Friday, September 16, 2011


Dreams mean many things to many different people. To some, they are just nonsensical wanderings of a mind trying to rest and recharge. To others, it can be a window into your subconscious. To still others, it can be a way for the untapped portions of the human mind to awaken with E. S. P. and precognition.

I tend to have leanings toward the first school of thought, that dreams mean nothing in the same way a screen saver on a computer means nothing. That if you had a bad dream it just means you ate some bad chili before you went to bed or something similar.

I have had good dreams and bad. I usually do not remember dreaming at all. The dreams that I remember are usually startling in their clarity or just shocking. I have dreamed of being one of the few survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse struggling against the horde. I have dreamed of being a stock car driver, a dragon slayer, and of being married with a Wife and Children. I have even dreamed of my own death at the hands of Conan the Barbarian. I was fairly certain that it was impossible to die in a dream, but have since found that it is actually common to do so.

I have even had a couple of dreams of spending time with my Father, who as of September 4th died 9 years ago. As nice as these dreams are, I still believe that they are nothing more than an Idea manifested into a visualization so the brain can rest in some weird way. That is until last night.

Last night I dreamed of him again. The dream was rather strange and detailed in its entirety and will skip most of it here.

I was out conducting Home Visits, a routine part of my Job, when a rather non-routine situation arose at a particular house and I had to call 911 for assistance. As Deputies arrived and began handling the situation, two uniforms approached me. One was my Father in his best Class A High Sheriff Uniform. The other was also my Father, but twenty years younger, skinnier, a head full of hair, and wearing a regular Deputy Uniform.

I noticed that the Deputy version was looking me up and down, sizing me up, and what he saw...he only has contempt for. The Sheriff asked me how I am holding up, and I gave him what was my usual answer, "Fine" along with a rundown of what happened in the situation.

As I finished my tale, the Deputy version scoffed and said "I could have handled that without crying for help." But, the voice was not that of my Father, but my own. The Deputy continued with his speech, "I'm not a quitter. I'm a member of the Greatest SWAT team in the Country. I'm an accomplished marksman, you should see all the 1st place trophies in my case. I'm married and have a Child on the way. What do you have? You've accomplished nothing but failure!"

I was brought almost to tears by that comments and was about to throw a retort back when the Sheriff said, "Don't pay him any attention, he's my shadow. He is who you believe you should be. But, he isn't real. He isn't the man I raised. I didn't raise you to be just another me. You have blazed your own path in life and stepped out of my shadow to become the man that you are. And for that I am proud of you." As he took me in his arms, the alarm clock went off.

I have never hated that alarm clock any more than in those moments after waking up and was this || close to shooting it.

Now, I do not know if God allows the Dead to truly come to us in our dreams to speak to us. Or more likely just my subconscious mind, knowing of my inner struggles and demons, providing a visualization of those darkest fears and most cherished hopes. But, I do know that this dream is one that I hope to always remember.

Semper Fi Deus


Thursday, June 23, 2011

CYA: Cover Your Agency

A slogan preached and harped on at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and perfected at my Agency. Over two years after the wreck Agent S and I receive an email from my Assistant Agent In Charge advising that we are going to the Post-Critical Incident Seminar (PCIS) at Headquarters.

After receiving the Email I talked with Agent S about it, trying to figure out why I was going. With her it made since (two years too late, but still) nearly dying tends have an effect on someone. It comes down to C. Y. A., at least according to my Supervisor and Casey from Sandyland.

To me, it makes absolutely no since and that is apparently the exact reason why I am going. With State Government, if it does not make any since that is what will happen.

First off, it has been two long years. The issues that I had and have are safely compartmentalized somewhere deep in my head...and I guess that is the real issue is it not. I know deep down in that locked off and barricaded compartment that I am still standing on that median watching events unfold before me. Fighting the urges that I know will only hinder rescue. Doing what has to be done as I stop the EMTs and remove their gun belts (hindering rescue anyway) and gather their belongings. The issue is I do not want to go through it again. It is locked off and barricaded, leave it be...but that is not to be the way of it.

Now, I have to drag it out piece by piece. This time before fellow Gunslingers, not random Sheeple or those that were there, but Gunslingers. Those who have gone through much worse, and that makes me afraid of looking like a fool.

I voiced this to Agent S (not the whole thing, just the looking like a fool part), who dashed my seemingly logical argument to pieces with a single statement, "You can be there for me." Not only does this make me look stupidly selfish for putting my wants before the needs of another, but also appealed to my ego. What Gunslinger can resist rescuing the girl.

Second, after Agent S set me straight on the reason that I was going, I begged the question, "Was Agent L going as well?" As it turns out, the answer is no. In the AAICs divine wisdom, he has determined that it would be best for a Chaplin from the Department to speak with her and decide whether or not it would be proper for her to attend this or another PCIS...I had to stop myself from responding to this seemingly idiotic reply.

Luckily Agent S did so for me. Her argument, "Proper! She is the most physically and emotionally scared of us all! If anyone needs this it's her!" The AAIC stopped her, "I'm not prepared to have a discussion about this. This is the way things are going to be." The discussion continued and down graded to a point that I needed to tell Agent S that it was time to go.

Looking back on it now, with a clear head, he was right. He just did not explain his position in any shape, form, or fashion. It now makes since to have a professional speak with Agent L and discuss what her needs are. Whether it be a one on one with the Chaplin or going to a PCIS or doing nothing at all at this time. To have them determine what would be best for her...and the Agency. Because in the end, it is all about Covering the Agency.

As a side note, Agent L has made little progress in the past two years. She still has a long road ahead of her and there is much blocking her path.

Semper Fi Deus


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Gunslinger's guide to Hitchhikers

Today as I was leaving my home on the hill, heading out to do some typical grocery shopping in my personal vehicle. In order to avoid traffic I was traveling down a rural two lane road. This particular road has more homes on it and traffic than some of the rural roads that I have been on, but this day was a sleepy one.

As I was approaching a particularly sharp turn, that I normally take at speed, something told me to slow down. As I was coming out of the turn, I was met by a dirty man with a Grizzly Adams look to him in the middle of my lane. I slammed on the brakes, cut the wheel hard to the left and missed the man by inches. I got off the brakes to regain control just before plunging into the embankment on the left side of the road and managed to get back into my lane. Thank God for Emergency Vehicle Training.

I hit my emergency flashers and stopped my vehicle a little ways down the road, just before entering the next turn. I quickly exited my vehicle and turned the way I had just come. But, the guy was nowhere to be seen. I then heard a tapping on my passenger window. I wheeled around and before I knew what was going on, I was looking down the sights of my Glock 22 at Mr Grizzly Adams.

His hands shot high above his head and he started yelling, "Don't Shoot! Don't Shoot!" I ordered him to the front of my vehicle. As he cautiously moved, my gun followed him. He started to try and explain what he was doing and I told him to shut up. He did so. Once he was in front of my vehicle a though hit me, He may have friends. I glanced around quickly and did not see anyone else around. Nothing but woods and road.

After my look around I told Mr Adams to put both hands on the hood of the vehicle. As he did so he started trying to explain himself again, "Man I was just looking for..." "Shut Up And Put Your Hands On The Hood!" He did as ordered. I slowly made my way behind the man, still keeping my gun trained on him. Once I was behind Mr. Adams by a few feet, I told him to take a step back with both feet, put his chest on the hood, and place his hands behind his back...slowly. Once he did so, almost falling in the process, I took control of his hands and holstered my weapon.

I did a quick pat down of Mr Adams, while he started his explanation again, "Man, I'm sorry! I was just lookin' for a ride. I didn't mean to scare you or nothin' like that. I was just lookin' for a ride." While conducting the pat down I thought I smelled Alcohol, but could not be sure with the overwhelming body odor.

