Every once in a great while a song comes along that touches you right down to the deepest part of your soul.
This song is one of those. It was passsed to me with a comment that it is new and that some stations are refusing to play it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t told who the artists are but, still, it is absolutely wonderful.
In His word, God tells us to be still and in that stillness, get to know Him. In the song, the word still is used with the contextual definition of as in the past, so now in the present, with hope it will remain so in the future. I would love for you to listen to this song and consider the word still both ways as you consider what God might add to this piece.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln
1838 speech – Springfield, Illinois
driven to write this, not out of a desire to share something of good that has
come to my soul and it would near strike me down if I did not share it; rather,
this is something heart-rending which tears at my soul and longs to be set down
in print for others to consider.
I was not far from a local school recently and as I got closer to it, just about at the ‘School Zone’ signs, I saw a yard sign. Written upon it was a celebratory exclamation because the House had moved forward on impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Gladness and celebration at the prospect of taking the leader of our nation, the most powerful position in the world and attempt to show he has committed high crimes and/or misdemeanors worthy of being driven from office? How many children see that sign every day and what do they think about what they hear concerning America?
No American should revel in the fact that our nation is at a horrendous crossroads requiring us to consider such a trial. We should, rather, be broken and saddened by the state of our nation. This is not a political ‘we win – you lose’ game. This is all about the vibrant life of the greatest nation the world has ever known, so blessed by God; yet, so ardently denying Him.
Yes, it is a good thing we have a system which allows us to hold the President of our nation accountable to the people. But it is a sad and unnerving thing to think we have come to this point. The move toward impeachment should be a very last resort and one which is undertaken with deep sadness and regret, desiring any other option than this one to be possible, regardless of which side of the political fence – because we are Americans first over political party.
It matters not whether you like President Trump or despise him. If the Democrats are doing this solely out of malice and a whimsical belief that to bring President Trump down is to elevate their party, how very wrong it is! Neither American party will be enhanced by an impeachment. Both will lie, wounded and bleeding in the morass of the swamp they are creating. America’s enemies will win the day when we are so divided as to spend our elected representatives’ time dealing with a witch hunt, at its worst and the lawful taking down of a president over what may prove to be another red herring. They all have so much more pressing work to accomplish.
There may never have been a time in our history when the two principal parties in America’s system are so opposite one-another in their beliefs. To bring it to its simplest, the Democratic Party is widely endorsing the socialist economic methods which seek to evenly distribute the wealth of the people, no matter who worked harder or who achieved more. Those who have will give to those who have not, so everyone has a similar station in life. Healthcare is no cost to the individual because everyone is paying for it. That is translated, those who have worked hard and earned the most are paying for it for everyone else. Margaret Thatcher, once Prime Minister of England is reported to have said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of someone else’s money.” If Communism is so wonderful, if socialized medicine so great… why do the citizens of countries where such can be had are clamoring at our borders trying to get in?
Sadly, such rhetoric as free healthcare, free college education, a monthly income guaranteed by thegovernment for everyone whether you work or not, whether you are a citizen, or not still comes with a cost. Someone must pay for all these things. The richest will have loopholes to avoid being the ones to pay and, yes, that includes the Democrat politicians who are advocating it. All these bright juicy apples of temptation hang just within reach of those who advocate for this system, but more Democrats are needed. The answer, for them, is open borders. Let those who want to come, come regardless of any previous immigration limits and, yes, they all can have all the benefits – the freebies and they can have the right to vote, too! Problem solved, more Democrats. If one can get past the allure of all the free stuff, common sense tells you such a system cannot work. Why model ourselves after a system which failed so badly across Eastern Europe and the former U.S.S.R.
The Republican Party claims allegiance to ‘conservative’ governance with capitalism or free enterprise being the standard applied for economic planning. You earn it, you keep it minus a fair share to the government for services such as the military protection we value so greatly. Immigration is strictly limited to those who, coming in will be income producing and a positive benefit to the nation. Healthcare, insurance and as much of everything else as possible is privatized getting the government out of running every portion of our lives. The failure of Social Security should prove to anyone the government has no business trying to manage your money!
The federal government has a very limited role, constitutionally. However, those roles have morphed over time by more stretching than any elastic has ever done – except for some Walmart shoppers’ wardrobes. Limited government, greater home (local) rule and the private lives of people being private; such is where the Republican Party has historically stood. They need to return to their roots.
