no.

Do you think cities run by Democrats are thriving? (if so, name one).

This is my favorite. This is the classic example of how correlation does not equal causation. For instance, I could argue there has been an increase in violence in Chicago and other cities since 2016, when a Republican President took office. It correlates, but it doesn’t mean it caused it.

(Now if we want to argue the rhetoric coming from the administration—saying the white supremacists in Charlottesville were good people, for example—creates an atmosphere provoking violent acts, that might be a different discussion.)

To infer from data like the FBI crime reports, which are the ones most used to make these assertions despite FBI warnings against drawing such conclusions, distorts the reality.  In one more accurate study of gun violence in Chicago, 70% of the non-fatal gun injuries happened within areas containing just 6% of the city’s population. The study referred to these as “micro-geographic hot spots.”

There is no reliable way to gauge the political affiliation of a city’s administration to the city’s economic health as a significant factor in whether or not a city is “thriving.” 

One could argue that under two Republican mayors, Giuliani and Bloomberg, NYC saw an increase in violence and a downturn in economic viability. Under Giuliani’s tenure, New York suffered the most significant terrorist attacks in US history.  Does this mean a Republican-led city, or country, is more likely to face a terrorist attack? It may correlate, but it does not establish the cause.

Do you think the virus came from China?

I know the virus came from China because the CDC, WHO, and a host of other organizations–based on verifiable scientific pathogen methodologies–have traced the virus origin to China.

Do you think China is run by an evil regime?

China is a communist country with capitalistic overtones economically and a repressive dictatorship on civil liberties. The implication of these two questions being linked is that China intentionally released the virus.  While this makes for a great novel, the evidence suggests otherwise. Unless one wishes to abandon all rationality because of the equally deadly viral affliction of unprovable, often paranoid and irrational , conspiracy theories. I will adhere to staying with the evidence.

As a footnote, I am confident Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci, should they ever conspire to take over the world, would come up with a more controllable and effective method. 

Do you believe that the Muller investigation was legit and that the FISA Court was not deceived?

If we cannot have confidence in a man of proven character such as Robert Mueller to act in a manner consistent with the letter and spirit of the law, there is no hope for us. I would say Mr. Mueller’s refusal to offer a conclusion as to the President’s culpability in the matter, much to the chagrin of those who oppose the President, is a clear indication of Mr. Mueller’s character and integrity in rising above the temptation of political gain.

I would also refer you to the Senate Intelligence Committee report as to the indisputable fact of Russian interference in the election and the undeniable evidence of criminal activity.  As to the FISA warrant, there has been no evidence produced of any intentional misrepresentation of facts by the FBI in the warrant application. Acting in good faith is the standard in seeking warrants when evaluating information submitted in support of the application.

Sometimes, the information used to obtain a warrant turns out to be incorrect or inaccurate. But the level of probable cause needed to convince this court of the need to surveil American citizens is a high bar and, in this case, did not depend on just one dossier or alleged element in the application. 

Do you think BLM is controlled by avowed Marxist?

First, BLM is not a centralized organization like some would believe. They tend to be independent groups across the country operating under a common banner.  That someone who is an “avowed” Marxist is involved in such a group is not surprising, but they do not “control” the group.  And while I see Marxism as a failed philosophy doomed by the very nature of humans, to embrace such a philosophy in its pure theoretical form is both lawful and acceptable under our concept of free speech.

Do you think Joe Biden bribed the Pres. of Ukraine to remove the Prosecutor investigating Burisma?  

No, and no shred of reliable evidence proving this allegation has ever been shown. That is the standard of our criminal justice system, innocent until proven guilty. Much like Mr. Trump is not guilty of collusion with the Russians.

Are you for funding health care for illegal aliens?

If one means an otherwise capable adult who enters the country illegally to work, no. But it is more complicated.

What of an injured or ill young child brought here illegally by their parents?  Would you have us deny treating the child? Would you have us let them die because of their immigration status?  Or a pregnant mother? You would deny her the choice of abortion and refuse her treatment to bring the child to full term?

These are not yes/no situations, they are much more complicated.

Until we resolve the overarching issue of immigration with effective and humane programs, finding solutions to problems such as healthcare will be impossible.  

Why are people fleeing democratically controlled cities?