When I finished my pat down and did not find any weapons on Mr Adams, I released his hands and stepped back several feet. I then told Mr Adams to get off of my hood and have a seat on the side of the road. He started apologizing again and again, I told him to shut up. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911. After a few rings the Operator picked up. I explained who I was (Plain Clothes Officer), where I was, and told them what was going on. Basically, a suspicious person trying to hitchhike while standing in the middle of the road, that I was out with this person, and that a Deputy need to be here yesterday.

Once the guy understood what I was doing he started yelling, "He pulled a F&%$ing gun on me!" and started to get up. "SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!" I bellowed. Mr Adams did so. I then heard the 911 Operator ask, "Sir, did you pull a gun on him?" "Yes, but he is no longer being held at gun point and before you ask, yes, the weapon is holstered on my person." "Okay, sir, Deputy's are on their way. Do you need me to stay on the line while they are coming?" I paused at the question, thinking You just learned that a gun is involved in this and you don't want to stay on the line? "No, I believe I need to call my Supervisor and let her know what going on. I'll call back if the situation changes." "Okay, sir. Good luck."

I hung up the phone and dialed my Supervisor at home. Mr Adams started shifting and I glared at him, he stopped. My Supervisor picked up the phone, "Yes, Goose?" "Before you hear it on the news..." "Oh Jesus!" I admit probably not the best way to start a serious conversation, "It's not as bad as all that, but getting pretty close."

I explained what happened thus far...short version. "Do you have your badge on you?" She asked. I replied, "Am I awake? As a matter of fact I think I sleep with..." "Goose!" "Yes, I have it, credentials too." "Good, I'll call the AIC (Agent In Charge) and fill him in. Make sure that your badge is the first thing the Deputy sees." I started to hear the faint sound of a single unmistakable Police siren, "I hear them coming, got to go." "Good luck."

As I heard the siren get closer, I pulled out my badge wallet. Mr Adams shied away until he saw what I had. I started to crack a smile until the Deputy rounded the turn and slammed on his brakes. He stopped a few yards from me. I opened and raised my badge wallet. I put my right hand well above my head. The Deputy quickly got out of his car and asked, "Where's the gun?!" "It's holstered on my right hip,"

I then explained to the Deputy who I was. He ordered me to show him the gun and I turned towards him, while slowly lifting my outer shirt and exposing the holstered gun. The Deputy approached cautiously and with his gun half out of the holster. As the Deputy approached, Mr Adams started talking and started to get it up, "This guy if F&%$ing nuts man!". In tandem the Deputy and I both yelled, "SIT DOWN!" After hearing me order the guy, he relaxed a little, but his hand stayed on his gun.

He took my badge wallet and examined the credentials and badge, "I need to see your Driver's license." "It's in my wallet, in my back Right pants pocket." He ordered me to get it. Just in case I pulled out my Concealed Weapons Permit as well. He examined them and then gave the badge wallet back, he clipped my Licenses under his pens on the front of his shirt. He talked into his radio, "Cancel emergency assistance, I just need one extra unit." A chorus of call signs advised that they were canceling their run and going back to their regular patrols, except one unit.

He advised that he was canceling lights and sirens, but was still enroute. The Deputy then turned his attention to me. "What's going on?" "Can I put my hands down?" He nodded and I explained everything that happened. I was finishing up as the other unit arrived. This second Deputy was a K9 unit and when he got out, I immediately recognized him. We have been friends since before either of us joined the Sheriffs Office.

He walked up and greeted me and told the first Deputy, "He's good man. He's one of us," as he pulled my License from the pen clip and gave them back to me. "Who's this guy?" Deputy 2 asked. Mr Adams by this time turned sulky. "We don't know yet, but he almost got creamed by Mr Goose here, before he almost got shot for his trouble." Deputy 1 said. Deputy 2 walked over to Mr Adams asked him to stand up and for some ID.

