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Watcher’s Council, Canadian Free Press, Brian Wilson in Toledo

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The protesters are arriving in Tampa (with their pipes, bricks, and tedious adolescent agitprop).

I’ll be on Brian Wilson’s drive-time radio show — Talk of Toledo, 1370 WSPD — on Friday between 4 and 5 p.m. to talk about the protesters.

Media who would like to schedule interviews with me about the protests can contact this website: tinatrent2@yahoo.com.  I’ll be reporting from the protests all next week.

My report for Accuracy in Media, Soros-funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC” , is getting coverage in Canada Free Press and also on the facebook page for the anti-RNC protesters.  Thanks, Brian Madsen, for your pithy rebut!

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I’m happy to report that I got an honorable mention at Watchers of Weasels this week — thanks!  I also have a commentary on the effect of immigration amnesty on my small farming town on this week’s Watcher’s Forum.  Here is the commentary, followed by the forum for this week:

Illegal Migration And What To Do About It

Each week, the members of the Watchers’ Council nominate one of their own posts and a second from outside the Council for consideration by other council members in a contest for the week’s best post.

Subcribe to Watcher of Weasels via the following RSS syndicators:
 Add Watcher of Weasels to any feed reader

Watcher’s Council Nominations – ‘Legitimate Rape’ Edition
JoshuaPundit on Aug 22 2012 
Council Submissions:
 Honorable Mentions
Non-Council Submissions

They Shoot Police Horses, Don’t They?

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The Tampa media is busy churning out pleasant stories about all the “creative” and “peaceful” protesters descending on the city.

To get the whole story of what’s coming to Tampa, see my special report up at Accuracy in Media today:

Soros-funded Marxists to “Occupy the RNC”

I’ll have a longer post up later.  For now, two questions:

Do you really think they’d bother dressing horses up like this, in Tampa heat, if the protesters really intended to be “peaceful”?

And, is it OK for vegans to kick horses, so long as they don’t eat them?

How to Whitewash RNC Protesters: The New York Times’ Magic Optic

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The New York Times has begun its serial misrepresentations of the protests aimed at the Republican National Convention in August.

“Tampa Restricts Protests” screams the Times headline.

Of course it does.

They’re reporting through their own freaky version of rose-colored glasses.  That changes the appearance of things.

Below the headline, Times reporter Colin Moynihan manages to troll through twenty paragraphs while only once briefly mentioning the violence and vandalism perpetrated by protesters in the past — and reasonably anticipated again this August.  In his telling, the protesters are innocent lambs being persecuted by society: society is the one throwing trash cans through the protesters’ windows.  The effect is weird.  He’s asking people to believe that the city of Tampa simply woke up one morning and decided to spend millions of dollars to randomly oppress people.  You know, non-Republican, protester people:

During the last three Republican national conventions, police officers have arrested hundreds of people as the gatherings have drawn thousands of protesters objecting to the party’s positions on a range of issues, from wars to the economy to the environment.

Police have arrested hundreds of people.  Why?  Because they objected to positions?  Is that really why they were arrested?

Even for the Times, this isn’t reporting.  It’s an infomercial for the protesters.

The infomercial continues:

[T]his time around, the protesters planning to gather in Tampa the last week in August hope their ranks will be swelled by the Occupy movement, whose members have said that they see the party’s expected nominee, Mitt Romney, as the embodiment of a financial system that favors the rich and corporations over ordinary citizens.

“The embodiment of a financial system that favors the rich and corporations over ordinary citizens.”  The protesters couldn’t have said it better themselves.  Oh, wait.

Tampa isn’t restricting the protesters: the city is bending over backwards and paying pirate’s ransom to Occupiers, “resistRNCers” and other assorted muggers in the impotent hope that, given enough candy, they won’t try to burn the city down.  It’s an unhealthy business, this shelling over of cash and prizes to people because they’re threatening you.

Tampa spent $57,000 to set up a special spot for protesters, along with scores of other expenditures that would be entirely unnecessary if the protesters really intended to obey laws — like the rest of us.  The federal government is spending $100 million of our tax dollars to ensure that violent thugs don’t disrupt peaceful, pre-election gatherings of Republicans and Democrats in Tampa and Charlotte.  So who’s really being “held hostage” and “silenced”?  It’s the public, forced to pick up the tab for all these planned temper tantrums.

Meanwhile, reporters keep mic-checking ornate fantasies about the protesters’ suppression of speech meme:

Protesters . . . said that officials may be using the specter of disorder to justify heavy-handed tactics. They added that over the last few years the authorities in cities where large protests took place have appeared to follow a script that includes pre-emptive detainment, indiscriminate mass arrests and infiltration of protest groups.

I’d like Mr. Moynihan to explain why none of these innocent and peaceful protesters would go on the record and let him use their names in normal quotes, instead of this weird, talk-through-the-reporter’s-hat ventriloquist act he’s performing.

The Occupy model of demanding special access to public property and special privileges — at the threat of destruction — should have schooled public officials to stop “negotiating” with them long ago.  It won’t work, either: after months of earnest and pricey negotiations, wasting our time and money, the protesters are merely changing their URLs and ramping up their threats.  But you won’t read any of that in the Times.  The newspaper sort-of quotes the non-named protesters claiming that they’re not going to commit acts of violence — oh no, not them:

The resistRNC Web site includes a “Notice to Law Enforcement Spying on Us,” which states that the group is not planning violent actions.

Well, if they and the Times say so, it must be true.  Except . . . this snippet doesn’t really capture resistRNC’s zeitgeist.  The resistRNC website actually states that the group, whoever they are, is committed to a “diversity” of tactics, a term which specifically references violent protest.  This silly double-talk signals that violence is expected and that these protesters have committed themselves to supporting violent actions by other protesters.  Here’s the part the Times didn’t quote:

  1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in different tactics and plans of action but are committed to
    treating each other with respect.
  2. We reject all attempts to create divisions among our movements. We agree to not publicly criticize other parts of our movement or cooperate with state or media efforts to portray good protester/bad protester.
  3. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics. We will commit to respecting each others organizing space and the tone and tactics they wish to utilize in that space.

The resistRNC website is directly promoting actions that do not respect the protest guidelines painstakingly negotiated by front-groups and their lawyers with the Tampa City Council.  That means the protesters are planning to break the law . . . unless there’s some third option I’m too semantically obtuse to grasp.  The resistRNC site is also intentionally provocative and threatening, listing hotels where conventioneers will be staying and plotting the sites on a map.  Why didn’t the Times mention that?

Here, not deflected through the Times’ magic optic, is the way the protesters describe themselves.  Sorry in advance for their potty mouth:

You are either for Justice, or you are in our way.  Our target is the power elite, who are fucking over every one of us, and its worse for the people of 3rd world countries as well as the environment.

We are not concerned with the police, who should be fighting for us, or the right, who should stand with us, unless you attack us.

We do not tolerate a threat to our protesters no matter where it comes from.  Self-defense is accepted under our banner of non-violence.

Well, that sounds friendly.  I can understand why reporter Colin Moynihan took them at their word.  Of course, he was also super-busy not finding things out about the one protester he quotes extensively, the Reverend Bruce Wright.  According to Moynihan, Wright is a peace and justice activist planning some event promoting the poor:

[T]he Rev. Bruce Wright, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, said that he was arranging for an encampment called Romneyville to be set up on private property, where he said the city’s rules will not apply.  “We are looking at it as kind of a refuge,” Mr. Wright said of the camp, adding that on the first day of the convention it will be used as a staging ground for a march meant to highlight the problems of poverty, unemployment and homelessness.

Gosh, you’d have to spend thirty seconds or more googling Wright’s name to learn what locals down here already know about him.  You can read about him here and here and here.  But through the Times’ magic optic, he’s just the hero of Romneyville.

This is far from the first time the paper of record got snowed by some guy they didn’t vet first.

You’d think they’d learn to use that thing called the internet.

But sometimes I can understand not wanting to stare the truth straight in the eye.  You never know what you’re going to find there.  Again, language — and optic nerve — apologies in advance:


Join CODEPINK and V-Day to bring your vagina to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL August 27-30!  
Together, we will bring our resilient, creative, powerful vaginas to Republican fundraisers and to the convention hall. We’ll also take part in the Coalition March on the RNC and other peace and justice actions. 

Sunday, August 26
1-8pm: CODEPINK Convergence and Activist Training Camp 
Location TBA

Monday, August 27

10am: Coalition March on the RNC

Permitted Rally and March

Perry Harvey Sr. Park, 1200 N. Orange Avenue

3-5:30pm: March for our Lives
Join the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign for a march to stop home foreclosures and the criminalization of the poor and homeless. 

11pm: Roving Radical Dance Party

Stay tuned for more events coming on August 28-30!

 

The Occupy Movement’s War on Cops: Coming to Tampa?

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Last year, before the Occupy encampments fizzled, it was surely a comfort to parents of college-age “Occupy” protestors that police officers remained near the camps, where drug abuse and overdoses, violent fights, criminal acts of vandalism,and multiple sexual assaults were among the revolution’s few fruits.  Protestors churlishly claimed that police alone pose a threat in their utopian tent cities, but scenes of Occupiers smashing store windows or recoiling in shock as police processed yet another suicide at a Vermont camp told a different story:

Police comfort distraught Vermont Occupier after suicide at camp

When nirvana tips over into chaos, the adults must step in.

The police presence at the camps cannot have been similarly comforting for parents and spouses of police.  Their loved ones spent days and nights trying to keep order in volatile settings where hatred for police was openly celebrated, so openly that posters of cop-killers Mumia Abu Jamal and Lovelle Mixon were ominously affixed to tents.  Mixon, a convicted child rapist, gunned down four Oakland officers in 2009 as they sat eating breakfast; he is now an annointed hero of the Occupiers.

Atlanta Occupiers re-named their entire encampment after cop-killer Troy Davis, who shot a policeman in 1989 as the officer came to the aid of a homeless man Davis was pistol-whipping.  Impervious to irony, the Atlanta Occupiers thus re-christened a park where homeless people loiter after a man who bashed a homeless man, rather than naming it after the police officer who gave his life to try to save that homeless man from Davis’ violence.

The intensity of venom the Occupy protestors direct at street police, and not at the elected officials or even police chiefs, is part of an intentional strategy to incite and amplify confrontations with police and then scapegoat police for the ensuing incidents.  This is a well-worn activist strategy, one that relies on both a complacent media eager to report “clashes” between protestors and police, and on elected officials eager to curry favor curry with the activists and constituent groups that support them.

The strategy worked perfectly for Occupiers in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, and Oakland, where Mayors Kasim “Not-What-I-Seem” Reed, Michael “Egg Cream” Bloomberg, Human Lizard Rahm Emanuel, and the buffoonish Jean Quan pandered to protestors one day, then demanded police action the next.  This was a low-stakes game for mayors but a high-stakes one for the street-beat cop who had to confront the protestors’ entrenched feelings of cop-loathing and entitlement.

While mayors and editorial boards postured, scolding the police one day and then wondering why they didn’t stop store-looting the next, the seasoned activists behind the visible Occupy encampments created no-go zones for the police on public property.  This disturbing development, like others, was accepted by authorities with barely a whimper, even when the result was serious crimes such as rapes.  Where were the feminist activists decrying Occupiers’ efforts to discourage rape victims — and witnesses — from cooperating to capture sex criminals?  Where were the allegedly pro-woman council members, and mayors?  The Occupiers’ strategy of creating ostentatious “safe zones” for women rather than using all their resources to unambiguously cooperate in capturing sex offenders placed them in the company of the disgraced football coaches of Penn State.

Quarantined tents for women to sleep in . . .

. . . while being watched over by designated monitors to prevent sexual assault in public parks: was this the utopia the Occupiers imagined?

Actually, it was.  A few raped women, and men, was apparently not a price too high to pay for striking another blow at law enforcement (in activist argot, the “fascist police state”).

Behind the visible faces of the Occupy movement — students worried about repaying their loans, aging peaceniks, and drug-addicted hangers-on — there was a wide range of professional activist organizations united in principle and practice.  The principle is dismantling capitalism, and the practice is delegitimizing capitalist institutions.  While the street protests have largely gone away, and it is not yet known if there will be disruptions at the Tampa Republican National Convention, these activists are doing precisely what they have always done: plotting the next surprise attack in their ongoing revolution against Western Civilization.

The professionals occupying the Occupy movement will continue to do so even as the movement itself disperses like a thousand cockroaches scattering before the arrival of the bug man.  Long before the first tent went up in Zuchotti Park, Angela Davis’ Critical Resistance “cop-watch” organization was teaching activists to writhe and scream for the cameras while being handcuffed, and the anarchist collective Ruckus Society was publishing how-to manuals with detailed instructions for invading buildings, disrupting mass transit and cargo movement, and maximizing chaos in the streets, while the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyer’s Guild, and the A.C.L.U. continued their tradition of defending such lawbreaking.

To wit, check out the poorly-named AdBusters, which is really one big advertisement advertising against advertisements by others . . . while its well-heeled editors direct the Occupt “revolutionaries” from very nice lofts elsewhere.  But they’re ironic, you see:

In its own sweet way, our movement is now moving beyond the Zuccotti model and developing a tactical imperative of its own: Small groups of fired up second generation occupiers acting independently, swiftly and tenaciously pulling off myriad visceral local actions, disrupting capitalist business-as-usual across the globe.

The next big bang to capture the world’s imagination could come not from a thousand encampments but from a hundred thousand ephemeral jams… a global cascade of flash encampments may well be what this hot Summer will look like.

Meanwhile, tents are up once again in Tahrir Square and youth from Quebec to Auckland toMoscow to Oakland are rising up against a future that does not compute.

Stay loose, play jazz, keep the faith … Capitalism is crashing and our movement has just begun.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

While the Tampa City Council pretends that they are negotiating with the ACLU to ensure orderly and “fair” protests at the upcoming Republican convention, Adbusters is busy recommending that these protesters join forces with the most violent and radical groups for the next phase of the revolution.  Conveniently, they publish their numbers, so the Tampa politicians don’t need to, like, Google them or anything:

Decide for yourself which groups you respect then call them for a chat or send them an email or a tweet. Ruckus Society is at 510-931-6339,ruckus@ruckus.org, @Ruckusociety; Rainforest Action Network at 415-398-4404,answers@ran.org, @RAN… Let’s nudge our friends back into the Occupy camp . . .

While it has become a cliche to say so, every one of these activist groups enjoys funding from George Soros, who not only provides millions to the legal organizations listed above but also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to subsidize the Ruckus Society’s workshops teaching rope skills and building invasion techniques and the virulent anti-police rhetoric from Critical Resistance and the dozens of groups coordinated through the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Movement Support Coalition.

The police have always stood on the front lines against such groups, while the rest of us have the luxury of watching from a distance.  The Occupy protests are merely the latest battleground in an ongoing war on police.  What will happen in Tampa in August?  With the Mayor and members of the City Council playing patty-cake with the ACLU, rather than behaving like adults and representing the taxpayers who fund them, only two things are certain:

It’s going to be hot, and when the cops aren’t busy handing out water bottle to protesters, they’re going to be under attack by them.  What should the rest of us do?  Make sure the people we elected remember the difference between a cop handing a protester a water bottle and the protester throwing a bottle of something else back at the cop.  It’s simple, really, but somehow the politicians just don’t get it.

The Last Call

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Watch this . . . and understand what Britain once was, and still is, and what we might one day no longer be, too . . .

The Last Call To Attention.wmv – YouTube

Watcher’s Council

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Last night, I passed a milestone of sorts by speaking about crime in Sarasota, Florida.  More specifically, the topic was George Soros and his support for the “criminals lobby.”  No, there’s no missing apostrophe: Soros lobbies for criminals and for emptying the prisons.  This is the cause most likely most dear to his heart, though it often gets short shrift as people explore the rich panoply of his anti-American ambitions.

Who wouldn’t want to empty prisons, so long as there were no criminals in them to begin with?

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In Accuracy in Media: Happiness is a Global Tax

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My article about a very frightening new holiday, Pursuit of Happiness Dayis up at Accuracy in Media.

 

 


 

“[T]his is the most insanely massive violation of the law that I’ve seen”

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That’s Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor talking about income tax fraud in the Tampa Bay area.

We have a great police force in Tampa.  When Chief Castor says the problem is uncontrollable, Congress needs to listen.  From the Tampa Tribune:

Tampa’s tax refund fraud is getting national attention this week as a city police detective is set to testify before a U.S. Senate subcommittee about what the police chief says “conservatively” amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money being stolen in the Tampa Bay area alone. . .

Based on what he’s seeing in the streets, [Officer Edwin] Perez said, the fraud is “ten times as bad this year” as it was last year.

“Out in the street, everybody is doing it,” said Chief Jane Castor. “We’re hearing stories about high school kids doing this. It’s just incredible.”

Perez said he’s found a 16-year-old on his way to school with a list of names, dates of birth and other identifying information for use in tax fraud and a 76-year-old man with a laptop computer case stuffed with debit cards pre-loaded with money suspected to have been obtained through tax fraud.

Because of the scope of the fraud, Perez said, he was nervous when he filed his tax return. “I knew right away I had to file as quick as I could,” Perez said, and he did. But he wasn’t able to act fast enough to beat the crooks.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 28 years,” Castor told reporters, “and this is the most insanely massive violation of the law that I’ve seen.”

I don’t write about white collar crime very often, but Tampa is the epicenter of a lot of low-level, high-yield financial fraud.  Medicaid fraud is endemic.  Fake pill clinics, fake back-pain doctors, and other fake medical services seem to fill every other storefront.  Auto insurance is expensive here because of faked hit-and-run fraud.

And the feds aren’t doing enough.  Why?  The Secret Service is partnering with local police; the Postal Service is on the case, but prosecutions aren’t happening.  Hundreds of millions of dollars are being stolen in my community because leaders in Washington can’t get their act together and focus on crime.  I don’t think I need to articulate my feelings about this as I sit down to do my family’s taxes:

[Chief Castor] said criminals are getting the information they need to commit fraud by paying people who work in businesses where personal information is kept, including medical offices, schools and assisted living facilities. Perez [a victim himself] said his best guess is that someone got his wife’s information from a medical office.

Castor said the fraud is too extensive for local police to manage. “It’s no-win situation,” she said. “We could put our entire police force on this now, and we’re not going to keep up.”

Perez said, as a street cop, he constantly sees the fraud – known in street parlance as “TurboTax,” after the popular online filing program. “In one of every seven stops that we make, we’re going to find something that has to do with TurboTax,” he said.

Castor said the media coverage has gotten the attention of lawmakers and IRS officials in Washington. Three IRS officials flew down to Tampa last week and met with the chief.

Castor said the IRS seems to understand the problem and says it’s putting additional filters in place to block fraudulent refund checks from being sent. But Castor reiterated that the existing filters don’t seem to be working.

For example, the IRS says it screens for multiple refund checks being sent to the same address. But in one case, Castor said, police documented more than 200 refunds being sent to a single address.

“They have made some changes, but the insurmountable hurdle still is in place,” Castor said. “They still cannot share information with law enforcement. That needs to be fixed. … But I don’t want anyone to lose sight of the real problem here. It starts at the filing. It has got to be fixed.”

Today, the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility, chaired by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, will hold its second hearing on tax fraud. This one is slated to include testimony from Tampa police Detective Sal Augeri, who has led the department’s tax fraud investigations.

The committee is considering legislation introduced by Nelson last year that the senator says will help victims get their money more quickly when their refunds are stolen.

Senator Nelson needs to do more than this.  Of course the victims need to be reimbursed.  But why isn’t the Justice Department down here fixing the problem?  Oh yeah, they’re busy . . .

From the DOJ Homepage: The Affordable Care Act was enacted on March 23, 2010 . . . This law has become the subject of several lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the provision requiring Americans who can afford it to maintain basic health insurance coverage. The Department is vigorously defending the law in these cases.

Defending the Affordable Care Act
You know what would make healthcare more affordable?  Prosecuting Medicaid and Medicare fraud.  Prosecuting tax fraud.  Prosecuting crime, instead of punishing the law-abiding by not punishing crime, which breeds contempt for the law, which leads to 16-year olds stealing people’s IDs and getting other people’s tax refunds, then getting a slap on the wrist in juvenile court.  But story gets much, much worse.  From the Tampa Bay Times:

Tax fraud thief steals identity of slain Tampa police officer

TAMPA — Months after police Officer David Curtis was slain on duty, his widow tried to file her tax return. But the electronic filing wouldn’t go through.

Someone had stolen the identity of the officer and filed a fraudulent return.

A year later, Kelly Curtis still has no resolution. On Tuesday, her ordeal was a subject of a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on the pervasive tax fraud problem.

“It’s just so frustrating,” she told theTampa Bay Times. “Here Dave’s ultimate sacrifice is being taken advantage of again.

“And I’ve just been thrown something else on my plate that I’ve got to deal with. Sometimes I just throw my hands up in the air and say: ‘No, I’ve had enough. I can’t deal with this.’ ”

David Curtis and fellow Officer Jeffrey Kocab were fatally shot June 29, 2010, during a traffic stop in East Tampa.

The Tampa Police report that they arrested 47 tax fraud suspects but could not prosecute a single one of them for tax fraud, because the IRS cannot share information with the police.  So the rest of us have a choice: we can demand a change in these laws, or we can keep hemorrhaging money to criminals.  And make no mistake about it, one type of criminality breeds other types:

Tax fraud is leading to violent crime in Tampa . . . People are getting rich off these schemes, he said, and other people know it. There have been armed robberies and home invasions targeted at these fraudulent filers, police say.  An attempted homicide last week in Tampa is rumored to be motivated by tax fraud, [Tampa Detective Sal] Augeri testified.  Tampa police Chief Jane Castor told the Times robbers are looking for cash and jewelry — “the proceeds of the tax fraud.”  ”People on the street know who’s doing it,” she said. “And they want to get a share.”

This should bother you as you pay your taxes this year.  A lot.  Meanwhile, at least it’s an object lesson in the connection between white collar crime and street crime, and an object lesson for all those who whine that our federal prisons are filled with otherwise innocent drug users.  They aren’t.  They pled down from other crimes:

On Monday afternoon, a federal judge in Tampa sentenced one tax fraud participant to more than 15 years in federal prison. Perhaps underscoring how difficult it can be to bring tax fraud charges, the defendant was not charged with or convicted of tax fraud.

Tarrantzton Barr pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Barr admitted that he and his cousin, Patrick Shaw, used nearly $40,000 worth of fraudulently obtained Treasury checks to try to buy the kilo from an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration in May. Shaw has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentence.

Where is the leadership in federal law enforcement?

Maybe if we changed the name of the offense from “tax fraud” to “bullying,” somebody in the White House would do something.

 

Meet Me at CPAC

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Come see me at CPAC booth 1919 and pick up a copy of my report on George Soros and the Occupy movement.

Police Murdered in 2011: How They Served

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Hat Tip to Lou . . .

2011 began with the murder of Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper in Ohio.  January 1, Deputy Hopper was shot while photographing a crime scene.  She left behind a husband and four children.  Another officer was shot but survived.

According to her boss, Sheriff Gene Kelly,

Hopper once went six straight years without calling in sick and often put on charity events for the Special Olympics and other causes . . . Her personnel file is filled with accolades and commendations and always service before self.

By the end of January, four police officers were murdered in Florida during a week in which at least fifteen officers were shot:

[1/24/2011] In just 24 hours, at least 11 officers were shot. The shootings included Sunday attacks at traffic stops in Indiana and Oregon, a Detroit police station shooting that wounded four officers, and a shootout at a Port Orchard, Wash., Wal-Mart that injured two deputies. On Monday morning, two officers were shot dead and a U.S. Marshal was wounded by a gunman in St. Petersburg, Fla.  On Thursday, two Miami-Dade, Fla., detectives were killed by a murder suspect they were trying to arrest.

Sgt. Thomas Batinger, St. Petersburg, Florida “just wanted to serve”

Two years ago, Sgt. Baitinger served as mentor for a student at Gibbs High School. Catherine Smith, the former family and community liaison at Gibbs, said he stood out among the 100 or so mentors who volunteer each year. ”Some police officers, you know, seem to have like a hard exterior,” Smith said. “This man was just so nice.”  When the sergeant showed up, usually carrying a McDonald’s bag, the student’s face just glowed. “He loved him,” she said. “When that young man came down and saw the sergeant, oh my goodness, it was like he saw his father.”  His hobbies were golf and poker.

Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, St. Petersburg, Florida “one of the best people I ever met”

He is survived by his wife, Lorraine, 40, and his children: Caleb, 12; Haylie, 8; and Calen, 5.  He was on his way home after his night shift with his police dog Ace when he responded to a call for backup . . . It was like him to go. Just flip through his personnel file down at the police station. . . The night before he died, Yaslowitz helped his neighbor haul new furniture inside.  ”He was a great guy, I’ll tell you,” said [Herbert] Kane, 77. “A great father, too, and a great husband. I never heard him even argue, ever. They were a great family and I’m just sick about it.”

Detective Roger Castillo, Miami-Dade, Florida “passionate about his job”

To the residents of his well-kept Davie street, fallen Miami-Dade police Detective Roger Castillo was the type of neighbor you wanted to have around. He was the dad you’d see on the front lawn, tossing around a football with his boys. The one who brightened up the cul-de-sac with Christmas lights and inflatables. A helping hand if you were struggling with a fix-it job. “If I’m fixing something, if he passes by, he will ask if I need help, do I need to borrow tools?” said Andre Jean-Louis, a real estate broker . . . On Thursday, as the tragedy unfolded in Liberty City, Castillo’s relatives and neighbors monitored the news and hoped he was safe. Slowly, through phone calls and text messages and hesitant knocks on the door, they learned that their friend was gone. “They stole him,” neighbor Lisa Tuffy said. “He made this world a better place.”

Detective Amanda Haworth, Miami-Dade, Florida “just a beautiful person”

Twenty-three years after she joined the Miami-Dade Police Department, Amanda Lynn Haworth, 44, was fatally wounded, along with another detective — both of them members of an elite team that served arrest warrants on violent suspects. Haworth, a single mother and police detective, loved her job, but was most devoted to her 13-year-old son, her stepmother said. “She took him everywhere she went,” said Diane Haworth, 66. She last spoke with her stepdaughter on Monday, she recalled. “She was just so sweet, so very sweet,” her stepmother said . . . she often played baseball with son, Austin, in their backyard, neighbors said. “Her son and her work were everything to her,” said neighbor Bernardo Gonazalez. She was a big fan of the Weston Red Hawks — the team her son played for — and attended all of his games. “She was just a beautiful, beautiful person,” Gonazalez said.

