The good people over at Law Officer came up with a great idea. They posed a question on the Law Officer Facebook page asking fans what they wanted to see Ol’ Bullethead run my mouth about. I was impressed by the number and quality of the responses. I’ll absolutely be going back to that idea well.
The winner this time was Robert Tizon, who wanted me to discuss “Terrorism and the vital role that non-federal law enforcement has in homeland security.” Since it’s the August issue, I thought this was the best topic a decade after 9/11.
I remember where I was and who I was with when the towers went down. Like many of you, I watched that atrocity unfold in real time. Likewise, I remember where I was, who I was with and what we were doing when I got a text from my high-level Pentagon source that said Osama had been killed. I don’t bring these up to brag about my memory, but to show how significant these events were.
I barely remember the order of events from yesterday, but I can tell you that Mrs. Bullethead received a phone call early in the morning on Sept.11, 2001. She turned on the TV and stayed on the phone. I woke up from the movement, then tried to go back to sleep, but I could hear the fear in her voice—and she isn’t scared of much. I walked into the front room of our apartment. I stared groggily at the TV and thought she was watching a movie. She told me, “This is happening right now.”
I was still half asleep and didn’t comprehend, so I checked the other channels. It was the same everywhere and now I was awake. Without additional information, I told Mrs. Bullethead, “The terrorists will not beat us! We have plans so unless we get called into work let’s get going.” The source of the attack was just speculation then, but I define terrorists as people or groups who try to change our behavior through fear, so it didn’t matter to me if it was domestic or foreign—they’re all terrorists. She looked at me as if I’d tattooed a light bar onto my forehead, and then nodded her head.
Fast forward nearly a decade. I was again with my much better half enjoying a nice meal at our favorite Italian restaurant when I got a text message about Osama having been killed. I showed her the message and she asked, “Is he joking?” My source and I talk a lot of trash and joke more than most. I explained this wasn’t something he would ever joke about.
I’m sure all of you have similar, vibrant memories about these instances. They’re burned into my psyche because of the significance they hold for my family, my profession and me. I was in fear when 9/11 happened because it represents the possibility of either death or, worse for me, the destruction of our Constitution and our way of life in the name of what we now call Homeland Security.
Local law enforcement plays an enormous role in the security of our country and our way of life. We are the eyes and ears of the spooks and feds trying to stop and prosecute terrorists. But we aren’t just the first line of defense against the terrorists; we’re also here to preserve the American way of life and the relationship between the government and the citizens. We must be vigilant in our quest to defend this nation while still maintaining our defense of the principles laid out in our Constitution. When each of us took our oath of office we were pledging ourselves to walk the thin line between righteous defense of this great nation and criminal conduct in the name of national security. If we cross this line, the terrorists win. Remember: They don’t just want to kill us. They also want to destroy who we are, how we live and the freedoms we enjoy.
We must embrace this responsibility. The gathering and passing of intelligence has become one of the most critically important aspects of law enforcement. This shouldn’t just be carried out at the taskforce or intelligence officer level. Each of us owns a big piece of this pie. When any of us sees or hears something that doesn’t make sense, we’re obligated by our duty and our oath to capture the information, document it and pass it down the line to others. We can’t become lazy and let these things go if we want to survive. Still, we must never let the Constitution, the greatest document ever created, be thrown out in the name of security.
Got a question or complaint? Let Bullethead hear about it. He'll give you his opinion WITH BOTH BARRELS. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or fax him at 619/699-6246.