Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announces his retirement

Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown announced his retirement today (Thursday, Sept. 1), less than two months after an assassin killed five police officers and wounded five other officers and two civilians.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Brown spoke about each police officer being asked to do more things than any person is capable of doing. He will be remembered by his officers for serenading them with Stevie Wonder lyrics at a memorial service. President Barack Obama, who attended the service with the first lady and the Bidens and the Bushes, told Brown he was glad he met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder.

Brown gave no reason for his retirement from DPD, but talked about the fallen officers in his letter announcing that he is stepping down. A month earlier, Brown attended a rally at Resource Center and spoke to 1,000 people mourning the victims of the Pulse massacre in Orlando.

Brown has served in the Dallas Police Department for 33 years; his retirement is effective Oct. 22.

Chief Brown’s statement on the Dallas Police blog:

After much prayer, I am announcing my retirement from the Dallas Police Department after 33 years as a Dallas police officer.  My retirement will be effective October 22, 2016.

Serving the citizens of Dallas in this noble profession has been both a true honor and a humbling experience.

Thank you to Mayors, City Managers and Dallas City Council members past and present for allowing me to serve. Thank you for the service you have provided for this great city.

I became a Dallas cop in 1983 because of the crack cocaine epidemic’s impact on my neighborhood in Oak Cliff.  I wanted to be part of the solution. Since that time I have taken great pride in knowing that we have always been part of the solution and helped to make Dallas the world class city it is today.

Let’s always remember the fallen officers including the five officers on July 7, 2016, and the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department for their sacrifices to keep Dallas safe.  Their memory will remain with all of us forever.  I know the people of Dallas will never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made on the streets of our city that awful night.

Officers, your extraordinary service will forever be etched in my heart and will serve as a guidepost for me in the next phase of my life.  You will always be in my prayers.

I want to thank my family for their love and  support.

This is a difficult decision.  I pray for your understanding and well wishes.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my life, health, and strength.  I pray for His continued blessings over my life.

Thank you Dallas and God bless!!

~Chief David O. Brown

—  David Taffet

Community unites to mourn

Rainbow

Shortly after the Orlando vigil began, the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared across the sky.

More than 1,000 people, including half the Dallas City Council and a number of other elected officials, gathered at the new LGBT Community Center this evening (June 12) to mourn the 50 people killed in a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier today. The mass shooting was the largest massacre in U.S. history.

Clergy from different faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam as well as representatives of the Buddhist and Hindu communities, said that there is no place for religious intolerance in our country.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said, “Everyday, I wake up hoping I don’t get a call like this,” referring to the call the mayor of Orlando received after the massacre began. “We are here for you,” he reassured the LGBT community. He said flags at Dallas City Hall flew at half staff today.

Police Chief David Brown said, “We are with you as partners and friends.” The polie presence in Oak Lawn, especially around bars and other LGBT businesses and community facilities, has been increased.  Rawlings said he’s gotten donations to pay for the overtime to cover the extra security.

County Judge Clay Jenkins thanked organizers of the event and said, “The city of Dallas and Dallas County stand on the side of love,” referring to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who tweeted a comment earlier today blaming the victims and siding with terrorism.

An imam from the Valley Ranch Islamic Center said that when his community was targeted, the LGBT community stood against Islamophobia. He was there this evening, he said, to support the LGBT community.

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said this wasn’t what she expected to be doing on the tenth day after occupying the organization’s new headquarters. She called it “a safe place for our community” and called our Patrick on his bigotry.

After more than a dozen speakers, the crowd marched in silence from the community center to the Legacy of Love monument where many left flowers.

More pictures tomorrow.

—  David Taffet

Lesbian couple’s heroic actions saved 40 teens during Norway massacre. Has the media ignored them because they’re lesbians?

Unless you have been hiding under a big ol’ rock somewhere since July 22, you probably know who Anders Behring Breivik is. He is the Norwegian right-wing extremist who bombed a Norwegian government building in Oslo, killing eight people, and then that same day headed over to Utoya where he massacred 69 people — mostly teens — attending the Norwegian Labor Party’s Workers Youth League camp there.

Toril Hansen and Hege Dalen

Breivik has since described the attacks as a necessary tactic in a war against a Muslim invasion of Europe.

You’ve probably heard of him. But have you heard of Toril Hansen and Hege Dalen? They are the married lesbian couple who were camping across the lake from Utoyan, eating their dinner, when Breivik opened fire on the young people there. When the women heard the gunshots and saw the screaming teenagers running into the lake to escape, they jumped into their boat and motored straight into the line of fire to try and rescue the young people. It was a small boat, so the couple made four trips into the danger zone, to pull the fleeing teenagers from the water or pick them up from the shore.

Other people camping in that same area, also rushed to their boats to help rescue the teens. European news site The Independent — which by the way reported on Hansen and Dalen, referring to them simply as a couple, including the information that they are a lesbian couple but not making any big deal about it — pointed out that the campers rescued a total of about 150 teenagers fleeing the shooter that day.

Hansen and Dalen rescued 40 teenagers during the shooting, even though Breivik was shooting at them and their boat, too, actually hitting the boat several times.

Hansen and Dalen are heroes, but you may not have heard anything about them, because most of the press hasn’t been reporting on their story. And some media outlets in Europe are wondering if that’s because they are, first of all, women, and secondly, lesbians.

(The Huffington Post and several U.S. LGBT blogs and news sites have been reporting on the couple, by the way.)

Pink News, an LGBT news site in the United Kingdom ran this story that briefly outlines the couple’s actions and then talks about the lack of media coverage. Mail Online, another U.K. news site, ran this similar report. The articles on both sites garnered plenty of comments along the lines, “These women are heroes, but why do you have to focus on their sexual orientation?”

The International Business Times also ran a report about Hansen and Dalen that questioned the lack of media coverage of their heroism. The first — and at the time I write this, only — commenter there pointed out that the women are responsible for rescuing about 10 percent of the 423 survivors, asking how such an “amazing” story has been overlooked by the media.

But this report in The Guardian, yet another U.K.-based news site, asks the questions most pointedly. Why have we hardly heard of Hansen and Dalen, the Guardian asks, then offers three possible — probable? — reasons:

—  admin

CONNECTICUT: Nine Dead In Workplace Massacre By Disgruntled Employee

Eight people were shot and killed this morning at a Manchester, Connecticut wholesale alcohol distributor, where a truck driver for the company opened fire on an office full of workers. The gunman is dead, but reports conflict over whether he was shot by police or took his own life.

Sources said Omar S. Thornton, 34, was a driver for Hartford Distributors and was described by a Teamsters Union official as a recent hire and a “disciplinary problem.” “The union was bringing him in to meet with the company to remedy the problem,” said John Hollis, a Teamsters official. “He started shooting.” Thornton shot a number of people and then shot himself with a .223 caliber semiautomatic rifle as police approached and is dead, sources said. Two people were shot outside the building and five were shot inside, police sources said. Hollis declined to describe the nature of the disciplinary problem, and he said he wasn’t certain if the meeting had taken place when the shooting started. A law enforcement source said Thornton had been suspected of stealing from the business.

Another sterling example of the Second Amendment in action!

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright