Impiety and Baltimore’s Police Leadership

As a former Patrol Officer and, later, an Instructor at the Army War College, I have the perspective of time and as one not “in the blender” of the immediate politics and passions in my hometown. What the Baltimore Police Department is in most dire need of is what its politicians are least likely to deliver: Virtuous Leadership. For those not lucky enough as the author to receive an elementary school education from the School Sisters of Notre Dame, let me first expound on what exactly are the Cardinal Virtues (Courage, Prudence or Competency, Self-Control and Justice) that form the foundation of being such a leader.

Courage

One might assume that a person who dons a police uniform has physical courage. However, what is being discussed here is an overarching moral courage. A person may be physically courageous enough to arrest an armed robber, but still be a moral coward in other important leadership capacities. Moral courage, or fortitude, is that rock-steady virtue that seeks to elevate others above self. For day-to-day life, it is the constant practice of seeking and speaking the truth in the face of adversity or peer pressure to do otherwise. It is what gives a subordinate the strength to disagree with a politically expedient, but morally wrong or unjust, course of action.

Courage may also require one to speak the truth even if doing so may be personally painful. It is one thing to be unaware of the truth; it is altogether different when people know what is true, yet ignore it out of cowardice or political expediency. By a casual reading of todays’ headlines it appears to all but the naïve or complicit that many of Baltimore’s leaders, including the Police Department’s Command Staff, have failed to stand up for what they must, in their hearts, know to be right and just.

Self-control

Self-control or temperance demands control of one’s animal desire for pleasure. Self-control is that virtue which attempts to overcome the human condition that best stated as “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In the realm of virtuous leadership, Self-control might mean that: choleric personalities restrain their tempers; impatient persons exercise listening skills; tardiness is replaced by timeliness; or, phlegmatic persons make an effort to be more outgoing. As so beautifully said by St. Mark the hermit, “Everything that grows begins small. It is by constant and progressive feeding that it gradually grows big” This notion applies to seeding and growing virtue in organizations and individual lives. Taking such seemingly small steps can gradually build a command imbued with a sense of unit humility. It can truly help transform an organization from a dour, miserable workplace to a magnanimous command where people are excited and proud to serve.

Magnanimity is an underutilized and not frequently understood word. It is the loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity. It is the essence of chivalry. A magnanimous person is the opposite of a pusillanimous or small-minded person. Every leader should strive to foster an environment where magnanimity flourishes. This begins in assessment and selection, is taught in the Academy, then initially fostered by Patrol Sergeants that practice and demand service to others: ultimately the community.

Justice

Leaders of a magnanimous police department must be more concerned with respecting the rights of others and giving them proper credit where credit is due. Author and British Infantryman George MacDonald Fraser in his classic Quartered Safe Out Here said of Field Marshal William Slim, Commander of the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations in World War II, that he never said “I” rarely said, “We,” and always said “You.”

Sam Damon, the protagonist in Anton Myer’s brilliant novel Once an Eagle, also exemplifies such a person. Damon is a leader who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above self-interest. He justly earns his promotions. The book’s antagonist, Courtney Massengale, is a self-absorbed bully who advances by political scheming and trampling upon subordinates and contemporaries. Once an Eagle should be mandatory reading for all persons daring to call themselves a leader. Its lessons should be obvious for anyone daring to call himself a Peace Officer. Sadly, unjust Commissioners have plagued Baltimore’s Police Department ever since Ed Norris brought his NYPD bully tactics to weekly COMSTAT meetings.

Prudence

As Francis Bacon noted, one rarely finds a wise head on a young body. Hence, this virtue, like all the others, must be taught and learned. Aristotle defined prudence as σωστό λόγο σε δράση, meaning “right reason applied to practice.” In a Police Department, this is reflected in a commander who has mastered fundamental tasks so well that in the fog of war, such as the riots of last year, these are enabling rather than distracting concerns.

When a leader consistently makes wrong decisions – or makes rash decisions, right or wrong – then that individual is imprudent. Due to the complexity of human circumstances found in America’s urban areas, it is easy to err in this fashion. Accordingly, competent leaders seek the counsel of others and quickly learn to delegate responsibilities and authorities to trusted subordinates. This is not happening in Baltimore, where authority and discretion are yanked from subordinates. Baltimore does not need “Professional Law Enforcement Officers” that lock-up every offender. Rather, it needs “Peace Officers” who get out of their cars and intimately know their communities.

Such prudence or competency is not only the result of practice, but it also requires personal humility. Disregarding the advice or warnings of others whose judgment does not coincide with one’s own may be a sign of imprudence. Absent a moral barometer, either derived from Natural Law, Scripture and our Constitution, there is no measure of right reason. Accordingly, bad commanders will simply bully others to get their way. That is seemingly what has happened to the Baltimore Police Department since I was sworn in as a Rookie with Commissioner Donald Pomerleau’s signature on my first credentials in 1981.

Orwell visits Baltimore: Or, how a police officer is pilloried for telling the truth

            Recently, my former colleague from Baltimore Police Department’s Southeastern District, Lieutenant Vic Gearhart, was suspended for calling members of the George Soros-funded Black Lives Matter group “thugs.”  In all honesty, that is one of the more polite monikers that pack of animals deserves.  The words “domestic terrorists” or “anarchists” are more accurate but no less offensive.  How is it that speaking the truth would get a thirty-four year veteran of Baltimore’s thin blue line in hot water?  Well, because Baltimore’s political and senior police leadership has consistently proven itself incapable of self-governance.  By trying to deal with the Devil, they have ended up selling their souls to him.

            While I recognize that the use of gratuitously foul language is the sign of a weak mind and intemperate spirit, I concurrently recognize that most Americans, to include my beloved Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines and Peace Officers, do not speak like my literary heroes Hilaire Belloc or William F Buckley, Jr.  They understand the ground truth.  And, as witnessed by the horrors they have caused to the communities in Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Philadelphia, Dallas, Milwaukee and Baltimore, the ground truth is that Black Lives Matter is a domestic terror group that is predicated on lies, to wit: Mike Brown was shot for no reason; law enforcement are killing a disproportionate number of blacks; and the Black Urban communities in America are somehow victims.  

            Unfettered by the thought of losing an appointed police “leadership” position in Baltimore, I will not bend to Fascism in the guise of political correctness.  Hence, let’s examine the facts:

1. That so-called “Gentle Giant” Mike Brown was a 6’4” 300 pound bully who was caught red-handed committing a strong-arm robbery.  When officer Darryl Wilson approached him and his accomplice, Brown charged Wilson’s patrol vehicle, leaned into the driver’s window and proceeded to savagely beat Wilson.  When Brown reached for Wilson’s service weapon, Wilson quickly drew it and fired two shots at Brown, striking him in the arm.  Brown’s colleague cowardly sprinted home to the projects, where he promptly started Tweeting the lie heard around the Nation, “The police shot Mike when he had his hands up and saying don’t shoot.”  He was not there and that never happened! Mike Brown – like so many street hoodlums who willfully disobey lawful orders to surrender – was the author of his own misfortune.  

2. Armed, uniformed police officers are assaulted over 66,000 times per year according to the FBI, and that is only those cases that are reported to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  Many times, officers do not report the instances where they are assaulted in the line of duty because that charge would be an afterthought in comparison with the seriousness of the other charges: murder, rape, armed robbery, etc.  I know that Vic Gearhart and I routinely did not report assaults upon our person committed during such arrests.  As an expert in the use of force, I can make a colorable argument that if one assaults an armed, uniform police officer, deadly force may be authorized.  Police are not punching bags and there is always a weapon present (accounting for the fact that 17% of the officers killed in the line-of-duty are killed with their own weapons).  Of the 66,000 assaults, 15,500 of them are committed with a dangerous and deadly weapon. As a matter of law, if one assaults a cop with a dangerous and deadly weapon, deadly force if authorized. Guess what? Cops only shoot and kill 500-800 suspects annually nationwide! So, this notion that we are killing people indiscriminately is balderdash. 

3. Black urban communities, where out-of-wedlock pregnancy is out-of-control and children are allowed to run amok on the streets absent any meaningful supervision, is the root cause of such hooliganism.  Shamefully, when a Jesuit sponsored high school – one of the few institutions that tries to make a dent in this dire situation – it too is pilloried in the media and “Black” community for holding one of its students to standard.  Moreover, the overwhelming numbers of black murder victims are killed not by law enforcement but by their own kin. So, “Black Lives Matter” would be well served to hold a mirror up and take a hard look into it.  The likelihood of that happening in 21st Century Baltimore is nil. 

            So, in light of all of these unerring facts, when one white police lieutenant dares to call Black Lives Matter thugs “thugs,” the Newspeak Press pillories him and the cowardly Baltimore Police Department Command Staff and Commissioner jump to that discordant tune.  Sad indeed.

Finally!

Today, finally, Donald Trump has come out swinging against the twin evils of Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“Obama-Clinton have single-handedly destabilized the Middle East, handed Iraq, Libya and Syria to ISIS, and allowed our personnel to be slaughtered at Benghazi. Then they put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons. Then they allowed dozens of veterans to die waiting for medical care that never came.

“Hillary Clinton put the whole country at risk with her illegal email server, deleted evidence of her crime, and lied repeatedly about her conduct which endangered us all,” he continued. “They released criminal aliens into our country who killed one innocent American after another — like Sarah Root and Kate Steinle — and have repeatedly admitted migrants later implicated in terrorism.

“They have produced the worst recovery since the Great Depression. They have shipped millions of our best jobs overseas to appease their global special interests. They have betrayed our security and our workers, and Hillary Clinton has proven herself unfit to serve in any government office.

“She is reckless with her emails, reckless with regime change, and reckless with American lives,” Trump concluded. “Our nation has been humiliated abroad and compromised by radical Islam brought onto our shores. We need change now.”

I think Trump is finally hitting his stride in this most important presidential race of my lifetime, to include Reagan’s crucial victory over Carter in 1980.  Since 1981, I have served as a peace officer and in the military, to include multiple combat tours against Islamists. My duties included stints working in some of our Republic’s most sensitive counter-terror units, including ones preparing cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts. I have also prosecuted and defended criminal suspects from petit thieves to murderers. Something has always set off my “Spidey” sense about both Obama and Clinton and for years I have felt exactly what Trump said today.

Barack Obama is not only the worst president in our Republic’s history, but he is at best a Fifth Columnist and at worst a Mohammedan Manchurian Candidate. How else can one explain his: systemic dismantling of the finest military the world has known by forcing the homosexual-transgender agenda down our throats; wholesale importation of unvetted Muj and criminals from the Middle East and Mexico; willfully ignoring the principles of our Constitution – in fact, sneering at our Founding Fathers and all the goodness they wrought; drastically cutting our nuclear triad to dangerously low levels; fomenting discord and hatred by never missing an opportunity to fan the embers of racism; and, stabbing Israel in the back by giving Iran nukes and snubbing her leaders. The list of his perfidy could fill a book.

As could Clinton’s. But, one need only look at the fact that a number of my friends and colleagues over the years had their otherwise successful and unblemished military careers ruined for one instance of mishandling classified information. The fact that Her Highness decided on her own — I suspect to hide her perfidy — sent and received our Nation’s most precious secrets over an unsecure server simply highlight the truths of Trump’s comments. If she gets into the White House, our SCOTUS will be skewed hard to the Left for the next 25 years and our Constitutional Republic will be in tatters.