Many who read this will say I have incorrectly stated this position or that and want to argue the fine points of each party’s platforms. Remember two things. First, I gave the caveat that I was stating the sides at their simplest. Second, this is not about which party is saying or doing whatever. This is focusing only on the issue of factionalism which is tearing our country apart. Every single one of us is to blame. If we have voted, we are to blame. If we have not voted, we are to blame. It is time we, the American people, held our representatives accountable to do the job we have sent them to do and to stop trying to destroy one another in hopes of improving their own station. If self advancement or even party advancement is what this entire impeachment is about then those behind it should be seen as traitors to the people they are supposed to represent.
Impeachment without true cause is horrific abuse of a political answer to the most grievous of situations with a President – using impeachments as a party tool to create division, confusion, and prevent progress to an administration simply because you disagree with him and long for something you think is better, but haven’t been able to win at the ballot box, is itself a misuse of authority and should be prosecuted.
Any elected official who uses their Congressional power to advocate and vote for impeachment with the only motive being obstruction of the administration in office should be held accountable for their own misuse of power. Voting for impeachment should be a very heavy, last resort kind of move; when there truly are high crimes and misdemeanors being committed and every other remedy has been attempted and come up short then is the time to wrestle over the need to impeach. Not before every other possible solution has been exhausted. When people begin to clamor for impeachment before a person has even taken office is more than ridiculous, it is criminal.
Lincoln was right about many things. His quote, written at the beginning of
this is so sadly correct. May God help us.
The ‘Father of our Country’ our first president, General George Washington was elected to office before there was such a thing as political parties. As he prepared to retire after 8 years, when he was encouraged by many to seek a third term; he wrote an impassioned letter on his retirement from public office. He believed the Constitution needed to be ratified and he sought that through his pleas. To promote the strength of the Union, he urges the people to place their identity as Americans above their identities as members of a state, city, or region, and to focus their efforts and affection on the country above all other local interests. He reminds the people that they do not have more than slight differences in religion, manners, habits, and political principles, and their triumph and possession of independence and liberty is a result of working together.
President Washington was very wary of political parties and the sectionalism and greed for power and wealth may have on those in government service. Washington warns the people that political factions may seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government, or to prevent the branches of government from enacting the powers provided them by the constitution. Such factions may claim to be trying to answer popular demands or solve pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men. His wisdom echoes down through the centuries and should shake us from our slumber and urge us to watch with prayerful resolve the outworking of today’s political power-hungry despots. These political swankpots may actually have convinced themselves they are the answer to America’s concerns. Some who push for impeachment may truly believe our government will be so much better off with them at the helm. More likely, they have no altruistic motives but desire only the self-aggrandizement which pulls at their already grossly inflated egos.
Allow me to close on a more up-beat note. I have had the pleasure of knowing some very bright, dedicated and patriotic political persons. These truly seek office in order to serve their local communities, their state and our nation. Some of these are veterans who put their life on the line in countless ways and remain excited about coming to work in the people’s house daily. They too are bothered by what I have described here because they see it up-close and personally. These men and women long for a better day in America and they fear the demise we have outlined here. They deserve our prayerful support. Their’s is not an easy task and it is one which can be overwhelming to the point of despair. If you know of such a one also, please let them know you are in their corner. They need to hear from you.
t may be a pity too few may read this post for, even though many seem driven to cast a pall over America’s horizon and bemoan how Americans will never be what they once were, there is a brighter hope I see emanating from the shadows cast by all the nay say-ers
InSCIghts is one of a half-dozen titles under which this author writes
some basic and other more detailed and complex concepts of law enforcement
relations with their communities. Sadly, it is also one which has been bereft
of any serious works of late. In thinking about why and trying to explain it to
my son, I made the comment, ‘life happened’ but such has more in common
with an excuse than an explanation. In hopes of filling the void on my web’s
blog sites and reviving what once was a plethora of article submissions – to
which several quality magazine editors would let out a long sigh when they saw
the familiar SCI logo in their ‘in-box’ – I take pen and paper in hand and
begin to swipe at the cobwebs of my mind and see what awakens! Okay, so I use a
laptop and mouse not pen and paper and most of the cobwebs which have begun to
take over my ‘attic’ are too entrenched to go with just a swipe. It is going to
take a shop-vac on full suction to get those bad-boys out of the corners!
