And, Tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  Election Day.  Tens of millions of votes will be cast by days end – most, by living, breathing American citizens – and those votes, along with a myriad vote-2016of votes already cast, will ultimately reveal the president-elect who will succeed Barack Obama and be sworn in as 45th President of the United States this January.  It is indeed a big day – election day – and, though it may seem every general election is deemed the most significant in our nation’s history, the choices we make in electing our duly sworn representatives are not to be taken lightly.

Regardless of whether or not we believe this election bears any more significance than the last, we vote.  We vote because we are able.  We vote because we feel it is our duty. We vote to exercise our right, to stand and be counted.  Knowing we have a stake in the future of this nation, we vote.  We vote for any number of reasons.  Today… we vote. Then we wait.

We wait with bated breath, perhaps wringing our hands, in great anticipation of the results.  Tantalized throughout the day by exit polling data, the analysis of experts, we wait.  For some, perhaps many, varying degrees of anxiety may set in.  This anxiety is a symptom of one’s perception or true understanding of that which is “at stake” in a given election.  Our very way of life may indeed hang in the balance.

For others, there is no anxiety.  In fact, they may believe the results of the election are of little consequence.  Some would argue it makes little to no difference who is president, nor which senator or state representative is elected.  They are all corrupt.  They all seek power and would sell their respective souls to retain it.

So, what about you?  Do you believe this is a particularly critical election?  Do you feel there is much at stake?  Do you feel you have voted for the man or woman who would lead this nation in the direction of your liking?  You know what I think?  I would submit to you this is the single most consequential election since that of 1860.  Now, you may be nodding in agreement or shrugging in amusement, but before you presume we are kindred spirits or nothing of the like, let me explain how I arrived at such a bold conclusion.

Though the final results of this election are not yet known, one thing is certain:  This has been an extraordinary election cycle, the likes of which I have never experienced.  Think about it.  While every election comes with its share of allegations, mudslinging, punditry, etc., all “accepted” by many as “just politics,” have we ever seen anything like this?  Ever? I honestly cannot think of a conversation I have had with anyone regarding this election cycle that didn’t leave us both shaking our heads, bewildered.  I, for one, am exhausted, embarrassed – heck – horrified by what I have seen an heard.

If we’re being honest, and in spite of what President Obama claims, we were a deeply divided people entering this election cycle.  Ask yourself.  Have things gotten better, or worse, since we started this process?  In my opinion, the wedge was driven deeper during the primaries, and it’s only gotten worse.  This has brought out the very worst in us.  I have had to bite my tongue time and time again.  It hasn’t been easy.  I don’t like having to apologize for my behavior, but I have had my weak moments, indeed.  My weakness stems from my inclination to be prideful, and when I have been attacked – even by people with whom I would otherwise agree on most issues – I have wanted to counter. Now, I have gotten much better – I pray daily for humility – but, admittedly, I’ve wanted to ring some people’s necks, figuratively speaking, of course.

Friends… This isn’t us.  This isn’t who we are.  This isn’t America.  If it is, why in the world would anyone want to live here?  We are not a nation of vile, foul-mouthed, bully-ish heathens, are we?  If we are, is that truly who we want to be?  Christians attacking Christians?  Conservatives attacking conservatives.  Democrats hating their Republican neighbor, and vice versa?  Are we to be a nation with no moral compass?  Are we to fear our fellow citizen?  Trust no one?  Are we now a nation of selfish, prideful, contemptible fools, hellbent on looking only after ourselves, forsaking all others?  And, I might ask, where do we get off asking God to bless America, when we thank Him for nothing, demand He answer our prayers as we see fit, and refuse to do His bidding?  (Food for thought.)

Okay, so we voted.  We voted, and we await the results.  But… What about tomorrow?  If your candidate loses, what then?  Will you be filled with rage, ready to march on D.C. or your state capital with torches and pitchforks?  Say your candidate wins.  Will you gloat and mock your “enemy” (aka your neighbor, relative, spouse?)  Will you shamelessly patronize the losers and “encourage” them to find common ground – that ground, higher ground, on which you stand?

Have we burned too many bridges, this time?  I fear we have.  I fear there may be no coming back from this.  And, if so, that is truly a shame.  Then again, we were perhaps never more divided than we were during the Civil War.  We came back from that.  America, the thought of America, the idea of America, the American Dream… all these are contingent on We, The People.  If America indeed falls, it is because we are a fallen people.

