Category Archives: Recent Posts

2017 – The Year of Racism

Happy New Year Folks, thank goodness 2017 is gone for it was  the year of racism. Chad gives us a great review of 2017. Of course, there is not guarantee 2018 will be any better unless the snowflakes, liberals, and progressive globalists make it so. Of course, it could be better if the silent majority would stop being so silent and become the vocal majority. But then, that likely will not happen since they prefer to take silent actions, which I sure hope they do so during the mid-term election.

Here’s Chad’s take on the year. Enjoy.

Root on Lawyers

Not read much by Mr. Wayne Root, perhaps some of you have, but I will start reading him as in my economist mind he nails it in this piece. In September 2012, Root resigned all Libertarian Party positions, re-joined the Republican Party and endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

I’ve reported the numbers here in my newspaper column before. The stock market has soared upward the fastest in history under President Trump. Christmas bonuses are up dramatically. GDP is headed to the moon- almost tripling the GDP of Obama’s eight years. Jobs have soared since Trump became president- up 2.2 million since his election. Manufacturing jobs just had the best month in history. Confidence levels of small business owners, manufacturers and consumers are the highest in years. It’s literally “The Trump Economic Miracle.”

How did President Donald J. Trump turn the economy around so fast? He hasn’t even repealed Obamacare, or passed his gigantic tax cuts yet. So, what changed? The answer is Trump’s secret sauce…

“It’s all about the lawyers, stupid.”

There’s a famous joke I love to tell. “California leads the country in lawyers. New Jersey leads the country in toxic waste dumps. How did that happen? New Jersey got to pick first!” I LOVE this!

As terrible as taxes are, there is an invisible tax that is much worse for business. It’s called regulations. It’s not a sexy topic, so it’s never in the media headlines. No one talks about it. But when regulations are heavy, business is strangled and suffocated. Middle class jobs vanish. No one wants to risk, invest, or create a quality job.

And why are regulations so terrible? Because regulations breed lawyers. Obama loves regulations and lawyers. Some people dream of sugar plums, rainbows, a beach in Maui, or a new Ferrari.  Obama dreamed about new regulations and lawyers. As president, Obama hired thousands of lawyers to work three shifts, 24 hours a day. Then he whipped them into a frenzy to create thousands of new regulations.

Obama set all-time records for every category of regulations. The most regulations by number, by pages, by words, and by dollar value. Obama created the most regulations ever in one year. And the most regulations of any president in history. And of course, that required the most lawyers in history. 

Under Obama it was raining lawyers!

No business owner, entrepreneurial idea man, or investor can survive in an environment like this. So, like so many millions of other businessmen in the Obama era, I stopped opening businesses. I stopped investing. I stopped raising money. I raised about $20 million for various businesses under President Bush. I didn’t raise $1 dollar in eight years under Obama. Regulations and lawyers killed the fun, killed my entrepreneurial spirit, killed the risk-reward ratio.

I’ve been in business for 35 years since the day I graduated Columbia University (as Barack Obama’s classmate). When I got out of college, I went into business without a lawyer. I rarely ever needed a lawyer for anything- other than my incorporation papers. I called a lawyer perhaps once a year. My legal bills were nominal. Lawyers were an afterthought to my business startup plans.

Because of Obama and his regulations, everything changed. My legal bills went through the roof. My entire life became lawyers. No businessman or woman can make a move anymore without consulting a lawyer. Every contract I look at, let alone sign, requires thousands of dollars in legal bills. Today, my lawyer is my business partner- whether I like it, or not. Lawyers under lawyer Obama (and lawyer wife Michelle) became the biggest cost of doing business. Coincidence?

The remarkable dichotomy between the economic results of Obama vs. Trump is really just the result of an economy dominated by lawyers, versus an economy dominated by business risk-takers and job creators.

President Trump is already the greatest regulation killer in the history of the presidency. He has killed billions of dollars of regulations. And most importantly, he isn’t replacing them with new ones. One of Trump’s very first Executive Actions as president laid down the law- for every new regulation created, two regulations must be killed. The result: Lots of out of work lawyers!

This is President Trump’s secret sauce. “It’s all about the lawyers, stupid.” Trump isn’t just killing regulations. He’s killing off lawyers. And that’s a great thing for all of us. That’s why to business owners across America, this will be the merriest Christmas ever!