Migration patterns to and from cities are in constant flux.  The political affiliation of the city’s administration is a very low consideration in such decisions. The reasons people leave or move to cities vary with the current economy, crimes, employment opportunities, etc.

I would argue much of the most recent exodus from major cities is because of the disastrous manner in which we handled the pandemic.

Cities like New York with diverse populations, large numbers of foreign travelers, and serving as major points of entry into the country were more vulnerable than other less cosmopolitan cities.  These are not circumstances or conditions predicated or created by the political party holding the mayor’s chair.

To imply people are “fleeing” cities because of the political affiliation of the mayor contradicts the facts.  People leave cities for a variety of reasons, very few of them political.

I’ll give one example. There was a massive exodus from Boston after the school desegregation order. Whites who could afford it fled the city. The real estate market and rents collapsed; lower-income people filled the gap. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cities experience changes all the time, and the most significant factors driving it are almost always outside the control of the local political structure.

______________________________________________________________________________

Each of these issues is complex and requires a deliberate and comprehensive analysis to craft the best solutions.  I would argue that, despite the constant repetition from this administration about ‘yeah, but what about what Obama did,’ the evidence of corrupt practices and wrongheaded policies put in place by Mr. Trump is more compelling and I believe he has done significant long-term damage to this country.

The facts bear this out. Not one principal member of the Obama administration in eight years was ever charged, let alone convicted of a crime. And if politics influences the Justice Department, even under a Republican Congress, nothing came of investigation after investigation into the Obama administration.

Yet under President Trump, in less than four years, we have the following.

Mr. Trump’s personal attorney (Michael Cohen) charged and convicted.

Mr. Trump’s White House national security advisor (Michael Flynn) charged and convicted.

Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman (Paul Manafort) charged and convicted.

Mr. Trump’s deputy campaign chairman (Rick Gates) charged and convicted.

Mr. Trump’s former campaign advisers (Roger Stone and George Papadopoulos) charged and convicted.

And these are just the top-line indictments. If ever there was a model for a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) case, the Trump administration is it.

When asked to explain his being surrounded by so many people he worked with being convicted, Trump was at a loss for words. Instead, he tried to avoid the question with the usual “But Obama spied on my campaign,” despite this fallacy being disproved.

In fact, had the FBI and the Justice Department not investigated Russian efforts to influence and support the Trump campaign (as detailed in the Senate Intelligence Report) I would argue they should be charged with Obstruction of Justice.

______________________________________________________________________________

JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

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

———————————————————————————————————–

Thanks for reading, please share with everyone!

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.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

First, Admit the Problem Exists

The first step, the most important step, to solving a problem is to admit there is one. Police officers reflect our society; there are the overwhelming majority of good officers and the few, but dangerous ones, who harbor racial prejudices that impact their approach to the job.

Racial prejudice is endemic to America. The long torturous road to racial equality is not yet fully paved. Cultural misunderstandings, ethnic stereotypes, even geographic differences breed prejudice. The results are always tragic and often deadly.

While all of society must speak out and take a stand against racial prejudice, police officers, by the very nature of the authority they carry, bear a heavier burden. They must balance the oft-necessary use of force in enforcing laws against the fog of conflict they often operate in. More than any other segment of society, they need to recognize it is not a black and white world.

The nature of law enforcement—the uniforms, weapons, aura of authority—draws interest from a somewhat narrow spectrum of society. Rational people run away from gunfire, cops run towards it. We are all better for it that there are those among us willing to risk themselves to save others, even at the cost of their own life. No greater love…

Most seek the job to make a difference, to accomplish some good in the world, to make their neighborhoods, towns, and cities safer.

However, some seek the job to hold authority over others. These officers embrace the Us vs. Them mentality where everyone is guilty until proven innocent.  Every department has them.

Some departments do a better job of weeding out such officers. Others do not. Until agencies instill a sense of responsibility within the rank and file to work to remove such officers from their positions, situations like Minneapolis will happen again and again.

It is often politics within agencies that protect dangerous officers. This is a blight on the profession and a serious issue prolonging the problem.

EPPD

I served for twenty years with the East Providence Police Department. Every officer claims their department is the best. Pride is an important element of being a cop. But I would pit EPPD officers against any in the world in terms of professionalism.

Yet we had our share of problem officers. Some of it was generational, residual attitudes from a different time in America. But some was just plain ignorance. We did our best to deal with them. While we may not have been perfect, the majority of officers did their best to control the few problem children.