At first Mr Adams was unsure about standing up, but eventually did it. Once up he stated that he did not have any ID, but gave his name. Deputy 1 ran the name while Deputy 2 questioned him. Mr Adams said that he was trying to get to a city in an adjoining jurisdiction and would not say from where he had come. After talking with Mr Adams for a few minutes, Deputy 2 asked if he had been drinking. Mr. Adams grew sulky again and said, "What's that got to do with anything?" "The fact is you did something pretty stupid and almost got killed twice in less than a minute. I can also smell alcohol on your breath. Now, have you been drinking?" Mr Adams sighed and said, "Not really." With out skipping a beat, Deputy 2 said, "Well then you shouldn't have any problem passing a few tests."

Deputy 2 then did several field sobriety tests on Mr Adams, which he failed. Mr Adams was then handcuffed, searched, and placed in the back on the patrol car. The one without the K9. Deputy 2 then got a form out of the back of his car while Deputy 1 took Mr Adams to the County jail for Disorderly Conduct and to confirm his name. The name that he gave could not be confirmed. I then wrote out a statement of which I was given a copy. We then said our farewells and went our separate ways.

I then started heading back toward the store and called my Supervisor back. I told her what happened and she said that she would call the AIC back and let him know how it turned out. She hung up letting me know that there is a meeting in my future. Great.

Just as a side note. The entire time this was going on, not one car passed by, nor was seen until I got to the main road. That will teach me to try and avoid traffic.

Semper Fi Deus


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It has been long in coming, but I have finally found something worth writing about that does not involve gripping about work.

I am not sure what is going on with the local population of offenders, but they have apparently all gathered together and decided to get arrested for as much as possible as of late. The past week has been spent either sitting in my Supervisors office writing warrants or in the local Jail serving them.

One particular incident involves an Offender that Casey once supervised. Casey even wrote a post about this offender, Chuckles, in Once you're hooked, you're hooked. I was approached several days ago about this case, by the now Supervising Agent and agreed to help take him back to Jail. I was then reminded of this promise when the fateful time came when Chuckles arrived today.

Chuckles went into the handcuffs easily enough and we went through the routine of searching and reading the violations without issue. It was not until we sat him in the car that he decided that he was done being good. Agent S was about to put the seat belt on Chuckles when he said, "You ain't puttin' no Seat belt on me." There was no argument from either Agent S or myself.

Agent S, who has more years in Law Enforcement than I have been on Earth, closed the door and told me to give him my gun. I begrudgingly did so and he told me that I would be riding in the back seat with Chuckles. I slid into the backseat and belted myself in before buckling Chuckles in. Chuckles promptly unbuckled himself and I promptly rebuckled him before the buckle left the catch fully (try saying that five times fast). Chuckles got the idea the seat belt was going to stay on for the duration of the trip.

However, a few minutes later, Chuckles decided to go into a tirade about the evils of the United States Criminal Justice System and the South Carolina System in particular. The tirade included all the usual material, The purpose of our Agency is only to milk money out of the unjustly convicted, how Criminals are allowed to roam the streets while he is arrested on money violations (despite the fact that warrant was two pages long for new convictions), etcetera, etcetera. Agent S and myself, being horribly sarcastic, nodded in all the right places and agreed at the end of every sentence.

Once at the Jail, Chuckles was fine all the way through the first door of the Sally port. However, as the door was beginning to close, Chuckles made a move toward the exit. Agent S grabbed a hold of his arms and turned him back in the direction we were supposed to go.

This set Chuckles off into a new tirade of the usual fighting mantra, "Don't touch me!" "Take these cuffs off and I'll kick your @#%" etcetera, etcetera. Still, Agent S and I did not say a word. Agent S escorted Chuckles to a holding cell that was unoccupied, while I opened the door. Chuckles went in, and the door was closed just as Chuckles turned and slammed himself into the now locked door. Chuckles then began yelling insults and curses culminating in kicking the Steel door 15 to 20 times as hard as he could.

