Friday, November 6, 2020

Wow is that a label on your noggin?

Oh look its election time again.....

The great experiment of our country continues. I love our country, its ideals and its people all over its great beautiful land. We are nation that embraces life, liberty and the ultimate pursuit of a life lived to freely do what we want. We love our families and friends. 

We respect, in general, a persons right to choose whom they fall in love with, whom they pray too and what they do in life that brings them happiness. It's an American ideal.

Are their outliers? Yes of course.

Do we as individuals enjoy every single shade of color in a rainbow? Or do we have some that we favor a bit more? BTW Theres nothing wrong with liking something, making choices or favoring an ideal or even a color in the rainbow. But if those choices involve forsaking all others, their ideals, their choices and being a πŸ’© to them about it....well that's a problem. 

Politics can be beautiful and politics can be ugly. 

It's the struggle to find common ground that takes work. Its listening to another viewpoint and focusing on commonalities that takes work. Sometimes the work is too hard, it just doesn't get done. Sometimes leaders just don't have the capacity to mend hearts. Sometimes its the people that don't have the heart to mend in the first place. 

Democrats are Snowflakes? Really, I used to love seeing snowflakes through the window in late fall in our little mountain home. Transformative to the landscape. Nothing negative at all. Why would we choose to label a political interest as a "snowflake"? 

If you believe the pundits Democrats apparently are all anti-police, anti-gun, anti-military, mostly socialists that want free everything for everyone, open the borders completely, big giant government and want to eliminate the wealthy and give that wealth to the poor impoverished non-working drug addicted people. But mostly want all drugs legalized. Loves wearing face coverings (COVID-19).

Really? Is that definition of the Democratic Party? Come on that is ridiculous. 

Trumper / Trumpster? Because a person is a Republican? Republicans are apparently all racist, pro-gun, pro-closing the borders. Many are rednecks/hill billys in trucks and basically uneducated. Pro-police, pro-military, want smaller government, less laws, less government spending. Want great schools, just don't want to pay for them. Would never wear face coverings (COVID-19).

Is that what Republicans are? Doubtful.

Conservative, Liberal.....Green Party. Whatever......So many colors in a rainbow, I suspect we all are part of the same spectrum, but favor some of the colors a little more. 

I am an American. Those groups you paint with a wide brush are also your fellow Americans. 

I simply abhor labels. They can really diminish a persons potential at times. For many of us that are passionate about working with Special Olympics there's a word that brings our blood pressure up, no matter what setting and how it's said. I won't say the "r" word because to me its one of the most offensive words that can be applied to another human. 

It's simply not a phrase I use or ever will. Special Olympians are brave, strong, inspiring human beings. Meeting, interacting with and calling many my friends has truly enriched my life. The 'r" is a label thrown by those that are morally unsound or mentally immature, your pick on which. 

There are simply just bad actors folks. There are bad liberals, bad conservatives and really bad folks in between. People suck, but not everyone is a suspect. 

Speaking of suspect, thoughts on Chaka from Land of the Lost? Seriously I wasn't completely convinced that Chaka was completely legit......Sorry back to my point. 

Other than political ideology you probably have many more things in common than you probably realize. 

We love our families. 

We all have or have had a mother and father most likely.

We miss those family and friends we've lost along life’s  journey. 

We want what's best for our kids, friends, communities and country. 

We probably love our fellow man. 

We get scared at times. 

We sometimes cry. 

We sometimes laugh. 

We worry about bills and when our kids are off at school we worry about them and pray for their safety.

At one point we've probably all paid for a meal with coins. 

At some point we all need help.

At some time in life, our heart will break.

My point is, Trumpster, reds, conservatives, Republicans, Snowflakes, Libs, Liberals, Democrats or whatever your calling your polar political opposite....labels suck. We are better than that. 

We are human beings. 

Most importantly we are Americans. 

Thats a label I'm proud of. 

God bless America πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ, love your fellow man.

Chief (ret.)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The 30 Days of Murph

It was really one of my dumber ideas. Seriously unwise.

I could hurt myself permanently.

But I like to challenge myself. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone.

So, I did it and learned some things about myself.

What is MURPH anyway?


For time:
1 mile Run
100 Pull-ups
200 Push-ups
300 Squats
1 mile Run

W/20 lb vest or body armor

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike's favorites and he'd named it "Body Armor". From here on it will be referred to as "Murph" in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you've got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.

For many people, this is a lot. Because well, it is a lot. I’ll admit it isn’t my favorite workout. It just super hard.

  • I hate running (yes I know I run a lot)
  • I cannot do pull-ups unassisted to save my life (okay maybe I could do 10-15 if I had too).
  • Push-ups I am just ok’ish with but I can do 200. I wont like it, but I can do it.
  • Squats? Seriously does anybody actually like doing squats, because I don’t.
  • Then you get to run yet ANOTHER mile πŸ’©.
  • Bonus you have to wear a 20 lb weighted vest or body armor. Okay I was cop many years, wore body armor a lot of the time. But a weighted vest is a dramatically different. It just totally sucks because it makes everything harder. 
So there you have it, all the movements aren’t fun in anyway at all. 

Why would anybody want to do that, everyday for 30 days?

Answer? Nobody would, seriously.

So you did it Dave? Why just why? 
Well....I wanted to prove something to myself. I wanted to do something that pushed me way out of my comfort zone. I wanted to challenge myself beyond my own perceived limits.

Was I sore? Yep every single day after the first day. Some days less than others. But believe me when I say that nobody does 200 push-ups and 300 squats that isn’t sore. It’s just an impossibility. 

On Day 21 I got a personal record (PR). That night and next day, I was so sore I had trouble standing up from a chair. I was so sore. I had trouble holding on to my coffee mug. That is a whole new level of sore muscles. 

I lost 18 lbs during the 30 days. I didn’t pay attention too much to my diet. I tried a little bit. I made sure I didn’t stuff myself with 6 pieces of pizza or a whole ribeye for sure. But I also didn’t exactly watch what I was eating. My wife bought a 4 pack of Twizzler Orange Cream flavor.....yep ate all 4 packs and I don’t care who knows. They are delicious 🍬.

A time or two, I drank beers, maybe had a shot of whiskey in there too. I didn’t feel good but I ran the next morning (I would advise against that btw).

I truthfully hated that vest. Still do. But I’ll continue to wear a vest. The benefits are just to great to ignore. Many times I wore a sauna suit under my vest (which is probably the most uncomfortable clothing piece in my vast collection of concert shirts and other lame t-shirts (my wife isn’t a fan of my t-shirts, lol).

We do things like this to see what the takeaways are. If we have learned anything.

Here’s a top ten list of things that I learned in those 30 Days.
  1. Shorts with built-in underwear or tights in them are really nice to run in if your a dude.
  2. Shorts with built-in underwear or tights in them can also be not quite as comfy doing squats in, if you are a dude. πŸ‘Ž
  3. Sweat, wow I sweat a lot. I was drenched everyday. Taking off that stupid sauna suit is akin I imagine, to a lady taking off their bra at the end of the day. Oh what a relief it is. 
  4. Times are times, I was all over the map and did not really care. It's a journey not a race. I had a 49 minute day one day, and a 55 minute the very next day. MURPH is hard, period. 
  5. Partitioning is not the biz for me. I get it. 20 rounds of 5-10-15, it looks easier. It’s not in my opinion and you lose a ton of time in transition. (Thank you Damon for your sage advice).
  6. Rest is important, so I fit brief rest in on Push-ups and Squats. Keep moving, just keep moving (Thank you Christi for that advice).
  7. When running, look where you are going. Envision your path 5 steps ahead. You wont wipe out (I did and it left a mark or two).
  8. Drink fluids, before - during - after. 🚫 Don’t drink beers the night before 🍺. Those don’t count as fluids and they will just kill your times. 
  9. Fight the urge to quit. Fight it, just keep moving forward. Win the battle in your head. Envision a strong finish. Run as fast as you can the last 200 yds of the second mile. You are a damn warrior, act like it. 
  10. Get up and go do it. Fight the urge to stay in bed. Yes you are sore, you don’t feel like, you have things to do. Remember the most important thing you can do for your family is be present and be healthy. So get up and get moving. 
➽⭐⭐ Bonus - Running with a face mask, gaiter or other option was just zero fun for me. I did it a few times, never liked it and I just could never get into a rhythm πŸ‘Ž

People have asked me if I would ever do it again. I’m not sure actually. I mean it was a goal. I got there. I did it. So on to the next challenge. On to the next thing I dread and makes me uncomfortable.

It is like slaying a dragon I suppose, momentous, difficult and your really beat up afterword....but you survived the battle

Many days during this challenge I was sore. I just didn't have the desire or just did not want to go run. But I kept putting on my running shoes and vest. 

I tried to mix it up a lot. I knew going into it would be a physical challenge, but did not consider that it might become monotonous with the same movements each day. So I changed it slightly each day. Thrusters for pull-ups, or Knees to Chest for pull-ups. Sometimes I swung a 70 lb kettle bell, threw up dumbbells and other times I did step-ups on a box. Those small changes added diversity and also kept me thinking. 

The mind is where the battle is by the way. You have to keep thinking. You have to keep looking ahead as you are moving your body. 

Whats the next challenge? I do not know. I will think about it awhile. I will go to the gym and continue to work out and try to do the smart things to keep healthy. 

