Opinion: Finding Truth

It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with a multitude.” Adrian Rogers

A good friend and I have been emailing each other in a continuous debate about current controversial issues, the George Floyd trial among them. We met in the first grade and after 12 years in Catholic Schools together, we took different career paths. I went into law enforcement and my buddy went into sports, carving a career in both college and professional sports, coaching and scouting.

Considering his background, it’s not surprising that he takes the side of the professional athletes in any given controversy, whether it involves kneeling during the National Anthem or pulling the All Star game out of Georgia, when that state passes a voter reform bill of which the radical left disapproves. I have taken the opposite view on most of these issues. Having told me that he watches both local and national news from the major networks, I told him that I would watch, for one week, any news program he suggested, if he would just watch Tucker Carlson for a week. I felt that he was only getting one side of each issue from his news sources. My life long friend declined and has stated that Fox News is the most slanted and bias news organization there is. I asked him if he came to this conclusion by having watched Fox News or was continuously told this on the network or cable news he watched daily. My friend hasn’t responded yet.

I related the following experience that happened to me my second month in training after the academy. My training officer and I were dispatched to a neighborhood dispute.  The complaining party was a nice little old grandmotherly lady.  She told us that about once a week, the man next door would throw a shopping bag of dog poop over the fence into her yard.  She told us that she didn’t know why he did this.  We then went next door to talk to this man.  On the way, I told my training officer that we ought to just hook him up and drag his sorry behind to jail.  The training officer said, “Let’s just talk to him first.”  We talked to this man, and he admitted to throwing the dog poop bag over the fence.  Then he told us that the reason he did it was because the little old lady brought her very large dog over every day to do its business on his lawn.  He told us, tongue in cheek, that he was just returning her own property to her,  When we brought them together, she admitted her actions and after our expert counseling, they agreed to stop their mutual provocative actions.  The point is that there are two sides to every issue and if you just hear one side you will never know the truth.

My friend informed me that he hates sports shows where the commentators, who have never played or coached a sport, give their critiques of players and coaches. That is why he looks at the credentials of the so-called experts before he takes them seriously. I told him that I thought it must be very frustrating for him when he heard these “experts”, with no direct experience, commenting and making judgments on a sport or sports he knew so well from experience.

Then I decided to present him with my credentials: my dad, both my grandfathers, an uncle, a great uncle and a cousin were all police officers. Then I explained some of my family history.

In 1930, my Grandpa Williams was shot in the knee and his partner, Vern Brindley, was killed.  In 1956, my Grandpa Williams died when a blood clot on his knee broke loose and went to his heart.  Years later, my Grandma Williams told me that the only time she saw my Grandpa Williams cry was at the hospital, when she went to pick him up after he was shot.  She told me that he said, “Vern was killed. He has two boys, just like us.”

In 1957, before school one day, there was a knock on our front door.  When my mom opened it, there were two LAPD uniformed officers standing there.  They told my mom that my dad and his partner, Bill Roberts had been in a car wreck, they were injured and at Central Receiving Hospital.  They gave us the impression that injuries were moderate.  Later that day, my mom found out that my dad had gone through the windshield of his unmarked police car and had been given that Last Rights, three times since the accident. But he did make a full recovery.  About two years later, on a Saturday morning, another LAPD car stopped in front of our house and when my mom saw the two uniformed cops coming to our doors, she became hysterical because she just knew my dad had been killed this time.  Fortunately, he survived again and went back to work.  He retired in 1971 and later started a private investigation firm with his partner, Bill.  Bill Roberts was murdered in 1975 while on a surveillance working a PI case in West Hollywood.

From September 1975, to January 1, 1976, the Long Beach Police Department had three officers killed in the line of duty.  One, Franke Lewis, had been in my Police Academy Class.  A couple of months before Franke was murdered, Judi and I went to a BBQ at Franke’s house.  The night he was murdered, Franke’s wife, heard the shot that killed Franke and found him on that street, shot in the face.

In 1977, while working for my dad’s PI firm, I was watching a house in Beverly Hills.  I was jumped by two LA gang bangers who tried to kill me.  I was hit in the mouth with a shotgun barrel and a gun battle ensued.  They were later caught and sentenced to five years.  One had a juvenile conviction for murder and the other one, for arson.  One copped out and the other went to trial.  They were both black, but I never thought that I was the victim of the black race, just two hoodlums who happened to be black.  By the way, there was a black woman on the jury who voted for conviction.

I worked Gangs for seven years in the 1990s.  In 2000, two of the officers I worked with in Gangs were ambushed and shot.  Daryle Black was killed and his partner, Rick Delfin, was seriously wounded.  (By the way, while Rick was in the hospital, he got a phone call from Shaquille O’Neal who talked to him for 20 minutes or so, expressing his condolences.  Later, he sent Rick one of his autographed, size 23, basketball shoes.)

I’ve heard the knock on the front door that every police family dreads.  I’ve been to numerous police funerals of close friends and guys I’ve known.  I’ve fought a lot of men, and some women, who did not want to go to jail and were resisting arrest.  Do you know how difficult it is to put handcuffs on someone who doesn’t want you to put them on?  Especially after fighting for what seems like hours, but in actuality was a few minutes ?

So I told my buddy that I knew how he felt when he heard “experts” who have never played or coached a game that he knew so well, criticize players and coaches.  I hope he can see the parallel in how I feel when someone who has never had to arrest a drunk spousal abuser or chase an armed robber or had bottles thrown at them in a riot, comments on what a cop could have done or should have done, and proclaims a cop guilty before all of the evidence is in, or a trial has been held.

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