We can hope, with each new generation more embracing of our differences, officers holding these attitudes will fade into the past. But for now they are alive and well and we need to face them.

Being a cop is a dangerous job. The very nature of the job, if you want to survive, demands constant preparation for the worst to happen. A suspicious nature protects officers from complacency or letting their guard down. Yet, understanding they can resolve most situations with no or minimal force is key to minimizing deadly confrontations.

When one spends years on the streets seeing the worst of situations, it is easy to become immunized from the trauma. Officers develop a somewhat perverse sense of humor as a shield against the tragedy they see daily. Protecting oneself from the effect of traumatic incidents is one thing. Forgetting that you took on the responsibility to deal in a fair and impartial manner with everyone you come into contact with violates one’s oath to serve and protect.

Last, officers themselves need be a voice to point out and identify those among them who fail to act under the law and with common decency. The thin blue line is a necessary protection for society. We are fortunate that a few women and men will stand on that line and protect us all. But it does not confer on them the right to ignore those among them who act on racial prejudices out of some misguided sense of loyalty.

______________________________________________________________________________

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.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Sacrificial Lambs, The Fix is In, and Random Thoughts on The New American Reality

Under the Banner Sacrificial Lamb

During the lockdown to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the definition of “essential” took on a rather broad interpretation. Now I’m not saying I disagree with places like liquor stores, Home Depot, Dunkin’ Donuts, or McDonalds being open. It’s just to define them as “essential” is a stretch. It begs the question, what would happen if they were closed? How many people would die because they couldn’t buy a bag of nails, a case of Bud Light, a Big Mac, or a donut.

Well, a donut maybe.

What is clear is the people forced to work these jobs—often minimum wage workers with few options, no union protection, and likely without robust medical coverage—have borne the brunt of exposure, but that’s about to change.

With the relaxation of restrictions, all those people forced to stay home, wait in lengthy lines at the Starbucks drive up, or hire strangers to do their shopping, once again may venture out. Some, bristling under the restrictions and enamored with this having all been a conspiracy to deny them access to getting their nails done—see conspiracy theories below—will serve a dual purpose.

First, they may bring some life back into the economy, which would be a good thing. And, more important, they will serve as guinea pigs to see if the virus starts another spike. Now we all hope this is not the case, and we can all once again venture out, but the sacrificial lamb does a service to others.

If somebody has to check out before we can get a handle on this thing, so be it. We’ll host a nice memorial someday and maybe declare a holiday next year. National Remember Those Who Ventured Out Early Day.

Let me know how that works out for you.

Under the Banner Conspiracy Cases

While there are many astounding ravings of pure lunacy out there, my favorite claims are that Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates have a “patent” on the coronavirus COVID-19. This is interesting because there are no patents listed for any virus in the US Patent and Trademark Office. Search it yourself, https://www.uspto.gov/.

This makes perfect sense. Why would anyone, if they were so inclined to create a virus that kills people, enter it into a searchable database?

And if it’s the deep state hiding it for them, why would they need a patent?

Another aspect of this is someone intentionally released the virus so Gates, et al., can profit from the vaccine. Something they also have a patent on that is, coincidentally, also missing from the US Patent Office database.

The problem is the virus seems to target the most vulnerable (see Sacrificial Lambs above) who are the very people most likely to support those who see Gates as a political ally. Doesn’t make much sense for the liberal left-wing to back the release of a virus that kills the very people who support them.

I must search the patent office again and see if someone has a patent on a Republican Virus. Perhaps that’s on the horizon.

And now the most troubling.

Under the Banner The Fix is In

The Justice Department, at the direction of Attorney General William Barr, moved to dismiss the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The Justice Department said they could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Here’s the words right from the motion.

“The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue. Moreover, we do not believe that the Government can prove either the relevant false statements or their materiality beyond a reasonable doubt.” https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.191592/gov.uscourts.dcd.191592.198.0_4.pdf

The government said it cannot prove a case where the defendant offered a plea of guilty and then cooperated with the Mueller investigation? Then, because of some poorly worded memos and emails made during an investigation—material produced during every investigation and not subject to normal inclusion in the final product — the Justice Department saw a way to let Flynn off the hook.

A rather intriguing example of dialectical ingenuity.

