Monday, October 27, 2008

Psycho lady cuts up kids, stuffs them in freezer

I just heard about a lady that was arrested for attempting to kill her 7 year old daughter. She had already killed two other kids and cut up their bodies and threw them in the freezer. Usually, for the sake of personal security, I wouldn't say that I'm in that area now, attending a NRA Law Enforcement Instructor shooting course, but I had called up the local Calvert County SWAT commander a couple weeks ago to ask for some local assistance and now I'm here. Anyway, the kid who works at the hotel here behind the desk is the one who found the 7 year old and called the cops. The full story is sickening.

Surely there's a special place in hell reserved for people like that.

It was the Lord himself who said: But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (New Testament | Matthew 18:6)

What greater offense than murder and abuse and torture of innocent little children?! The damnable practice of wholesale abortion and the unspeakable offenses of physical, emotional and sexual abuse is deplorable. No honorable person would be guilty of it. Such things must be stopped.

Occasionally, when caught in the very act of committing a heinous, felonious crime, law enforcement are legally allowed to use deadly force, if needs be, to stop it.

If I've ever had any qualms about why I teach people to kill other people, the thought just disappeared. As my buddy Matt Graham says, "The more effective you are at taking a life the more successful you will be in saving one."

God, save the children. Too many of them suffer.

I recall the words of one U.S. ambassador on an interview with NPR years ago. He spoke about the great conflict of the Hutus and Tutsis in Central Africa. He said he went to a hospital where he saw a young baby girl that had a bayonet stab wound to her genitals. What kind of barbarian would do such a thing?!

I recall the innocent baby I saw in ER when I was called to investigate suspected child abuse only three weeks before our first baby was born. The 3 month old baby girl had a cigarette burn on her cheek, her skull had 7 to 9 fractures. Her arm was broken as was both of her legs. I felt so sorry for her. She screamed and could not be comforted. Her two young parents just stood there. A specialist on child abuse was called in from a local department. He said that according to the wounds, someone took the baby by both legs and smashed her head several times into a hard object, like a table top or a wall or the floor. That's what broke both of her legs and gave her fractures on her tiny little skull.

I cannot help but think of the words of the late prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley. Years ago he had this to say. I can't help but to include the majority of it.

Why are men so vicious as to bring about the causes that lead to such terrible fratricidal conflict? Great, I believe, will be their tribulation in the Day of Judgment when they must stand before the Almighty accused of the suffering and destruction of these little ones. I am grateful for kind and generous people of many faiths and persuasions across the world whose hearts reach out in sympathy, many of whom give freely of their substance, their time, even their presence to help those in such terrible distress. I am grateful that we as a church have done much of significance, as President Monson pointed out last night, in sending medicines, food and clothing, and blankets for warmth and shelter to those who suffer so terribly, and particularly to children who otherwise most certainly would die.

Why should they suffer so much in so many places? Surely God, our Eternal Father, must weep when he sees the abuse that is heaped upon his little ones, for I am satisfied they hold a special place in his grand design. That place was confirmed when his Son, the Savior of the world, walked the dusty roads of Palestine.

“And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

“But Jesus … said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:15–17).

How great is our responsibility, how serious the responsibility of Christian people and men and women of goodwill everywhere to reach out to ease the plight of suffering children, to lift them from the rut of despair in which they walk.

Of course such suffering is not new. Plagues of disease have in centuries past swept across continents. War has caused the deaths of millions who were totally innocent. Children have been bartered and traded; they have been used as tools by vicious masters; they have mined coal for long hours day after day in the dark and cold depths of the earth; they have worked in sweatshops and been exploited like cheap merchandise.

Surely after all of the history we have read, after all of the suffering of which we have been told, after all of the exploitation of which we are aware, we can do more than we are now doing to lift the blight that condemns millions of children to lives that know little of happiness, that are tragically brief, and that are filled with pain.

And we need not travel halfway across the earth to find weeping children. Countless numbers of them cry out in fear and loneliness from the evil consequences of moral transgression, neglect, and abuse. I speak plainly, perhaps indelicately. But I know of no other way to make clear a matter about which I feel so strongly.

One major problem is the now-common phenomenon of children bearing children, of children without fathers. Somehow there seems to be in the minds of many young men, and some not so young, the idea that there is no relationship between the begetting of a child and responsibility for its life thereafter. Every young man should realize that whenever a child is begotten outside the bonds of marriage, it has resulted from violation of a God-given commandment reaching at least as far back as Moses. Further, let it be known clearly and understood without question that responsibility inevitably follows, and that this responsibility will continue throughout life. Though the mores of our contemporary society may have crumbled to a point where sexual transgression is glossed over or is regarded as acceptable, there will someday be accountability before the God of heaven for all that we do in violation of his commandments. I believe further that a sense of accountability must at some time bear upon every man who has fathered a child and then abandoned responsibility for its care. He must sometimes stop and wonder whatever became of the child he fathered, of the boy or girl who is flesh of his flesh and soul of his soul.

The burdens that fall upon a young woman who alone must rear her child are unbelievably heavy and consuming. They are likewise heavy upon society through taxes levied to meet the needs of such children and their mothers.

In the United States “in the six years between 1985 and 1990, estimated public outlays related to teenage child-bearing totalled more than $120 billion. …

“Of unmarried teens who give birth, 73 percent will be on welfare within four years [that is almost three out of every four].

“In 1991 federal and state expenditures for aid to families with dependent children … totalled $20 billion plus administrative costs of $2.6 billion” (Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children, New York: Carnegie Corporation, April 1994, p. 21).

The obstacles facing children born and reared in such circumstances are formidable, to say the least.

The answer is straightforward. It lies in adherence to the principles of the gospel and the teaching of the Church. It lies in self-discipline.

Would that every youth might realize this and be governed accordingly. There would be so much less of heartache and heartbreak. Its importance cannot be overemphasized because the consequences are so serious and so everlasting.

I realize that notwithstanding all of the teaching that can be done, there will be those who will not heed and will go their willful way only to discover to their shock and dismay that they are to become parents, while they are scarcely older than children themselves.

Abortion is not the answer. This only compounds the problem. It is an evil and repulsive escape that will someday bring regret and remorse.

Marriage is the more honorable thing. This means facing up to responsibility. It means giving the child a name, with parents who together can nurture, protect, and love.

When marriage is not possible, experience has shown that adoption, difficult though this may be for the young mother, may afford a greater opportunity for the child to live a life of happiness. Wise and experienced professional counselors and prayerful bishops can assist in these circumstances.

Then there is the terrible, inexcusable, and evil phenomenon of physical and sexual abuse.

It is unnecessary. It is unjustified. It is indefensible.

In terms of physical abuse, I have never accepted the principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child.” I will be forever grateful for a father who never laid a hand in anger upon his children. Somehow he had the wonderful talent to let them know what was expected of them and to give them encouragement in achieving it.

I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons. I am satisfied that such punishment in most instances does more damage than good. Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement. They need fathers to whom they can look with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need example.

I recently read a biography of George H. Brimhall, who at one time served as president of Brigham Young University. Concerning him, someone said that he reared “his boys with a rod, but it [was] a fishing rod” (Raymond Brimhall Holbrook and Esther Hamilton Holbrook, TheTall Pine Tree: The Life and Work of George H. Brimhall, n.p., 1988, p. 62). That says it all.

And then there is the terrible, vicious practice of sexual abuse. It is beyond understanding. It is an affront to the decency that ought to exist in every man and woman. It is a violation of that which is sacred and divine. It is destructive in the lives of children. It is reprehensible and worthy of the most severe condemnation.

Shame on any man or woman who would sexually abuse a child. In doing so, the abuser not only does the most serious kind of injury. He or she also stands condemned before the Lord.

It was the Master himself who said, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). How could he have spoken in stronger terms?

If there be any within the sound of my voice who may be guilty of such practice, I urge you with all of the capacity of which I am capable to stop it, to run from it, to get help, to plead with the Lord for forgiveness and make amends to those whom you have offended. God will not be mocked concerning the abuse of his little ones.

When the resurrected Lord appeared on this hemisphere and taught the people, the record states that as he spoke to them, “he wept, … and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

“And when he had done this he wept again” (3 Ne. 17:21–22).

There is no more tender and beautiful picture in all of sacred writing than this simple language describing the love of the Savior for little children.

Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood. Of all the responsibilities with which we struggle, none other is so serious. To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges. The good result from such efforts becomes life’s most satisfying compensation.

President Joseph F. Smith said on one occasion: “After all, to do well those things which God ordained to be the common lot of all man-kind, is the truest greatness. To be a successful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successful general or a successful statesman. One is universal and eternal greatness, the other is ephemeral” (Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 285).

I am satisfied that no other experiences of life draw us nearer to heaven than those that exist between happy parents and happy children.

My plea—and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it—is a plea to save the children. Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair. Children need sunlight. They need happiness. They need love and nurture. They need kindness and refreshment and affection. Every home, regardless of the cost of the house, can provide an environment of love which will be an environment of salvation....

Save the children. Too many suffer and weep. God bless us to be mindful of them, to lift them and guide them as they walk in dangerous paths, to pray for them, to bless them, to love them, to keep them secure until they can run with strength of their own, I pray in the name of him who loves them so very much, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Death Notification Letter

Dear Mrs. ––,

We regret to inform you of your husband’s death. We know it comes as striking news to you, your family and loved ones. How tragic that men, and women alike, must depart from this life at such a young age. Our deepest sympathies and affections are extended to you and your family. We – and I especially – cannot begin to comprehend the grief and sorrow that you’ll experience within the next few days.

In this vocation lives of good men, like your husband, are put on the line to save others, and to better the society in which we must live. This means any small error can be costly. Our team failed to protect your husband, and together we will forever regret it.

We honored and revered your husband – our brother – in life; we wish to bequeath his memory in death. God bless you; may He remain with you and comfort you in your trials and loneliness.

We extend to you our deepest regrets and most sincere apologies.

Respectfully yours,

Jeffrey Denning
Delta Squad

That was a pseudo-letter I wrote at a Special Operations Response School (SORT) I attended many years ago. The letter isn't real, but the content is poignant and has validity. The letter meant even more to the operators on that training team whose teammate died the year before in an incident.

Last week, and this up-coming week, I get the privilege of working with several law enforcement and private security professionals, engaging in shooting and tactical training. I enjoyed speaking with some of them about various SWAT incidents and police shootings, and I've made some new friends in different parts of the U.S. and throughout various agencies.

My participation once again reminded me of the importance to train hard and train realistically. In a job where lives are on the line, it is imperative that those who train must to so to their utmost ability. There cannot be negligence or irresponsibility. And, those in charge of training must know their jobs well. You cannot draw water from an empty bucket. Continued training is imperative.

A couple SWAT commanders have asked me recently to assist in training their teams. If I could, I'd donate time, energy and literally millions of dollars to help my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. We sleep comfortably in our beds only because noble, brave sentries guard the night. They are the ones who stand between us and the criminals, crazies and cranks. To borrow the words of another, they do the things we're too afraid, too unskilled or too civilized to do for ourselves. We want to be protected, but we really don't want to see how it's done.

To all the unsung warriors in thankless jobs, to include their families who often bear the sorrows and frustrations of such a livelihood vicariously, thank you. Thank you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thirty Pounds Frustrated

A couple weeks after being home from Iraq (earlier this summer), I wrote an article for They published it online this month. If you happen to read it, please fill in where I messed up -- a syntax error here, a grammatical error there.

I've thought about those days over four months ago now. There definitely was a transitional period for me when returning home from Iraq that was quite strange, but I feel great today. I'm back to my normal self. Studies show, however, that soldiers exhibit greatest problems between 6 and 8 months after deployment.

Today a law enforcement officer showed me a CCTV-taped video of a Marine back from Iraq who shot and killed two cops at a corner store. I guess some can lose the weight of anger and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or they can gain it, as the cited example suggests.

As far as our fifth baby goes (see picture below), did I mention she was the result of my very relaxing Caribbean cruise during mid-tour break? I suggested to a retired cop that such a trip is highly recommended. She replied that if pregnancy was the end result of a Caribbean cruise, she didn't want it. I enjoyed the humor.