Lessons learned: What I have learned is having goals are great for your overall attitude.  Thinking about success before it happens is really a big part of having a winning mindset. I am not the expert on this but I know what works and doesn't work for me. Think about being successful prior to do getting to work.

I learned a lot about myself. I pushed well past my perceived limits. Yes I wanted to quit. I wanted to stop. At times I really hated it. But, I pushed thru it. I kept thinking about my wife and family. My friends and the public. I wanted to be a good example. I wanted to show them the example of how to fight past your own perceptions and limits that we place on ourselves and even though I was exhausted and mentally breaking to keep pushing forward. These last 30 Days was really about learning who I am, better. 

Here is a list of things that have worked for me for this purpose:
  1. Listen to advice from your coaches, teachers, experienced people and subject matter experts. You are probably not the expert AND sometimes hearing another perspective and comprehending the wisdom can truly help your performance at game time, in the gym and in life.
  2. Keep an open mind about new ideas and new ways of doing things. Your way may not be the best or most efficient way (my bride taught me this). 
  3. Criticism can help you. Yes sometimes it will bruise the ego, but truly constructive criticism and negative feedback can actually help your outlook and performance. 
  4. Never stop learning. Seek knowledge and wisdom. It will feed your soul and give you increased confidence. 
  5. Sleep well, eat well and move with a purpose, every single day. 
Just the stats man, just the stats:
During this challenge. while wearing a 20 lb weighted vest, I:

Ran 60+ miles (some days I ran more miles to stretch the ole sore legs)
3000 Pull-ups or an equivalent movement
6000 Push-ups
9000 Squats (every damn one of them πŸ‘Ž) 
Total time in motion 1,590.14 minutes or 26.5 hours
Total calories 29,040

At the end of the 30 Day Challenge, on July 4th. I was completely and totally exhausted. Mind and body completely drained. But I did it and was fortunate to PR my last day. 

Lt Mike Murphy did not quit when his number was called. He didn’t stop. He moved forward to the fight. He was a great American Hero. It was humbling to do this workout named after him.

In his honor.......

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Promise

In our ever changing world, we still need on thing.

We need warriors.

It is important that we confront and challenge our bias, challenge the system to insure and require fair and equal treatment for all and put in place the architecture that constantly reinforces those ideals.

We need to keep our promises. We need to remember the oaths we swore. We need to do it to guarantee that we will uphold the values that we have in our hearts.

But we in fact, need warriors to face the things that go bump in the night.

Yes I understand that most people abhor violence. I personally abhor violence. But I also know that sometimes it is necessary for the greater good. I accept that fact, albeit it’s a begrudgingly acceptance for me.

Law enforcement officers train to mitigate and reduce violence. They spend hours in classes for crisis/tactical communications. Many officers spend time in the community trying to connect and show people that they want to be part of the violence reduction solution continuum. They go and teach in our schools that message. They talk to people almost daily with that theme in prominence.

But, sometimes we need them to confront evil directly. They get called to address problems associated with violent, evil people. Sometimes evil seeks them out. Sometimes that face evil head on and evil does what it does. It kills our hero.

What happened in Ben Lomond, California on June 6th 2020 was exactly that.

“According to Hart, around 1:30 p.m. a caller reported a van parked off the road near Jamison Creek in Boulder Creek. The caller said there were guns and bomb-making materials inside the van. As deputies arrived, they witnessed the van leaving the area drive by a man later identified as Steven Carrillo. They followed the vehicle to a home on Waldeberg Road in Ben Lomond."

Hart said that when deputies went to investigate, they were "ambushed" with gunfire and multiple improvised explosive devices. It was during this time that Gutzwiller was shot. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

Article -

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was shot and killed that day. He left behind his wife and family. He left his colleagues at the Sheriff’s Office, his friends, his community and his greater law enforcement family.

Sheriff Hart described Damon as “a courageous, intelligent, sensitive and a caring man".

I submit that he was all of that and he was a warrior. He was protecting us from evil. He was doing the job he was called to do. He was murdered while he was protecting us.

We need more men and women just like him. We need warriors.

We ask so much from our public safety personnel:

They must be brave.

They must be strong and yet sensitive.

They must be fair.

They must be problem solvers.

They must be able to be attentive and alert for 12, 14…..heck even 27 hrs if needed (yes that long at times).

They must be adept at counseling, science, law, sensitive to cultures, hugging, showing love for their fellow man, jumping fences, driving fast, emergency medicine, narcotic and alcohol symptomology, crisis resolution, changing an occasional tire and many others not always covered in training.

They must be patient and respectful as a protester spits in their face as they are telling them they “hope you die”.

But they also must be able to switch to tactical mode, 5 seconds after holding the door to your business for the next patron as they walk in for a welcome cup of coffee at 3 AM.