While Agent S completed the booking paperwork, I went to the Booking Officers and advised that we had an offender that would likely fight once uncuffed. To be honest I have never seen these Officers work with such efficiency. Since, Chuckles was kicking the door hard enough to be heard throughout the entire building, they were already set to go.

As we were heading back to the holding cells I saw that chuckles was nose to glass at a local Police Officer who was standing by to help. This Police Officer, who had already placed his prisoner in Jail custody and was on his way out, stopped to give Chuckles a little wisdom, "You need to calm down or they're goin' to &^%# you up." Which of course sent Chuckles into another tirade.

I stopped in front of the cell door with the Police Officer, Agent S, and four large booking officers at my back. With Chuckles still yelling, I said calmly, "This is how this is gonna go." Chuckles ended his rant and listened for a change. "If you're calm and don't try to fight in any way, these gentlemen behind me are going to do the regular booking proceedure without any undue fuss. But, if you start fighting or cursing or are unruly in any way, this is goin' to go sideways for you in a hurry...Cool?"

Without a seconds pause he responded, "I'm not afraid of being $^%#ed up! And I don't appreciate this guy," pointing at the Police Officer, "saying that I should be!" I interrupted with, "Hey, that's not being cool and will send this thing sideways!"

Chuckles stopped and actually thought for a second or two before responding, "Okay, I'll be cool. I'm Cool." I then stepped out of the way as the Booking Officers opened the door. Chuckles stepped out and the Booking Officers escorted him the rest of the way into the Jail and booked in without further incident.

I figured at that point our adventures with Chuckles would be over for a while, but a couple of hours later, the Agent in charge of Chuckles came and got Agent S and I. The local Magistrate had apparently called to inform her of what happened at the bond hearing.

Even though we are on fairly good terms with most of the Local Magistrates, we hardly ever hear from them unless we do something wrong with the paperwork. This Magistrate, I will call Magistrate H, is in my opinion one of the best in this Jurisdiction. He is always calm, cool, collected, and best of all...Fair, with even the most hardened criminal. He does not take sides and always decides on a fair bond based on the violations, likely hood of fleeing from court, and danger to the community.

Anyway Magistrate H, called to advise that Chuckles had earned himself a temporary No Bond due to receiving a 15 day contempt of Court charge. Temporary, due to the fact that unlike most of the Magistrates that I know, who would leave it at No Bond and let a Circuit Court Judge hash out bond reduction in a month or two. Magistrate H, wanted to revisit the Bond issue after Chuckles has had 15 days to cool off.

So, I guess I will be revisiting this issue in 15 days or so. Hopefully this will the maximum limit of excitement for while.

Semper Fi Deus


Monday, November 29, 2010

Different Level of Eww

Apparently I am in the mood for remakes. So, I cry pardon for the slightly skewed content.

The past few months have been trying. Most days I come home and just about crawl right into bed. With that comes flashbacks of when I quit previous jobs. Most notably when I quit my position as Deputy Sheriff.

I have been trying to avoid blogging with a whining undertone, but I find it impossible to avoid any longer.

Caseloads are rising to impossible levels. Days are spent either typing warrants, serving warrants, fighting with Supervisors as why a warrant has to be issued, or taking 70 - 80 reports on any given report day.

The silver lining is that our agency managed to scrap together enough money to hire a replacement for the 20 plus people that have left since I have been at this office. That is correct they hired one person. A person that will have to complete the Criminal Justice Academy before they are ready to take on a caseload. Our Agency track record within the CJA is not exactly stellar and we do not hold much hope for the new hire.

Most of the Women that are stationed in Cubicles around the New Hire give the cold shoulder. A defence mechanism derived from years of disappointment. Everyone wants to welcome the New Hire in, but we all know that it is a 50/50 shot that they will make it back from the Academy. If they do, Hazzah, everyone rejoices. If they do not, they are sent west to look for other employment.