is a combination of the ‘Patriot Day’ just passed which brought with it friends
lamenting how communities and neighbors were so much closer in the weeks
following 9-11 and the simple realization that students now high school
seniors, to graduate in the Spring of 2020, were not yet born in 2001. They
cannot share the common experience of Americans from that fateful day; nor can
any of their classmates who come after them. These thoughts began to stir in me
a desire to write. I realize when I pen an article or blog, there may be only a
handful of people taking the time to read it. But, that’s okay. Writing is
cathartic for me and if, by chance, it does some smattering of good for someone
who is inclined to read it; all the better.
It may be a pity too few may read this post
for, even though many seem driven to cast a pall over America’s horizon and
bemoan how Americans will never be what they once were, there is a brighter
hope I see emanating from the shadows cast by all the nay say-ers. What began
as a faint glow and then was just an unsteady glimmer has begun to brighten and
is overcoming the darkness one front porch at a time, or perhaps a back deck;
maybe one kitchen at a time or within the family rooms of people who share a
traveling abroad for many years; Karin and I were taken by how a sense of
community existed in a bond between people of the town and it seemed founded
upon the small groups which would appear like magic on front steps or back
patios, even along fence rows, as men and women, their work done for the day
did not retreat behind closed doors,
shuttered windows and loud televisions. Instead in what were some of the most financially destitute villages, we
enjoyed these visits; when the evening light was fading and the one or two
streetlights would crackle and buzz until the dim light within came on,
brightening and lessening as the available amount of electrical current along
the line would fluctuate and neighbors sought out neighbors to do nothing more
than share time. In a world driven by money and possessions, those with the
most of each seem to have less time than those who could not afford a
cellphone, even if service was available. These folks were rich because of the
way they valued and used their time.
people who graciously gave us of their time and allowed us to share ours, in
these far-flung villages were Christ followers. Not Christians because their
names were dutifully entered into a ledger of some national church at their
birth but people who had found the richness of the grace of God irresistible
and they had given in, fully and completely plunging themselves into the love
of Christ and learning what it meant to live in a community of believers. The
New Testament has a name for such communities of believers, they are called the
I am finding refreshing and the provider of hope for America, is these
‘old-world’ ways – the appreciation of time, the enjoyment of being involved in
an event for the event’s sake and not for what each may get out of the event as
another notch on their social status belt or recognition of their worldly
wisdom. Men and women of America, more and more, are re-learning the joys of being.
They are enjoying being together, being involved in others
lives, being accepted and even needed – not for some thing they
offer to the group but needed to just be part of the group. Those who
seem to be succeeding at this new adventure seem as if they are living in an
older, simpler time. Likely it was not truly simpler – maybe – just less
complex, but not simpler. What I mean by that is; those who lives
were less complex back in my parent’s and grandparent’s days were still not simple
lives. There was pain and hurt, financial troubles, World Wars and much
more. Still, their lives were less complex. They took time to have
time and to share time with others. Family time was held sacrosanct.
You did not find an excuse to miss family time, no matter how, as a teenager
one might believe family time to be lame; or as a young adult might have too
much work or something else as a priority, there was no excuse for missing family
is, thankfully, an extension of family time. People, some related by DNA
matches but many more who are together, making time, sharing time, enjoying
time in simpler ways on front steps and back patios, even over fence rows and
no one is looking to see what time it is or how late it is getting. These people
begin to grow together and learn to care for one another building into one
another’s lives. It all happens because they are blood relatives. All are saved
by the precious blood of Jesus. They are Christ followers, not perfect
people, hopefully not legalistic people or judgmental but similarly they have
come from a past of yuckiness and brown stuff and found how
Christ can forgive and forget and He loves them all the same, anyway. These
followers of the Yeshuah are laughing and loving; learning and praying; hurting
and crying; living and thriving – enjoying time together. Seldom is the
television on (unless its football season – there can be a little leeway here –
and it doesn’t matter because you would not be able to hear it over the talking
and laughter anyway. Sometimes when they gather, they study their Bible or
discuss ways to cope. No matter the mix – within it is hope. They are communities
of believers in Jesus Christ who love one another and love getting together –
the New Testament called it the church.
it perfect and without problems? Nope. But, there’s hope.
this group, when it is believers who are mostly American citizens, there can be
a range of political beliefs but politics which divide are not part of the
ingredients of these groups. What is incredible is how these groups can become
the strongest fiber, the most level foundation, the walls of support for a
nation such as ours who desperately needs to know Jesus. These men, women, both
young and older people of prayer will be what holds the American experiment
together – not just because America is exceptional but also because
these Americans are exceptional. What makes them exceptional? The God
who made them. Their faith and trust in Him will hold them while the ship of
state rocks on heavy seas.
there was ever a time in America’s history when people of faith needed to be
strongly united in being Behind the Line – the Thin Blue Line – it’s
now. Together, prayerfully asking for God’s blessing and faithfully following
His lead; Americans can overcome all of the dark forces which are vying for
America’s lifeblood. Behind the Line – that is where I want to be – yet at the
same time, Christ has asked His believers to be on the front line and it
is possible be both. Christ is who He says He is, and He will do what He has
said He will do. In the in-between time; when the day’s work is done and the
streetlights falter, then flicker on; its good to get together and spend the
most valuable resource you have in life – time, and it’s better when you
spend it together.
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.”
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.
“…if you are still certain that America is no longer great or is no longer exceptional, the I encourage you to stay wherever you are and we’ll send you your things. We really don’t need you here.
The first blog of the New Year, 2017; it is an almost a duty driven effort to write something which offers a perspective on the year past and/or the new one yet ahead. Usually, the effort is verbose and so mundane that it drives the writer and the reader to the brink of the first hurl of the season. That is, unless of course, one counts that cheap champagne at the boss’ New Year’s Eve party.
This blog will not have much to do with 2016 or 2017 from the typical standpoint. Rather, it is the culmination of eight years of being subjected to a bombastic spewing of anti-American rhetoric usually driven from, but certainly not limited to, the Office of Bombastard[i] in Chief. From such mind-warping dogma comes a numbness to the point where many cannot recognize the use of certain descriptors of America that, though perhaps well-meant, are also very caustic.
The most recent spillage of the corrosive catch-phrase that, in this writer’s opinion, disparages the United States of America came to me in a letter just last week. It was an advertisement from a group considered very patriotic, The Heritage Foundation. Allow me to quote the offending lines of the letter I received from the office of The Heritage Foundation President, Jim DeMint.
“…And now… we have the best opportunity since Ronald Reagan’s presidency to make America great again!”[ii]
Jim DeMint The Heritage Foundation
Certainly, you have heard that same line from some well-meaning source… we need to make America great again!
When, exactly, did America STOP being great? Absolutely, we have lots of problems including heroin addiction run rampant, abortion, veterans left homeless, and the list can go on and on.
Have you stood on a military parade ground to watch a field full of servicemen and women completing training, standing tall, supporting our country with their very lives? Have you traveled internationally to any other country in the world and, upon returning home, breathed a sigh of relief as you passed by the large American flag hanging in the Passport/Customs area and the uniformed officer hands you back your passport and says, “Welcome Home”?
The USA stands at 5th for Countries with the Highest Quality of Life in the World separated from Norway who is first by .029 percentage points.[iii]
“As the world’s largest economy by far, the economic vitality and high standards of living in the U.S. speak for themselves.
The United States boasts the 6th highest GPD per capita in the world at $47,440 and serves, in the words of Wikipedia, as ‘the epicenter of world trade.’ Total GDP stood at over $14 trillion for 2008, which is more than three times that of the world’s second largest economy (Japan).
American citizens also have the highest income per hour worked of any nation surveyed. By any objective measure, the United States and its relatively low tax rates offer the best of both worlds — reasonable social safety nets, and extraordinary economic capacity stemming from essentially free market policies.
