Showing posts with label Cops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cops. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The shots heard round the United States

I awoke this morning to the news that Louisiana Representative Steven Scalise had been shot, along with two officers from his United States Capitol Police security detail and two other persons, while attending practice for an upcoming Congressional charity baseball game. 

I would like to say that I am shocked, but I am not. In fact, I am honestly surprised that it has taken as long as it has to happen. I actually broached on this topic in my first book: Perfect Pawn.

While the shooter is ultimately responsible for his actions this morning, I lay the blame directly at the feet of both the politicians and media for creating the environment that led up to this attack.  An examination of the shooter’s social media account highlights all of the inflammatory talking points which most of us have become immune to. I say most because obviously some folks, like the shooter, take the hyperbole to heart and it is exactly why I say that the politicians and media both bear complicity in this heinous act. To be fair, I draw no distinction along either party line or news outlet, as this has been building for decades.

Maybe I take these issues more seriously than most because I spent five years doing dignitary protection in New York City.  I worked closely with members of the Secret Service, State Department DSS and the aforementioned Capitol Police dealing with potential threats to protectees. You learn early on in that business that it doesn’t take much to push some folks over the line. Many times it is a personalized affront; where they feel that the subject of their hatred has wronged them in some way. However, the alarming trend that I am seeing now is that people are being told, by both the media and politicians, that they have been wronged.

We have always been a politically divided country. In fact, I previously wrote about this topic regarding the problem with political parties and one excerpt in this post was written five years ago, almost to the day. It explains how they are dividing us for their gain.

While it is true that there has always been politically motivated incivility in this country, the direction we have been heading, over the last two decades, has sadly been all too clear for some of us. The vilification, and outright demonization, of individuals, for political gain or ratings, has created the world we live in today. What is changing is the level of inflammatory rhetoric that is being used.

Over the past few months we have seen some folks in the entertainment world blasting the President. Mock assassinations, beheadings, as well as a host of verbal tirades that are meant solely to dehumanize him. Because once you have dehumanized a person you can do anything you want to him with impunity. If you need a case study in this type of behavior look no further than Nazi Germany and their treatment of the Jews.

Now, I will be the first one to say that no politician should be protected from the people’s disagreement. We have a right to air our opposition to anything we might disagree with. I am a gun owner and fully support the 2nd Amendment. I also served in law enforcement for over two decades so I do have a significant understanding about crime and safety in America. But I also understand that, while there are around 55 million gun owners in America, there are around 325 million people in the United States and many of them do not. What is within our control is how we discuss the issue. If you simply choose to yell at me with nothing more than regurgitated talking points in all likelihood I will just walk away. That doesn’t mean you have won anything, it just means that I value my time and breath.

Spend longer than five minutes on any social media platform or the comment section of any online news organization and you will see just how ‘uncivil’ we have become to one another: Libtard, Teabagger, Left-Wing Loon, Right-Wing Nut Job, and these are the nice things, most is simply unfit to print.  What is truly sad to me is that we simply cannot have a difference of opinion. Once someone says they don’t believe in something they are immediately labeled and castigated.

So what is the purpose of all this vitriol? Well, at the end of the day it basically comes down to two things: Power & Paychecks.

The media sows the seed of discontent because it drives ratings. They want viewers or readers and you attract them with bold rhetoric or headlines. It doesn’t have to be true, or even address the real issues; it just has to be salacious. Ratings and readerships equal bigger paychecks for those involved. Politicians want power, so they appeal to their base. They vilify the other side as being hardliners, when they are in the minority, so that you will re-elect them. If you re-elect enough of them they get the power, but they still vilify the other side as being obstructionists. They count on you being too confused to see that each is only one side of the same political coin. Why? Because they really don’t have the desire to fix anything nor to address the real problems we are facing.

As I sit here writing this I wonder to myself if this is even worth it? Will anyone stop and actually listen?

The problem is that no one really wants to think they have been duped. We want to think we are smarter than that, but we are like the parents who refuse to believe that their child was really at fault for something, even when the cops bring them home. We make excuses for the bad behavior as we seek to blame someone else like the teachers, cops or the amorphous system, whatever that might be. Because God forbid we should admit that a) we didn’t raise them right or b) that they truly are personally responsible for their bad behavior.

So should we be surprised when the media and politicians wring their hands and feign shock when something like this happens. Neither group will take responsibility, even though they have been fanning these flames for some time now. No, now the blame game begins and first up is: Guns!!

Almost immediately the anti-gun folks, like Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, seized the moment and began re-directing the narrative by attacking guns. As if the gun, and not the shooter, was responsible.

Never one to lose a political opportunity, McAuliffe twice said "we lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence." Not exactly sure where he resides, but the United States would be devoid of life within a business week with those numbers.  I think the number is actually 93, but even that is political math. If you're interested, read this post on Stat's & Gun Control.

McAuliffe then went on to say "there are too many guns on the street," but then added that the issue shouldn't be raised today, after he himself had raised the issue today.

Hypocrisy…………Shocking, I know.

Now my news feed is filled with politicians saying: ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us’ and ‘I pray we can resolve our differences’……. That’s so refreshing and wholly disingenuous. What’s spurring on this sentiment is that it hit too close to home and they realize that if someone on the left target someone on the right that those roles could easily be reversed next time and that is downright terrifying to them. Prior to today it was all rhetoric, today it is reality. Welcome to the world you have created.

My fear is that we have crossed a line that we cannot undo. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box and then lamenting how we should have left it closed. Too late.

The first shot in anger is always the toughest, the second and third become much easier. I pray that won’t happen, but the odds are not good. What needs to be done is for the folks to step back and apologize for the daily doses of enmity that they have been dishing out. They need to apologize to the American people that they have been fanning the flames for their own gain, not for the people, but that would take personal responsibility and I don’t think they are mature enough for that.

I pray that this was a one-time event, but in my heart I truly believe this was just the opening salvo.

Kudo's to the men and women of law enforcement who prevented this from being a massacre, by doing what they do everyday: putting themselves in harm's way and protecting the innocent. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cop Authors – Why should you read them?

First, I have to admit that I am somewhat biased, being both a retired NYPD sergeant as well as an author.  That being said, I think there is a very good reason why you should take a look at authors who have worn the badge.

Not to take anything away from folks like James Patterson, J.A.Konrath and Robert Parker, but one of the issues I have is that they only tell a tale that they have learned.  Prior to their success as authors, none had any actual experience in the genres they successful wrote.  Patterson was an advertising executive, Konrath is a college teacher and Parker was a professor.  

Granted, the tale is the important part and each of these three men do an outstanding job, but for me, and I am sure a lot of other cops, the details are the one thing that cannot be learned.  No, a detective is not going to tell a sergeant or lieutenant what to do, no matter how wildly popular your protagonist is. There is a thing called rank and, to reference the old acronym RHIP, it does have its privilege.  I know that because I had the honor of being both a detective and a sergeant during my career.

Cops experience things in a much different way than the rest of the world and as a result it affects the way they write. Someone who has never done that type of work is going to have a much more difficult time of painting that mental image for you as opposed to someone who has dealt with it a number of times. Cops talk a certain way, have certain mannerisms, and these are the things that separate the layman from the professional.

Now, there is certainly a strong argument that can be made that, while not every author could be a cop, not every cop should be an author. Just because you have a story to tell, doesn’t mean that you have the ability to tell it, but that can be said about a lot of authors. For every Joe Wambaugh (LAPD), Dan Mahoney (NYPD) or Bill Cauntiz (NYPD) there are a lot more who should have stuck to policing.  That being said, readers who enjoy getting an inside look into the ‘real’ world of policing are doing themselves a disservice by only reading books by establishment authors.

I encourage you to widen your horizons and take a closer look at some other police writers, such as my fellow indie authors: Wayne Zurl (Suffolk County, N.Y. PD), George P. Norris (NYPD), Kimberly McGath (Florida LEO).

Just leave a little room at the literary table for yours truly

If you’d like to stay up to date on the newest releases, then please like my Facebook page and feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cover Reveal - Little Boy Lost (An Alex Taylor Novel)

I know that a lot of you have been asking when my next book would be coming out and I am happy to announce that your wait is nearly over.

This is the sequel to Small Town Secrets, which was the first book in the Alex Taylor series. If you are going chronologically, it is book number five in the overall series.

As most of you already know, while the story-line is a stand-alone, characters and events will cross over into the James Maguire series as well.

This novel, which takes place after the events in Bishop's Gate, involve Alex's investigation into the disappearance of a young boy during the Penobscot Founder's Day celebration.

We just finished the final editing on the book and it will be released on November 25th, just in time for Thanksgiving. There will be a pre-order available for this book, which should be in place sometime tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Author Interview at Awesome Gang

I had a wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by the nice folks over at Awesome Gang, where readers meet awesome writers. 

It's a fantastic site, where readers can get some insight into new books and the authors behind them. 

If you have a moment, please check it out at:

Remember to follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_G_Nelson

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

San Francisco County Sheriff Defends Release of Illegal Immigrant

San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi defended his department’s release of the suspect in the shooting death of Katie Steinle. The suspect, Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant with an extensive criminal history, and who had already been deported five times, was released, from the San Francisco County jail, after local authorities there declined to prosecute on a drug related charge.
Sheriff Mirkarimi contends that if the feds wanted San Francisco to ‘hold’ Sanchez, then they should have issued a warrant or a court order. Since SanFrancisco is a Sanctuary City, they simply opened the door and let Sanchez walk away.

Pardon me if I take exception to Sheriff Mirkarimi’s statement. During the course of my twenty-two year law enforcement career I ran a county jail. We routinely housed federal inmates, including those that were released to us for the purpose of dealing with local charges. This is exactly the situation that existed in San Francisco.

Sanchez was picked up by federal authorities after he had completed a prison sentence. Since he had an outstanding charge in San Francisco, that charge needed to be addressed before they could process Sanchez for deportation on the federal immigration charge.

Federal inmates, which Sanchez was, are remanded to local authorities with what is called a detainer. Basically it directs the local agency to notify the feds when the local charges have been addressed, either by release or incarceration. In the case of release, the feds come and pick-up the prisoner. In the case of incarceration, they update their records and notify the correctional facility, where the prisoner is remanded to, that they have a federal hold in place and issue another detainer to the facility.

For Sheriff Mirkarimi to say that federal authorities should somehow have done more, belies the simple fact that he did nothing. The optics on this are horrible and he knows it. He is trying to deflect the blame instead of recognizing that San Francisco’s failed sanctuary city policies cost the life of another innocent young person.

Most career law enforcement officers will tell you that they often feel constrained by the politics that seems to pervade local law enforcement policies, but Mirkarimi is not a career law enforcement officer. He is an elected official whose law enforcement career didn’t begin until 2011, when he was elected as sheriff. Prior to that, he was a member of the San Francisco County Board, the same folks who are responsible for the whole Sanctuary City debacle. A policy he vigorously defends, despite being at odds with the members of his own department.

He is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, just after his election, he was suspended from office after being charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, in connection with an altercation with his wife. He pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment and was sentenced to three years of probation and had to stay away from his wife for seven months. He was reinstated seven months later, after the Board of Supervisors failed to get enough votes to remove him from office.

He has also had to deal with internal issues as well. In March, Mirkarimi issued a directive stating that only he could turn them over to ICE. This was brought about because his deputies, who opposed the policy, were reportedly secretly helping federal authorities get illegal immigrants off the streets.

Under the circumstances, I can understand why he would want to pawn off the blame to someone else.

This is another example of what happens when the rule of law becomes subverted; abused and twisted to comply with the rule of man, or, as it is in this case, the Board of Supervisors.

Mirkarimi, as well as the Board of Supervisors, is trying to push the blame for the tragic death of Katie Steinle to the feds, but it is a responsibility that lies squarely on their doorstep. It was their policy that allowed this to happen and they need to be held responsible.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Uncommon Valor – Insignia of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit

As you know, since retiring from the NYPD I have written four mystery / suspense books and a fifth one currently in the editing process. What you might not know is that, since 1985, I have also been an avid collector of NYPD items. In addition to actively collecting, I also enjoy the history of the Department, especially as it pertains to the cloth insignia.
In 2011, I was provided with a photograph that showed the nine original applicants for the NYPD’s Aviation Bureau. As I examined the photograph I was astounded at what I saw. In that black and white photo, appeared to be the hood cowling from an ESU truck, nearly a year before the Emergency Service Division was created. What ensued was an exhaustive research project that would cover the entire spectrum of the insignia of ESU, including the pre-merger NYC Housing and Transit Emergency Units.