They say law enforcement is a calling.

It is.

Only a few men and women are up to the task to understand what the promise of swearing the oath actually means. We need more people like Sgt. Gutzwiller. 

I was a cop for a long time. I was and am proud of that. I am proud of my brothers and sisters in blue. I will always back them.

That is my promise.

Thank you for listening. Be good to each other.


Monday, June 8, 2020

The Bridge

“You reap what you sow Dave-o”...My grandmother would warn me. It’s a biblical reference (Galatians 6: 7-9) to farming and sweat equity from days long since gone and of course life.

I remember as a young man being undecided on my career path. Then one day, it all clicked, I saw my uncle in his uniform, he talked about his career. He’s only 10 years older so that helped, as I could easily envision myself in his shoes.

I didn’t go into law enforcement with the thoughts that with my “authority” I could get over on other people, make amends for any transgressions that maybe befell me in my youth from the neighborhood bully or oppress those I felt “superior” too (whatever that means).

I chose my career because I wanted to go to work each day without routine. To do work that allowed me to truly help people solve problems by working together. To do work that protected the innocent and sought justice for those that preyed on others.

I didn’t ever want to be the judge, jury and certainly not the executioner.

I wanted to be the bridge to safety for the community. That’s it. That was my dream and I got the honor to live it for 30 years. I cannot thank my employers and the cities (Los Banos, Redwood City and Hollister, California) I worked for, for that honor.

I worked with great people; never saw anything (besides the news) that was racist (from my vantage point of course). Saw a few people I worked with make egregious errors that cost them their jobs, but those were usually related to booze or women/men or a combo of both.

Perhaps because I was so vocal about social issues, talking about race relations openly and really prioritized equality maybe my co-workers made conscious decisions to keep their beliefs/feelings on the down low. But I truly doubt that. People can fake who they are for a while, but it always and I mean always comes out. We simply cannot change who we are.

Ever wonder why some people are so apprehensive about talking about race issues? It’s not because they are racists btw. It’s because of the stigma, it’s because of the feeling of not wanting to offend, it’s because we don’t talk enough about it.

We need to talk about our differences, celebrate our differences and embrace them. They are what make us, well, us.

I love hearing about people and their lives. I’m a big biography fan. I love talking to people about their lives. I am a people person, 100%.

We need to talk too, not talk “AT” people more I think. We need to listen to them. We might not agree on everything, that’s fine. But we do need to listen to them I think.

Racist police officers are the outliers, just like in society. Racists are outliers, they are not the majority. They are few. I feel pity on them, if I am being honest. They will never get to see how beautiful our world is through the veil of hate filled eyes. That’s really sad.

Studies show us that about 6% of our population in the world cause 99% of the problems we face. The other 1% is natural occurring or accidents. Law enforcement agencies are a microcosm of our population. Lets say with backgrounds, oral boards and physiological testing we reduced the problem law enforcement employees to maybe 1%. It is still a problem. Can you now see how 1% or less can cause huge problems?

Police officers should be representative of our population. You should see yourself in your law enforcement agency.

They should be white, Latino, black, Asian, Native American, gay, lesbian, etc….police officers in your community.  The same goes for schools, health departments, fire departments and all public services.

Again we should see ourselves. Our children should see themselves in our public services.

The latest headlines are focused on social justice issues. I applaud that. 

The other headlines are “Defund Police Departments”.

Let that sink in. “Defund the Police Department.”

In my world there isn't a place for racism and poorly trained public safety officers and deplorable police tactics. Lets just put that right out in front. My brothers and sisters in law enforcement would give me a big "hell ya" for that sentiment I am sure. 

Let’s look at what our police departments do for us now.

·        Respond to emergency calls in-progress (homicides, armed robbery, burglaries, domestic violence, injury DUI collisions, active shooters, terrorist threats just to name a few.

·         Traffic enforcement

·         School Resource Officers

·         Investigations (financial, sexual assaults, gangs, narcotics, etc)

·         Sex/arson Registrant tracking

·         Fingerprint / livescan

·         Safety/security checks

·         Child/adult welfare reporting and investigation

·         Mental health / crisis response

·         Disorderly conduct (large section of responses here)

This is but a partial list.

Here are some of the ideas to replace law enforcement. I offer them as a discussion point. I don't belittle them or offer an opinion on them. I am here to be an active listener. 

·        Special trained social workers to respond to domestic violence, disorderly conduct, mental health crisis first responders and in schools

·        Decriminalize all narcotics

·       Neighborhood watch or similar to handle neighborhood problems like burglaries, robbery, thefts, disputes, etc.

·         Sex/arson registrations eliminated entirely

·         There are a few more but they are minor

I am certainly not questioning the surrounding emotions and reasons of these ideas. There aren't a lot of bad ideas when we form them together, in unity. But there can be disastrous results when we make decisions in haste, without discussion, without complete understanding of cause and effect. 