My friends, please join me in taking a long hard look in the mirror, doing some legitimate soul-searching, because no matter what happens today – tomorrow is coming.

To Trump, or Not…

324px-Thurgoodmarshall1967Do you recognize this man?  Yes?  No?  Give up?  For those of you who are stumped, that is Thurgood Marshall.  For those of you now asking, “Thur-what, who?” His Honor, Justice Marshall, was the 96th justice appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.  More notably, he was the first African-American, or black man, if you prefer, to hold said position.  He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in June 1967, and on August 30 of that year, he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.

So, I’m relatively certain many, if not most of you, are now muttering, “I thought I was going to be reading about presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.”  Trust me, I will afford Mr. Trump plenty of space in this post.  That said, this post really isn’t about Donald Trump, nor Justice Marshall for that matter.  This post is about me, Kevin B. Thiele – nobody special, not Hon. Thiele, not The Thiele… just plain ol’ Kevin… and a “monkey on my back” called principle.

My purpose here, in joining the debate on whether or not to cast a vote for Trump, is to state my personal position and the rationale behind it.  First, for those of you who don’t, you need to know a few things about me.

As soon as I reached the legal age to vote, I registered, and I registered Republican.  I did so because I was proud and grateful to live in a nation where I was free to do so.  I felt it was not only a duty and honor, but a tremendous responsibility.  I chose to register Republican because I more closely identified with the GOP platform.  That same year, I enlisted in The United States Marine Corps. [Semper-freakin’-Fi!  Ooh-Rah!  Corps to my core!  Like that last one?  I just made it up!]  I  must apologize for the intrusion by my “alter-ego.”  He gets a little wound up sometimes.  Shortly thereafter, at the age of 19, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior while attending a bible study in college.

You are probably starting to get the picture.  Yes, I am a Christ-following Constitutional Conservative who cries just about every time our National Anthem is played.  One of my proudest, most patriotic experiences was having an opportunity to present a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.  I recall being so moved and honored to be a part of that ceremony.  Thank Heaven I was able to maintain my bearing on that occasion.

I went on to serve 8 years in The Corps, was called to active duty in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and later served 13 years in law enforcement.  I served in both capacities with honor and distinction.  But, then again, according to Susan Rice, so did Bowe Bergdahl.

I say all that not to boast, but to illustrate just how much the “Patriotic American” I consider myself to be.  And I do so, not to insult anyone who is not “the way I am,” aka leans left, as somehow “Un-Patriot American,” but to squelch those of you on the right who may later attack me as liberal, leftist, ‘commie’, democrat, GOPe, progressive, or whatever other colorful label you might have in store.  No, I am about as far right of center as one can be – probably just a tad left of “loony.”

So, with that, let me tell you my position on Trump, and explain what Marshall has to do with this.  [Drum roll please…]

At present, I vehemently oppose a Trump presidency!  I currently identify in social media circles as #NeverTrump.  How many of you just flipped your lid?  Okay, if you will indulge me – and, many of you won’t – I will explain.

The man pictured above, Justice Marshall, was a man of principle.  And while he and I would likely have disagreed on virtually every matter of consequence, I have no doubt we could have had a civil, even cordial discussion, respectfully and attentively listened to one another’s arguments and, at the end of the day, shaken hands, exchanged pleasantries, and departed with our honor and principles intact.  While I would have been displeased with the positions he chose to take, I would have admired him and respected him greatly.

That, my friends, is who we used to be.  Who are we today, and what are we to become?

In all of this that has become a media-frenzied circus of an election process, I have sought even the remotest of silver linings.  I may have found one.  If nothing else, Trump’s run at the nomination has prompted many of us to do some serious soul searching.  I, for one, have not taken this lightly.  I have long dwelled upon the seemingly inevitable prospect of being left with little choice but to vote for one who is the antithesis of everything I seek in a leader.  I have asked myself, time and again, “Can I do that?”  Up till now, the answer has been, unequivocally, “No.”

So, if the answer is no, how then do I reconcile not voting for the presumptive republican nominee, when the other option – whomever the democrats nominate – will be no more principled and will push a party platform that turns my stomach like buttermilk?  Well even my alter ego didn’t have the answer for that.  So, I went to the Only One Who could help – I went to The Lord in prayer.  Not once.  Not twice.  Every single day.  I have talked to family members, friends, my pastor, and I have prayed incessantly.  The result?  I have arrived at the following – for now.

I cannot bring myself to support, nor cast a vote for Trump.  How many of you are now seething with anger, wanting to call me all the aforementioned “names” and many more we can’t print here?  I get it.  I really do.  And, honestly, I don’t begrudge any of you.  But my vote is mine.  How I vote, or do not, is between me and God.  I answer to Him, not you, not Trump, nor anyone else.  There is simply no way I can justify, in good moral conscience, voting for a man who has given no indication he is a principled Constitutional Conservative of sound moral character.  No, not even to block a Hillary Clinton presidency, as disastrous as that would inevitably be.  “But why!” you beseech me to make sense of this.  I am “wasting my vote,” or worse, “voting for Hillary by default.”  Nonsense.

Many of you who disagree with me on this, would agree with me, I believe, that God is ultimately in control.  Hence, Trump’s election does not hinge on my vote.  I know that God has allowed for men of poor or, at least, questionable character to rule, and that He has done so in order to carry out His plan.  That said, after thoughtful prayer, I, personally, do not believe God has ordained The Donald to be Leader of the Free World.  Rather, I believe we are at a tipping point in history, where a majority of citizens has turned its respective backs on God and placed their faith in man – a man, a ruler – rather than The One Who breathes life into us, sustains us, loves us, forgives us.

Earlier, I indicated I currently identify as #NeverTrump.  The truth is – and, no, I’m not hedging here – it would probably be more accurate to describe myself as #VeryHighlyUnlikelyEverTrump.  Reason being, it is a long way to November, and there is still time for Trump to “change my mind.”  That said, it may take nothing short of a miracle.

Consequently, and henceforth, I will stand to be counted among those, however few, who refused to compromise principles for the sake of winning.  I will stand for my Father, and all of His Goodness.  And I believe I will one day be able to look my grandchildren in the eyes and say I was on the right side of history – I was on God’s side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[This week’s Words of Wisdom and Quote of the Week are given in tribute to the third President of The United States, Thomas Jefferson, on his birthday (13 April 1743)]

“He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truth without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.” — Thomas Jefferson

 

Sir John Dalberg-Acton, aka Lord Acton, famously posited, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Moreover, he added, “Great men are almost always bad men.”  To be sure, Lord Acton’s claim is bearish, even to the pessimist.  In these remarks, the baron affords us very little hope – might we call it an “eye of the needle(s)” chance – of rising to power without forsaking our virtue.  Well, if he is right, the obvious question is:  Why?  Why is it so difficult for one to attain power without succumbing to – its power?

It’s a common theme, is it not?  We rise, and we fall.  Countless authors, artists, composers, filmmakers, etc., have captured the torment, isolation, and exile that hounds the mighty, the powerful, amidst their nosedive into the abyss.  Given the fact – can we call it that? – this is so common, why have we permitted history to repeat itself?  Why do we acquiesce?  Is power simply too powerful for man to bridle?  Is it the ‘bronc that won’t be broke’?  Or, is it, perhaps, that we haven’t taken the right approach?  What do we need to control, or check power?  I submit, wisdom.  But not just any wisdom.  Source matters.

I found an answer, where I often do:  my Bible.

Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  [James 3:13-18]

On With It, Then

path-in-woods-11284544214sV05At the advent of this blog, I asserted this was to be a “journey” of sorts – an opportunity to rediscover ourselves, and so forth.  Well, admittedly, I have been ducking this charge.  You see, rather than delving inside myself and following the path I set before us – somewhat presumptive, I suppose, that you will be joining me – I have been addressing (a.k.a. hiding behind) some of today’s issues.  Now, while I believe it is likely most reasonable people would excuse me, given how captivated the public and media are by the challenges we face here and abroad, it was never my intention to board the train steaming along the track that is a 24-hour news cycle.  Undoubtedly, were I a highly opinionated lad – I am – or, perhaps one who might be inclined to mount his high horse and pontificate debatable issues from time to time – I am – then I might occasionally weigh in on such matters.  But, that is most certainly not the direction this blog will take – not so long as I have anything to say about it!  Still, one must admit, there’s a lot to talk about. (Just sayin’)

Seriously!  I mean… Okay, for example, when was the last time an election provoked such palpable contention?  When, at any time since, say, the L.A. riots, have we seen such racial tension in our country?  There are so many “movements” spawning other “movements” and “counter-movements.”  Depending on who you are engaged in conversation with, what channel you are watching or listening to, black lives, blue lives, or all lives “matter.”  Well, this is where it all comes together.  This is where I get back on track, where I open up – peel back a layer or two.