Meanwhile, the office scuttlebutt is in full swing. Every thing is talked about, from the State wide possibilities that our Agency might be forced into the same money grubbing sink hole that is the South Carolina Department of Corrections, to lay offs, to furloughs. Then there are the Office wide possibilities of pooling caseloads. Casey, you got out just in time.

At the moment these are only rumors. If they become more, I will discuss them in further detail.

With so much going on it was interesting that Work Mom chose now to bring up the subject of my love life. In an office dominated by Women it is hard to avoid the Subject. Most of the Women in my office, I would imagine, either view me as a Son or Brother. Most notably Work Mom, hence the name. I have known for some time that these particular Women had taken it upon themselves to find me that perfect woman.

Work Mom has always toyed with the idea of me hooking up with her younger Sister, who apparently has taken a similar interest in not dating. I am not entirely sure why Work Mom has this fascination, since I have always managed to get under her skin in one way or another. But, obviously this a top level requirement in a Brother-in-Law.

She even managed to get us to meet. Having her sister drop her off at the office for the Sex Offender checks Halloween night. It was a brief conversation of, "Hi, Nice to meet you, heard a lot about you, I'm going to go ruin a Pedophile's night now, bye." Obviously that made quite the impression.

A month later and another Holiday behind us, Work Mom comes to my desk with a sticky note. This sticky note has a name and phone number on it. That of her Sister. She hands me the note and says, "I think my sister would like for you to give her a call sometime." The only thought to come to my mind is a question, "You think or she said?" She rolled her eyes and replied, "She said." Before I could reply she was called away.

Now, here is where my mind went somewhere it should not have. Considering the fact that I view this lady as my Work Mom and she basically told me to go on a date with her I really have to spell it out. Oedipus Rex it is not (Praise God, finding the Acid for an Acid bath these days is hard), but why my mind would go there is a little disturbing. It probably went into that gutter as some measure of stress relief, but how that is possible by causing more stress is beyond me.

At this point I am weighing my options (procrastination by any other name), but more information is needed. But, again as things develop you all will be among those to know.

Semper Fi Deus


Friday, September 24, 2010


Anyone who has read this blog about a year ago has seen this issue come up before. The issue, Creepy Crawlies and Female Agents who do not like them.

As of late our Government building has been inundated with a not so small arthropod called the millipede. Given the alternative I would rather have the millipede than his not so friendly cousin the centipede. Since, centipedes are carnivorous and (depending on the species) can have a nasty bite. The millipede on the other hand is herbivorous and would like nothing more than to be left alone.

So far this week, I know I have come running to the sound of shrieks, squeals, and the caterwaul of my name, at least two to three times a day, because of this "bug".

At first I thought it was funny and tried to simple explain that it is not dangerous or gross unless you scare them (some species have a...smelly defense), therefore unnecessary to squeal or scream. This done while wrangling the little fellow into an empty trash can and whisking him away to the outside world.

However, I soon realized that the speeches were not doing any good, when I found one of the Female Agents in question, crouching in her $300 office chair. The offending millipede was taken out on one of the files that the Female Agent had thrown at him.

In another instance, I was taking reports when I heard my named bellowed by Agent M (who never bellows). I ran out of the reporting area to where she was and for my trouble was met with laughter. "Wow, I didn't expect you to come running" was her explanation. I then asked what the issue was and she pointed at the wall behind me. At first I did not see anything until a speck moved.

It was in fact a 1/4 inch cockroach. I grabbed a nearby magazine and smote it. I apparently hit the little guy with more force than I needed to, since his insides (and the ink from the cover of the magazine) are now permanently emblazoned on the wall. A few seconds later Casey came rushing around the corner, having mistaken the loud Whap for something more sinister.

Finally, there was also another incident involving George the cockroach. Unfortunately, for George I was out on Home Visits with Casey at the time. According to Work Mom (and everyone else in the reporting area) she was taking a report, when out of nowhere George appears on her desk. Work Mom (and the offender) freaked out and began screaming.