That is my point really, I am questioning the practicality.

Yes I know to evolve, we see shifting paradigms, we enhance our capacity to understand and hopefully that results in wisdom. I am ALL IN on that way of thinking.

Because every plan, every idea and everything you’ve put into place to make the world in the image you see as perfect goes out the door once you get punched in the nose. Once you get stabbed in the neck (twice). Once you have gun pointed at your head. All of those plans, they are all gone.

I have been in that world. I have seen evil. Evil isn’t a color of skin, isn’t a religion, isn’t poor or wealthy, isn’t healthy or sick.

Evil is just evil.

It destroys, it hurts and sometimes it kills.

It doesn’t care about your social programs, because it’s evil.

We ask our law enforcement officers to confront evil, almost daily.

But we ask our law enforcement officers to do too a lot more than that.

An analogy you've heard here before rings true here. 

A law enforcement officers typical day is 11 hours of boredom, followed by an hour of sheer terror.
 Accurate for sure. 

They are nurses, they are counselors, communicators, they are athletes, they pick you up, they bring light to darkness, they solve disputes, they are accountants, they are lawyers, they are judges, they are mechanics, they help raise and educate our children, the hug the tears and fear away and they sit with you until your last breath. They are heroes, period.

If the problem is not explicitly defined, then its solution cannot be entirely designed.”
- Anuj Somany

 Are their problems among the ranks of law enforcement? Yes, the evidence is readily available. 

I really don't hold credence to the "blue wall of silence" though. We (law enforcement) does not want to work with:

  • Racists
  • Sub-standard
  • Poorly trained, poorly retained
  • Lazy
  • Cowards
  • Just anybody that is not there for the right reasons in general.
Law enforcement officers are in fact people, people. They are problem solvers. Some even use the term "societal garbage workers". I don't like that term. Offensive to me personally, but sometimes its an accurate description for some situations. 

There is that old saying I have written inside my folder I take for meetings.
"We all tend to have a solution to every problem except ours. Because we are so busy looking in others lives that we actually forget about ourselves."
Its a constant reminder to look at myself. To challenge my own bias. To try to see from another perspective and apply to myself and how I see the world. 

The solution is not defund the police, the solution is solving the damn problems. They are right in front of us. 

This country needs to prioritize public safety. Here is a short list of my suggestions:
  • Personnel boards that have a place in the hiring and discipline of public safety personnel. I am suggesting a possibly appointed board that helps select its public safety officers/employees but not replace regular HR procedures. Make them part of the continuum. * Most public safety agencies have citizen involvement in the hiring process. I am suggesting that, that role be defined and then mandated. For example, maybe have a mandated ratio of citizens on a oral board. Maybe there is a place in the appeals process for discipline as well.
  • Re-invest in training for law enforcement. There are tons of state mandates that are totally unfunded. This absolutely decimates local general funds and often because of cost, it gets put on the back burner. There's tons more training that I would suggest, including yearly mandated training in implicit bias, transparency, community policing, use of force to name a few.
  • When we have bad actors in the ranks, we need to remove some of the red tape in the discipline process with also guaranteeing the employees due process rights as guaranteed in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. Accountability should be the goal. 
  • Physical and mental fitness screenings annually with a set standard. Try remove as much ambiguity as possible. 
  • Education requirements, such as an Associates Degree minimum in a range of acceptable study categories to fit the job title. Military Service Member points to be substituted. Education reimbursement for the candidates if applicable.
  • Education requirements for rank & leadership positions should be mandated. Education reimbursement for the candidates if applicable.
  • The Academy in California is 5-6 months long. In Spain its 2 years, and 2 years for each rank. Its similar to that, all over Europe. They may be on to something. Perhaps a study of their methods is in order, to see if its applicable to our nation. 
  • Personnel Records, establish a state/national accessible personnel record that follows a public employee regardless of where they lateral/transfer too for their entire career. Let minor infractions fall off their record after 3-5 years. Serious issues where suspensions are involved,  you keep in your file for your career.
These are just some of my suggestions.

Like I said previously, I wanted to just be the bridge for my community. The bridge to safety, problem solving and truly showing love to my fellow man.  

Thank you for taking the time to read, please show someone kindness today.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Why Do Black Lives Matter?

I admit it, I was one of those guys....

I was wrong. 

I must apologize from the outset. I’ve historically responded to the cry “Black Lives Matter” with the retort “No, All  Lives Matter”. Heck I’ve gotten fancy a few times and even said “Every single life matters”. 

But you see, that’s not the point is it? I didn’t understand. I completely missed the point. Lost in my own world, my own filter of the world. I frankly did not have the wisdom to understand what “Black Lives Matter” meant. 