Every investigator, operating under the premise of indications of criminal activity, looks to craft an approach to build a case. That the agents were trying to find a way to get him to lie about his meetings with the Russians was such an approach.

Thwarting it would have been easy. Don’t lie. Flynn chose to lie about it. If it wasn’t criminal, why lie. If you didn’t commit a crime, why plead guilty?

They argued, “The Government is not persuaded that the January 24, 2017 interview was conducted with a legitimate investigative basis and therefore does not believe Mr. Flynn’s statements were material even if untrue.”

I’ve seen many a case where the fix was in and this has got to be a top ten contender. Materiality apparently is a vague concept within the Barr Justice Department.

The cries of outrage when a smart defense attorney gets a case dismissed on a “technicality”—otherwise known as the law—are long and loud. But here they have fallen silent because the government found the technicality? Such a strange twist.

The burden in on the government to prove a case, and rightfully so. In this matter the government shirked the burden for political reasons. And if the government can refuse to bear the burden when it suits them politically, they can zealously bring it to bear on another case when it suits them.

Remember, Flynn pled guilty twice to these charges and then cooperated with the Mueller investigation. The man was a three-star General and an intelligent, educated man. Why would anyone plead guilty if they did nothing wrong? Why would someone agree to cooperate with the government unless they had information about criminal activity? Why lie to FBI agents about a meeting with the Russians?

Flynn could have made the same arguments at trial, but he wanted a guarantee. A pardon from the President would have been a cleaner way to “fix” the problem, instead they sullied the entire system.

I’ll wait and see if any indictments arise from the Durham review of the FBI investigation. Durham is a man of integrity and I assume if he seeks indictments, they are necessary and justified. If so, the government should prosecute them with vigor.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume some FBI agents are indicted and let’s imagine there is a new administration with a new head of the Justice Department this January. What’s stopping the same politically driven approach to pursuing Justice from finding some weasel-worded way to dismiss those indictments? The problem would persist Ad infinitum.

You can’t “lock her up” without evidence. Nor should you seek to “dismiss with prejudice” a criminal case where there is clear evidence. A guilty plea entered before a Federal Court with the advice of counsel is such evidence. Two separate guilty pleas are a slam dunk.

Under British Law there is a charge for perverting the course of justice. This case begs for such a charge. Unlike most criminal matters, this charge would apply to those now running the Department of Justice.

Don’t believe there is a two-tier system of justice in America? Don’t think politics and personal connections permeate the system? Look no further than this case and the case in Georgia involving the killing of Mr. Arbery.

This is the new America. This is the America of Donald Trump. Where conspiracy theories trump science and rationality, people cannot bear any burden that interrupts them for even the briefest of moments despite the risk they may pose to others, and we apply justice with fluid standards depending on the politics of those in charge.

______________________________________________________________________________

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 to write a piece to be posted on my blog, please send me a message.

Signup here for my email list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.

And for all my books to add to your memories of great reads…https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU

Justice Tempered by Mercy, Mercy Me

Oh mercy, mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be

Mercy Mercy Me   Marvin Gaye

I know I’ve compromised the lyrics from a song about pollution to one about the justice system, but the lamentation of the words is appropriate.

A recent headline on FOX News blared,

Florida man gets 20 years for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes

A Florida man who stole $600 worth of cigarettes from a convenience store was sentenced Friday to 20 years in state prison, The Pensacola News Journal reported.

An Escambia County jury convicted Robert Spellman, 48, of burglary and grand theft in August. Spellman went into a Circle K in December, and stole 10 cartons of cigarettes from a stock room in the store manager’s office, authorities said.

The State Attorney’s Office said authorities found Spellman nearby, matching a description of the suspect, and had the cigarettes, The News Journal reported.

Spellman had 14 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions prior to the cigarette theft, which qualified him as a habitual felony offender, The News Journal reported. That led to the lengthy 20-year prison sentence imposed Friday by an Escambia County judge.

The lengthy prison term prompted outrage on social media, with some people accusing the prosecutor of imposing too harsh a sentence for a seemingly petty crime.

“Just such a disproportionate sentence,” wrote one Twitter user. “[W]ho are these cruel judges?!?” Bradford Betz – FOX News – Monday, September 24, 2018

Somehow, people were outraged that a man could be sentenced to twenty years in prison for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes.

Mercy, mercy me.

