Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oakland shooting, a sad sign of the times.

Any Cop will tell you, its usually the routine trafic stops that turn nasty quick. From disgruntled socer moms angry that the police are making them even more late for whatever pressing engagement, to the drunk that is just plain pissed off and doesn't want to go to jail, a routine traffic stop can be anything from just that: routine, to out and out deadly.

Today in Oakland 4 police learned how deadly it can get. One man, an ex-con wanted for parole violation in regards to a Assault with a Deadly weapon charge was stopped by to bike cops. He then opened fire killing one and wounding the other. Immediately after that Police went on a manhunt for the man and in the process two SWAT members were killed in the attempt to arrest him. The suspect died of a fatal dose of hot lead. In all four officers were injured three died and one may not live very long.

Now some important parts to take from this story first, the two motorcycle cops were probably wounded by a pistol, second it is quite clear that the SWAT team was dealing with nothing less than an assault weapon. I'd be willing to bet it's our old friend the Kalashnikov, which is powerful enough to take down a lot of things at close range. Even if SWAT had the same body armor I wore, and even if the suspect were going to "spray and pray" chances are that he probably got the three wounded SWAT officers at the door to whatever room he was holed up in. That's the pure tactical situation as I read it.

But I have to say this. IT SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED! Doesn't matter which part, this whole thing can be broken down into a few parts.

1). the suspect didn't want to follow the rules and though he was above the law. He did things that society does not tollerate, and didn't want to pay the price for his actions. Worse, when given a second chance, his parole, he couldn't follow simple instructions, which, while a hastle would have prevented a need to run.

2). the suspect should never have been released if he were that much of a threat. "Good behavior" doesn't mean you don't just get into fights, it means you attempt to change your life. California has a soft spot for criminals and it cost four policemen their lives

3). while hardly mentioned in the article I read on Fox News (you can bet CNN or MSNBC didn't run it) the idea of 20 or so onlookers sticking around and jeering the police as they struck a manhunt for an obviously dangerous criminal is disconcerting. Even more disconcerting is the idea that some of these people were probably in some small way happy to see the cops injured. For every mistake the Police make there is a bunch of media attention, and with an ROE that's more confusing then the new Stimulus Package, its really no wonder that cops will draw a bead on "unarmed" kids. the simple fact is that it's dangerous to be a cop, and sometimes if the "innocent" harass the cop enough that he feels a threat to his life, or to the lives of others, is he not then justified in his or her actions. What bothers me the most about the "Police Brutality" issue is that its almost always blacks that are the focus and the "innocent victims" but we never see or hear what happens before the cameras start rolling. Even worse, because the suspects are almost always black and the cops are almost always white, it almost ALWAYS gets turned into a racial issue.

4). Obviously if I read the tactical situation right, then why weren't other urban pascification methods afailable? Flashbangs, and the like. hell they used Tear gas for the Embassy crissis durring the Tet offensive. If this target truly was a threat then why weren't other measures used to avoid choke points and prevent him from being able to think see or shoot clearly being utalized. It's not like we don't have the means.

5). Finally, while I don't know the situation, we need a quicker way to acess threats. Are they or aren't they threats? Before they even walk up to a vehicle they need to know who it's registered to and if any of the first tier (ie: Mother brother sister father etc) ascociations with the regristry are known/suspected offenders. Before the cops even get out of their car, before the walk even begins there should be a way to tag, querry and ascertain this information so the Police officer knows whether to go "hot" or "cold". I honestly think that if the public has a "right to know" how a soldier died a gruesome death and gleefully put that all over the news for the family to see, then a police officer has the "right to know" if someone in the car might be a bad guy!

I am sad to say but I feel a certain despair at the certainty that someone in the respectable news organizations will try to paint the dead shooter as the "victim" in all of this. I don't care how you spin it four people who were good are now dead for one low life sleeze ball. I count that as a loss any day. I fear matters will only get worse.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


This was during my first tour to Iraq in 2004. The F-16's had pulled out that day, and a mortar round started a grass fire that set off the whole AHA. misses, captured ammo, 500 LB, 1000 LB and even one 2000 lb bomb. Katie Mac will attest to the fact that it was scary as shit! So when you ask if I've seen any big booms you know that yes indeed I have.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


So we're officially on "block leave" and it has not been good so far for 2-16. Within the first thirty-six hours there were fights with a Cop, DUIs, and a near fatal accident while running drom the Cops! Of course the BC wasn't happy with that. Not at all. The funny thing is that the only company that didn't have an incident was Delta! Wow, that is deffinatly a first.

So Tuesday started with a bang. Aparently there was a while lot of organizing of MES chests that needed to be done. I know it has to be done from time to time, but christ alighty it seems like every other day we have to do these things. Muy Muy Mal. What really stung was that I found out that after the eval I did on friday, they had already decided on TUESDAY, to go ahead and push the 5-17. The most amazing thing of all is that they were talking weeks not the usual 2-3 months. That completly threw me for a loop. There is no way that I think I'll be ready for that kind of major transition in the timeline provided.

As if to proove the point, my chaper physical was the next day. Thats unheard of. In all my time in the Army, and dealing with chapters, I've never heard of the initial steps of a chapter foing through that quick. It is really making my head spin. Baisically over this 4 day I have to start cleaning all my TA-50 (not too hard as I've only really used it all once) and really start to plan out my transition. How am I going to make Car payments, How am I going to get home, how am I going to get to WVU, how am I going to pay for that, and far more important than that, what am I going to do after that?

