The Colors of Independence: Happy 4th of July!

Red as the bloodshed, blue as the wounded, white as the crosses on our soldier’s graves. Through the rain, through the sun, these colors never run. ~ The Oak Ridge Boys

 

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The Secret Meeting That Just Changed Your Life

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Earlier today, at approximately 2 a.m. EST, in a top secret meeting attended by judges, politicians, police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country, it was decided that…

  1. All police officers will be provided designated safe spaces where they may go when things get tough on the streets. Criminals, rock- and bottle-throwers, protestors, politicians, and other cop-haters may not enter these safe areas. It was also ordered that no crimes may be committed while officers are in their safe spaces. This is a lawful “timeout.”
  2. Since bad guys are no longer intimidated by an officer’s sidearm, starting today all police officers will replace the firearms in their holsters with boxes of chalk. Then, when facing deadly encounters with violent people the officer will quickly unholster a stick of chalk and quickly write #Trump2016 on the pavement. It is believed that since the phrase causes college students to fear for their lives the tactic should easily work on armed crooks as well.
  3. An early morning protest outside the official meeting place quickly turned violent when members of the ME,ME,ME Lives Matter group began arguing amongst themselves over which member should toss the first rock at police guarding the perimeter.
  4. Starting in 2017, police will no longer have the authority to arrest humans. Instead, they will be required to stand still while receiving punches, kicks, and incoming rounds from mostly illegal firearms. To make it easier for citizens to land a strike, each officer’s uniform will be outfitted with a bright red bulls eye (removable for easy cleanup). Patrol cars are also required to feature a bulls eye on each car door.
  5. Beginning immediately, it is mandatory that officers be shot at least 18 times before they’re allowed to draw their weapons. Even then, they may not return fire until first determining that suspects are at least 21 years of age, they are not in the process of “turning their lives around,” and that they are not suffering from “I hate all cops syndrome.” If either of these conditions exists the officer must stand perfectly still to provide a better target for the shooter. A late-added addendum to the new rule also states that officers may not return fire if a family member says the shooter is a “good person.”
  6. A new law going into effect July 1st replaces criminal trials and parole and police review boards with Facebook comments. In lieu of jury proceedings, Facebook commenters will then decide the fates of all accused criminals. Therefore, the list of people who no longer have to worry about going to prison includes, attractive people, people who’ve posed for photos while wearing a cap and gown, anyone who shoots a cop, and anyone and everyone who posts puppy photos on Facebook. People who will go to prison by default—cops, politicians, and people who don’t agree with someone’s posts.
  7. Traffic tickets and arrest warrants will totally disappear in the fall of 2016. Social media has declared them as “unfair” because people simply don’t like to be bothered with obeying stupid laws, such as reckless driving and murder. Texting while driving will then become mandatory for all drivers, especially teens. Everyone is required to text at least twice while driving on the freeway at 80mph.
  8. It was decided that police may no longer patrol high crime areas so as to not hurt the feelings of criminals who rape, rob, steal, and kill in those sections of towns. Gang members have been called on to enforce the laws those neighborhoods and business districts.
  9. All CVS pharmacies are required to self-destruct every three years to prevent protestors from scalding their hands when attempting to burn those businesses to the ground.
  10. Each major city is now required to pass out fresh rocks and bottles during active protests. Official rock and bottle forepersons are to inspect and certify each projectile for “ease of toss.” The federal government has established a new 12,000 person department to oversee city rock and bottle deployments. The new Rock and Bottle Czar says their agents will be available to assist municipalities, if needed. There’s also a federal grant available to aid in the purchase of additional handouts, such as bandanas, ski masks, pawn shop guns, and forklifts to make overturning police cars a bit easier. They even have government-trained protestors on standby should a group’s attendance be low at any given time. Trophies will be handed out to all participants.
  11. Police officers are to receive mandatory “Stand Down” training where they’ll learn to suck in their emotions when they’re not allowed to do their jobs while people break the law. Included in this law is the termination of TASER and pepper spray use by police (because they sting and they offend Facebook people), frowns, loud voices, humming the COPS theme song, and looking at people when driving by in a patrol car.
  12. A shocking ruling takes effect on September 1, 2017, requiring that prisons release all inmates back into society. Then, all law abiding citizens are to immediately take up residence in the newly vacated prisons. This will free up a ton of space in the prisons because there are fewer people in the U.S. who’ve never broken a law than those who have. Yet, many of these people (those who’ve broken a law or two but were not caught) are quick to judge those who were caught. You know who you are, you stealers of paper clips and ink pens, and joint smokers. Released prisoners will then be free to destroy the country at will while the new prison residents enjoy the delicious food and comfortable accommodations they’ve bitched about inmates having for so many years. I think there’ll be quite a few minds changed within the first week, or less.

So there you have it. Are you ready for the changes? By the way, this post is entirely tongue-in-cheek. Please don’t turn it into a forum for cop-bashing, politics, gun control, race, or religion, etc. Please… I merely used a few actual news stories as a basis for the post.

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Later this afternoon, right here on this very blog, I plan to reveal something that’s absolutely cool. The timing is perfect, too, because sometime today, if things continue as they are, this site will have reached a whopping 4 million visitors from all across the world!

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Today is Friday, the day when I typically honor the officers who died in the line of duty during the week. However, since today is April Fools Day I didn’t think the jovial nature of the day would be an appropriate atmosphere for such a solemn post. Until tomorrow, please keep the families of the fallen officers in your minds and hearts.

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An Orange For Christmas: A True Story

A general rule of thumb is to not begin a tale with the weather. I know this and humbly apologize for violating protocol. It’s just that the elements are such a crucial part of this story and, well, please bear with me for a moment as I take you back to an honest-to-goodness dark and stormy Christmas Eve.

I was working for a sheriff’s office at the time, patrolling a county that sits smack-dab in the middle of the north-south I-95 drug corridor. Needless to say, crime, especially violent crime, was quite commonplace.

In those days, I drove a hand-me-down Crown Vic with a light bar that had a mind of its own. Sometimes the rotating beacons turned and sometimes they didn’t, with the latter occurring more frequently during cold weather. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for me to respond to an emergency with the gas pedal mashed to the floorboard, the siren screaming like a cat with its tail caught in the ringer of grandma’s antique washer, and me with my arm out the window banging my fist on the side of the light bar hoping to set it in motion. It often took a good two miles and ten whacks with the heel of my fist before the speed of the turning lights caught up with the seriousness of the situation at hand. Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than driving at warp speed while your emergency lights rotate at the speed of drying paint.

Christmas Eve calls, for the most part, were an eclectic mix complaints and incidents, ranging from window peepers to drunk uncles high on too much eggnog to crooks who preferred to do their last minute shopping after the stores were closed and tightly locked until the day after Christmas. And, of course, there was the occasional murder, calls that necessitated the use of those darn lights.

It was this one particular Christmas Eve that comes to mind, though. The one when the wind blew so hard that traffic lights hung horizontally instead of at right angles to the streets. Garbage cans clanged and banged as they rolled and tumbled across asphalt and concrete. Dried leaves clicked and ticked and swirled in masses as they made their way down avenues and boulevards and through intersections without regard for red lights or stop signs, through alleys and across lawns and driveways. The lighted sign at the bank on the corner of Broad and 14th blinked between the current time and a steady temperature of five degrees. Believe me, it was cold enough to make a snowman shiver.

Homeless people camping under the overpasses and down by the river burned scraps of broken pallets and whatever twigs, branches, and tree limbs they could find. Many of them had no real winter clothing—no coats, parkas, gloves, or wool caps. Instead, they added extra layers of filthy, soiled clothing over their already grimy attire. They used socks to cover their hands and they draped old army blankets or blue furniture movers’ pads over their heads and shivering bodies.

And then there was Ridley Perkins, a homeless man who’d been around the city for so long that his name and/or face was quite well-known by many of the locals. He was also a regular visitor to the city jail. Corrections officers, men who’d “seen it all,” shied away from Ridley when it came time for him to be strip searched. No one wanted the job of watching him peel off layer after layer of grunge-caked clothing. After all, Perkins’ body odor alone was enough to gag anyone, and it was not unusual to find live maggots squirming around in his soiled underwear or on his skin.

Ridley never committed any real crimes—he didn’t steal, rob, or burgle. He was a beggar by trade, and a darn good one too. And he knew how to transform a dollar into alcohol. Not the kind consumed by most drinkers, though. Ridley preferred to strain his alcohol from canned heat (Sterno), or to drink mouthwash or shaving lotion. And, when the last drop was gone, he’d do something to annoy a business owner or scare a woman or child by lunging at them from behind a bush—his way of going to jail where he’d get a hot meal and warm bed.

Okay, I know, I strayed from the story. Let’s see, where was I? Oh, yeah…Christmas Eve. I’d made a pass around my section of the county and had returned to the office to warm my bones with a cup of jailhouse coffee (so thick you could stand a spoon upright in the center of the mug) and to back my hind-end against a hot radiator. Even my long-johns, Kevlar, and jacket were no match against the cold that night.

After I’d thawed out, I’d settled into a seat and was skimming through newspaper headlines when someone pressed the buzzer out at the main gate. One of the on-duty jailers pushed the “talk” button on the intercom and said, “Whadda you want, Perkins?” I glanced over at the monitor and saw Ridley holding a round object up toward the camera. It appeared to be a ball of some sort. He pushed the outside talk button and said, “I brought something for you. A Christmas present.”

The jailer, a soft-hearted older man, slipped on his jacket and said he was going out to try and talk Ridley into going to a shelter for the night, something Ridley rarely ever did. He despised their “no tolerance for alcohol rule.” Before going out, the jailer poured some hot coffee into a Styrofoam cup and took it with him to give to his visitor.

A few minutes later the jailer returned with an orange, saying Ridley used some of his begging proceeds to buy it for him as a Christmas present. He claimed to have done so because the jailer had always been kind to him and treated him like a man and not as a criminal, or a drunk.

Ridley accepted the coffee from the jailer, and the advice about the shelter, and then headed off into the cold. He ambled past the reach of the camera, and that was the last time anyone saw him alive.

I found Ridley’s body the next night, inside an old abandoned car. He’d apparently gone there to get away from the wind and the blowing snowfall that had started up in the early morning hours. Hypothermia had claimed his life. He’d frozen to death.

On the floorboard near Ridley’s hand were an empty Styrofoam cup and a small pile of orange peelings.

*This is a true story, however, the name Ridley Perkins is fictitious.

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