Total Pageviews

Friday, February 24, 2012

Out of the Two comes One - Part Ten

There are many situations that began as though it would be just another day. But like it often is for me as a police officer who is also an active Christian, the true battle was happening beneath my level of immediate awareness. I once had a neighbor, to which I’d been witnessing to about the Lord, and one day at the end of a very long shift, I looked up to see him standing against the wall. I hope you never experience this, but believe me when I say, it is a very bad feeling to look up and see a person that you’ve entertained in your home and been entertained in his, handcuffed and lined up on the wall of the condemned.

This image brought to my mind the day when all the unsaved would be found standing before the Great White Throne, and I wondered how many people I knew who would be in that fateful crowd. Too many times, as I execute my duties on the streets, meeting with several people from all different levels of our society, the image comes back to me again.

When I confront a violator, whether it be for a mere infraction or a felony offense, it always amazes me that some are defiant up to the end, while others admit their fault and are really sorry. Now, I’m not the county magistrate, and I am truly not God, but I can see how much better it is when we freely admit our guilt and seek forgiveness rather than arguing for why we should not be held accountable for our violations. Remember the real-time life lesson I referred to earlier? Well, think about it. If we can be found guilty and condemned for breaking the mere law of man, how great an offense it will be when we, if we are unrepentant, have to stand before God. Remember, I’m not the judge and I’m not God. I’m just a cop who is also a Christian looking forward to the end of shift. Think about it….Just saying.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out of the Two comes One - Part Nine

I guess the only struggle—the one worth actually fighting about is the one we most often overlook: the human struggle. I saw it first while growing up in the dusty red dirt streets of my Selma, Alabama hometown, but failed to recognize it as such. I saw it again when I joined the U.S. Marines, but thought it was just boys being boys. Then in becoming a peace officer, I saw this struggle in a whole new light.

On becoming a police officer, if you will remember my mentioning in an earlier post, one of the first things you experience is the heavy badge. You get this belief that you’re great—that you’re awesome. Not unlike the young Marine who believes he can take on the entire U.S. Army and Navy alone, with one arm tied behind his back just to make the fight fair. Well in transitioning into that world of good guys verses bad guys, cops verses robbers, I saw this human struggle again. This time in the faces of the wives, husbands, children, mothers and fathers who were left to try to put life into some form of normal once their loved one had decided to cross that line.

I watched as young brides kissed dirty glass windows, because the lips of the person they loved were on the other side. Women exposing themselves to hands that would never caress them, and children crying for a daddy they might never know. This was the same struggle seen in the faces of the empty-eyed deputies who slept in the bunkroom because he or she could not face going home to the person they vowed to love forever. Or hearing the latest gossip of two married officers caught having sex in the parking lot just outside the HQ.

This…is the human struggle.

My point—it wasn't until truly seeing “people” in the light, or rather the darkness of their fallen condition, consumed and blinded by sin and its effects, was I really able to see myself in the proper light. For after all, I too am human and have my part in the human struggle. Think about it….Just saying.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Out of the Two comes One - Part Eight

As a peace officer I am constantly asked to make moral decisions, decisions where my judgment is the sole basis on what action I should or should not take. For instance, on a routine traffic stop, do I issue a citation or do I give a warning? Even in the matter of a misdemeanor arrest, do I take my arrestee to jail or do I issue a citation and release them in trust that they will show up at court?

A misdemeanor is a secondary level offense where the punishment is limited to a maximum of one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. On the other hand, a Felony is the highest level of offense where the violation is punishable of any fine amount and can result in sentencing of a minimum of one year in State Prison up to life, and or death as deemed appropriate by the court. The lowest level is an infraction and is only punishable by a fine. So there it is the three levels.

In my 22 plus years of service, I have never had to shoot anyone in the line of duty. However, while working in Southern California, I was once involved in a group of officers that took on random gunfire as a part of a local New Year’s Day celebration: No one was hit and no suspects were ever identified. But, with that said, to shoot or not to shoot is a question I had to answer over two decades ago. This, like any other, is just one of many moral decisions I have to make on a daily basis. If you think about it, it is not too unlike what each of you are called to everyday: to decide the right or the wrong of any given matter. Think about it….Just saying.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Out of the Two comes One - Part Seven

The question of the spiritual is one that often comes up. Let me assure you, it is very real. This is perhaps the one juncture where my two worlds have their greatest overlap. When you think about it, aren’t all the moral questions, the questions of right and wrong, questions of the heart— not the heart in the romantic sense, but in the sense of judgment, of truth—of what we see ultimately as being right or wrong.