I was a career police officer. I’m proud that I served the communities I worked in.  I know that I worked hard. I was honest, I did the right things, even when people weren’t looking or there wasn’t a video camera on me. I worked with great people, in great communities and can say for certain, that I never saw anything like what we all saw in Minneapolis, or Chicago last year or even almost 30 years ago in Los Angeles with a guy named Rodney King who simply asked "Can we all get along?"

Yes I was a police officer during the time of the Rodney King assault. It was life changing for me. I remembered watching it on the news completely numb with the thought that people in my profession could do that to another human. But I don't want to get ahead myself here, so let's forget I mentioned that. 

I own a Thin Blue Line Flag. I wear a Thin Blue Line Flag patch on my running vest. I have a bunch of shirts with the Thin Blue Line design on them. It's my identity. I love my fellow brothers and sisters in blue. In my mind I will always be a police officer, it's ingrained into my DNA. Somehow the Thin Blue Line flag became a symbol of racism to some folks. I respectfully disagree but I understand the sentiment.

I have talked about my own identity and loves quite a bit. What and who we love and whom we identify with, really defines who we are. 

Some folks in this country would say that "Black Lives Matter" is racist statement against white America. Its not at all that, by the way. Its a statement meant to unify people to the message that racism exists and to make immediate/substantive changes to eliminate it.

I am not black. I will never be black. I will never understand what it is like to be black or grow up as a black man. I cannot identify with being black just because I have black friends. I just will never fully understand. I have to accept that completely, to try to understand the concept of Black Lives Matter. 

Rhetoric and retorts are sometimes meant to reduce the impact and belittle the original message. Take for example when somebody says something like "she's a pretty for a big girl". Why cant she just be simply pretty? It's like  saying "for a smart guy, he sure is handsome." Really, are smart people typically not handsome? Our own insecurities prompt us to do and say these things. 

All lives matter, yes of course they do. Police officer lives matter, yes, yes they do. Every single life matters, of course. All rhetorical, because of course all of these matter and frankly to me, always will. 

The moment is important to people. Let me repeat for those not paying attention. THIS moment is important. Let me put it to you in a way that you can identify with to put it in perspective. 

During the Olympics when you see the Americans walk into the Olympic stadium, wearing red, white and blue, do you swell with pride and get a lump in your throat? Maybe? - the moment

When you watched the final scene in Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker, lump in your throat, tear in your eye? No? - the moment

When you saw Prince playing Purple Rain at the Superbowl in the dang rain....emotions, lump, tears? Maybe? Probably...the moment

My mother always called me a softy.....I probably am. Everyone of those examples gets me a little emotional. I admit it. My heart melts at this stuff and always will because of the moment

I want you to try change the way you see yourself. I want you to see yourself through the eyes of others. No we cannot fully understand but let's set the stage. Let's look back a few years and try to see through histories eyes of black people in America or at least try.

  • Your people were former slaves. 

  • They had no freedoms at all. 

  • In writings of the time they were considered as a race, sub-human.

  • Some women were raped and abused at the whim of their owners

  • Men were beaten when they wouldn't submit

  • The entire system relied on them be obedient slaves

  • Black suffrage - Black men did not get the right to vote until AFTER the civil war (15th Amendment)

  • Black suffrage - Black women (Latina's and other races as well) did not get the right to vote until....1965!

  • Civil rights act of 1964 - 1964 folks

What Is the Civil Rights Act?

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, segregation on the grounds of race, religion or national origin was banned at all places of public accommodation, including courthouses, parks, restaurants, theaters, sports arenas and hotels. No longer could blacks and other minorities be denied service simply based on the color of their skin.

Just a few examples here for you.

There are other things like gentrification, social economics and frankly many other factors that have impacts on black America. I do not have the time for that here. 

Notice how I don't use the term African-American? The term African-American to me says "well not quite American" or "subset of America". Folks they/we are AMERICANS. We are from the USA. We are "One Nation Under God". 

When these incidents happen and we are outraged, something changes inside of our heart. Frank Herbert said in his book Dune published in 1965 "Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken."

The sleeper awakes when we see these incidents. Minneapolis was just the latest in a string of incidents and created this moment. Black Lives Matter is a war cry. It brings people together. It unifies the message of a demand for equality 360 degrees in this nation. 

We have asked people in this country "If you see something, say something". Black Lives Matter is the message that people are saying when they saw the murder of George Floyd and other incidents that sparked the movement. 

But Dave, some of these cases were proven to be false. Yes, agreed. I acknowledge that. Not all of these national incidents were an instance of the police doing wrong. People do wrong things at times folks. I accept that we are human and not infallible, that goes for citizens and police alike. But the optics.....the optics were bad and sometimes that is what it is. After all, bad optics can also get people killed.

