A retired coworker passed away this week. We found out yesterday. She gave 52 years of her life to public service. You read that right, 52 years!

She was an icon of sorts. You either liked her or hated her.There was usually no in between. I sill can’t get over how long she worked. Fifty two years! I’m just in awe of that. She started 5 years before I was born. I can barely imagine working the 30 I need to retire at full benfit.

She could be a pain in the ass a times as she was a bit of a micro-manager. That said, she was also a kind caring person. She would give you the shirt of her back if she thought you needed it. So while she would drive many of us nuts at times, we still liked her. I adored her. And while I would join in at times poking fun at her, I did so in the spirit of affection. Honestly, after 52 years of service she could do whatever the hell she wanted IMO. lol

I never told many people this but she gave me the down payment for my first motorcycle. I’d been with the dept barely two years at the time. She had overheard me talking to a classmate that I was struggling to come up with the money needed.1 I discovered a check tucked into my laptop bag later that night with a note telling me not to rush to pay her back. I had already bought the bike but had stretched myself beyond the breaking point. The purchase was an impulse buy. And while I didn’t regret it, her offer saved me from a very unpleasant conversation with my landlord at the time. I busted my hump working overtime to make sure I paid her back in just a few months. I never forgot her generousity.

We didn’t always get along so well. But we always seemed to get passed any hard feelings. Knowing her the way I did, I just couldn’t bring myself to hate her when she drove me crazy at work. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise I took her death a little hard. I was a bit surprised at how upset I got. She had not been in the best health lately so we all sort of knew it was on the horizon eventually. I guess when you think of someone as an institution unto themselves it is easy to over look their mortality.

Judy, you will not be forgotten. You made your mark on us and it won’t soon fade.

  1. My credit wasn’t the greatest back then and we made a lot less in salary. []


​I’ve gotten more than a few inquiries on my thoughts regarding the Missouri incident.  In a word, it’s a mess. You have a citizenry that is under-educated and have all but abandoned their civic duties. Granted, they can’t be blamed so much for that but looting your own community demonstrates a level of ignorance that is becoming more and mor prevelant in this country.

I come from very poor means. It is hard to care about community involvement when your sole existence is about survival. But, if we hope to stop problems like this we have to encourage said communities to be and do better. We need to shift our priorities away from the accumulation of wealth and to the betterment of people. Education is a huge component. An educated community is often more involved. Of course, the powers that be want you to be dumb because you are easier to control.

Then you have a police force in a small town that has all the authority and very little oversight. This is not unusual per se. Visit any small rural area and you’ll see similar stories. Does that mean all rural depts are bad? No, of course not. But as the facts unfold, it is glaringly obvious the agency is lacking in any sort of oversight or accountability from its citizens. The abundance of hard-core military grade gadgets is simply crazy.

At the end of the day a young man lost his life. His implied guilt or innocence is not a valid reason on its own for his death. And as the facts are told and clarified, there is a larger cloud over the agency vs the officer involved. The often inflammatory (and even sometimes inaccurate) reporting from many media outlets hasn’t helped the situation. And of course, the emergent mob-mentality of our social media commentary is just icing on the cake. If social media is your only source of news, you are part of the problem. If you don’t know the details of a story or incident, keep your mouth shut until you do. Don’t share links you haven’t read because of a link-baiting headline. And you f**kers who share every story with the idea “it can’t hurt“, need a serious ass-whooping. /rant

Are there bad officers? Of course there are. But for every bad cop, there are easily 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because cops doing their duty don’t generate sensational headlines or ad-clicks.1  A few bad cops do not make them all bad and isolated stories of abuse do not paint an accurate picture.  Yes, our law-enforcement should be held to a higher standard, but humans are fallible no matter their position in life. To avoid the corruption we as the citizenry must be involved.

And speaking of, our citizenry is becoming ill-educated every day it seems. Subjective validation is often more important than facts or reason. Religious fanatacism and personal greed have trumped our morals. We’ve gone from ‘what can I do for my society‘ to ‘what can society do for me?‘ The idea of civic duty or responsibility is a foreign idea to most folks these days. A citizenry that abandons it’s overseers is quickly overrun by their own indifference. Absolute power corrupts absolute as the old adage goes. You cannot give away your power thru inaction and then wonder why the abuses keep happening. Proclaming your outrage on social media and demanding change does nothing to help and only serves to feed the problem.

Perform your civic duties. Vote, serve on jury duty and most of all, be involved in your community. Go to community meetings. Know your local policy makers and pay attention to their actions. Only then will your actions carry weight and effect change. Otherwise, you end up just being another sheep being guided by those in power, often to your detriment.

  1. Poor comparison but I see the same mis-characterization in my volunteer work with animals regarding pitbulls. []


Eight Oh One‘ is our local PD code for suicide. Today is the unfortunate anniversary of a coworker/friend’s death by suicide 9 years ago. She shot herself in a moment of sadness and her light was forever extinquished. Her death was especially painful for me. We weren’t besties but we were friends and I always considered her a kindred spirit. And in moments alone, she would often open up a little more to me and share in that connection. Our connection stemmed in part due to similar struggles in life. We both experienced a harsh and abusive childhood because we had the audacity to be born gay. Having already survived my own brush with suicide, it was a big blow to hear of her death. I knew what she must have been going thru internally and lamented that she didn’t reach out to me. Of course, no one knew how bad she felt. She was very stoic and kept it all hidden.

People often think of suicides as cowardly or selfish. That is simply not true. That is just a projection of our own pain over the loss. When you reach that awful stage there is no thought of self.1  There is no reason. There is no right or wrong. There is no thought of those who will miss you after you are gone. All of it is stripped away, layer by layer, until nothing is left but an all-encompassing blinding pain. A singular thought remains….escape!  Sadly, suicide is often the only mechanism that seems to offer a solution at that moment. But, I am here to tell you you can escape it without resorting to death. I am living proof.

Anyway, I decided to take her badge to work and remind everyone of her anniversary. On a side note, LGBT folks are 4-6 times more likely to commit suicide before the age of 25.2  In my line of work, suicides are also higher due to the stress and constant raw emotions that we process day after day. After decades of exposure, it can really wear you down. So, I wanted to reach out to my coworkers in the hopes that if they should ever be in such a dark place, they should also feel comfortable reaching out to me or anyone in their life for help. We all talked about fond memories of her and how she impacted us.

As for my coworker, where ever you are my dear, I hope you are in a better place. I hope you escaped the misery and pain. I hope that those around you can experience your light and love and be better for it.

  1. And I hope you haven’t and/or never do []
  2. The statistics vary from org to org but this is the rough average. []

Bad News

I had a rather optimistic post written but after the news I deleted it. If you haven’t been following me on Google+ Plus,1 you know Spike’s been sick lately. I dropped him off at the vet today and the news turned out to be very bad.

His hacking cough turned out to be much worse than we thought. What we thought was an infection turned out to be a mass large enough its already compromised 2/3’s of one lung and part of the other. Basically, he has cancer. The vet seemed a little surprised he was doing as well as he was. The irony is I was afraid he did. I don’t know why I thought that, I just did. Even worse, due to his age and the severity of the mass, there is very little to be done. We could pursue very aggressive treatment but even if they did get all the cancerous tissue, he’d end up w/very little lung left. So in a nutshell, he has weeks maybe months left to live. Our focus now is to just keep him as comfortable as possible. The vet gave us some pain meds for him which should also help suppress the hacking.

I’d like to thank everyone who texted, emailed, tweeted, posted, etc with well-wishes. He is home and resting at the moment. He is still very groggy from the sedation at the moment and keep wobbling around. It would be comical if I wasn’t so upset.

When I dropped him off earlier, he knew something was up. He was so well-behaved but he had such a pining look on his face. When I picked up, I was already fighting back tears. Coming into the treatment area, I saw him before he saw me. He was so distressed and anxious. The moment he saw me, even as doped up as he was, he tried to come to me. He was so sedated he only managed to flop over a couple times and roll out of his cage. God love’em. Even in his haze, he knew me and wanted to get to me. This of course only made me cry more.

We took him to the SPCA veterinary clinic and the did a good job. The doc was so sweet and treated him well. She obviously liked her job. Most of the staff were pretty involved as well. There was one douche who didn’t really seem to care…well until I snapped at him for being nonchalant about me going back to see Spike. I would have grabbed him by “his” scruff and given him a good shake. He got the hint and got the hell out of my way.

I’m trying to keep it together. I still have time w/my Spika-doo for a while longer yet and I’m trying to be content with that. Continue to keep him in your thoughts and send him good energies.

  1. and you should because I’m eventually ditching Facebook and maybe event twitter []


In case you haven’t heard, 3 police officers were shot/killed today in Oakland.  One other officer is in very grave condition.  I can’t express the shame, sadness, and anger rolling through at the moment.  The suspect was also shot and killed. 

I need to stop now before I say things I will regret.

In Need

One of my regular reader’s, Rich, is going thru a bad patch right now dealing with a friend who is chronically ill from advanced AIDS.  Whether you read him or not, please take a moment to click over and wish him well. 

If anyone out there has never watched a loved one die from HIV, I envy you.  Most of us have seen it many times over.  The agony, despair, and utter helplessness can be overwhelming. 

There are times when we need to step outside our day-to-day bubble and reach out to someone in need.  This is one of those times. 

Bloody Christmas

(full story) A tiger escaped from the zoo today and attacked 3 people.  One person died, 2 others were injured.  I was on the channel when it happened and lord did the quiet evening take off.1

I can’t say much more out of confidentiality rules however, it is still unknown how the tigers got loose.  I feel sorry for the victims but also the poor animal.  The officers had to shoot one and kill it after it attacked another person.  It was probably scared and just reacting to its natural instincts.  Frak, they are predatory animals after all. 

I love zoos but it gives me pause to wonder if caging wild animals is such a good idea.  Most zoos tend to hold animals in tight quarters.  And while they do make a very good effort of maintaining animals physical and mental health, it is not the same as being loose in the wild.  Animals like tigers need room to range and exercise their skills.  In this latest caper, I’m sure it had more to do with the animal being scared and threatened than anything else.  I’m guessing of course.  I can’t shake the feeling that we hold some responsibility though.  We take these animals, who were never meant to be tamed, and introduce them to an environment of confinement and denial of their basic instincts.

It is worth mentioning this particular tiger was the very same tiger from last year this time that attacked a trainer.  Some would say maybe the animal deserved it.  I’m not so sure. 

  1. Actually, it was the only excitement in the day. []

Sad & Confused

Today’s post is a bit morbid.

I found out someone I know committed suicide this past week. While we weren’t overly close, I’m still a bit upset. He was a good person and very charismatic. He had the sort of personality that just draws people to him. We met back when I was still new to the city. After a brief fling, we became friends and I even had a hand in him meeting his lover. Life was going good for him, so I thought. I’ve heard that he was battling w/clinical depression which may have led to his death. I don’t know all the details but that is what I’ve discovered so far.

I’m conflicted on the act of suicide. Ultimately, I don’t think it is the answer. But, who am I to judge? I have not forgotten being at that very precipice 19 years ago myself. For me, it wasn’t clinical but a depression brought on by feeling utterly alone in the world. The one person who loved me unconditionally was taken from me in a horrible car accident. I watched him die. Unlike most pains of the soul, depression tends to not clear up w/thime. If anything, it gets worse. It eats away at you until that is all you see. It is then the idea of suicide becomes a very real means to escape.

I am thankful every day, I found the strength to keep on living. That moment not only changed my life, it has stayed w/me to this very day. I made a choice then as I do every day to keep on living. Sadly, not everyone does or can make the same choice. Depression and misery taint the very core of our being. It leaves a mark so profound I would argue it is impossible to ever truly get over.

So, do I judge my friend for taking his own life? No, I don’t. I can’t. I just hope he found release from the pain that tormented him in this life. Who knows, maybe he chose this life for that very reason. His success at the lessons chosen is not for me to decide. All I can do is remember the good in him and continue my resolve to survive my own shortcomings.

My friend, where ever you are right now, you are loved and most definitely NOT forgotten.

Sad Day2

One of my coworkers mysteriously died last night. She works graveyard and after she got home early this morning, she was supposed to wake up to take her grandkids somewhere and that is how they found her. It is unknown what happened yet however, I can think of plenty worse ways to go.

Work, to say the least, is very emotional today. She was very well liked and a long time employee at our call center. In our line of work, we often disconnect ourselves from emergencies as a form of self-defense. However, when it happens to you directly or those close to you, disconnecting is impossible.

TH we miss and love you. I hope that you find happiness in your release from here.