Mattis The Statesman

 

Quite a long read, but worth the time if you really want to know the General Jim Mattis who continues to serve our country. He, more so than all the so-called SME’s in and around D.C., understand the people in this part of the world, and the leaders in that part of the world know him and respect him. It’s great read. I loved the part about who was or was not on the plane with him, Who would have thought he’d become the statesman he has?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By VINCE BZDEK | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 10, 2017

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT — With the State Department in upheaval, and the president focused on “America First” domestic concerns, what diplomacy and foreign policy the White House is successfully exercising have fallen more and more to one man, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis.

During a just concluded tour of Pakistan, Egypt, Kuwait, and Jordan, the Defense secretary sounded much more like the country’s chief diplomat than its top soldier.

When talking to reporters during his trip, he stressed that U.S. foreign policy is not “myopically military only.” He repeatedly used phrases like “rebuilding trust,” “de-escalating tensions,” “continued dialogue,” “objectives of reconciliation,” “mediating the rift,” “deepening cooperation on shared interests.”

He brought a message of stability and commitment to Mideast leaders, working hard to affirm U.S. bona fides as “a reliable security partner.” In the world according to Mattis, the U.S. military carries on its shoulders “the hopes of mankind,” and is a force for “strength and unity” in a time of great divisiveness in the country and the world.

It’s the language of a fence mender rather than a bomb thrower. In taking on the diplomat mantel, Mattis also is showing why he is perhaps this White House’s most effective, respected advocate and, when it comes to foreign relations, the superego to President Trump’s id.

In Egypt, his first stop, “He’s seen as nonpolitical, as a professional,” said Sam Werberg, press attaché to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, who then saluted to demonstrate how Egyptians express their respect for Mattis. Since the military essentially runs Egypt, they are most comfortable with the military in the United States taking the lead in managing its relations, Werberg observed. As a result, Mattis provides a platform for dialogue that may be more potent at the moment than the State Department, which is in a state of flux following dozens of key departures and the president’s orders to cut 2,000 employees. Forty-five countries do not have U.S. ambassadors appointed yet, including Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Mattis’ 44 years of experience as a Marine, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and leading U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, have left him a host of deep relationships to draw on in his role as Defense secretary. Because of those ties, ironically, the man charged with conducting war is seen in this region as the center of calm in a chaotic administration. In each of his stops, the red carpet was literally rolled out for him at the airport.

When asked on the plane ride over to Cairo if he’s doing more diplomacy now than he had as a Marine in the past, he answered: “No, I’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve known a lot of these guys we’re meeting with a long time. Back when they were crown princes, I fought with some of them.”

Mattis was asked how much it helps, having those long relationships in place in Jordan, Pakistan and other Mideast countries.

“It’s the only thing that works. Makes all the difference in the world,” he replied.

Because of those longstanding friendships, Mattis prefers a lower key, smaller footprint when he comes into a country, said Capt. Jeff Davis, Mattis’ spokesman. Pointing with two fingers back and forth between my eyes and his, Davis says, “He prefers face to face. Likes to break off and go one on one with the officials he meets.”

He’s not one for large ceremonies, photo ops with the troops or joint press conferences, of which he had none during the trip. A U.S. official who was in the room with Mattis during talks with the leaders of Pakistan, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt, says after the big delegation meetings, he likes to pull key players off to the side one at a time, then “roll up his sleeves and get down to specifics, that is his style, moving quickly past abstractions and generalities.” Aides close to him say, more than anything, he “prioritizes trust.”

Even his discussions with Pakistan, which Mattis has criticized harshly in the past and whose relationship with the United States has been like an on-again, off-again bad marriage, were more about diplomacy than defense, shared values and wounds than past differences. The official who was present at the talks said Mattis called on Pakistan to play a leading role in bringing the Taliban to the table in Afghanistan, so that a peace there came be hammered out politically, rather than militarily.

Contrast Mattis’ language with the language of his boss, who retweeted anti-Muslim videos that caused a furor right before Mattis began his tour of four Muslim-majority nations. From the president’s twitter feed: “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches. VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death! VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” And later: “@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” And on North Korea: “The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man.”

Trump also dropped a bombshell during Mattis’ trip that agitated the very leaders Mattis was meeting with and turned his trip into something of a reassurance tour. Trump announced that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move Palestinians say will kill the U.S.-brokered peace process. The same day Mattis met with the Jordanian leader, King Abdullah, Abdullah begun consultations to convene an emergency meeting of the Arab League in response to concerns about unrest throughout the region. The Associated Press reported that Mattis had voiced concern to Trump before the announcement about endangering U.S. diplomats and troops in Muslim countries, according to officials briefed on internal administration deliberations.