Why were Amanda Haworth and Roger Castillo killed?  Because the justice system failed them.  Not once, but a dozen times.  Because every previous time police risked their lives capturing the thug who murdered them, some lazy judge or overwhelmed prosecutor let him go:

[Johnny] Simms, 22, had been in trouble since he was a teen. Officers first arrested him at 14, for larceny. In all, Simms was arrested 11 times before he was an adult on charges including burglary and auto theft, state records show. He received house arrest in some cases, while others were dropped. His tattoos mirrored his lifestyle: a gun, flames, and the words “savage” and “10-20 Life.” In October 2005 and December 2005, Simms was arrested for separate armed robberies, one with a pistol and the second with a rifle. Prosecutors did not file charges in either case. In 2007, Simms — who also goes by “Sims” — went to state prison for a different 2005 armed robbery and auto theft. He was released in February 2009 on probation. Simms violated his probation when he was again arrested in June 2010, this time for robbery with a deadly weapon and selling cocaine. He pleaded guilty and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Julio Jimenez sentenced him to one year in prison plus five years’ probation.But Simms served only one month because he had earned credit for time served earlier in a Miami-Dade jail. He was released in September 2010 on five years of court-mandated “administrative probation,” a low-level form of supervision that does not require regular check-ins with authorities. Simms hadn’t been out a month before he was again implicated in a violent act. According to Miami homicide detectives, Simms shot and killed Cornelious Larry, 27, on Oct. 16 in the parking lot of an Overtown apartment complex, 1535 NW First Pl. Miami police say Simms shot Larry to death after the man began yelling and cursing at Simms’ sister. Simms fled on a bicycle. Detectives searched for him for 12 days before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward signed an arrest warrant. The charges: first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Simms had been on the lam since.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.  Shoot, rob, burglar, shoot, beat: get off free.  Our highest law enforcement officials in the Department of Justice grandstand about “alternatives to incarceration” and “emptying the prisons.”  Our sensitive academics whine endlessly about America the police state as if thugs like Johnny Simms aren’t getting away with murder after murder, abetted by lousy criminal fetishists festering in courtrooms until good cops end up in caskets.

February

Detective John Falcone

Detective John Falcone, Poughkeepsie, New York.  Wrestled a three-year old from a man repeatedly charged with domestic violence who had hunted down her mother and killed her moments earlier.  Thanks to Detective Falcone’s sacrifice, the infant survived.

Detective Falcone is survived by his parents.

March

Alain Schaberger

Alain Schaberger’s life began in Vietnam and ended when Officer Schaberger responded to a domestic violence call in Brooklyn, where a repeat felon with 28 prior arrests, mostly for robbery and burglary, pushed the young man over a railing to his death.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to Schaberger as a “quiet, gentle soul” who dedicated his life to service.  “Alain knew a lot about grief,” Bloomberg said of the former Naval officer who joined the NYPD in July 2001. “One of his first assignments as a police officer while he was still in the academy in the days after 9/11 was to go to checkpoints around Ground Zero and help the families who came there to cope with their horrific losses. He brought a lot of comfort to those people.”  Addressing Schaberger’s family, including fiancée Shoshone Peguese, Bloomberg said, “I think he would tell you to remember not the last tragic moment of his life, but the many wonderful moments that came before it.”

 

Schaberger was a 10-year NYPD veteran who was born in Vietnam. He came to the U.S. when he was 5 years old with his father – an Army vet who worked as a civilian guard at the U.S. Embassy when Saigon fell in 1975 – and Vietnamese mother.  Raised in East Islip, L.I., Schaberger grew up on tidy block of single-family homes and played basketball at the local public school. . . Schaberger often returned to East Islip to visit with his parents and sister, Tracey, a nurse with two kids, neighbors said.  ”It’s tragic. It’s unbelievable,” said neighbor Mitchell Greif. “He was a great guy from a good family. He was always pleasant and polite. His parents are devastated.” Schaberger’s mother – a hairdresser – and father were too distraught to speak with reporters.  ”It’s a shame,” said Bill Conley, 59, an electrician who has lived next-door to the Schaberger family for 25 years. “It’s always the good ones that die young.”

April

Jonathan Schmidt

Officer Jonathan Schmidt

A policeman who died in the line of fire trying to save his sergeant’s life has been labelled a hero.  Officer Jonathan Schmidt, from Trumann, Arkansas, shoved his superior out of harms way when a gunman unexpectedly opened fire during a routine arrest.  He was able to return fire on Jerry Lard despite the fact he was shot in the neck and bleeding. The father-of-three then begged for his life. . . Schmidt worked as a night patrolman so he could spend days with his three children.  He had a 12-year-old daughter and sons aged ten and 18 months. Schmidt recently received a commendation for saving an infant’s life by giving the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.  Trumann School District Superintendent, Joe Waleszonia said: ‘He wanted to clean up this community. He wanted it to be as safe for the community as it could be.

May

Kenneth Gary Vann

Sergeant Vann was assassinated while stopped at a red light: his patrol car was struck multiple times.  A week later, the killer was caught by police.  He had randomly chosen to kill officer Vann.

Sergeant Kenneth Gary Vann

[During the investigation] Detective Louis Antu, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the mood was somber but dedicated at the command post Sunday. Many officers, including Antu and the sheriff, were out of town for the three-day Memorial Day weekend, when they were called back to Bexar County.  “We’re not robots; we’re all taking time to reflect,” said Antu, who joined the Sheriff’s Office with Vann. “But it was a terrible killing, and everybody wants answers. We’re working for the family, to bring them justice.”  Antu said the two men were “kids” when they joined the Sheriff’s Office. Vann was an excellent officer who loved his job and family, Antu said.  Vann was married to sheriff’s Sgt. Yvonne Vann and leaves behind two sons, ages 19 and 15, and a daughter, 25, from a previous marriage, officials said.  Ortiz was at his hunting lease in Rocksprings when he heard about Vann’s death.  “We’re real saddened by the randomness of this incident; there’s really no rhyme or reason,” Ortiz said. “It’s very difficult because we don’t have anything new, but we’re not going to rest until we find the guy who did it.”

June

Kurt Wyman, daughter born the day of his murder.

Deputy Sheriff Kurt Wyman

Whitestown, NY — Fresh out of high school in 2005, Kurt Wyman joined the Marine Corps Reserve. Activated in 2008, he served seven months in Iraq and won the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.  Wyman also became an Oneida County sheriff’s deputy in 2007. He rejoined the sheriff’s office when he returned from overseas. In 2010, he was rookie of the year. He twice was awarded the Sheriff’s Grand Cordon Medal, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a detail of officers.  “His commitment not only to his country but to his county is second to none,” Sheriff Robert Maciol said.  Wyman demonstrated his commitment to the ultimate degree Tuesday. The deputy, 24, was hit by a shotgun blast as he and two other officers tried to take an armed man into custody after a six-hour standoff in the rural town of Augusta. He died after being rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center.

Wyman left behind his pregnant wife, Lauren, their 18-month-old son, his parents and a sister.

His wife gave birth after hearing of Wyman’s murder.  That’s June.

July

Officer Brent Long

Officer Long and his canine partner Shadow were shot while serving a felony warrant.

Shadow survived.

A fallen police officer’s K-9 partner is now being honored. Fallen Terre Haute Police Officer Brent Long’s family cut the ribbon on Shadow’s Trail in Terre Haute. Shadow served alongside Officer Long on the force. The trail is beside Brent Long Memorial Way. It’s part of the expansion of the city’s trails and a way to honor the police dog’s service. ”They did a good job for our department and to have Brent’s memorial way here and Shadow’s Trail right next to Brent, they’re partners even after Brent’s gone,” Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse said.

August

Jeremy Henwood, San Diego

Jeremy Henwood, a captain in the Marine Corps Reserves and police officer for the San Diego Police Department, was shot and killed, Aug. 7. He had walked into a fast food restaurant to buy something to eat and also buy a meal for a 10-year-old boy who happened to cross his path. Moments later, while sitting in his patrol car, a man drove up beside him and fired the fatal shot. Henwood was 36.

Officer Henwood, moments before he was shot

Henwood served as an enlisted infantryman before going on to Officer Candidate School to receive his commission with the Marine reserves. The Canadian-born hero became a United States citizen in order to receive his commission with the Marines.  He deployed twice to Iraq, and after his third deployment – this time to Afghanistan as a company commander with Combat Logistics Battalion 2 – Henwood returned to the U.S. in February to continue serving as a police officer with the SDPD.  During the memorial ceremony, Henwood was posthumously promoted to the rank of major.

September

Lt. Joseph Sczcerba

18-year veteran New Castle, Delaware Lt. Joseph Sczcerba was stabbed to death while attempting to subdue a rampaging offender.  Lt. Sczcerba and his wife performed volunteer work at a variety of places.  His service to the community was memorialized by seventy local culinary school students who baked 10,000 cookies in his honor and delivered them to police officers.  6,000 people attended his funeral.

October

Derek Kotecki: His loyal canine wouldn’t leave his side after he was shot.  He wanted a “noisy” funeral.

Patrolman Kotecki and K9 Benny
Lower Burrell, PA, Patrolman Derek Kotecki was shot and killed while investigating reports of a wanted man at a local fast food restaurant. The man was wanted for a shooting ten days earlier and for threatening police officers during the previous week.  As Patrolman Kotecki and his canine, Benny, approached, the man suddenly opened fire. Patrolman Kotecki suffered a fatal wound. The subject then fled but was approached by other officers as he attempted to climb a fence behind the restaurant. He was killed during an exchange of shots with the responding officers.  K9 Benny was uninjured but had to be muzzled after refusing to leave Patrolman Kotecki’s side.
Patrolman Kotecki had served with the Lower Burrell Police Department for 18 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Officer Thomas Babinsack, one of five people to eulogize Kotecki, said they had talked about the aftermath of such a situation while driving to a memorial service in April 2009 for three Pittsburgh officers gunned down in a SWAT siege.  They discussed whether it was respectful to use their flashing lights and sirens in a funeral procession, and Babinsack said he’s since learned the protocol is to use lights but no sirens — which police vehicles observed on their way to Kotecki’s funeral. But Babinsack said Kotecki wanted something else.  ”Tom, I want you to promise me something: If something ever happens to me, I want everybody to know I was here,” Babinsack remembered Kotecki saying. “I want the fire trucks and police and ambulances going with lights on and sirens.”  ”He wanted a parade and he’s going to get one,” Babinsack said from the pulpit of the noisy funeral procession that was to follow.

 

November

James L. Capoot: a life lived very well.

Officer James Lowell Capoot, 45, of the Vallejo Police Department was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 17, 2011 in Vallejo, Calif. A loving and devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle, officer, coach, neighbor and friend, Jim lived a full and extraordinary life.  Born Nov. 2, 1966 in Little Rock, Ark., Jim attended local schools in Little Rock and graduated from John L. McClellan High School in 1985, where he was a distance runner on the cross country and track teams. Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at age 18 and was stationed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, where he met the love of his life, Jennifer Eileen DeCarlo. The two were married at St. Basil’s Catholic Church in Vallejo on Aug. 29, 1987.  Jim left the Marines in 1989 but remained on Active Reserve through 1993. In 1990, he joined the California Highway Patrol and began his career as a peace officer. And, in 1993, he joined the Vallejo Police Department.  For 19 years, Jim distinguished himself as a Vallejo police officer while endearing himself to the Vallejo community. He served as a motorcycle officer, motorcycle instructor, driving instructor and SWAT officer. He received two Vallejo PD Medals of Courage, one Life-Saving Medal and many other department commendations. And, in 2000, Jim received the Officer of the Year Award.  Jim coached the Vallejo High School varsity girls basketball team and in his second year led the Apaches to a 25-7 record and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Championship. Jim left the Apache bench in March 2011 to bring into his home the two children of close friends who were killed in a motorcycle accident in January.

December 20

John David Dryer, tended horses, his son.  Shot during a routine traffic stop.

John David Dryer found his calling as a teenager when he nursed to health a horse that had become entangled in barbed wire.  He turned his grades around, earned his veterinary science degree from Ohio State University, opened his own successful practice — and then became a police officer. . . . At home, Officer Dryer was a doting father to his autistic son, Benjamin. In an interview with the Post-Gazette in 2000 about training bloodhounds, he said his son gave him motivation.  ”My son Ben, who is 5, was very sick when he was born. In fact, a couple of times I thought I was going to lose him,” he said. “I think this is why I want to search for missing people, particularly children.”

December 21

Another Tampa Bay Cop in this bloody year: Arnulfo Crispin.

Since Crispin was shot the night of Dec. 18, [Carlos] Cortes and Officer Julio Ruiz have been by his family’s side, offering any assistance they could.  Both officers learned more about their friend and why he always had a big smile on his face.  “His family has been so humble and so giving,” Ruiz said. “They put people and family before themselves.” Cortes agreed.  “It’s a large family and they don’t have that much,” he said. “At one point, they asked my wife and I to come and eat with them. They didn’t have a lot of food, but they made sure we had something to eat. They don’t have much, but what they do have they will give to others.”  That mentality explained a lot about the officer they knew.

Crispin’s parents

Before leaving the family’s house Tuesday night, the officers gave the large family their phone numbers and promised to keep in touch.  Although Crispin can’t be replaced, Ruiz said, the Crispin family has “gained 235 brothers and sisters at the Lakeland Police Department.”

December 29  

Chicago Officer Clifton Lewis: “he took me in as his child”

The off-duty Chicago police officer slain in a West Side convenience store Thursday night had just gotten engaged on Christmas Day, family friends say.  Clifton Lewis, 41, an eight-year veteran assigned to the Austin District’s tactical team, was pronounced dead Thursday at Stroger Hospital, officials said. Two men had walked into the M & M Quick Foods about 8:30 p.m. at 1201 N. Austin Blvd. in the Austin neighborhood, shot the officer, and then grabbed his gun and star and fled, sources said. . . . Lewis . .  has received 81 commendations for his police work, had proposed to his girlfriend, Tamara Tucker, only after asking her 18-year-old son, Keyonta Thomas, for permission. On Christmas morning, Lewis pulled her son aside and asked for her “hand in marriage,” said Thomas, 18.  ”I am just at a loss for words,” said Thomas, who said he saw Lewis as a father.  ”He was just as a father (to me)… He took me in as his child.”

Addendum: Special Agent John Capano of the ATF was killed yesterday as I was writing this.  He was on his way to pick up prescriptions for his ill, 81-year old father when he encountered an armed robbery at the pharmacy.

James Capano had planned to celebrate New Year’s Eve at his son’s house.  The family is grieving the death of James Capano’s wife of 57 years, Helen Capano, mother of John Capano. She died of cancer on Dec. 18.  James Capano said his son had volunteered to share his explosives expertise with military personnel in Iraq.  “He knew what he was doing, and he was the best one they had,” James Capano proudly said.  A tearful Rep. Peter Kingconsoled the elder Capano on the blood-stained sidewalk outside the pharmacy New Year’s morning.  King’s wife was slain agent’s fourth grade teacher.  “I’ve known John Capano for years,” King said, recalling giving Capano an award for bravery during a four-month tour of Iraq and Afghanistan.  “He had a unique personality, a great personality,” King said. “Everybody loved him.”

James Capano, Agent Capano’s father.  His wife, Agent Capano’s mother, died two weeks ago

Capano was the last officer killed in the line of duty in 2011, bringing the total to 163, 66 of which were gun killings.  Thousands of other police were shot or attacked but survived.
Assassination-style killings — where assailants randomly shoot an officer or lie in wait for unsuspecting targets, are on the rise.  Is cultural anger directed at police — by idiotic Occupy protesters, among others — contributing to an atmosphere in which police are targets?  I think the vast majority of responsibility for the presence of dangerous offenders on our streets lies with the courts and civil rights activists who have succeeded in creating a consequence-free world for criminals.  But every little bit of scapegoating counts.  In 2012, it’s time to start speaking up for cops.