Agent W, who has a clear line of sight from her report day cube to that of Work Mom, rushed over and saw George and also freaked. However, Agent W is not exactly like the other women in the office. While the other women were freaking out, Agent W went and got a broom several rooms away and went back.

The ensuing battle was apparently epic, resulting in a victorious Agent W, a destroyed broom, and the death of George. Agent W later told me after everyone left, "I broke the F%&#er in six pieces and he was still crawin' away! But, I got'em!" I then recounted my previous experience with George and she said, "Well F%&#! If you had takin' care of business then, we wouldn't have had to deal this S%&# today! What the F%&# is the matter with you?!" She then stomped away.

Moving from work to home, my attic has apparently been invaded by an unknown rodent. Having been woken last night to a scratching noise that I later found to be coming from the attic door in the ceiling. Having just finished watching Signs by M. Night Shyamalan a few hours earlier and being half asleep, I was not taking any chances. I grabbed my Glock and sprang from my bed. It was easy to find where the noise was coming from since the house cats were all in the hallway staring intently at the attic door.

After clearing the rest of the house (keeping an eye on the attic door) I cleared the attic. However, there is so much stuff up there, that a family of raccoons could be up there and I would not know it. I guess I will have to procure and or build some traps to capture these interlopers.

Semper Fi Deus


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coming to a middle

I cry your pardon for this taking so long, however, I have been attempting to finish "The Wedding" post. It for some reason has become a saga that I cannot finish. At this point it will just have to wait until a later time.

There is much to post about. Since June 15th I have done much. Since my last post I have become one of the hundreds of thousands of people to learn how to breath underwater. Unfortunately or fortunately (however you may want to view it) I was not a part of a Mad Scientists experiment to give humans gills. I took several classes and became certified as a Open Water Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) Diver.

Just for the record, I have always loved the water. I cannot remember a Summer (and sometimes a winter) when I have not gone swimming. I am no Olympic Swimmer by any stretch of the imagination, but I am more than just comfortable in the water. So, SCUBA was not that far of a stretch for me. I have always wanted to do it and it only took a slight nudge in the right direction for it to become a reality.

If some of you will recall there was another Wedding post last year were my Step-sister got hitched. During her honeymoon, her husband went SCUBA diving. Only a couple of dives but enough to get hooked on it. Upon their return, he started recalling the experience and said that he would like to get certified. However, he did not want to do so alone. Not even a heartbeats wait and I told him that I would more than happy to go with him. And that is how the journey began.

So, far I only have 8 dives outside the training dives, but, they were awesome. Nothing more than a few hours in a local lake, with a visibility of a little over 8 feet (for South Carolina anything over your hand in front of your face is epic), a few trout, a snapping turtle, a forest, and a sunken boat. But it was enough to get me hooked. And I would suggest it to anyone.

I also went on my first date. I will wait a minute and let that sink in.......You heard true, my first date. It was nothing spectacular or anything, but I learned (again) that woman will not rip your heart out and eat it if you ask them out. And every once in a while, they say yes. Also, for the record there was no second date. There was a mutual agreement of zero chemistry.

And now to the point of this post. We went to trial today. When I say we, I mean the woman that caused the wreck and the Ladies (Officer M, Agent L, and Agent S). I was not subpoenaed as a witness or anything, I was just there for moral support.

A couple of months after the wreck, they received notification that the case was going to a Jury Trial. A month or two ago the case was supposed to be heard, but the defence attorney conveniently had a General Sessions case that took precedence over this meager Magistrate level case.

Today it went forward. It was interesting to watch such a simple case get muddied with emotions (mine included). It was also interesting to see the difference between Law Enforcement in court and the average Joe in court.