Why now?  Having so successfully suppressed my inner-most feelings for so long, to what do I attribute this impending eruption of my inner volcano?  Well, there are a number of factors.  First, I have simply, and finally come to the realization I must step off sooner than later.  Second, I have recently befriended some very special people who, despite my having yet to actually meet them in person, have inspired me to “get off my duff.”  Their stories are sincere, deeply personal, and revealing, yet too powerful and informative to withhold.  I, however, will not be sharing their stories, for their stories are theirs to tell.  But you – and they – should know their disclosures have inspired me to follow suit – share the trials I have faced, so others may know they are not alone.

I commence with my story, not once upon a time, somewhere in the distant past, but a mere three or four days ago.  My story begins with a new beginning, prompted by recent events and newfound friendships.  I have given you two contributing factors which account for my sudden change of course – or should I say, course correction.  While it is true the aforementioned factors were key in nudging me out of my comfort zone, I would be remiss in failing to address another, major factor – the impetus, in fact, for Your Life Matters.

Earlier, I referenced the Black Lives Matter movement, among others.  While the activists behind these movements may feel justified in their own right, I find it deeply disturbing anyone finds justification in suggesting any one life holds greater value than another.  At a time when so many are being persecuted, killed, sleeping under bridges, starving, battling afflictions, mental and/or physical, emerging from broken relationships, agonizing over the loss of loved ones, struggling with addictions, depression, PTSD, etc. – when, the list of those feeling at least some degree of despair is seemingly endless – how anyone can have the audacity to set aside one life, any life, as having more value than the next, is beyond me.  I have been troubled by this for some time now, with it only recently coming to a head.  Truth be told, that bubble was about to burst, regardless.  Consequently, the perfect storm, comprised of these three key elements, developed rapidly and somewhat unexpectedly.  My friends, I am relieved, for it is time.

To be clear, my goal, my mission, is (1) to reach you – YOU – whomever and wherever you may be, (2) to prove to you that you matter, just as much as anyone else, and (3) point you to The One to Whom you matter most.  Please don’t recoil, fearing I am about to saddle up that high horse of mine and start preaching at you.  On the contrary, my wish is for us to venture, together, into our past – wherever the journey leads us, for that matter – in search of who we once were, who we have become and, ultimately, who we wish to be in the months and years ahead.  Hence, more than lead you, I wish to accompany you on this journey.

So, “On With It, Then!”  Shall we?

[This is an ongoing series, with the preceding text serving as an introduction.  The next installment will be Your Life Matters]

Project Perfection

[Note – This entry was inspired by my mother who has long exhorted me to be a “better” person, the best person I could possibly be.]

benjamin_franklin_portraitIn his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin acknowledged he set out at an early age to attain “moral Perfection,” only to ultimately conclude it was not something to be achieved.  That said, he also believed he was better off for having made the attempt.  I find Mr. Franklin’s pursuit highly commendable. To have been so profoundly concerned with an unequivocal morality, to have set so lofty a goal and held himself to such account, speaks volumes as to the merits he attributed to one’s character.

Mr. Franklin embarked on what he described as a “bold and arduous Project” to identify the standard for – and achieve – perfection.  He was, after all, an avid and accomplished scientist and inventor, was he not?  Hence he compiled a list of 13 Virtues and developed a report card of sorts, to annotate those times he failed to meet a standard for any given virtue.  He would literally record his daily missteps.

Imagine doing that today.  I, personally, don’t think I would be pleased with my results.  My scorecard would likely compare to a really bad day on the golf course.  Then, again, who’s keeping score?  Well, Mr. Franklin did, and he found he could not pass his own test.  Oh, he wanted to, and he tried really hard – probably harder than most – yet, ultimately, even inevitably, he fell short. Regardless, he believed he was a better person, a better member of society, for having set course and sailed.