But a political observer in Cairo assured me that Jordanians and Egyptians trust Mattis implicitly despite the distracting storylines in D.C. One of the advisers traveling with Mattis said the anti-Muslim tweets didn’t even come up in talks with leaders in Egypt and Jordan. Werner said most Egyptian politicians are savvy enough to know that Trump is playing to his base in America with such comments, and they have no real bearing on relations with them.

Trump may see political gains out of demonizing Muslims occasionally, but clearly his Defense secretary believes wholeheartedly the United States cannot afford to alienate Muslim allies. He’s an internationalist in a nationalist administration.

“History is clear,” he said to the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing. “Nations with strong allies thrive, and those without them wither.”

And it doesn’t appear whatsoever that Trump minds the contrast. Mattis seems to be one of the only people in the administration who can disagree with the boss and get away with it. He even did so during his job interview, when he successfully argued Trump out of re-embracing torture as an acceptable method of interrogation.

He has also disagreed with Trump over the vital role NATO still plays (and won) and on the necessity of not pulling troops out of Afghanistan (and won.)

The feather-smoother is not a role you’d expect to come naturally to Mattis given his “Mad Dog” reputation for blunt talk and aggressive military action.

Enlisting in the Marines at age 19, he has fought in the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, where his radio call signal was “chaos.” He played a key role in the bloody battle of Fallujah. The four-star general is a popular leader known for getting in the trenches with his men. The Marine Corps Times called him “the most revered Marine in a generation.”

And he’s a lover of kick-their-ass slogans such as “be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet,” and “War makes good men better and bad men worse.”

During his single appearance on “Face the Nation,” John Dickerson asked him what keeps him up at night.

“Nothing,” Mattis answered. “I keep other people awake at night.”

In 2005 he attracted controversy for telling an audience at a panel discussion: “It’s fun to shoot some people.”

One of the reasons he doesn’t like much press around, especially when he is with soldiers, is so that he can be himself, talk like a Marine. He got into trouble again in August when he used macho language to urge submariners on in their duty. According to the transcript of a speech he gave at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington, he told sailors they faced the best and worst days of their life ahead. “That means you’re living.” He said. “That means you’re not some pussy sitting on the sidelines.”

But to see the 67-year-old Mattis in action in the Mideast in his blue blazer and purple tie and thoughtful, scholarly approach to leaders and defense ministers is to see more of the “warrior monk” as he is sometimes called, than “Mad Dog” Mattis, a nickname given to him “on a slow day” by a journalist.

The lifelong bachelor often carries a volume of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor and philosopher, with him on the road from his vast library of 6,000 books.

A proud Westerner — he was born and raised and schooled in Washington state — he said he is currently reading “Earning the Rockies,” about how geography determines who you are. You get the sense from Mattis that he’d rather be somewhere west of the Rockies, and he’s only doing this because he was asked, not because he particularly wanted the job. When asked by a reporter if he likes what he’s doing after a year, He says, “It doesn’t matter what I feel, it’s my duty.”

His tour was all about quiet engagement rather than big policy announcements or rah-rah visits with the troops, like these tours have been with past secretaries. Davis said that’s because Mattis comes at such staged events from the enlisted man’s perspective, having attended quite a few himself that he thought were a waste of time, and such events sometimes put a bigger target on troops in combat zones. In Mattis’ view, Davis said, such photo-op stops are more about the secretary than the soldiers. Mattis’ focus is unwaveringly on the grunt in uniform. He’s not one to be distracted by the bright lights of self-importance.

“He sees no value in having his name in the paper,” an unnamed Defense official told the Washington Examiner.

Clearly he limits the D.C. press as a result. Davis said it’s not about the scripted moments and daily news “deliverables” for Mattis. Off the plane, the press was mostly sidelined, secondary to the secretary’s central mission of private talks with leaders, a focus that caused not a small amount of grumbling.

Only eight of the 18 seats in the press cabin were filled on the Mideast trip, and he’s taken to including press from beyond the beltway, such as the Christian Broadcasting Network, Breitbart and The Gazette. But he talks to reporters, informally and articulately, on the plane more than other Defense secretaries, one reporter said.

His emphasis on the little guy throughout his career carries over to the press, apparently. “I see these other guys all the time. They’re a pain in the ass,” he joked aloud about representatives of NBC, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters. CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post were conspicuously absent from the trip.

Mattis’ reputation for aggressive action and the preponderance of military brass in the leadership of this administration have worried some Washington observers that the military is essentially taking over foreign policy and the use of force will become a too-prominent tool of our foreign policy.