The Trial started at 1600 hrs sharp. However, the Ladies (and families), Marshall #2, and myself were there well ahead of time, and dressed for court (suits and nooses for the men and conservative dresses for the Ladies). The defendant, her family, and her "witness" arrived about 5 minutes early. The defendant was the only one dressed for court. The rest of her entourage arrived in street clothes.

After the ladies had their necessary pretrial talk with the Assistant Solicitor (Assistant District Attorney for you all not in South Carolina), we were all asked to find a seat in the Court Room. Again, as stated earlier the jury trail began at 1600 hrs sharp.

Opening arguments were uninteresting compared to those that are generally heard during a General Sessions hearing, but both Attorneys got their point across. The first witness called was the Investigating Highway Patrolman. He looked about Twelve, but spoke with the authority and knowledge of any experienced Law Officer. He laid out the facts in a simple and plain manor. Considering those involved, i.e. Officers, I found the investigation...lacking (Not because they are my friends, but because of all the civil issues that could arise from such a collision), but not to the fault of the Patrolman.

Evidently, his Superiors made a judgement call as to whether or not to bring out all the fancy CSI gear that everyone was so expecting. Upon hearing that the only charges were going to be "Failure to Yield Right of Way" with no fatalities involved, the Superior advised that the given statements (from those involved and witnesses) would be enough to make the charge.

Upon hearing this, the Defense jumped all over the Patrolman, trying to get him to admit that the investigation was done improperly. Bait attempt after bait attempt failed to the point of actually helping the State.

After the Patrolman my friends were paraded up onto the stand and all spoke of what they saw that day. The Defence did not cross examine any of the Ladies, I do not know why exactly. Perhaps it was because he knew that any attempt to trip them up would fail horribly, due to past experience or out of respect for what they went through. But, I was impressed that he did not question them.

With the State resting, the true Circus began. If I had not been there I would not believe that what I saw happened, but it did.

The first witness for the Defense was the Son of the Defendant. His only purpose was to enter evidence, multiple pictures of the car that the Defendant was driving and a printed map of the intersection from Google Maps with street view. The State objected, mostly at the adamant behest of the Ladies. The grounds...the State did not provide any pictures during their case. I will not go into why this is just stupid, only that half an hour passed before the objection was overruled. And know that most of the argument from the State was from the Ladies, not from the Solicitor. Half the time the Judge was practically begging the Solicitor to give him a sound argument. But none came and the pictures were allowed.

The next witness was called and he told what he saw. He was on a side street looking the intersection and red light, saw the Defendant pull out cautiously to turn, tires squealed, and cars collided. Simple right...wrong. By the time the Solicitor got done cross-examining him, he did not know up from down, and they were simple clarification questions using the very map the Defense provided.

Here I really must credit the Judge for his patience, because at this point everyone in the audience (myself included) was trying to correct this "witness", and not quietly. In any other courtroom, every single one of us would have been held in contempt and bared from the court...forever. This Judge only looked at us and we became quiet.

Next, was the Defendant, whose testimony was straight forward, "I had the arrow." She did not move on that statement.

Then there was the closing arguments, more objections from both sides during both arguments, before the Jury was charged with what they were to find and they were sent to deliberate. After what felt like an hour or more the Jury came back with a Guilty verdict. The sentence for all the heartache and trouble caused by such an emotionally charged trial...$155 fine.

Not unexpected, it was only a Failure to Yield Right of Way charge and the Judge took into consideration the fact that the Defendant had a squeaky clean driving record (maximum fine is $250 something I believe). Court was then adjourned.

We walked slowly to our vehicles. The Ladies were emotionally drained. Little was spoken. What conversation there was, centered around our actions in court. We all know better than to speak out in court, but for a group of people not used to giving up control it was understandable...not justifiable by any means.

The Ladies thanked me for being there. Before we went our seperate ways, I made the statement that I was glad that it was finally over and done. Agent L reminded me that this was only the middle for her. That many years still lay ahead in her road to recovery and mayhap a civil suit or two.

Semper Fi Deus