Read the article Thirty Pounds Frustrated here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 23, 1983 Beirut USMC Barracks Bombing

American lost over 200 military men in a deadly strike in Lebanon over 25 years ago today. French troops were attacked as well in a simultaneous explosion down the street. While there were a few car/truck bombs before that time, this attack was the proverbial harbinger. It would usher in the modern-day era and future of suicidal terrorist tactics. This attack would motivate bin Laden in a way that had not done so before. Mainly, because the U.S. pulled out of Lebanon after this fatal blow.

Today is a time for reflection and honoring those who've fallen. The War on Terror didn't happen on 9/11; it happened long before then.

Mormon Family Supporting Traditional Marriage Targeted

SUV Denouncing Mormon Family's
Support for Prop 8 is Finally Moved

By Sandra Gonzales

10/22/2008 06:27:46 PM PDT

After San Jose residents Michele and Bob Sundstrom placed a Yes on 8 banner on their home, they found this sport-utility vehicle parked in front of their home Sunday with anti-Proposition 8 slogans painted on the windows.

At last, the SUV with the inflammatory slogans denouncing a San Jose family for supporting Proposition 8 is gone from Harwood Road.

"They came last night, washed the paint off and drove away," said Bob Sundstrom, whose family incurred the wrath of two gay-marriage supporters after the family hung a huge banner on their garage in favor of the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage. "What a relief, I'm happy it's gone."

Sunday, two women in a Chevrolet Surbuban drove up in front of the Sundstrom's home and painted their sport-utility vehicle's windows with slogans accusing the devout Mormon family of seven of being "bigots" and "haters."

So for the next few days, the Sundstroms were forced to reckon with the eyesore. Police told them the vehicle would be towed away if was not moved in three days.

Tuesday evening, however, one of the women whom Sundstrom recognized from the previous encounter showed up, washed off the slogans and then left in the SUV.

"She wasn't in the mood for conversation. It's obvious we weren't going to change each other's view," Sundstrom said. "She brought her own bucket to wash off the paint."

The SUV is registered to Mara McWilliams and Renee Mangrum, who married in 2004 when San Francisco began performing gay marriages. Neither could be reached for comment.

Even now, the entire episode still rankles Sundstrom.

"It astounds me that someone would do this," he said. "It's been quite a civics lesson for me and my friends."

Low-Light Shooting Techniques

In the November issue of Tactical Weapons, which I have right here next to me, there's a big article about Matthew Graham, a former Federal Air Marshal (and personal friend) who invented the Graham shooting technique. He now owns his own business as a top-notch firearms and tactics instructor. If you go on SureFire's website, you can see the product he invented, called Combat Rings.

I shot last night, and showed the technique to several others in the law enforcement/private security realm. The Graham method is a hit among anyone who knows anything about night or low-light shooting. I know because I showed it to guys who've been shooting for several years and they liked the Graham method best. Of course, this tiny blog entry doesn't give the Graham technique justice, and I don't plan on explaining it here. But, suffice it to say, Matt Graham is one of the best operators I've ever had the pleasure to work with. You can check out his website here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's Most Important

Nothing outside the home really matters. While it is important to balance work, recreation, social and physical development, et al, nothing is as important to me as my wife and children. When things are good at home, it's really good. I feel so very blessed.

I was on Fox

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Our 5th Baby

The Future of Aviation Security

Not too long ago, I was interviewed by with a very impressive group of experts about aviation security. For an interesting read (mostly from my colleagues' comments), check out the interview here:

Documentary Film, Movie Trailer I am in

Click on Movie Trailer.

I Believe in Angels

In a recent General Conference for the church I belong to, a leader declared:

From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children...

Usually such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the whole world.

Yes, I believe in angels. And, as the result of a Caribbean cruise my wife and I took when I was on mid-tour leave from Iraq, we were blessed with an angel in the form of a tiny baby girl a few days ago. Our life is extremely blessed.

Police Raid and Potential Danger

I've done something akin to this before, but it was with a door on a house. Fortunately, no one got hurt because we were standing in a safe area. This is the reason why training is so vital and important.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Israeli Military Hostages Released -- Bodies Only

A colleague in international counterterrorism, with whom I have been in contact with over time, has a poignant question posed on a Jerusalem Online video blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Suicide Bombing and Imagery

For a great read, check this out. The book, by Dr. Nancy Kobrin, is sure to leave you captivated. Having read the manuscript, I can attest to that.