They apparently skipped the part that said,

“Spellman had 14 felony and 31 misdemeanor convictions prior to the cigarette theft, which qualified him as a habitual felony offender.”

JusticeNow, I will be the first to point out our corrections system is wanting in the rehabilitation department. Our prisons are warehouses and little more. But when an individual, not otherwise suffering from mental illness or incompetence, has been convicted of 45 crimes, including 14 felonies, there is little left for society to do than “lock ‘em up and throw away the key.”

Mr. Spellman could be the poster child for the failed court system. I will bet, if one reviewed the court record, Mr. Spellman was warned by many judges not to return to the courtroom and be of good behavior. To which Mr. Spellman, or most likely his overworked public defender, assured the court he would.

Anything to escape responsibility.

Everyone deserves a second chance, perhaps even a third chance. But 45 chances are bordering on the court being an accomplice to the crimes.

While there are myriad social implications for failing to provide meaningful rehabilitation to criminals, everything from skills training to assist with job opportunities after release, deterrence and punishment for crimes is still a valid societal tool.

Mercy, Mercy me

How much more evidence do we need?

A Tweet a Day, Keeps Rationality Away

In the latest tirade from the Commander-in-Chief, the President whined,

Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”

Aside from the blatant inaccuracy and disingenuous nature of these words (let alone the second-grade grammar), there is something more troubling on display. In the words of William Shakespeare, a man who knew the power of words, there is this,

“There is no darkness, but ignorance.”

words-have-powerThe mark of a person is not made by their words but by their deeds. Yet, words offer a window on a person’s character. How one expresses yourself—the tone and timbre of the language—is an elementary part of one’s approach to life.

With emotional and intellectual maturity comes the wisdom to understand the necessity of choosing words carefully. A rational and respectful person learns to make a point without resorting to infantile name-calling.

It would seem with the president we see evidence of intellectual dystrophy and emotional immaturity. Not generally a concern for most who have little international influence, frightening in the case of a man with sole determinant authority to launch nuclear weapons.

History is the arbiter of success and failure. When history reviews the Trump Presidency, the self-serving blaming of others for all things he’s failed to accomplish or been taken to task for will rise to the surface as one of his most glaring defects.

To stand idly by, wringing his hands in-between writing sophomoric tweets, as children are torn from their families is the epitome of disingenuous cowardice. If he seeks to be perceived as even the least bit Presidential, issue a Presidential Executive order halting the policy of separating the children and see who challenges the order in court.

I can guarantee it will not be a Democratic challenge.

The one truth is nothing is permanent. This too will pass.

The President, for all his braggadocio, claims of success, and superlative laced tales of his performance, along with his constant complaining about everybody not on Team Trump, would do well to heed the admonition of Ozymandius by Shelley.

Ozymandius

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandius, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

A Change of Hate

March 1966, Dalat, South Vietnam.

Green Beret First Lieutenant Harrison Bennett stalks his latest target, an elusive Viet Cong Colonel. After weeks of hunting, the man’s face fills the rifle scope.

A deep breath, a partial exhale, a tap from the observer confirming the target.

The trigger squeeze and rifle recoil meld into the muscle memory of training, the pink mist replaces the man’s face, and it is done….

March 2016, Providence, Rhode Island.

Attorney-at-Law Harrison “Hawk” Bennett sits at his desk going over his morning schedule. His phone rings….

His world is about to change forever.

Walking into the reception area, his memories go into overdrive. His eyes see what his mind cannot accept.

A saffron-robed Buddhist monk stands and smiles. A face he last saw seconds before he ended its life stares back at him. A specter from his nightmare lives.

“It has been a long time, Lieutenant Bennett, and a long way from our time in Dalat.”

“I thought you were dead, Colonel. They gave me a medal for killing you.”

Bennett finds himself thrust into a world of treason, double-cross, and a justice department bent on vengeance. Those he once fought alongside have become the enemy.

Forced to choose between his dedication to the law and the memories of the dead and dying in the jungles of Vietnam, Hawk faces his greatest challenge; defending a man he believed he killed from a government gone rabid over protecting its secrets.

Cover for Createspace

A Change of Hate: A Harrison “Hawk” Bennett Novel. The latest work by Joe Broadmeadow coming soon to Kindle and print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Check out my other books at https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Broadmeadow/e/B00OWPE9GU