There was an occasion when a gentleman had been booked in for a rather heinous crime involving the rape and torture of a child. This man was demon possessed. He would often sit in his cell and have conversations with his unseen host. Now, I know there is such a thing as being mentally ill, but a person who is truly enduring a psychotic episode does, not respond to the verbal command to stop. Verbal commands have little effect in derailing either auditory or visual hallucinations.

This particular inmate was self-destructive and violent. He was known to cut himself and use his own blood to paint his cell walls and write inscriptions on the walls. On this particular day in question, he had taken his reinforced plastic lunch tray and snapped it into several pieces—pieces that could be used as a weapon. It was my job to escort the doctor into the cell in order to administer his medication…i.e., something that would make him sleep.

Because it was my job and pleasure to be the one wearing the badge, I entered the cell approximately three minutes before the doctor. When I entered, this man was growling and cutting himself with a shard from the tray. I stood a safe distance away for him, which was only about five feet in this small cell, and addressed him. I began by saying, “I know you know who I am, and I know you know who Jesus is.” Then I told him that because he knew who Jesus was, I knew he knew he could not touch me. I then told him that he was bound by the power and authority of the name of Jesus, and that he was not allowed to speak or interact as long as the doctor was in the cell…that I only wanted to hear from and speak to the real person whose body it was.

He immediately sat and the growling stopped. He then looked at me with the most pitiful eyes I’d ever seen. Just about that time, the doc walked in and did his routine. On the way out he thanked me for my ability to work with the mentally ill. I laughed and told him the same story I just told you. He nodded, giggled, and walked away shaking his head.

I turned and looked back up at the cell I had just secured behind the doc and myself to see that same inmate raging at an unseen guest, cursing at the world. Of course a few minutes later, he was sound asleep, curled in a ball on the floor. But the point of the story is yes…oh yes, the spiritual is very real ….Just saying.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review***Book Review***Book Review

Book Review: Reflections in Silhouette: Poems by T.L. Cooper

The last time I read poetry Ronald Regan was still in his first term as president. Now comes T.L. Cooper’s Reflections in Silhouette and as I read her sometimes haunting and sometimes light and lyrical stanzas, I found myself caught up in the spirit of reflection. In pieces like “Today I Remembered” and “Hands”, T.L. captures the readers in a wreath of emotions both turbulent and free, forcing one to observe the pain and the triumph intrinsic to the human spirit.
In Reflections, T.L. creates a safe place from which the reader can observe the journey through the dark recesses too often ignored by those who wished evil didn’t exist in the world. Brave enough to lower the curtain into her own heart, T.L. gives the reader that certain leverage where one might be able to find the strength, upon reflection, to go forward into the bright sunshine of their own new day.

Ray Ellis, Author of N.H.I.(No Humans Involved) & D.R.T.( Dead Right There)

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Special Post on Bullying

Bullies: Too Frighten to Unveil

When the topic of bullying was presented to me, several images immediately came to mind; some from over the course of my career in law enforcement and others from my life. From this collection, I would like to share a piece of my own story.
I grew up as a black child in Jim Crow’s South. I remember going to the ticket window at the local movie theater to purchase tickets to see Disney’s, “The Love Bug” and having collected my tickets having to exit the building, walk around to the rear and making my way up the back stairs to the balcony…the Colored section. Even with a child’s heart, I realized this was bullying.
Yes, but not from an individual, rather from a system that was set on the perceived dominance or stronger power based determined to keep the smaller brother disenfranchised. As I grew older and experienced more of the world, I began to see this was true on many different levels: the middle school in- crowd, the high school jocks, and, in the workforce, the chosen inner circle. Even in the world of writing, there is the perception of the “haves” and those of the “will-have-nots”. Bullying is nothing new. And like in the world of my childhood of invisible walls and see through ceilings, we have but to join together and persist in righteousness- or resisting the efforts of the bullies- to see the triumph of the perceived “Little Brothers” .

Ray Ellis, Author of NHI (No Humans Involved) & DRT( Dead Right There)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Best selling author Vincent Zandri's review of D.R.T.

“Ray Ellis’s DRT or Dead Right There is one of those rare crime novels that not only keeps you teetering on the edge of your chair, but reminds you that the jagged line between good and evil is as narrow and painful as the razor’s edge. Penned with blood red imagery and the haunting grace of an old poet, this young author is sure to thrill legions of fans for years to come.”

--Vincent Zandri, bestselling author of The Innocent and Scream Catcher