The standard of living in the US is evidenced by consistently being the most immigrated-to nation on earth — 38,355,000 immigrants currently call the US home, more than double that of Russia, which is second on the list.”[iv]
For providing international aid, as a government, not including the private sector donations, the US tops the list in 2015 with $31.8 billion given in aide. Britain was second at $18.7 billion. Sweden is first when it comes to the percentage of their GNP.[v]
Private citizens, In America, and the charities they support rank Number 1 in the world for giving to those in need. In its second annual study of 153 countries, the Charity Aid Foundation concluded that the U.S. has demonstrated ‘strong’ behavior across all three criteria measured — volunteering, helping strangers and donating money. The U.S. has increased its charity by 3 percentage points this year, up to $212 billion.[vi]
The Global Firepower List ranks countries’ military strength and readiness using a system based on over 50 factors that combine technology, training, capability and actual firepower to give countries their aggregate scores. The United States ranked first in the world when all factors were computed.[vii]
I could go on and on. You do not need to depend upon a chart, graph or news release to determine how you believe America to rank. However, if you are ready to follow the lead of one who bows before Saudi kings or who denigrates America before other nations, then I recommend highly that you travel to any country you choose and stay for a while and see how things work. Then, if you are still certain that America is no longer great or is no longer exceptional, the I encourage you to stay wherever you are and we’ll send you your things. We really don’t need you here.
For organizations who have the best intentions for America, I respectfully ask that you stop using the line about making America great AGAIN. We are far from perfect and we may be many things in the eyes of many folks; but, one thing I assure you: America is GREAT! She’s my country and I think I’ll keep her! And, for Congressman DeMint, I do appreciate your service and I appreciate what The Heritage Foundation seeks to do. As it happens, I have been a supporting member of The Heritage Foundation for some time prior to your recent letter. That letter included my 2017 membership card and my Acceptance Form went back in the mail shortly after it arrived.
[i] Bombastard, noun, a syncretic compound word; joining bombast (high-sounding language with little meaning, used to impress people) and the French word, tard, adj., meaning later or latest, ergo. the latest of persons misusing their position to speak nonsense that is meant to impress
[ii] Letter to Author from Jim DeMint, The Heritage Foundation, December 2016
We have all been asked that question in some form or another… On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate…? In 1978, I received my first collegiate ring. With a stone of deep blue, it was crested on its center with the scales of justice, reflective of my degree in criminal justice. The scale of justice is held high in the one hand of Lady Justice, who is blindfolded and carrying a sword in her other hand. Blind to preference, to position, status, race or creed, wealth or poverty; she remains in our history as a noble representative of what our system of justice should be. I know many noble minded persons who have dedicated their lives to being certain that the scales of justice are, in fact, balanced before the weight of true and tested evidence can be brought before determiners of guilt or innocence. Her original name in the Latin is Justitia, the Roman goddess of justice and she is often accompanied by Prudentia the goddess whose name is contracted from providentia the ability to see the future as a sage might discern how best to proceed. Representing the ideal of governing and disciplining oneself by reason, Prudentia’s accoutrements of a mirror and a snake allude to careful reflection and caution in moving forward. The Greek’s, whose gods and goddesses aligned with most of the Roman’s, called Prudentiaϕρονησιϛ (https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/tag/prudence-latin-prudentia) which is now usually translated as practical wisdom or rational choice. Together the pair would call for a careful weighing of all evidence upon the merits of each, alone and then choosing the best course for discipline.
What brought me to consider Lady Justice was a set of the scales of justice which I own. I was looking over a few items that adorn the library area of my study when it caught my eye. There sits, front and center the scales of justice and above it is the American and Christian flags, two symbols of my heritage, my faith, and my loyalty. Immediately to the left of the American flag is a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Immediately to the right of the Christian flag is a Bible from my father, which was given to him by a military chaplain, as he was recovering from wounds received when his ship was sunk off the coast of Normandy, June 6, 1944. Also there, among a few of the memories of my police and military service, stand three American Eagles from a larger set. These three are titled, “Courage Honor Sacrifice”, “Never Surrender” and “Never Forget”. The trio set the tone for what this small display means to me.
Among the books visible in the photograph are ones from the Ohio Retired Police Chiefs’ Association, a book from my time at the FBI National Academy and a book from my basic training days with the United States Air Force. More than my article or the information about me inside these books, each reminds me of people that reflect the titles carried by the three eagle sculptures.
Two retired chiefs, one who was gone before the Ohio Retired Police Chiefs Association was born and another who has been the heartbeat of the organization and the motivation behind many of my writings on honor within our ranks. They represent well Courage, Honor, Sacrifice. One was Chief George Ziga of the Alliance, Ohio Police Department and the other Chief Marion Taylor of the North Olmsted, Ohio Police Department. Near death, Chief Ziga admonished me, a young chief then, to stay true to my God, my values, my family and my profession. Anyone who ever knew Chief Ziga would tell you he represented the model for each of those objectives. Knowing Chief Taylor, his professionalism is informed by his Christian faith.