The White House has populated many of its key positions with ex-generals and expanded their authority, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, Chief of Staff John Kelley and of course Mattis, who had to receive a waiver to become Defense secretary because usually you have to wait seven years after retiring from active duty to get the job, and he only had three.

But Mattis doesn’t see more military in leadership as a negative whatsoever. The military has had to be in the diplomacy business for years, he said, and foreign policy is necessarily a combination of military, diplomatic and economic options. He has a strong relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, perhaps his closest ally in the administration, and has called in the past for more resources for the State Department. In congressional testimony in 2013, he said, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

Mattis believes rather the opposite, that the military has a crucial wider role to play in diplomacy, and U.S. society at large.

What does our warrior in chief see as our biggest threat right now? Not ISIS or Russia or even Iran. He’s most worried about the divisiveness he sees back in the homeland.

His spokesman Davis says Mattis believes deep in his gut that it’s up to the military to play a unifying role in this time of acute partisanship. The military, Davis points out, is perhaps the most representative and most respected institution in the country right now, polling far ahead of politicians and journalists.

In a speech in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mattis said, “Our military has often served as an example to the American people of unity and strength, of how a diverse group of people can be motivated … to come together as equals. Military service in America is a touchstone for American patriots of all races, genders, creeds.”

We’ve come a long way from the Vietnam days when soldiers themselves were a cause of division, spit on and vilified. In the world according to Mattis, the military is healer and inspirer, a social force for getting us past our divisions and again finding common ground.

In a now-famous letter to troops before the start of the Iraq War, Mattis put it this way:

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. … Share your courage with each other … keep faith in your comrades on your left and on your right. … Fight with a happy heart and a strong spirit. Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine. … On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.”

Seventeen Inches

First of all, I apologize to my followers for being UA for the past few weeks. My Young Marines Unit (Fox Valley) is working this old man over time. It’s amazing how busy and involved twenty-four kids ages 8 to HS graduation can keep you. We have had some problems in the unit, no not with the kids but with some mean-spirited parents who have done a horrible job at raising their own children and expected me to apply some of their rules to the unit. Well, guess where they are now? GONE! Anyway, I feel assured many of you have seen what I am here to post before. But if you have, read it again, and again, and again. Then send it anonymously to those parents you know who keep widening the plate. There are lots of them out there, just open your eyes and look around, you’ll find them everywhere, even entrenched in our governments (local, state, and federal especially is packed with them. I’m certain they have machines whose sole job is plate widening). Anyway, enjoy it again!

Seventeen Inches

 

 

 

 

 

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention. Nineteen times since, many of the same professional, college, high school, youth, and a slew of international coaches from passionate and developing baseball nations have gathered at various convention hotels across the country for two-and-half days of clinic presentations and industry exhibits. Sure, many members of the American Baseball Coaches Association have come and gone in those years; the leadership has been passed, nepotistically, from Dave Keilitz to his son, Craig; and the association — and baseball, in general — has lost some of its greatest coaches, including Rod Dedeaux, Gordie Gillespie, and Chuck “Bobo” Brayton.

I have attended all but three conventions in those nineteen years, and I have enjoyed and benefited from each of them. But ’96 was special — not just because it was held in the home of country music, a town I’d always wanted to visit. And not because I was attending my very first convention. Nashville in ’96 was special because it was there and then that I learned that baseball — the thing that had brought 4,000 of us together — was merely a metaphor for my own life and those of the players I hoped to impact.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the hell is John Scolinos?  No matter, I was just happy to be there.

Having sensed the size of the group during check-in, I woke early the next morning in order to ensure myself a good seat near the stage — first chair on the right side of the center isle, third row back — where I sat, alone, for an hour until the audio-visual techs arrived to fine-tune their equipment. The proverbial bee bee in a boxcar, I was surrounded by empty chairs in a room as large as a football field. Eventually, I was joined by other, slightly less eager, coaches until the room was filled to capacity. By the time Augie Garrido was introduced to deliver the traditional first presentation from the previous season’s College World Series winner, there wasn’t an empty chair in the room.

ABCA conventions have a certain party-like quality to them. They provide a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with old friends from a fraternal game that often spreads its coaches all over the country. As such, it is common for coaches to bail out of afternoon clinic sessions in favor of old friends and the bar. As a result, I discovered, the crowd is comparatively sparse after lunch, and I had no trouble getting my seat back, even after grabbing a plastic-wrapped sandwich off the shelf at the Opryland gift shop.

I woke early the next morning and once again found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available! I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pomona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.