This 147 page book provides well over two hundred color photos that chronicle a behind the scenes look at not only the history, but the patches worn by this elite unit. It is a must have for any insignia collector or anyone just interested in the NYPD or ESU.

I spent years uncovering the stories behind the patches. From the very first patch, depicted in that original Aviation photo, to the most current issued one. In many instances I had the privilege of speaking to the officers and original graphic designers about their work. I even obtained some first run artwork, to show the progression from graphic proof, to finished product. It was a process filled with both frustration and exhilaration, often at the same time, as each new discovery unearthed even more questions.

When the decision finally came to publish this book, I was faced with a difficult dilemma. I could choose to go the route of most other research books, producing it in black and white or go for full color. After toying with the concept, and doing several pages in black and white, the choice was clear. After all the hard work that went into creating it, it needed to be done in color. This has affected the cost, but I truly believe that, in the end, it was the only way to do justice to this important subject. It is the book that I would want for my collection and I hope that you will agree.

While the E-Book is currently available through Kindle, the print version should be released within the next few weeks.

After all this time, I am proud to present to you the culmination of my work: Uncommon Valor – Insignia of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bishop's Gate - Now Available

I am pleased to announce that the 3rd installment in the James Maguire series, Bishop's Gate, is now available on the Kindle e-Book platform.

As you read this book I would like to remind you that the draft of this book was written a year ago. So as you consider the timeliness of the topics discussed, remember that many of these subjects had yet to happen.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who is James Maguire ?

"Who is James Maguire?"

It is a question that I get asked on a fairly regular basis by readers of my books. Sometimes I answer with a wink and a nod, just to keep some semblance of the mystery alive. The truth is, Maguire is much more complex. He is one of those composite characters, drawn from a  multitude of  different people.

When my wife first challenged me to write the story, creating the character was quite easy. I just had to do some simple descriptive work. When the challenge went from 'short story' to an actual novel, that's when the reality hit and the hard work began.

It was Mark Twain who famously said: "Write what you know."

So I took that advice and first began to craft the character based on what I knew. If you think about it, it makes sense. I like a wide variety of fiction authors, but some are just that, authors. They bring no real world experiences to their books, just what they have been told or researched.

You can kill a great story, just by using the wrong terminology. However, you can create an even better story by immersing your reader inside a world that they will never experience, by having them live it through your eyes. Spending twenty years with the NYPD afforded me the opportunity to share with my readers some of what I lived through.

So I first structured the character based on myself and my career, and, once I had that foundation, then I started to add characteristics of people I knew or had worked with. I'd been very fortunate to have had the pleasure of knowing an extremely eclectic group of people during the course of my law enforcement career, from highly decorated military veterans to tough as nails cops.  I drew on some of their tales to craft certain aspects of the character. Even some of the verbal exchanges between Maguire and some of the secondary characters are based directly on my relationship with others. It's a comedic, sometimes dark, gallows humor, type of conversation that you find between people who have shared similar experiences.

I tried to make James Maguire someone who I felt most readers would be drawn to. He is a combination of hero and every-day man. Someone who has spent time in the valley's of life, as well as the mountain tops.

So who is James Maguire ? He's the kid from rural, upstate New York who wanted to excel in the arts and become a professional photographer. Then, in a cruel twist, his life was irrevocably changed in a moment. A romantic dreamer who saw one life crushed and another began. A young man who ended up at a fork in life's road, and who traded in the love of art for the art of war. A decorated military veteran who transitions from one uniform for another, becoming a member of the NYPD.

Perfect Pawn is a 'phoenix rising from the ashes' story, where love and redemption are found, in one of those curve-ball moments that life seems to throw at us, when we least expect it.