From the NA came a man, an FBI Special Agent, that I got to know while he was an instructor at Quantico. Now, a plaque and an annual service award commemorate his service which ended while on special assignment in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war in the mid-1990’s; less than ten years since I first met Livio A. Beccaccio. He is the epitome of Never Surrender. The award named for him is inscribed as follows: “The Livio A. Beccaccio Award is a living memorial presented to a FBI National Academy Associate member who has demonstrated exemplary character through an act of heroism, outstanding community service, innovation in law enforcement, or leadership reflective of that by which FBI Special Agent Livio A. Beccaccio lived.”
Finally, from my days at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, at the tail-end of the Vietnam War, a SSgt who took on a rag-tag flight of trainees, who had been to hell and back with our first TI who suffered severely with PTSD in the days of Vietnam when such a diagnosis was unknown. He was likely tagged as ‘shell shocked sergeant’ who probably never received any help. Our second TI, SSgt Gillam was a man of character and morals who knew his own true north. He took us from not knowing which end of the rifle the bullets exited to men prepared to move on in training and ready to head into harm’s way, if so ordered. He had seen and understood the cost of Vietnam and he stands strong as a model airman to never forget our POWs & MIAs, all our veterans, but particularly those from Vietnam; nor would SSgt. Gillam ever expect us to forget 9-11. Four men who represent the strength of the U.S.A.’s justice.
The bedrock of our criminal justice system, here in America, rests upon the scales of Lady Justice. Our honor is passed as a torch from those chiefs who took their oath with their hand upon the Bible and their hearts indwelt by the God of that Bible. Our freedom comes from the sacrifices like Livio Beccaccio, thousands of other fallen officers and even more men and women who don the shield every day and stand that thin blue line. Our heritage is passed to our next generations when we remember those who fought valiantly on foreign shores and here at home to keep the flag of America flying high.
Just as the banner of red and white stripes and shining white stars on a field of blue continue to fly and represent the most blessed nation on the face of the Earth, so too must our faith in the One Lord God who made us One in Him, compel us to live by faith and not by sight. We will always know times of trouble in our land and often they come from our own actions or our failure to act. But we, as citizens of America and saints of the Kingdom of God can know that Christ has already won the final victory. He calls us to remain faithful to our calling and to take up our cross and follow Him!
I know that there isn’t some fantasy goddess who holds the scales of justice in her hands. God’s Word informs me that it is Christ who brings justice. Isaiah prophesied and Matthew recorded Jesus quoting the prophet, ““Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:18 NKJV) Speaking of the role of police officers, Jesus also said, “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4 NKJV)
It should be no wonder to us that, as I thought about those items on my shelf, those men came to mind in such a context. Each one of them were men of faith. They lived out remarkable witnesses because of that faith. Not one would claim any greatness on his own and certainly none would lay any claim to being anything apart from what they are within the Lord.
Law enforcement today is much maligned by the liberal media. Christians are too. Both are in good company since Christ, Himself, was counted among the criminals, scoffed at, beaten and abused. In America, the system may not be perfect, still though, the admonition of John Adams, a founding father and president concerning our legal system is upheld. “Better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted.” The scales of justice balance out pretty well. Compared to other places I have seen firsthand, I’m proud to live and have served in America’s criminal justice system where restoration is possible for those who choose wisely. Likewise, for those who choose unwisely, there are consequences. On a scale of 1 to 10… I’ll score a ten that I’d rather be tried for something I’ve been alleged to do here in the United States than anywhere else in the world. I praise God that my life and my family are under the protection of American police officers and I thank Him daily for every single one of them and pray for their safety.
Sometime back I began a post that I titled, ‘Unpinned’. It was a reference to those of us who have retired from law enforcement. I realized this evening that I never finished that post. Allow me to begin again. Here are the first lines from the long ago post that never posted…
I have been connected, as most of you that have been following my writing for any period of time know, for several decades with law enforcement. It has been very difficult to ever see myself as ever truly separated from it. I have written, in times past, under the blog title of “Unpinned” which carried the picture of a badge with the pin open. My argument is that for those of us who are retired, the badge may be unpinned but it is never gone. You hear, at times, that there is no such thing as an ex-Marine and I think, for those who truly bleed blue as a life-long law enforcement officer, it is as true. That can have positive and negative consequences and it remains always for those who have such a dedication to their given profession, (many of us would use the term calling), to keep in a healthy balance family life and the job.