If my father, brother, son or friend was George Floyd I would be inconsolable. I would be outraged. I would be absolutely militant in my anger. I would want justice but I would most likely not be able to find peace. 

Please read that again and insert your relative, your child, your husband/spouse, your parent or your friend into that scenario. Tell me how you would honestly feel. How would you react?

Black Lives Matter: Is this a cry for justice? Yes. For unity? Yes. For change? Yes 

Am I proud to have served this community as a police officer? Hell yes I am . Am I proud of my fellow police officers? Absolutely I am . Do we need to make changes in selection and standards for law enforcement? Yes there should be a national standard for backgrounds, psychological examinations, physical fitness and longer police academy training. Some European nations require two years of basic training and two years of schooling for each rank. 

Are the former officers in Minneapolis murderers? From my vantage point it is an absolute yes and they should be shown the full-weight of the court and frankly be held to a higher standard because of their former positions of public trust. 

I asked the question "Why Do Black Lives Matter?" Black Lives Matter because in this moment and moments like them, the phrase, the rally cry unifies the message that racism, inequality and the justice system need an overhaul. I agree.

My agreement is not a mark against our law enforcement officers, its a loud vocal vote of support for them. Pretty much all of them agree that what happened in Minneapolis and many of these other hi-profile incidents, are a complete abomination of justice. Remember police officers are your neighbors, your fellow church congregates, your brother/sisters, your community members. They are as mad or madder than maybe most of you about these disgusting acts. They did not sign up for that and do not support that nonsense.

If we are still seeking to be the greatest free nation in the world, we must not marginalize our greatest assets. Our differences are our greatest assets. Our people are our greatest asset. All of our people. 

I still believe in my heart we are the greatest nation in the world

Folks, Black Lives Matter, period.

God bless America, I love you all.


Friday, May 29, 2020

Racism Exists

With a title like “Racism Exists” you would think I would have some earth shattering statement. I don’t. My thoughts and emotions are a bit raw with the events of this week. I love people but I hate what people are doing to each other. We need to be better humans…..

I am sitting in my big comfortable chair watching what you are all watching on television. Many of us are on a couch, in a place of safety and comfort. We are stirring our tea occasionally, taking sips from the mug. We have worries and things of concern but for the most part, we will get thru it and figure out a way to find ourselves back in our comfy chair watching television again tomorrow.

We don’t have to worry, for the most part, about being stopped by law enforcement for whatever reason, detained and questioned.

We don’t have to worry about getting “the look” when walking into a place of business. You know “the look” the one where you’re probably there to rob the place because of the way you’re dressed and the way you look.

We don’t have to worry about a job interview and getting a litany of questions about your abilities, qualifications and education over and over again, even though its clearly all in your resume’ and supporting documents.

Your neighborhood school had all of the things it should have, new equipment, great teachers and a great support system top down. You don’t have to worry about going to school with over-crowded classrooms, sharing of text books, sub-standard support systems and metal detectors at the entrances.

We don’t have to worry about where our next meal comes from, if the lights are going to be on, if the water is going to be shut off and if there is gas in our vehicle to go to work.

We don’t have to worry about a lot.

Many people have to worry, many of your fellow residents do and even many of your friends do.

There are racists.

There racists of every color in the spectrum of a rainbow.

There are people that look down on others based on their skin color, religion, social status, checkbook, the way they look, where the live, where they work and whom they fell in love with.

These are facts.

I will never pretend to have the answers. I simply only know my response from my perspective. So what I am about to say is from what I see, know and have experience with. That’s it.

But I do listen.

You should too.

Listening to others thoughts, feelings and perspective is an important skill. Hone it, practice it and then use what you’ve learned from others, combined with your own thoughts and apply it to help make the world a better place.

“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.”

Eugene Ionesco 

In my TEDx Talk - Link here. I talked about love for my fellow man and service above self. Love guides me. Love teaches me humility. Love brings light into darkness. I don’t think I talked about any earth-shattering concepts. I kept it simple. My themes where love and service.

Love and service is still what drives me.

I am not suggesting we are a complete train wreck. We are not. But if one piece of our system of governing is out place, like a random lego on the ground, the system needs a thorough overhaul to find out what happened and get the system working in a way that best serves the people its set to protect.

We cannot fix the justice system, society or any other organization or services without first acknowledging the problems and inequities. We must drill down to the causation across the board.

Quick story – Everyone who reads my stuff and knows me, knows I am big rodeo fan. My family and I have been involved in rodeo for years. We love it.

Rodeo is a great sport as an example of equality. Yes I said that. It’s not a bunch of rednecks drinking beers, running around on horses or riding bulls for the sheer sport of it (ok to be fair there is a little bit of that). Rodeo is about the connection of horse and rider. Rodeo athlete vs animal rodeo athletes. Nobody cares in the least bit, if your gay, what god you pray to, what the color of your skin is, If you have a million bucks or 10 cents, what you drive or where you are from. None of that is a factor, at all. We are all there for the love of our animals and the sport. We take care of our animals like they are family. We take care of each other like they are family. We often speak in terms like “our rodeo family”. We support each other, we care about each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But I digress.

This is going to take work. Some sweat. Some tears. Some big changes in the way we operate our government and the way we see and treat people. We need to open our eyes to the world around us. We need to listen more and act on that. We need to be doers.

We must eliminate racism by replacing it with understanding; acceptance, equality and well…more love for our fellowman.

I was just thinking does this make me a liberal or a conservative? Oh Dave how dare you enter into the political fray! I make this statement because often times we draw political lines when in reality we should reject some those strict definitions and embrace the ideals that best serve our society, mankind and our hearts. I don’t know the answer on my own politics. I would suggest though, it makes me a human who truly loves people. I am completely fine with that.

I am willing to do what I can to help our country and world. Are you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Where Are The Good Police Officers?

I often talk about my law enforcement career and the things I've experienced over the years. Some folks find it interesting, some do not. It just feels good to talk about it from my perspective. The emotions I felt, the things I saw, the view of the best show on earth (cops call law enforcement careers that) and the things I experienced. I try not to filter too much. I want you to have the raw emotion, the feelings and set the scenes properly from what I remember. 

Today I thought, I want to talk about the things we see on the nightly news, in our newspapers and on social media. I've talked in the past about the theory I have I've coined the “social media effect”. It’s a theory I have were a given situation or incident is played over and over from different viewpoints and opinions on social media. This magnifies the occurrence and often skews the facts of what happened. 

But what I decided I am talking about  isn’t any of that. I want to talk about George Floyd.
George Floyd

“George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer’s knee on Monday, in an episode that was recorded on video and that sparked large protests in Minneapolis” - New York Times

To America's Police Officers- I believe it’s important that we talk about George. We understand what happened and we do something to proactively prevent it from ever happening again

So what happened? The problem is in our electronic-have-to-get-information-now social media platforms we often get filtered information. We get skewed information. We get the wrong information. In this case we only have to use our eyes and ears.

I don't know anything about Mr Floyd. I don't know if that is even important right now. I know he had a family who loved him very much. I know he had friends. I know he has a community that is outraged. In my opinion, based on the totality of what I have seen thus far, they have every right be upset. I am upset with them.

We ARE better than this.

How do we prevent this from happening? How do law enforcement agencies combat this? 
How is this fixed? 

Theodore Roosevelt said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

The answer is simple but requires work.

It’s about training, standards and accountability.

We must invest, with vigor in our personnel as we have invested in other socially responsible programs. There needs to be a paradigm shift in training that stresses common sense and practical procedures. Procedures that both insure the safety of our personnel and those that they encounter.

We must have high standards and training for those that do not meet standards. Dismissal for those that cannot be remediated.

Is this harsh? Sure it is, but the public deserves the best service possible.

Accountability needs to go both ways. Our personnel need to be held accountable for their actions. Our law enforcement leaders need to be held accountable for their personnel, period. The truly bad guys need to be held accountable for their actions. 

The x-factor is here and one that people do not want to discuss is the public, individuals being held accountable. Our laws in California have become ridiculous to the point that the bad guys are leaving the jails before the police officers get to their cars in the jail parking lot. We need to repeal and replace with something smarter and better AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57 in California. They are utter failures in my opinion. - But I digress as this is not a rabbit hole I want to fall into and discuss.

Can we afford Training, Standards and Accountability? I do not see how we can NOT afford them. Our government spends tons of money on programs that to some seem fairly pointless. Being a guy who worked in government (I guess I still do part-time) I can assure you that I have seen my fair share.

So how do we move forward? Well I think it takes a leadership at the highest levels to make bold and brave decisions. I think it could start with one voice from the public - just like a single drop of rain, can eventually create a flood.

I call upon our politicians on both sides of the aisle. I call upon law enforcement leaders. I call upon law enforcement officers. I call upon those great and strong law enforcement organizations to lend their collective voices.

I will be the first to say it -

I want our law enforcement officers to have better more consistent training. This needs to be a priority and not an afterthought. I want to see high standards for performance and training for our law enforcement officers. I want to see accountability.

I asked in the title of this blog "
Where are the good police officers?
" The answer is most all officers are great and good. They serve their communities with honor and are truly caretakers. I am proud of them and I am proud to have served alongside them. They are as upset at this as all of you.

Thank you for reading this and listening to me. Please share this with your government representatives and politicians.

Please be good to each,