I know neither how to respond to this, nor how I should prepare for this. There is something that feels just plain wrong about this, and yet for all the fear this sudden change induces I have to wonder if it is not, indeed, for the best. What have I really gained by comming back. Is my life really better for trying to continue to be a soldier. Perhaps my honesty is my own Acheles heel. Could I do another deployment and not return so absolutly Mind f***ed that I could carry on *some* kind of life? It is terrifying in a way and yet part of me is so used to being the viscious wolf. The hunter of men, ready to kill.

How can I walk away, and how can I find peace after this?



Saturday, March 14, 2009

A sign of the times.


The S**T has hit the fan!

I don't know if I talked about it here ( I know I talked about it in my paper journal) but Ambien can make me do some Bat-shit crazy stuff. Officially called sleep walking, or sleep talking, your cognitive centers of your brain check out, and you become. . . well fruitier than a nut cake. I've called people, eaten food, and even had sex (one time) and had no memory of it the next day.

So last Sunday night I was trying very hard to sleep. I had about three or four Ambien left (couldn't for the life of me remember how much) so I thought now would be a good time to take some. Right? baaaddd idea. I not only went koo koo, I *might* have taken more and I ended up in Robinette's room. Bad juju. Well I did what I thought was right and explained the situation to the seinior medic at the course. Another mistake.

Somehow it got reported as a drug overdose, instead of a reaction, or a common side affect. Someone, and I have no idea who, said I took alcohol with it. Someone, and I don't know who, got the bright Idea in their heads that I was suicidal. and thus the pain began. Lots of pain.

First I got an escort to take me to the hospital, and well that was a fat load of fun there. Four hours and in the end they didn't listen to a thing I said. I tried to tell them over and over again that this was a reaction to the Ambien, and I honestly had no idea WHAT happened Sunday night. The whole process had me more and more worked up because no one would listen to me!

I think the worst part of all that was, when it was over in the Hospital, it was out to the field, of a suicide watch. I mean REALLY? It was like Basic or AIT all over, but it was something that I tried to tell people over and over was a common side affect! Well I tried to sleep, but *amazingly* I wasn't able to sleep at all. Worse it was humiliating. I eventually got to sleep. Chemobo helped me out some, but in the morning it was, get out of here, we don't want this dirty little secret out in the open.

I took the hour long ride back to post, and Sgt Morrano took me to CMH. Of course they told me to wait. I went, and they told me I was RTD (they always say that) but that I was definatly showing signs of depression/burn out. He was the second person to tell me that. I go back to class, and the very next morning I go to the head shrinkers again, so that I can have the pleasure of some sort of sleap med. Ambien is out, and some of the ones that doc talked about. . . well she's the first one that really told me what the side affects were. Horrifying what type of things these pills will do to your body. Addiction, weight gain, sleep walking, Lucid states, fatuge headaches, my god just listening to the side affects made me want to just shut up and deal with the insomnia.

That afternoon as I was about to take a shower (stripped down to my boxers) i got a knock at the door. I had to go to the company, and get read the "official" mental health thing. I had no idea there was any talk of chapter in there, just if you want to go to JAG or IG, etc. I didn't think that there would be a problem so I made my concerns known, and let it be. I'm a complete Re-Re

After that I went to picking up the Lunesta (one whole milligram stronger then the last ones I took), I got a phone call from Sgt Morrano that I had to beet feet up to Bn. I wasn't going to jump out of line at the pharmacy. Even when the place was a ghost town it still took me over 45 mins to get my meds (Imagin if the freaking place had been packed!). I found out through Facebook (of all places) that it was the meeting to tell everyone that had an ETS date that was anywhere near now, essentially "you're screwed". Stop Loss is in affect until Dec 2010. Which means I will miss two years of college. That little gem is real motivating.

And then, there was this morning I went to see the doc I first started seeing when I first came back. It was supposed to be a competency eval, but I did not know that the commander wanted to do a 517. A chapter for mental health reasons. My GOD. I'm horrified at the very thought. If I'm going to leave I want to walk away on my own time, and not be chucked out like some lepor. After 6 years 2 months, this is what it comes to?

If I take the chapter, then I'm a shitbag that took the easy way out. I'm abandoning my friends, or at least people that *might* count on me. That is if they ever let me do my job. If I fight it, I'm hit with stop loss and I lose 13 more months of my life, that I'd bargened for, and have to be tail end charlie in the sandbox. I hope anyone that reads this can see my delema. I'm screwed either way, and I have no idea how I will deal with either situation. Either way it feels like a final crushing defeat. I'm almost tempted to look away hand my packet to someone above me, and resign myself to whicheve ghoulish fate is before me.

I think the Psych chapter is punitive and is the command smacking my pee pee for asking for help, and worse for being a different type of person. I think the Stop Loss, is a reall shitty thing to do to short timers, especially if their ETS is right at the beginning, or even before the deployment. It feels like the Army in all its collective wisdom, or maybe more specifically 2-16, likes kicking Joes when they're down. I know one thing for sure, there's no WAY I'm getting another damned counciling for my motivation. Pretty much everybody is operating on Zilch.