Even as I write this, my son is on patrol on midnight shift for the department from which I retired as Chief. I see, in him and in the comradery he has with the other cops (as well as some of the frustrations that come) quite a bit of myself so many years ago. However, he is going into the crucible of public police work in a much different era than I. When I began, America was just post-Vietnam. I was one of the last to enter the military during the time designated, the Vietnam Era. There was plenty of social unrest; but, it was mostly name calling and rock throwing. Today, it is assassinations from snipers at multiple locations without mercy.
Most of the retired – unpinned – cops I know still carry their credentials and with thanks to the H.W. Bush Administration, their firearms under the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. We maintain our regular qualification at the same standards of officers working the streets. The retirees I know would stop to help an officer in trouble without a second thought for their own safety. Some might say that such retirees are not just unpinned, they’re unhinged! That may be more true than we want to admit! The inexplicable bond that comes from such a shared experience of law enforcement cannot be severed by time, age or distance. Many retirees may have angst toward the system which they left; but, never would they permit a brother officer to stand alone if they were in any way capable of standing with them… and when I use the term brother that is neutral to sex and determined only by the blue blood that courses through the veins.
This is a time when such a brotherhood must band together. At the same time, it must not erect a fortress wall against every citizen because there are armies of citizens who support that for which cops stand and are prepared to link arm-in-arm with them to keep the thin blue line resilient and strong. In my upcoming book, I use the term stretching the thin blue line for the way in which supportive citizens and the blue officers can stand as a force against evil and defy those who would seek to terrorize our homes.
Our local church now has a hired off-duty law enforcement officer at each service. Men of the church have dedicated themselves to meet with whichever officer happens to have the duty and before the day begins to pray with him. They pray for his safety, for the church, for his family and the community. Not once has the offer to pray been declined; but, every time it has been appreciated.
A local Christian university has just begun a four-year degree program in criminal justice. There is no better time for men and women studying to enter law enforcement or to improve their knowledge while in the career to receive such training from a faith-based, biblical standpoint. If you have never questioned and studied why you believe what you believe, you will believe anything. A bumper sticker bit of wisdom says that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! An unexamined faith will never grow and the days in which police officers are now doing battle with the forces of evil requires a vibrant and burgeoning faith. Such a faith does not recoil for political correctness and as the Apostle Paul admonished, it does not grow weary in doing good.
If ever there was a time of vibrant opportunity for seasoned and retired law enforcement officers, who are men and women of faith, to take a hand in helping to nurture and challenge these current officers, it is now. America needs law enforcement officers who understand their work to be more than a calling. It is a ministry, God-given and God-blessed. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV) Law enforcement officers walk every day and night along the thin line that touches evil on every point yet also touches goodness at corresponding points. To live within such a tension requires a strong faith in something. Most, who do know have a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, would struggle to define what it is that founds their faith except that they know there is something greater than themselves which is holding that line taut. It is little wonder, though, that when Jesus met a Gentile man of whom He declared had greater faith than any of the nation of Israel, that man was a 1st Century Roman police officer, a Centurion. (Matthew 8:10) Today is a day when America needs New Centurions of Faith. Thankfully, there are multitudes of them on the streets this very night holding strong in the battle against evil. If you have not prayed for them lately, please pray for them now. If you have not spoken to one lately and told them you support them, commit to doing so today and, if you have never asked a police officer if you can pray for him or her, I challenge you to do so. You will be overwhelmed by the response you receive.
On the back of my motorcycle helmet is a shield with a blue line through a field of black. It says, ‘to some this is just a thin blue line… to others it is a family crest.’ I may be unpinned. My family may even tell you that I’m unhinged. One thing I’m certain of and that is my Christ is who saw me through my career, even when I did not acknowledge Him and He stands ready to carry the next generation of cops to the end of their tours of duty, in whatever way that may come. I would ask every retired cop, who has faith in Christ, to join me in a strong commitment to do whatever it takes to uphold these new centurions in prayer each and every day.