What follows are the 13 Virtues Mr. Franklin identified and his corresponding definitions.  Some of mine are on his list; some are not.  I encourage you to create your own lists and endeavor to hold yourselves to account.  Mr. Franklin, by his own admission, was imperfect.  Not one of us has, nor ever will achieve perfection over the course of our lives; hence, we will always live in an imperfect world.  But, if we embrace a greater sense of purpose, aspire to be people of great character, and resolve to inspire others to do the same, our society will be “better” than it otherwise would.  Now, if that could be our legacy!

As Mr. Franklin said, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

  • Temperance.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • Silence.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • Order.  Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • Resolution.  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • Frugality.  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • Industry.  Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • Sincerity.  Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • Justice.  Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • Moderation.  Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • Cleanliness.  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloathes, or habitation.
  • Tranquility.  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • Chastity.  Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  • Humility.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Shots Fired, Officer Down

Kind of grabs your attention, doesn’t it?  Love cops, hate ‘em – doesn’t really matter. Officer-involved shootings are sure to grab the headlines, regardless of the outcome. Why?  Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?  We, generally speaking, have become a society obsessed with violence.  On top of that, everyone has a stake in it?  Some, even feel they have an ‘axe to grind’.

Let’s just be honest.  Visit any message board once reports of an officer-involved shooting begin to cycle and, though few details have emerged, the blame game is in full swing.  Gun control advocates are blaming the NRA.  Gun control opponents are reminding everyone “Guns don’t kill people;  People kill people.”  Family members are grieving, but often friends and family of the suspect(s) are already blaming the officer(s).  “Their child,” of course, “was a great kid,” who “never hurt anybody.”  Cop haters are definitely blaming the officer(s) with, “Murderin’ pigs…  I’d smoke me a pig!”  Average citizens, lacking full knowledge of police procedures offer, “They should o’ just ‘tased’ the guy?”

You know who you don’t typically hear much from, at least not initially, if at all?  The officer’s loved ones.  Why is that?  Do they not have a stake in the matter?  Perhaps it’s because they, in spite of the given that their spouse, fiancé, child, etc. works in an inherently dangerous profession, they never truly expected to get ‘that call’.  Maybe they are simply numb.  Maybe, just maybe, they are human, after all.  The common, eventual response from a fallen officer’s family member?  “He/She dedicated his/her life to helping others.  He/She died doing what he/she loved.”

Once, when I approached a civilian supervisor about obtaining ballistic vests for my troops, I was told, “They knew this job was dangerous when they took it.”  Of course, that is true, but is that the best, most appropriate response?  You signed up so, if you die, you die?  What is wrong with us?  What have we become as a society?  Have we truly come to accept that violence, of any nature, is just ‘here to stay’, hence nothing can be/should be done to mitigate loss of life?  I’m sorry, I do not accept that.

I’m reminded of Brad Pitt, as Detective David Mills in the 1995 thriller “Seven.”  While engaged in conversation with his partner, Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), Mills refuses to accept Somerset’s view of the world – that it is, essentially, a cesspool beyond redemption.  I, myself, have held both views.  I entered law enforcement to “make a difference, to help others.”  Policing, my friends, is a thankless job, but a noble one.  If good police officers give up on society, what remains is anarchy.  Which brings me to this.

What follows are excerpts of an open letter I addressed but, ultimately decided not to send – likely a wise move – to our current president.  One of my primary concerns regarding violence is, there is no leadership in mitigating its effects.  I call on all of us to say, enough of this.  Too many people are dying in our streets.  Too many children are falling victim to drive-by shootings, and their parents’ cries fall on deaf ears.  Too many young men and women are caught up in illicit criminal activity.  Why would they cry out?  No one is listening.  Too many police officers are falling – the numbers, as you will see – are staggering.  It is time for our leaders to step up and, rather than perpetuate the hate, elect to tell Americans the truth.

From my letter (to the president):

“Why, sir, have you not taken to the podium to address a sudden, stark rise in felonious, fatal assaults on law enforcement officers?  As of the posting of this letter, nine (update, twelve) police officers have been gunned down in the line of duty in 2016, an 1100% increase…  What would be the harm in stepping to the podium and acknowledging these (12) senseless killings?”

