RECIDIVISM, RADICALIZATION, RESTORATION

To merely bemoan the brokenness of the system and offer no good recourse or some viable alternatives is to promote cynicism and defeatism. There are already enough isms wreaking havoc upon our society..f.as a society we must (follow Dr. House’s prescriptions and) get good.

Dr. Ross L. Riggs 20 December 2018

U.S. PRISON DOUBLE STANDARD  

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has an interesting, if not warped view of information necessary for dissemination to law enforcement and to communities when certain individuals are released from custody. According to a recent article by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the Bureau has mandatory reporting requirements to law enforcement when registered sex offenders are released. The same is true for drug offenders. There are programs for both for re-entry into the mainstream and there are channels of communication to alert law enforcement of their known whereabouts when released. However, there is no similar programs in place for convicted terrorists who are paroled or have completed their sentences. To quote Patrick Dunleavy of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “That is absurd.”[i]

“The Tracer Act, presently awaiting passage in the U.S. Senate, would require authorities to provide state and local law enforcement with ‘release information from a Federal correctional facility, including the name, charging date, and expected place and date of release, of certain individuals who may pose a terrorist threat.’”[ii] The bill was introduced in the House in May of 2017 and then received in the Senate in September of 2017. At that time, it was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and a year and three months later, it remains in committee.

Nearly thirty-two years ago, while working a special detail seeking out persons with outstanding warrants for violent crimes, I came across just such a person trying to hide behind a dumpster in a bar parking lot. He had multiple felony warrants for aggravated burglary, robbery, arson, escape and a host of others. A lengthy foot chase ended with the suspect in custody, the two of us at the bottom of a culvert and my right shoulder dislocated. Within a couple of years, I had my first reconstructive surgery on that shoulder. Just five days prior to writing the first draft of this article, I had a total shoulder replacement after years of dealing with chronic pain, arthritis and joint inflammation. When the felon was sentenced, he received 25 years in prison, of which he did the entire two-bits. I sometimes said to folks, (he) got 25 years, I got life. Today, my quip seems more real than ever. It did not take that felon very long after his release to be re-arrested and back in the system. Recidivism rates for violent, repeat offenders are disconcerting, to say the least. According to the study conducted by Jesse Morton and Mitchell Silber, “The recidivism rate among violent extremist offenders within the United States is unlikely to be zero. While the re-offender rate for violent extremist offenders appears to be much lower than among other federal prisoners,13 in 2010 the Director of National Intelligence assessed that 25 percent of former Guantanamo Bay detainees were confirmed or suspected of re-engaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.”[iii]

Twenty-five percent is probably a very low assessment. Most, if they have learned anything at all during their time at Guantanamo, learned how to keep a lower profile. Could it be that fifty percent or more of those who were detainees are still part of the terrorists’, jihadists’circles? Those who are not are more likely to be disengaged either by the simple fact that aging takes its toll on even the most resolute fighters and injuries incurred during their career have also left them unable to fight. For others, they may be out of touch because they are no longer trusted by those currently holding the reins of power. There may even be a few who are reformed. My expectation is that it is very few. To have a system which, if it tracks these violent offenders after release at all, does not permit the law enforcement in areas where they will reside to be notified of their location, is, as was quoted earlier, absurd. It borders on criminal negligence on the part of those who run the systems. The blood of any law enforcement officer or citizen who is subsequently killed by a released convict when no effort was made to inform police of his whereabouts or potential of his continued complicity to terrorism, should be legally upon the hands of those who had the power to change the system but did not.

I have a son-in-law who has, what you might call, an inquiring mind. He asked me just the other, ‘What is really wrong with having places like Alcatraz or as the British first planned to use Australia as a dumping ground for those too anti-social to work and play nicely with others?’ In the Philippines, al Qaeda and its brethren have ruled over Mindanao for decades. Okay, let them have it… take out those who have no dealings with the brothers of the sword, invite any who want to join them to go on in and then remove all forms of communication with the outside world to the island and let them fend for themselves. Such a comment is hyperbole, of course. I would never presume to instruct a sovereign government what to do with their lands; for the same reason I won’t live in a gated community. Without effective communication between prisons, probation, customs, INS, and local law enforcement, it becomes a matter of the stow-a-ways commanding the ship.

I have a good friend, a brother-in-Christ who is serving a fifteen-year sentence with the Ohio Department of Corrections. I know of murderers who did not get as severe a penalty as my friend and I believe he suffered greatly because of inadequate legal representation. However, with such issues aside, he knows why he is there and, as you would expect, he has lost everything which was important to him while he has been inside, with the exception of his faith. Tested mightily, yes; but his faith has endured. He has grown into a much stronger and wiser brother in the faith than most men I know. As with Joseph, (although my friend admits he was not innocent of all charges as Joseph was in the Genesis account), God is using him in amazing ways where he is.

A huge difference for my friend is his faith and because of his faith, he was ‘reformed’ even before he was ever charged with a crime. Almost two decades passed between the time of his crime and when he was charged. When he was arrested, he was already no longer able to commit his crimes because of the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. To say the ODC has any programs helping him to be prepared to re-enter society is a stretch. My friend has grown greatly; but, it is because of the Holy Spirit and through his own initiatives in seeking out educational options and discipleship and mentoring programs.

In 1974, I wrote a college paper on recidivism rates. I would like to report on the great advances made in corrections to reduce recidivism in the intervening forty-four years. Such is not the case. Lots of money has been thrown at all kinds of programs; but, the nature of the beast is beyond any quick fix. Without the life-changing, eternity altering, soul reclaiming power of Christ, none of our man-made efforts can make a significant difference. The Constitution of the U.S. has a clause known as ‘The full faith and credit clause.’ The actions of one state will be backed by the others and by the federal government (with specific exceptions). Without such a clause, the ability of the states to work as a united republic would be impossible. As an analogy, each act of kindness must also be backed by the full faith and love of Jesus Christ to have any eternal efficacy.

To merely bemoan the brokenness of the system and offer no good recourse or some viable alternatives is to promote cynicism and defeatism. There are already enough isms wreaking havoc upon our society, I shan’t be involved in promoting any others. A quote from the immutable Dr. House is simply, ‘you must either be good, get good or give up’ and nobody can afford to give up. If our dealing with recidivism and radicalization are not good and our attempts at restoration have not been good, then we need, as a society to get good.  I suggest the following:

  1. Improve our grammar. A sentence is a sentence. Ten years for armed robbery is ten years not 3 years with credit for time served. The sentences, however, must fit the crime and the individual charged. Too harsh or too lenient, both are wrong.
  2. Repair our doorways. To deal with recidivism, prison doors do not swing open and they do not revolve. They lock. Repeat offenders need to know their future is certain.
  3. Become better gardeners. Remember our roots. America is built on Judeo-Christian principles. It will be the only faith available for study in prison. A free American has the right to freedom of worship. If you are in prison you are not a free American. There will be no radicalizing imams strolling the halls of our penitentiaries unless they are prisoners themselves and still, they will not have the opportunity to preach and teach.
  4. We will sing-along with Aretha Franklin R-E-S-P-E-C-T will be afforded to parents by children, students to teachers, citizens to police officers and, young people to elders. This will be taught in the homes and in the schools with local churches available to help-out any time.
  5. We will encourage reading. The only OPEN Borders will be bookstores. If you choose to immigrate LEGALLY into the U.S., you will learn English as our national language. The phones will be freed from the option to ‘Press 1 for English’. Tourists out west, if they see a sign for WALL DRUG – it will be for the great tourist trap in South Dakota and not some marijuana they got between the U.S. and Mexico.
  6. We will encourage a STRONG economy. You desire health benefits and a paycheck, you will work. The definition of those who truly are not able to physically work will be determined by those who pay for the social services, the tax-payers.
  7. Pharmacies will be available 24 hours a day. They will be the only places where anyone can get drugs. Anyone who wants to dispense drugs can go to pharmacology school. Failing to get a Pharm degree but still selling drugs will invoke number 1 and number 2 and if the person is an alien, number 5 will come into play and the person will be invited to return to the land of their birth, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00.

Perhaps these Stringent Seven are a bit tongue in cheek or, at least, too simplistic to merit any true consideration. Still, they are the basis for what needs to be accomplished within our system to begin to regain some control over the miscreants threatening our society.


[i] Dunleavy, Patrick “The Strasbourg Terror Attack – Only the Names Have Changed” IPT News 17 Dec 2018

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] https://ctc.usma.edu/nypd-vs-revolution-muslim-inside-story-defeat-local-radicalization-hub/

Novochok Nerve Agent Threatens More

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Amesbury, England Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess were found in their home apparently poisoned by the same nerve agent that nearly killed Russian Intelligence Officer Sergei Scripal and his wife Yulia in March. Sergei was accused of spying for Britain. They survived the poisoning but are now in protective seclusion following the narrow escape. The nerve toxin, Novochok an A-234 nerve agent is nicknamed by the Russians as newbie – and consists of a series of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union and Russia between 1971 and 1993. The symptoms of the drug’s ingestion is a headache, unconsciousness, convulsions and foaming at the mouth. Both Rowley and Sturgess are in critical condition. Reports indicate that they were at Salisbury’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens prior to becoming poisoned which is not far from where the Skripals had been found.

Photos of the  Skripals have been redacted for security concerns.

On the heels of the intel of the arrest of a person was arrested in Germany with large amounts of the drug Ricin and terrorist plans to contaminate the water system. It is apparent that the proper amount of vigilance on the part of international, national, local and civilian intelligence and security persons is warranted.

Amesbury

British police have categorized this as a Major Incident and, with over officers from forty departments involved in the last poisoning may be recalled to the newest incident.

The two most recent targets of the attack are being treated at the Porton Down Defense Research Facility just 18 minutes by car from the Salisbury District Hospital.

porton down defenseSCI’s intelligence agents and our network will continue to follow this and other leads as these cases progress.

The full story on where the gas came from is known: https://youtu.be/fXX4znMsHFk

If You Only Have One Shot You Better Make It A Good One

Golden Boy

Dr. Ross L. Riggs, author of “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” 2017

America, it seems, is always facing a new challenge. It is, perhaps, our destiny. From the earliest days of the frontier and the War for Independence, across the centuries, at every turn America and Americans had their work cut out for them. The numbers of Americans who recall first-hand the Great Depression and World War II are quickly diminishing. Those from what has been called, “America’s Greatest Generation” will soon be all past.

As another very dangerous and difficult challenge is facing America, I propose two things for your, consideration. It is at this first point that you will either lay this article down and say to yourself, ‘This guy has no clue to the real world!’ or you’ll keep reading and maybe even come away inspired by America again.

Two points, then, as I make my case. You get to be the judge. It is my hope, by the time my current book signing tour is completed, there will be a new enthusiasm for American exceptionalism. It won’t be because of me, my book or the tour; but, by a growing acceptance for that which I propose here.

The first point concerns the deadly challenge that America is facing. Cyber-terrorists pose a serious threat, but they can be beaten. Cyber-terrorists threaten to reduce American society to a ruined economy with an information infrastructure unable to ever regain its effectiveness. We have the capability to stop them in their tracks. The same terrorists who threaten to eliminate America’s presence in the cyber-technology global economy may watch as their own cyber-capability is obliterated. I believe that Security Consulting Investigations, LLC (SCI) has created the beginning of the end for cyber-terrorists. That is a bold claim. I realize others have come before me and made grand promises. The difference is our solution. However, in some ways, that simplicity may be its own Achille’s heel. The simple solution is dependent upon end-users following the guidelines we put before them. The auto-dealers can make the safest cars in the world; but, because people choose to get behind the wheel and drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, people will die in those safe cars.

Mare's Leg

Shown here is my personal Henry Arm’s Company, Mare’s Leg in the .45 caliber. It is the prize of my collection, thus far. I say thus far only because I haven’t gotten the other Henry Repeating Arms yet! The Golden Boy, also in a 45 caliber (you might guess what caliber I prefer in long guns and pistols), pictured in the title of this article is on that wish list. In over forty-years of law enforcement and military assignments, personal shooting and hunting I’ve had the opportunity to fire and own some fine pieces. Henry Arms Repeating rifles carry a long tradition of highest quality, attention to detail and a commitment to as near perfection as can be had this side of Glory. Since Benjamin Tyler Henry patented the first truly dependable lever-action repeating rifle in 1860, Henry has been synonymous with the highest quality firearms available. If I am facing a threat and my sole defense is going to depend on a firearm, I want a firearm that carries with it the reputation that a Henry does.

Because of the pain-staking work and the continuing success of SCI’s cyber-technology team, we have a product on which, I believe, Benjamin Tyler Henry would have been willing to inscribe his name. I don’t make that claim lightly and I’m not saying that the Henry family has endorsed SCI’s work. What I am saying is that we, at SCI, are reaching for the bar that Benjamin Henry set almost one-hundred and sixty-years ago. We are asking multi-billion-dollar businesses to look at this small start-up company and say that, in their arsenal against cyber-terrorists, they want the SCI technology. How can I, in good conscience ask companies who have worked so hard to be where they are to trust us unless I so truly believe in what we are doing? I must believe that we have the technology that those companies can use effectively to protect what they have earned.

That brings me to my second point. I will not argue, even for a moment, that the generation of my parents was not incredibly great. They endured, struggled and found their way out of the Great Depression and then marched off to bring victory and freedom to an entire world, particularly to a Europe that was gasping for its last shallow breaths of life. I will argue that we cannot yet know if that generation is America’s greatest because America is not yet finished. The very next generation may be greater than all those who have come before us.

America’s final chapter could be a long way from being written or we could be only one generation away from closing the book. It is God, alone, who makes nations rise and fall. However, how God deals with our nation is a matter of our choices. Just as I have made it clear that SCI has a solution to stopping cyber-terrorists; it depends a great deal on the willingness of every business or individual that chooses to trust us with their information security to follow the protocols that we set forth. It cannot just be a memo from the CEO out to every computer user in the company; it requires the commitment of every single end-user to maintain that security. It is a choice. A company can enjoy victory over the cyber-terrorists, including rogue governments that promote cyber-terrorists to operate under their auspices or they can face severe risk, their company brought to the precipice of destruction by hackers. It matters little whether the hackers are driven by an anarchist mantra or just in it for the Bitcoins.

If you only have one shot… I know first-hand of a police officer who, on an incredibly cold, dark night, in a wind-driven snow faced two career criminals who had just robbed a store at gunpoint. Now, they were backed into a corner, their get-away car disabled, the police officer within yards of them, their stolen money blowing in the wind as the bag had fallen in their haste to get out of the car. They begin shooting at the cop. Carrying just a six-shot revolver, the officer was down to his last shot. With it lined up in the chamber, one robber had surrendered and was standing just a few feet from the officer. The other offender desperately fled on foot, now a serious threat to any local citizen he might meet. He turned once again, fired a shot trying to kill the officer. Now several yards away on this cold dark night, the officer raised his gun and took his last shot. Against all odds, the bullet found its mark and the violent assailant was dead when he hit the snow.

Businesses and industries across the United States have more options for the next new and improved security firewall than spammers have uncles in palaces that need to move their inheritance monies to U.S. banks. Software that seemed to do the job a few years ago is now not worth the time it takes to uninstall them. There are those companies that had a name people trusted but now, those companies are failing in large part due to the poor foundation upon which they were built. Their striving for exceptional excellence and their passion for protecting the client was superseded by their drive for the dollar.

When Benjamin Tyler Henry created his first repeating rifles, America was at its greatest time of crisis. The America he loved was being torn literally in two. His dream was to develop a firearm that soldiers could use that left the old-style single-shot ball and black powder rifle far behind his new technology. Henry knew what he had would revolutionize the world and he knew America needed it to be everything he dreamt it could be. At Security Consulting Investigations, we understand the crisis America is facing. We refuse to subjugate our commitment to exceptional excellence and our passion for protecting our clients to dollars, rubles, won, or yen. The faith-based core of our company values is the keystone by which our clients can place their faith in us. I do not expect any individual or company to trust me because I say so; though my word is my bond. I challenge you to put us to the test for thirty days and if by then you are not satisfied, then review our contract that is specifically designed to protect our clients. If we fail you, we want to make certain that you are covered and don’t lose a Bitcoin because of it.

knight

In the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade, the knight who guarded the chalice of Christ warned those who sought it to choose wisely. You, as a business owner, may think that with all the solutions offered, you can shop for protection cafeteria style. All you need to do is just go along hoping you find something that works. The truth is you only have one bullet. What you choose today may be the only choice you make before a hacker takes you out and all you worked for is gone. You only have one bullet. Choose your firearm wisely, find yourself a Henry. Then, make your shot count.

Dr. Riggs can be reached at: Security Consulting Investigations, LLC

1.888.719.5636 or director@security-consulting.us

www.security-consulting.us  

book cover article

Dr. Riggs’ book can also be purchased through www.security-consulting.us

 

A Road in the Desert

By Dr. Ross L. Riggs

Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in the dream saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him. (Matthew 2:13 NASB)

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt… and the Lord was with Joseph… But Joseph said to them, do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 39:1, 50:19-20
NASB)
1
The route of Abraham’s travels in ancient times would have been nearly identical to the traders’ route that those who purchased Joseph would take to Egypt and later Joseph’s brothers and family would eventually take to Cairo. Centuries later, Joseph, step-father of Jesus, would take the same route when fleeing Herod in Jerusalem.
The point marked on this map with a is the location of current day Bir al-Abed. (See map later in this monograph).

Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham was taken to Egypt and lived there around 2900 BC. (The Exodus under Moses took place about 2450 BC and King David ruled in Jerusalem 1003 to 970 BC)

Archaeologists believe that a massive volcanic eruption followed by a tsunami of epic proportions wiped out the coastal cities of Sinai in 1500 BC. This would have been during the years of the Judges before the reign of King David. A city in the location of Bir al-Abed during the travels of Joseph and his family would have been destroyed and then, perhaps, rebuilt by the time that Joseph, Mary’s husband would have brought the Messiah to Egypt in the 1st Century AD.

In the 7th Century A.D., Islam began to grow in the areas of Mecca and Medina in the area today known as Saudi Arabia. In the years following Mohammad, Islam spread west along the northern shores of Africa in a bloody campaign by those loyal to Mohammad.

On Friday November 24, 2017 Terrorists attacked the Al Rawda Mosque in Bir al-Abed in northern Sinai. Though not yet claimed, as of this writing, likely the local Islamic State of ISIS is responsible for the attack that killed 235 with more than 100 wounded. Sources claim “it was the worst terrorist attack on civilians in modern Egyptian history. It was well-planned, highly coordinated and aimed at slaughtering as many people as possible.”
2
Al Rawda (also spelled in some sources, Al Rouda) is a Sufi mosque, a branch of Islam known for its mystic ways that involve chanting and enchantments meant to draw worshippers closer to a spiritual awareness. Many of the worshippers in Bir al-Abed are workers in a local salt mine.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed that the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt would persevere with its war on terrorism. But he did not specify what new steps might be taken. U.S. President Trump took to his Twitter account and called the crisis a horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshippers. The world cannot tolerate terrorism” he said on Twitter, “we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”

According to sources, the terrorists approached the mosque in four off-road vehicles with at least a dozen terrorists entering the mosque where hundreds were gathered. Very likely they approached the city along highway 40, the same road that had carried travelers and tradesmen and in the centuries before the destruction by a massive volcano and tsunami may have carried the 17-year-old prisoner Joseph who would one-day rule Egypt and generations before that the caravan of his great-grandfather Abraham. That same road carried the body of Joseph’s father, Jacob, back to the Promised Land in a great procession, where he would be buried. Jacob’s directions for his burial are recorded in Genesis 49:30-32.

“…in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site. “There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah – the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of Heth.”

Over four-hundred years later, when Moses was bringing the nation of Israel, now millions strong back to the Promised Land they would be carrying the bones of Joseph only for another Joseph to travel that way again to bring his wife and toddler step-son, baby Jesus, the Messiah to Egypt for safety.
Jesus Christ, by this time a young boy, after the death of Herod, would have passed along this same area again, returning to Israel perhaps even staying the night in a town on or near the site of Bir al-Abed.

On this Friday in November, just a few weeks before the Christian world celebrates the nativity of our Savior Jesus Christ, terrorists used the this non-descript road in the desert to bring about carnage, bloodshed, tears, pain and death.

They were firing rocket propelled grenades and firing indiscriminately into the crowd. One boy of 14 who had shrapnel and a bullet wound described the carnage. He said “I saw many people on the floor, many dead. I don’t think anyone survived,” he said at a hospital in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where around 40 of the wounded were taken, including many children.

The Egyptian army has been battling ISIS-linked militant Islamists in the Sinai four years with limited success. But if the world knows little about this fierce ongoing struggle, that is no accident. The Egyptian government has imposed an almost total media blackout on its efforts to repress what is becoming a deeply embedded insurgency

.3

Egyptian president al-Sisi claimed that “the attack would only “add to our insistence” on combatting extremists. Addressing the nation later on television, he said Egypt is waging a battle against militancy on behalf of the rest of the world, a declaration he has often made in seeking international support for the fight.”

Egyptian president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi went on Egyptian television Friday evening to declare three days of mourning and denounce the attack, which he called the work of cowards. He vowed to respond with air strikes and “brutal force.”
desert

But the use of such brutal force, which critics say is also indiscriminate, has created greater resentment among Sinai residents. It has also radicalized the local population and generated new recruits for the terrorists – even as most Egyptians reacted with shock and outrage to the assault on a holy mosque during the Muslim day of prayer, a rarity in the deeply religious country.

While no group immediately claimed credit for the attack on the Al Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed in northern Sinai, the culprits were almost surely the local branch of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State.

It is just a road in the desert, probably the current-day road is one with a heritage that is as old as civilization itself. It has witnessed the dawn of mankind’s growth as a people of the One Creator God, the historic events that took place across it and it witnessed the sons of Abraham trying to survive horrific draught and famine. It witnessed the funeral processions of patriarchs of the Christian faith and the escape and return of the Messiah from Israel to Egypt and the fulfillment of prophecy, “Out of Egypt I have called my Son.”

This map shows that simple road. Notice the red color, the subscript of the source just says, “Travel Not Recommended.” So, when one wants to plot their travel from Cairo to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, there is a bit of a side-trip. That side trip is shown in the next map.5

6

7

You will notice a red line and a blue one. One is the distance to go directly from Cairo to Tel Aviv. The direct route is 395 km and if you travel at 85 km/h it will take you just under 5 hours, depending, of course on how well you swim; so you may want to add some time if you choose to stay on dry land. Because of the violence, however, you will likely have to take the more circuitous route which will take you 9 hours to travel the 756 km. Sounds like the same kind of problem Moses had getting to Israel from Egypt!
There could be close to 300 people dead, men, mostly salt mine workers, women and children all who practice a strange cult version of Islam dead for no other reason than a group of another cult find their worship untenable.

The terrorist lives to strike fear into the hearts of those who just want to live out their lives in relative peace. When Christ returns there will be a time of tribulation on the earth with its purpose to bring back to the faith those who have run away from God, chasing false teachings and empty promises of peace. The violence earlier today was there just for the sake of indulging in terror.

God save us from ourselves and walk beside us along a little-known road in the desert.

 

A Heavy Heart

Law Enforcement Officers have been branded with the name of ‘sheepdogs’ because the sheepdog will sense trouble and will place himself between the danger and the ignorant sheep; and yes, the sheepdog may even die protecting those sheep who don’t know enough to escape or fight for themselves.

by Dr. Ross L. Riggs                                                                                                                                       Blue Line badge

Often, I write light-hearted articles on a myriad of topics. Sometimes, I pen a more serious topic; but none, captures my heart as does this one. You see, America lost another brave warrior this weekend. An Ohio cop killed by a man involved in a domestic dispute who ambushed officers as they came to his home to try to restore the peace. This is Ohio’s fourth for this year and America’s 107th, an average of nearly 3 every week. With ten more week’s left in 2017, I cannot help but wonder who will be the thirty officers who won’t see 2018 ring in with their families come New Year’s Day? Most of them won’t be there for Christmas morning either. Not a very happy thought is it? As the father of a police officer, I cannot help but wonder if my son is to be numbered among them. Perhaps not this year, but next?

What is crucial to remember is that no one, no police officer, firefighter or any other human being dies without God’s consent and, I believe, that it must be that person’s pre-ordained time to die. I spent most of my adult life – up until not too long ago – wearing a badge and standing along the thin blue line. I always knew that I could die in the line of duty; but, I also knew that, if I was not doing the job that I loved, not protecting those who were not able to protect themselves, not serving my community as I felt I was called to do; that I could die on any given day by any number of means, even the threatened frying pan from time to time! What mattered to me the most was, if I was to die, that it would be for something that mattered.

Some may look at certain officers killed in the line of duty by ignorant, socio-paths who did not deserve to breathe the same air as human beings and say, What a waste! I say, What a wonderful sacrifice! Jesus Christ said, “No greater love has anyone than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Later in scripture, Paul writes to explain that Jesus died for the ungodly. He wrote, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die…” (Romans 5:6-8) And yet, police officers run toward danger when all others run away, and they don’t do it for the shooter, necessarily; although Officer Justin Leo was going to this man’s home to try to help them regain peace in their home. They do it for their community, their neighbors, their nation. The same people who deride them and seek ways to file complaints against them, declare their brutality to the social media hounds who pervert and distort the truth.

Law Enforcement Officers have been branded with the name of ‘sheepdogs’ because the sheepdog will sense trouble and will place himself between the danger and the ignorant sheep; and yes, the sheepdog may even die protecting those sheep who don’t know enough to escape or fight for themselves. Cops carry the moniker of sheepdog proudly. Would it be too much to ask if once-in-a-while, not expecting it might be more than that; but, at least occasionally, the sheep… instead of castigating and demanding retribution against police… maybe even a few of the sheep might, at the end of the day, look the sheepdog in the eye and say, “Thanks”?

Sheepdog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandalay Bay Early Lessons

Dr. Ross L. Riggs

Author of “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” Motivational Press 2017

All too quickly the ‘talking heads,’ who seem to populate the 24/7 news channels almost immediately after a tragedy, are sharing opinions based on rhetoric, supposition and hearsay with barely a modicum of personal experience to make them believable. There is analysis of the shooter from the time that he was in elementary school to his time as a U.S. postal worker turned millionaire and the story about his father being once wanted by the FBI for bank robbery. Whether those pieces of information play out to help authorities make some sense out of the events of this past weekend that took the lives of fifty-nine, so far and wounded hundreds more, only time will tell.  To rush to judgment so early in the investigation is to almost certainly succeed at one thing, and that is to provide pungent fodder for on-line debate among those who do not have access to facts. The professionals involved in the investigation should not be diverted from their work by the melee created by those who have access to the media and a penchant for promulgating conspiracy theories so inane that only the like-minded will indulge them.

What can we learn so early in the investigation, even when all the facts are still yet to be uncovered? There are some very good lessons that can be gleaned without detracting from the work being completed by the professionals in Clark County and others. I make the point in my book that, to stop terrorists or any others who wish to thwart the law and seek to profit in some means by bringing a crisis upon a community, there must be a cohesive effort among citizens and law enforcement. It cannot be just the ‘cop’s job’ nor is there room for the attitude of ‘it’s not my job’ by either the citizens or even those in various aspects of law enforcement. Prevention of crime, particularly massive attacks against the local community is everyone’s responsibility. The oft spoken adage of, See Something – Say Something is truer than we imagine and probably one of the best pieces of advice anyone should heed. It is too easy to pass off something that seems unusual and not report it, justifying inaction by scoffing at the idea that anyone in authority would really take you seriously if you did report it. I am certain there are those in the ranks of the criminal justice system that might just blow-off a citizen report and maybe even come down on the caller for ‘bothering them’. Those individuals need to be ferreted out and relieved of the heavy responsibilities they carry by letting them find other work, perhaps as a hat checker in a backwoods brothel.

The owner of Guns and Guitars, Christopher Sullivan was quoted from a statement issued Monday that “Stephen Craig Paddock showed no signs of being unfit to buy guns.” (Emphasis on the plural) A company spokesman, Shawn Vincent, later declined comment on how many guns Paddock bought and that “those details could only be shared with authorities.” At what point, when a man who had not bought guns previously suddenly begins to buy an apparently large number of guns, does the gun shop owner have a duty to ‘See Something – Say Something’? We don’t know what “signs” Sullivan refers to that would indicate Paddock was “unfit to buy guns” nor do we know Sullivan’s background, education and training that would qualify him as knowing if someone was unfit. The key must be the large number of high capacity magazine fed long-guns and guns that could be made to fire on automatic. According to the reports, “Stephen Paddock also had two devices that are attached to the stocks of semi-automatic guns to allow fully automatic gunfire. The bump-stock devices have attracted scrutiny in recent years from authorities.”  Certainly, the purchase of these devices along with all the other purchases by a retired man, living in a retirement community in a town of only 18,000 people, is out of the ordinary. If someone claims that doesn’t rate a call to the local police, then Mesquite is more than the name of the town and they must be using that powder for something other than cooking!

 

las-vegas-shooting-weapons
A bump or slider stock is pictured attached to this firearm. The device allows a semi-automatic weapon to fire at a rate similar to an automatic. (ALLEN BREED/AP)
 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/vegas-gunman-possibly-add-on-rifle-automatic-article-1.3538453

I am a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment and a qualified citizen should be able to buy all the guns he chooses. However, he should also expect that if that number is large and if it is in a very short time period, that he will be inquired upon. That is just common sense and in today’s world, it is necessary.

Christopher Sullivan did not cause Stephen Paddock to kill 59 people and wound more than 500 others. He does have a responsibility to say something when firearm purchases are out of the ‘norm’. With the application of a little common sense, anyone who has had any time managing a gun shop will know what the ‘norm’ is. Does that equate to Sullivan having any legal liability, that is for the investigators and prosecutors to determine and it’s not the point of this article. The point is that as citizens, together in community, we have a moral responsibility to one another.

A bit of questioning must go to the ATF. At what point do multiple sales of high capacity firearms in a short time frame cue the system to flag a buyer to be investigated? If it doesn’t do that, why doesn’t it?

The second person or persons who, it appears, should have had the opportunity to ‘See Something – Say Something’ is the hotel staff. Perhaps it is a concierge, a bellboy, a maid… there seems to be little way that any single individual could haul seventeen long-guns to an upper hotel room without anyone noticing. If one of those did see something and they said something to management and were hushed, that needs to be known. If someone saw something and neglected to say anything I can only wonder what their sleepless nights will be like.

Allow me to close with a positive story about how, when people who see something have enough sense of their obligation to their community and to the most vulnerable members of that community, the good guys win one. Just this evening, as this article is being finished, word came that a person, of whom I know nothing, heard a small child screaming and crying violently from inside a car that was parked along a side street. This person not only called the local police; they also provided a vehicle description and a license number. The registration on the car came back to a registered child sex offender. By means of appropriate and thoroughly good police work and the help of yet another citizen who was willing to get involved, the four-year-old boy is now safe and the pedophile, robbed of his would-be victim, is securely behind bars. How easy could it have been for the person who heard the child screaming and crying to pass it off as a late-night, tired child, and continued on their way leaving the four-year-old to face a monster? Thank God, they didn’t.

See Something, Say Something? You better believe it – it works! If there are any early lessons to be learned from the Mandalay Bay massacre it is that.

 

 

Quotes and details attributed to http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/entertainment/latest-guest-vegas-gunman-room-shaken-article-1.3535759

A Word from the Fair on Patriots’ Day

May God bless America, may America bless God

What is more mid-West America than a county fair? The horse events, cattle and pig judging, craftsmen and artists presenting their work for sale and, of course, the sausage sandwiches and scores of other fair fares all combine to make the county fair the place to be! When I was in elementary school (a few years ago) we would receive a free ticket to be used on ‘Fair Day’ when schools were closed to allow students to attend the fair. In rural areas, like Wayne County Ohio, many of the kids had animals in the fair to show.

If you have followed SCI this week on FB you know that we are spending the week at the Wayne County Fair with a booth all our own which means I have been staying at the fair quite a bit, aided greatly by my wife and family. This morning, I took a walk across the fairgrounds around 5 a.m. Other than the occasional sounds of sheep, horses, cows and even a squealing pig, most of the human animals who had spent the night were still asleep. Long before dawn, though, those who own cows were up and walking their animals to the milking stations.

What caught my attention in the pre-dawn coolness of the night was the Memorial Pavilion. There, in a nicely kept section of lawn was a set of flags around a large stone declaring the community’s support for all those who serve or have served in the U.S. military and the seals of each of the branches of the Armed Forces. Dawn was just beginning to break as I stood there lost in thought about what occurred on this Patriot’s Day in 2001. I stepped around the side of the memorial stone and lowered the American flag to half-mast as is required by Executive Order these past sixteen-years. As I secured the rope to the pole, I stepped back, rendered a hand salute and said a brief prayer, “May God bless America and may America bless God.”fair booth.jpg

On this Patriot’s Day, at our SCI booth, right in the middle of the doorway will be a flag with the Twin Towers on it and a simple statement, “We will not forget.” My hope for America this Patriot’s Day is that we truly do not forget. We must rehearse to our children and grandchildren who were not here to watch as the story unfolded, nor to hear the stories that came from the moments of horrific fear and incredible bravery, such as “Let’s Roll!” to try to help them feel the depth of the agony and the anger that was ours that day. They must realize, too, the number of young men and women who have given so much of themselves to battle the evil that seeks to destroy our nation. So many families have been torn apart since that fateful day in 2001, but their determination and resilience remains strong.

In the weeks after 9-11, American flags were everywhere. To find a house in a neighborhood that was not flying an American flag was a rarity. Pride in American exceptionalism was high. Much too soon that began to wane and then came eight years of a president who did not believe in American exceptionalism and in many ways, he did not believe in the strength of the American people.

On this Patriot’s Day may we recommit to flying our nation’s colors, reminding ourselves that we are a nation of strength, diversity, of laws that protect and that we are served by some of the best and brightest in self-sacrificing ways through our military and our first-responders. We have a duty to render to them that which they are due. May God bless America and may America bless God…

Not long after I posted this article, I was sitting under the grandstand here at the fair, in the booth where SCI is represented. While I talked with my daughter who has been working with me today, a woman who appeared to be middle-age and not physically well came in and was obviously feeling emotional as she reached out and took both mine and my daughter’s hand, thanking us for displaying the ‘We Shall Never Forget’ 9-11 September 11, 2001 flag. Then she told us how she had been on one of the first in ambulances to the Towers on that day. Her partner perished in the Second Tower, after having helped several out of the First Tower. She related how much it meant to her to see people who cared enough to remember those who served on that day. It was an honor for me to shake her hand and thank her for her service, that I was sad for the loss of her partner and that I hoped the years ahead find her well.