I had no idea.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

He was, indeed, worth the airfare.

Written by Chris Sperry

Chris Sperry is a baseball consultant who develops players and amateur coaches, assists professional scouts, and counsels families of prospective college-bound student-athletes. He holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Portland, the same institution at which he served as head baseball coach for 18 years. His key interests are in player and personal development as they pertain to a life in and beyond sports.

Shoot?

I had some very limited training in my Marine career in what we called Close Quarter Battle (CQB), I think they still call it by that name. I am by no means an expert in this field, but that training certainly opened my eyes to the split second decision process. These naysayers who make comments like some  in this article about “why didn’t he shoot the gun out of his hand,” need to go to the pistol range just once. They haven’t a clue, they are fools who know not what they are saying. And the problem is some are from the MSM and lots of Americans follow like sheep.

The woman with the advanced Harvard degree says, “Why did the cops shoot him so many times? Why not just wound him?”

The sophisticated lawyer, describing a mentally ill man charging the police with a knife asks, “Why didn’t they just shoot the knife out of his hand like they used to?” The guy at the gym says, “But he had his hands up!” The “expert” tells an audience of police officers, “It was just a small screwdriver.”

Unfortunately for officers on the line, thousands of comments like these are made by untrained civilians who are educated by what they see in the news, movies, TV and social media. Too often, reporters, politicians, community leaders and activists who assume they know what happened leap to judgment, immediately proclaiming officers as trigger-happy, racist or failing to resolve the situation

Too often overlooked in all the furor and outrage are the facts of the incident, the reality of human dynamics and how police are trained. Ninety-five percent of officers go through their entire careers without discharging their weapons. Contrary to public image, officers do not wish to be in a deadly-force incident and do everything in their power to avoid it at all costs, often times to their own peril. There are about 34,000 arrests each day in this country and well over 10 million a year, and in many of those arrests suspects are taken into custody safely even when many are extremely violent. Only a very small number result in shots fired.

Is it possible for us to pause and consider the realities for our police officers when they are involved in a shooting incident? Our book “Shots Fired: The Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, and Myths about Police Shootings” was written to provide citizens with a glimpse into the police world and the experience of officers in deadly force encounters.

Among those myths:

Hands up, don’t shoot? Police officers are trained — training that is quickly reinforced by the realities of the job — to be cautious of the subject with hands in the air. What may look like surrender to an untrained observer is frequently a ploy to lure the officer close enough for an attack. Or, when gunshots are exchanged, what looks like surrender may be the involuntary response of a subject who has been shot.

Why not just wound? In the world of policing, officers shoot not to kill and not to wound but to stop the threat. That threat is rarely stopped by a single bullet. Rarely, except in the world of fiction, does a single bullet knock someone down. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers, had been shot nine times, several of those wounds fatal, and he continued to toss bombs and shoot at the Watertown police. A person who has been knocked down remains a threat. Those who would have the officer “just shoot him in the knee” miss an important fact. Even assuming the officer can successfully hit that small, moving target, the subject still has both hands free to continue shooting.

As for shooting that weapon out of a subject’s hands? Many shooting events are sudden, surprising and evolve in seconds. In those seconds, while the subject has a weapon out and is shooting, the responding officer has to form the intention to respond, draw the weapon, ascertain that there are no innocents in the line of fire and then return fire — often while being fired upon. Those subjects are often fueled by drugs, rage, adrenaline and mental illness. Individuals do not stand there and present themselves like a silhouette. A twisting, turning, violent human being makes it impossible to just shoot someone in the leg or arm.

As for the assertion that an unarmed person isn’t dangerous? ‘Unarmed’ doesn’t have the same meaning to a police officer. Nearly 40,000 police officers were assaulted in 2015 with hands, fists or feet. More than 3,000 people are killed every year by unarmed assailants. Eleven percent of all officers murdered in the line of duty from 2013 to 2015 were killed by unarmed persons. And far too often overlooked? In every encounter with a police officer, unarmed simply doesn’t apply — the officer’s gun is always available.

Let’s bring the facts into clear focus to create better understandings nationwide about the police and the realities they face, often in impossible situations. Before jumping to conclusions about a deadly force incident, consider the police officers’ reality and their perspective.

Joseph K. Loughlin is a former assistant chief of police in Portland, Maine. Kate Clark Flora writes true crime and police procedurals. Their book “Shots Fired: The Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, and Myths about Police Shootings” (Skyhorse Publishing) is out Tuesday.

One Marine's Journey From Private to Colonel

%d bloggers like this: