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I'm going to leave you with this information from Dan Riehl, who went very much against the grain of the blogosphere by posting it: http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2010/05/subject-of-missouri-swat-raid-was-no-angel.html Next time, consider taking into consideration that there just might be more to the story. That you might have been fed selective facts. That the police might have had some reason for doing what they did. That withholding of judgment until you know more? That goes a long way. Blackfive's few remaining LE readers would probably appreciate it. I won't be one of them... this topic is becoming a regular feature at Blackfive, and that's been a real disappointment (sorry, Jimbo). I'm not asking anybody to apologize for their intemperate remarks, insults, or knee-jerk reactions. I'm asking Blackfive's readers (and hosts) to let the facts sink in next time. That's all. Best regards.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2010 on The end of my SWAT raid series at BLACKFIVE
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You know... I always used to wonder what the Vietnam era guys (like my old man) meant when they said "if you weren't there, you can't understand." Now I understand. We've had this conversation over-and-over here, with the same results. Uncle J throws up an article (the last time we did this was when Jimbo posted a review of Overkill, IIRC). It's been an increasing pattern... the Balko disciples always line up and proceed to preach what's wrong with SWAT tactics and doctrine, when virtually none of them (including Balko, who is an advocacy journalist, with NO police background) have ever served on a team, or even been a cop. Everyone seems to want the right to treat cops like their bitch, talk all sorts of trash, go off half-cocked, judge in sober reflection and hindsight what was done in split seconds and the heat-of-the-moment, and micromanage everything police do... when they wouldn't EVER tolerate that treatment directed towards soldiers. And then to have that double standard justified based on a paranoid "they might turn on us!" philosophy... as if every cop out there is an SS-officer-in-training, just waiting for their orders. That's an insult, gentlemen... and this whole series of threads has been one insult after another... couched with the qualifier "but some of my best friends are cops!" or "I support the troops!... er... I mean cops!" I'm tired of having this same conversation. I'm tired of arguing 15-on-1, and when I offer a perspective based on real-world experience, I'm told I'm a government goon, or that I don't get a presumption of good faith. I don't come here for that, and I suspect most of Blackfive's LE readers feel the same. Thanks. It's been fun.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2010 on The end of my SWAT raid series at BLACKFIVE
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Some of you are missing the point. Nobody argued that police are not accountable, nobody argued that civil rights should be violated, and nobody is saying that cops = soldiers (except Balko). But we ALL objected to the stampede... the RUSH TO JUDGMENT the left wielded, and continues to wield, against our soldiers whenever there is an incident. We heaped scorn and venom on Rep. Murtha when his fat, sloppy piehole and convicted the Haditha Marines on national television. We went ape-shit when the SEALs were accused of wrongdoing based on the testimony of a stinking terrorist. We all wanted the full facts to come out before convicting those men. Why is it that cops don't get the same presumption of acting in good faith? Why is it that innocent-until-proven-guilty doesn't apply to them? Where's their due process and day in court? The suspect certainly gets his... but this group, of all people who should KNOW BETTER... this group jumped right on the anti-SWAT bandwagon: "bad judgment... poorly trained... overreacted... clusterf*ck... no excuse... disband SWAT teams... horrid... Police state... morons... Leftist Police unions... crappy training... zero training... incompetent... abuse of power... disproportionate (how often did we hear THAT from the anti-war left?)... ridiculous... bullshit... " You might want to check your fire... because from this ex-SWAT-guy's perspective, you're sounding just like the Kos Kidz. And I'm sorry to draw that comparison, because I know how much that stings. It's a low blow... but no lower than hanging all SWAT officers from a lamppost without knowing all the facts.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on The end of my SWAT raid series at BLACKFIVE