The two most recent officers to be shot and killed are Ashley Guindon, 28, of the Prince William County Police Department, Virginia, and Officer David Hofer, 29, of the Euless Police Department, Texas.  Officer Guindon was killed her very first day on the job.  Officer Hofer had only recently proposed to his fiancé.  They were not ‘bad cops’ preying on the innocent.  They were people, just like you and me, only they elected to swear an oath to protect you and me and were trying to make a difference – keep us safe from those who would do evil.  They were, in fact, just doing their job.

More from my letter:

“Why, sir, do you not draw more attention to the astounding murder rates in our inner cities?  Together, we could make a difference.  Is that not our goal?  Why are we not working together to rout out gang violence, to ensure (gang) member prospects have attainable opportunities to contribute to our society in a positive way?  Why are we not promoting these opportunities, so they appeal to these citizens (as an alternative) to robbery, drug trafficking, etc., as means by which to live?”

A little more:

“How many must die?  I, personally, do not want to read one more story about a 9-year-old girl being killed by a stray bullet while she is sitting on her bed – in the sanctity of her home.  (Jamyla Bolden, was killed while she was in her room doing homework, August 8, 2015.)  Mr. President, you simply have not led.  No, you are not the only one to have disappointed in this regard, but your platform is broader than that of any other… The presidency is a place of refuge for seekers of truth and justice, for leadership.  And, the fact is, on matters such as these, we have seen no leadership.  Consequently, we have not locked arm-in-arm to address, head-on, the core issues.  Sir, without true leadership, we never will.”

Lastly:

“What follows is a list of some of those who have needlessly lost their lives, not because we lack sufficient gun control measures, but because we lack the courage to set aside our political motivations and simply do what is right – confront the darkness – evil – which is bleeding the life out of our country…”

– Jamyla Bolden, 9, fatally shot (stray bullet) while sitting on her bed doing homework, 8/8/15

– Michael Nolan, 23, gunned down standing near his vehicle at a fast-food restaurant, 9/18/15

– Officer Douglas Scott Barney II, 44, shot and killed upon arriving at the scene of a vehicle accident, 1/17/16

– Officer Thomas Cottrell, Jr., 34, fatally shot in an ambush, 1/17/16

– Sergeant Jason Goodding, 39, fatally shot during a warrant service, 2/5/16

– Kenniec Smith, 13, gunned down in a drive-by-shooting while visiting with friends, 12/5/16

– Nancy Mata, 17, shot and killed during a drive-by-shooting, 1/12/16

– Deputy Derek Geer, 40, fatally shot responding to an armed subject call, 2/10/16

– Senior Deputies Patrick Dailey, 52, and Mark Logsdon, 43, gunned down responding to a complaint about a disruptive person, 2/10/16

– Officer Jason Moszer, 33, shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call, 2/11/26

– Major Gregory E. Barney, 51, shot and killed assisting on a warrant service, 2/11/16

– Donta Parker, 16, and Sakinah Reed, 17, killed by a 16-year-old gunman, 1/5/16

– Special Agent Lee Tartt, 44, killed by a gunman who was holding his wife and child hostage, 2/20/16

– Corporal Nate Carrigan, 35, shot and killed while assisting other officers in serving a high-risk eviction order, 2/24/16

– Michelle Kelly-Love, 54, and her son Jordan Love, 27, shot to death while sitting in a vehicle, 2/27/16

– Officer Ashley Guindon, 28, shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance call, 2/27/16

– Officer David Hofer, 29, shot and killed responding to a suspicious activity call, 3/1/16

– *Corporal Derrick Couch, who was shot in the face, 2/13/26, as he approached a man to question him about a reported armed robbery, is still hospitalized and fighting for his life.  (I pray for his recovery).

Again, I call on local, state, and federal officials to acknowledge this problem and collaborate to develop and implement real solutions.

May God bless the families, friends, and communities reeling from the loss of those they hold dear.

*Note – Since this was originally published, seven more law enforcement officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, including Officer Jacai D. Colson, who died while he and other officers were responding to an active shooter situation at Prince George’s County Police Department, District III.  Additionally, a Fort Worth, Texas police officer and a Washington County, Arkansas sheriff’s deputy were seriously injured by gunfire in separate incidents on March 15, 2016.  I recommend you visit The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. at https://www.odmp.org for further details.