The Road To Southern Paradise

The world is in turmoil. War, politics, soaring gas and food prices, and devastating weather continue to consume the headlines and our minds. So I invite you to take a moment to relax. Daydream a bit. Visit places where the only hustle-bustle you’ll see are the thousands of fiddler crabs darting across the marsh mud. Or go to the beach and watch the pelicans glide gracefully overhead. Listen to the waves hit the sand, leaving behind sizzling sea foam and the occasional piece of odd-shaped driftwood.

But where can you go to see both the marsh and the beach? Well, hop in the car. Let’s take a drive out to Tybee Island, Ga. It’s one of the closest places to paradise this side of…well, paradise.



Read more
Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Officer J. Christopher Kilcullen

Eugene Oregon Police Department

April 22, 2011 – After a high-speed pursuit, Officer Kilcullen was shot and killed by the female driver as he approached her car. The woman originally fled because Officer Kilcullen had attempted to stop her for running a red light. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Deputy Sheriff Clifton Taylor, 31

Johnson County Texas Sheriff’s Office

April 23, 2011 – Deputy Clifton Taylor was shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, police began a search of the property, attempting to locate the male suspect. Deputy Taylor was shot when he opened the door to a storage shed. He is survived by his fiancee, parents, and siblings.

Officer Daryl Hall, 34

St. Louis Missouri Police Department

April 24, 2011 – Officer Daryl Hall was shot three times during an exchange of gunfire with two men outside a nightclub. He was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. One of the suspects also died from gunshot wounds.


Read more
The Morgue: A Pictorial Journey

Jodi found the body lying beside the path, her favorite jogging trail. She stopped for a closer look, thinking that maybe her mind was up to its usual nighttime tricks—another boogeyman or zombie that turned out to be a bush, or a trash bag filled with leaves left by the park’s “mow, blow, and go” guys. After all, there was no moon, and the closest streetlight was awfully far away. And the shadows, well, they were long, and pretty dark. But this bush had…yes, those are arms and legs and…a head! It was a man. A dead man. Blood. There was so much of it. A knife on the ground. Don’t touch it. Run! Run and then call 911. Yes, 911.

She stood there talking to the detective, but her mind was now focusing on the coroner and his investigators as they loaded the body into the back of the van, shoving it inside as if it were no more than a roll of new carpet. They closed the rear doors, and the one who looked like a stump with arms and legs climbed into the driver’s seat. The brake lights flashed for a second, painting the pavement behind the van a faint red. Then it was gone, leaving a trail of wispy steam in its wake. She wondered what would happen next. I mean, what do they do with murder victims? Where do they take the bodies?

*Warning. Images below are graphic and may not be suitable for some readers and/or children. Please exit if images of death upset or offend you. We’ve posted this this particular piece solely to assist writers with their research.

The body is weighed, sometimes by rolling the gurney onto a set of digital floor scales.

Bodies are placed inside a cold room, or cooler until autopsy.

The body is brought into the autopsy room.

The gurney carrying the body is positioned in front of a station such as this one.

Side view of same station.

Scales for weighing organs.

A pathologist’s tool kit.

Bone saw.

Suturing the rear scalp after examining the brain.

The “Y” incision is closed post autopsy, and the body is released to a funeral home. (Top left is the neck, presenting a ligature mark. Bottom left of photo is the victim’s right, upper chest area).





Read more
Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any…Body Armor?

Body armor is a life-saver. No doubt about it. But let’s face it, many cops complain about having to wear it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s bulky. It’s confining. And it’s HOT! Imagine wrapping a few layers of thick, dense clay around your body while sitting in the hot sunshine for several hours. That’s sort of what it’s like to wear a vest, especially for a newcomer. Sure, you get used to it after a while, but getting used to wearing a vest doesn’t make it any cooler inside those little Kevlar ovens. I know, I know. It’s worth a little discomfort in order to be safe and go home at night. But that doesn’t stop the bellyaching.

Another problem with body armor is that the material deteriorates and becomes less effective when exposed to water. Kevlar, for example, has been found to be approximately 20% less effective when wet. Actually, it’s recommended that body armor be replaced after five years of use due to constant exposure to moisture – sweat and humidity. But with the lack of even the day-to-day funds to operate police departments, replacing every $600 – $800 vest at the five year mark just isn’t going to happen. In fact, most departments NEVER replace their vests. And I’m willing to bet that there are still some police officers out there who’ve never worn one as part of their regular uniform.

So what’s being done to help with the heat, the moisture, the costs, and the comfort? One word…Sheep. After all, those walking army blankets don’t seem to mind water, so what if…

That’s right, researchers from RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles have discovered that by blending 20-25% wool with 70-75% Kevlar, the material actually works even better when it’s wet. And it’s cheaper to make than a vest made of all Kevlar (Kevlar cost about $70 per kilogram compared to $12 for wool). And, by replacing a portion of the Kevlar with wool, the vest also weighs less.

So help is on the way, folks. And not just for the little boy who lives down the lane…


*     *     *

And, just an FYI. Here’s an image of a bullet fired by the Taliban that struck a soldier’s body armor.

And this is the result of that same bullet being deflected by the soldier’s body armor.  The soldier was knocked to the ground by the hit, but he’s alive.


Read more
Bluffton, S.C.: Where Lonely Is A Good Thing

The combined scents of marsh mud and tangy, raw oysters. A screeching gull. Wind rushing through the palms. Waves lapping at the sandy shoreline. Buoys undulating in the changing currents. Tiny crabs, thousands of them, scurrying over the earth in unison, like an ever-moving tide. It’s where the quiet is loud. Where time is not important. And life, well, life is good. This is Bluffton.


*     *     *

Want to see and use real-life CSI tools and equipment? Curious about fingerprinting? Serial killers? Want to shoot guns? Drive a police car? See the inside of a real jail? How about riding with a real deputy on patrol? Does that sound exciting? Then you’ll certainly want to attend the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy.

You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy this fantastic event! It’s open to all.

And there’s fun for everyone from age 16 to 100!


Have you reserved your spot for the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy?

Ride-a-longs with sheriff’s deputies, jail tours, firearms and driver training are only a part of the fun!

Train with the pros.

Sign up now at:

Space is limited!



Read more
Friday’s Heroes: Remembering The Fallen

The Graveyard Shift extends our condolences to the families of these brave officers.

Deputy Sheriff Sherri Jones, 54

Bowie County Texas Sheriff’s Department

April 18, 2011 – Deputy Sherri Jones was shot and killed by a prisoner as she prepared to take him from court to a state corrections facility. The suspect, upset over his court hearing, began arguing with the deputy in the courthouse basement. Then he became combative, took her weapon, and shot her once in the head. She had served part time with the sheriff’s office for six years.

Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata, 35

Kalamazoo Michigan Department of Public Safety

April 18, 2011 – Officer Eric Zapata responded to reports of a shots fired call where the suspect had already exchanged gunfire with a police officer. Officer Zapata confronted the fleeing suspect in an alley. More gunfire was exchanged and Officer Zapata was shot in the head and chest.


Read more