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I'm not saying cops=soldiers... that's Balko's bit... though many soldiers raise their hand to continue their service in LE, just as I did. I made the parallel because this is a Milblog, and this is an analogy that EVERY .mil person can appreciate. I'm objecting to the fact that we're second-guessing, with 20/20 hindsight and inadequate information, a bunch of guys who we ask to do a dangerous job for us... and all because it seems to fit our political leanings. It's not fair, and it's not right. Look...I'm a Republitarian... I get the civil rights side of it... but we were FURIOUS at the left for foisting "lawfare" on our soldiers, hobbling them when they're trying to complete their mission, over-tightening the RoE, and going easy on people who we KNEW were insurgents, because we just didn't have enough "proof." Then even prosecuted the f*cking good guys... Like the Haditha Marines... and the three SEALs who were just exonerated. Remember how pissed off we all were? Just take a step back and think about it, Grim... that's all I'm saying.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on The end of my SWAT raid series at BLACKFIVE
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Since this is the last article in this series, I'm going to throw out a final thought. I didn't want to say it, but I must: There's a blistering irony here. Let's all hop into the wayback machine, back to the anti-war left's salad days; the post-invasion period in Iraq, reconstruction, and all the recriminations that came as a result. Remember these? "Lied us into war." "Mismanaged." "No WMDs!" "No stockpiles" "War profiteers!" "Halliburton!" "Warmongers!" "No imminent threat." "We were not attacked." Recall with me, because I was here too, the furious reactions we all had to the shrinking, cowardly, politically-opportunistic, dishonest, Monday-morning-quarterbacking leftists. How DARE they attack the "man in the arena." How DARE they use their 20/20 hindsight to attack a leader who made a difficult decision, based on the best intel available AT THE TIME. How DARE they say "but I support the troops!" when we all knew that was a lie. And this goes for our hosts too... who can forget Uncle J's famous bromides? I used to cheer when he'd whip out the "you lefists? You're dead to me!" line. We were all about defending our warriors... who we knew were patriotic fellow Americans, doing the best they could, with a difficult mission, in a difficult situation, and with great care taken to avoid civilian casualties. Yes, mistakes were made, but that's going to happen... we extended the benefit-of-the-doubt almost reflexively whenever there was a question... while the political Left tore into them, attacked them, impugned them, and imputed the absolute WORST of motives to their actions and leaders. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on The end of my SWAT raid series at BLACKFIVE
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My nickname from back when I was AD.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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Easy, Marc... I wasn't trying to talk down to you... but you were the one decrying being "forceful with complaint people," and apart from officer presence and verbal commands, I didn't see much force used against ANY of the people in that house. I actually thought they were pretty gentle. The dogs are another story... but a pit bull doesn't know to back off. They know "intruder = eat," and that's just the unfortunate reality of it. I also can't verify the claim of the dog being "caged." I wouldn't put it past the family to claim that the baby gate constituted "caged." I went frame-by-frame through that video, and didn't see a cage anywhere. If they shot an animal that was in a secure cage, and not a threat, I'll agree that's wrong. As for the badly skewed article you cited (which heavily quotes Balko and other SWAT detractors), I can't speak for how Maryland does business. I have seen the spreadsheets, but they're absolutely sterile... no narrative, no warrant information, and none of the "totality of the circumstances" that would enable me to opine. I am curious, though, what Balko considers "non-serious felonies," and misdemeanors can be reason to violate probation in a previously-convicted felon, and take them back into custody. I also know about several of the incidents mentioned in that article, and there's more to the story in several of those. The Atlanta incident wasn't SWAT... it was three corrupt narcotics officers who lied, and all belong in prison. The Ohio incident was a tragedy, but when you dig into the details of that one, you discover it's not the cut-and-dried JBT-baby-killing SWAT example they claim... as ends up being the case with many of these incidents. That is, if you're willing to do the research, dig into the incidents, look past the hyperbole and politics, AND put yourself in the shoes of the SWAT team. There's good reason why police UoF cases are judged by the reasonable POLICE OFFICER standard, rather than the usual reasonable MAN standard.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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Well-stated, Grim. I have to admit you really had me going on the bolt-action rifle thing... we're talking jaw on the floor... I was hoping you were kidding. :) Warrant service is a thorny political issue... and even if 99% of all warrants go off without a hitch (and they do, believe it or not), it's that one that will kill you. We always used to say "it takes 100 'attaboys' to make up for one 'oh shit'" Problem is, you don't know what you have until you get in there... and the one warrant where you soft-pedal it and send a regular road deputy, you can get him killed. You have to act with an abundance of caution, of course... and no team I know cowboys it. The military has the same problem. One of the various numbered task forces will go after a HVT, and hit a dry hole, or bomb a house with "civilians" in it. The leftists anti-war crowd has a shit-fit whenever that happens... but it happens for exactly the same reason: intel is imperfect, and shit happens. I can't tell you the number of times we set up for hours on an empty house. It happens. I CAN say we NEVER hit the wrong house. There's already a review process, both administrative and legal, for cases where the pooch got screwed. You're ALWAYS going to have a small percentage of that... nobody gets it right 100% of the time, and that's anybody, in any job. The SWAT screw-ups make press because they're high-profile and high-stakes. They also make great television... and great political footballs for various community organizations, like the "social justice" crowd, and the racial lobby (depending on the race of the "victim"). Other than national standards, increased training, and more open sharing of "lessons learned" among teams and police organizations, I don't know that you CAN make the system idiot-proof. You have to try, and make the effort, but shit is still going to happen. I guarantee it.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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I don't know what the cops thought about the baby gate... I'm merely pointing it out to you. You said "since I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears they shot a dog......in very close proximity to a child." Where did you see that in the video? You didn't... you are taking Balko's word for it... unless you consider "under the same roof" to be equivalent to "close proximity to a child." A sweep of the room would reveal whether anyone was present, and I at least have some foundation for why I think the dogs were in the opposite end of the house from the family. Go watch the video again, and stop being an ass. Or... you could keep deflecting, dissembling, and throwing insults. I like how the "you made it up" comment became "I never accused you of lying... I'm sure you believe it." That's just pathetic. Even Ymarsakar can see what I'm talking about in that video... and he's on your side of this issue, having excoriated me up one side and down the other in this thread. He and I clearly disagree bitterly... but at least he's objective enough to actually look at the evidence in order to see if what I'm talking about is plausible/reasonable.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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Push back? Don't you mean "pile on?" I'm the only guy in this thread who seems to see the other side of this. I haven't seen the warrant in this case. How do we know it was a "routine," ill-sourced, badly-investigated raid? Because it looks "bad" on tape? Because the officers yelled at the man to not move, and keep his hands behind his back? Sorry, but I need more than that... including HOW it was investigated, and HOW this guy ended up on SWAT's radar. Did they have a reliable informant who bought from him? Did they do a controlled buy? Did his supplier roll over on him? As for being "forceful" with complaint people, that's called "command voice," and every officer learns it. Notice the child and wife were spoken to less harshly once they were out of the middle of the fray ("C'mon guys... you're fine... you're fine..."). They were not grabbed, roughed up, treated harshly, or abused. And yes, SWAT is a risky business... and you're making it more so, particularly when you're going apoplectic about a warrant that may have been by-the-numbers, legally speaking. I can't say one way or the other, and you'll notice I haven't addressed the legality/appropriateness of the warrant itself, because I HAVEN'T SEEN IT. I can tell you I don't see the same jack-booted-thugs video the rest of you seem to. Other than the dogs being shot (a pit bull can ruin your day in a hurry... I can easily see needing to shoot it), the people were handled very reasonably. Nobody was beaten...nobody got stomped, tasered, or butt-stroked... and the profanity used was all on the part of the suspect.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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My very cursory review of the video, combined with a mere thimblefull of deductive reasoning, is "arrogance?" Tell me how that works again? So where was the dog? Do you REALLY think it was back in the bedroom area, shot in front of the father/mother/child, and the father just happened to wait until getting out into the living room (while asking them not to hurt his dog) to freak out? You also DID happen to notice the 7yo and wife being escorted FROM the bedroom area, past the officers, and into the living room... didn't you? They weren't traumatized and crying/upset like you'd expect from a couple of people who just witnessed the "execution" of their family pet. Note the baby gate in that video? Laying against the wall by the kitchen? I'll wager that was to contain the dog(s), since a 7yo doesn't need a baby gate, and could negotiate it easily in any case. That's analysis... not arrogance.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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Action Hero Sock Puppet? I have no idea who you're talking about. I'm sure Matt can do an IP check it he wants. I've been a daily reader of this blog since it was Matt doing it solo as the Paratrooper of Love. Some of the authors here will no doubt recall some of our pointed discussions... and I guarantee a bunch of the LE readers of this site are just as irritated by this anti-SWAT stuff as I am... and I'm not even in that business anymore. I simply know how it is to be on the receiving end of the constant drumbeat of anti-SWAT criticism, and Balko is one of the sopranos in that choir. He and I have tangled more than once... here... at Patterico's place... and at Q&O, among others. I've also directed written criticism to CATO about some of their articles... and received a "sorry you feel that way" response every time. Their position is animated by their opposition to the WOD, and that's a fair debate to have. I'd actually consider legalization under some circumstances... but they have an unpleasant habit of shooting the messenger. People advocate for cops to just "look the other way" with drug crimes... but Cops don't get to choose what laws to enforce... and it's an incredibly anti-libertarian idea to give police that kind of Judge-Dredd-like power. Personally, I don't want officers making up law as they go. The answer is to change the law... not ask the police to break/ignore it. That's an incredibly dangerous precedent to set.
Toggle Commented May 7, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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Sure thing, guy.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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Is that the best you've got, Ymarsakar? Insults... and accusations that I'm some kind of poorly-trained, democrat-backing statist goon?... Spare me.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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Hey pal... did you even watch the video before you called me a liar? The officers make entry, and most of them break left into the kitchen/garage area. One or two break right into the bedroom area down that short hallway... later calling for an additional officer to search the rooms (hear that "I need one!" on the video? That's the officer asking for a second man). The father is proned out in that bedroom hallway to the right, and DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HIS DOG IS SHOT until they bring him through the living room... because the pit bull (dogs were reported to be a corgi, and a pit bull) was shot IN THE OTHER END OF THE HOUSE (the kitchen/garage end). By the sound of it, I guess an MP5-SD was used... but I can't verify that with the low quality of that video. Go on... watch it again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc&feature=player_embedded#!
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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I'll tell you what you don't have in terms of missing information... the reasoning for the raid and why they chose this method of execution, which would be articulated in the warrant. If all they expected to find was a simple user with some residue and a pipe, and they called out their tactical team for that? I'll join in the chorus of "WTF?" Calling out a SWAT team is expensive, a hassle, takes manpower, overtime, reassignment of zones (a small jurisdiction like Columbia won't have a full-time team), etc. It's not something most departments do on a lark. I suspect they expected to find a good deal more than they did... but THEY WOULDN'T KNOW THAT UNTIL THEY GOT THERE. Does that compute? You have to look at the totality of the circumstances, including what the police knew AT THE TIME, to determine if what they did was reasonable. A judge thought it was... and those of you who feel this isn't reasonable under ANY circumstances... well... what do you want me to say? You CAN look at these things in 20/20 hindsight and pass judgment... but that's pretty weak. I'd expect better from my fellow .mil and former .mil folks. it's the same thing as somebody smoking an armed robber, finding out he had a cap-gun, and some asshat screaming "you just killed an unarmed man!!!"... or an apache pilot lighting up some insurgents, a kid ending up among the dead, and the media subsequently hyperventilating about "WAR CRIMES! MURDER!!" Jimbo, Grim... I love you guys... but we've had this debate before... and it's usually you two, me, Bloodspite, Doc Russia, and occasionally Froggy... I don't know what it is with a couple of you guys, but you get all riled up, and you go right off the reservation. At least you're man enough to take a second look, and walk it back... that I can respect.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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This ought to be good.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on Sensationalism and SWAT at BLACKFIVE
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With all due respect, you're out to lunch on this one, Grim... you too, Jimbo. I hate to call you guys out like this, but you're over the line. The fact that you'd reference Virginia Tech as an example of "waiting for SWAT" shows how little you've studied both that incident, and the evolution in patrol tactics since Columbine. I was an active SWAT medic when Columbine happened, and for a number of years afterward... I saw, with my own eyes, the transformation that single incident wrought. The officers at VT attempted to make entry immediately... unfortunately, they were slowed down by the fact that Cho had chained the heavy wooden doors from the inside. Multiple teams ended up making entry at VT... and there was no "waiting for SWAT." It's one thing if you're speaking out of ignorance... but if you'd rather accuse those officers of dereliction of duty and cowardice, I wish you'd just come right out and say it, so I could drop this site from my blogroll. Today. As for the specific warrant referenced in this thread, you should know by now to read Balko carefully. His high-volume opposition to the war-on-drugs is well-known, and he throws just as much hyperbole and emotion into his articles as he possibly can. Did you miss, for instance, and that the "family pet" in question was a pit bull? Did you watch the video and note that the dog was in one end of the house, and the child was in a bedroom at the other end? Rounds were not fired in the immediate vicinity of the 7yo, and the family pet was not executed in front of him. Maybe you should examine this issue using the same critical thinking you're excoriating the Police for eschewing. I'm not in LE any more... haven't been for a few years... but tac-teams ARE a necessary resource. And what's with the bolt-action rifle thing, Grim? Weapon technology has moved on from that generation of long-guns (with the exception of snipers)... why on earth would you advocate not giving officers the same kind of hardware their opposition has? You can own an AR15, but the officer gets a Mosin? Seriously? Flame on.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2010 on SWAT Overkill at BLACKFIVE
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That woman is quite a nasty piece of work. In that vein, I think our service member dodged a bullet. He should buy that Marxist guy an ice cold beer for falling on that grenade for him. And then give him some wall-to-wall counseling... you know... for being a Marxist.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2010 on Courtney Cook on How to Leave a Soldier at BLACKFIVE
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Dirtbag down... Outstanding.
Toggle Commented Feb 6, 2010 on BG Poseur McSoulPatch arrested at BLACKFIVE
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These snakes coming out the political pits happen in the civilian world as well. There's nothing special in the military. As somebody who has practiced in both arenas, they are entirely different snakes. There are politics in every hospital. The difference in the military environment is that the politics can actually result in a physician being detained, fined thousands of dollars, and dishonorably discharged (which leads to a loss of your medical license in most states)... all for "offenses" that wouldn't even generate a yawn in a civilian hospital. The immense legal repercussions that hang over your head in the military have no analog in civilian medicine. As has been demonstrated, even if people know there are problems, the decision must still be taken to rectify problems. And yet... if you know you're not going to get support from higher up the chain (if only because the military virtually NEVER separates a non-criminal physician), who is going to hang themselves out on a limb, step into the crosshairs of CAIR and other groups by accusing a Muslim physician of terrorist sympathies, and expose themselves to potentially career-ending retribution? And I think you hit on something else. The age-old tradition of "PCS your problems" seems to have been utilized here; keep the good people, and send the dead wood someplace else.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2010 on DoD Report On Ft. Hood Shooting at BLACKFIVE
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As long as they're scalp-hunting, why not cast a wider net? Perhaps re-examine their hard-line policy towards obvious problem-child medical accessions. Those guys who really, really, really don't want to be there? The miserable bastards who hate the military (and are hated in turn by their commander, their colleagues, and their patients)? The ones who turn into passive-aggressive dead-weight (or into killers in this case)? For the love of God... get rid of them. Of course, that would require the military to be able to replace them... and therein lies the real problem. They would have to offer a good enough package to attract already-qualified physicians, since they wouldn't have time to bring more medical students through the HPSP pipeline... and that means money. If they're looking for scalps, they could also go find the person who nixed Hasan's request to buy out his commitment. That kind of decision doesn't happen anywhere near the level of Hasan's immediate supervisor, rater, or section Commander. The last person I remember who got out of their commitment early required a 2-star's blessing to make it happen.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2010 on DoD Report On Ft. Hood Shooting at BLACKFIVE
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I NEVER said it was shameful to graduate from USUHS... I have nothing but respect for my colleagues from Bethesda. But even USUHS grads sometimes don't make a career of it. I've seen USUHS-trained surgeons punch out at 15, 16, even 17 years AD; they just couldn't take the military system any longer. You may not fight with civilian insurance companies, but you're simply trading one kind of fight for another. You certainly do get to fight with Tricare, and with the various administrative types whose sole purpose in life seems to be tormenting providers, and generating paperwork. I'm not knocking on the medical skills of USUHS grads. Most of their grads are fine physicians.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2010 on DoD Report On Ft. Hood Shooting at BLACKFIVE
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I never said "losers," Texas... don't put words in my mouth. I served with some pretty damned good guys, but 90%+ punched out after their ETS. Physicians stay in the service and gain enough rank to be medical commanders via one of several pathways. The most common long-termers are USUHS, Service Academy, and ROTC folks; they have extended commitments because of the educational track they chose. Some stay because they get into some high-speed billet that the civilian world just doesn't offer... but your average physician accession is an HPSP student on a med school scholarship, who owes a 1-for-1 payback (eg. one year of service for every year of school or residency the military funded, whichever is great). This makes the average duration of MC officers AD careers about three or four years, and 99% of your effort is in the clinic, where you're still attempting to master your craft. I think you'll agree that isn't nearly enough time to become a master of the subtle art of OPR/OER bombing some deadwood out of the service. Waltj is exactly right... it's damned difficult to get rid of shitbirds in your section... and even harder when it's a MC officer who the military is VERY loathe to let go, and likely to keep on in ANY CASE, due to the monetary investment (and difficulty in replacing him/her). Group commanders have seen all sorts of shenanigans from disgruntled docs attempting to leave the service early. For pity sake... some physicians TRY to get kicked out, and the military keeps them... taking the time to build a file on somebody that the military is almost certainly going to ignore, or that's going to get you slapped with an EEO/IG complaint, particularly in an area so full of politically-correct landmines as a devout muslim who "wants" to serve his country? Risky... and extremely unlikely to succeed, so I'm not at all surprised nobody took on Hasan, particularly the career-minded folks who tend to land at USUHS. Who wants to risk their career by having a kiss-of-death EEO investigation in their Jacket, when it's extremely unlikely to make any difference? I'm not saying it's right... simply that our own political military culture has just as much to do with this awful result as anybody or anything.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2010 on DoD Report On Ft. Hood Shooting at BLACKFIVE
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JTB: Are/were you a military physician? I was... and I can tell you that most physicians are interested in being physicians, not in being staff officers, or making lower-ranking enlisted stand at attention. You need look no further than the single-digit retention rate in many specialties after initial ETS. Most physicians in military medicine find the environment to be irksome in terms of admin hassles, pay, forced moves, skill atrophy, general non-medical BS... so they separate at their first opportunity. Those who stay in longer are inevitably the USUHS guys, the service-academy grads, and those who find a niche in the military that they'd have trouble finding in the civilian world. Physicians who stay and advance in rank (particularly to O-5/O-6) eventually find themselves one of a very few who have stuck around, and as a consequence they're pushed to take on administrative responsibilities, and not always because they want them. At that point, they're looking at potentially staying for the retirement bennies, as their medical/surgical skills decline from spending too much time in the briefing room and not enough time in the operating room. Once lost, those hard-won skills are difficult to regain... and what civilian medical group is going to rush to hire a retired military Orthopedic surgeon who hasn't actually done a complicated pelvic reconstruction in years? Hospitals looking to credential new providers want procedure logs, and all manner of documentation... and they look askance at a doctor who hasn't practiced clinically more than part-time for several years. So there it is. You can "frankly" call BS all you want. Your other point about Political Correctness stands. The reality of it is that revenge EEO/IG complaints happen frequently... and plenty of people will not stick their head up, just to avoid a potentially career-ending hassle.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2010 on DoD Report On Ft. Hood Shooting at BLACKFIVE
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