Sunday, December 26, 2010

Warm Christmas

If you recall last year, we had quite a blizzard on Christmas Day.  By comparison, it was downright balmy Saturday.  Not quite above freezing, though, as Officer John Winter can attest.  John took a nasty off-duty fall on the icy front steps of his home Christmas morning.  He suffered a head injury that has us all a little scared.  He spent the day in Emergency and ICU, and we are all pulling for him to make a speedy recovery. 

There were a number of contenders for the dumbest act that landed a criminal in jail on Christmas, but my personal nod goes to the arsonist who allegedly lit a rag in the gas filler and tried to blow up his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend’s Camaro shortly after midnight.  A witness saw him sleuthing around, vectored us in for the capture a few blocks away, and the jilted one spent Christmas warm and cozy in the County slammer.  Back when I had to work in the jail on occasion, Christmas dinner was likely to be something like a bologna sandwich with cottage cheese and canned fruit cocktail.  I wonder if the menu has been upgraded in the ensuring decades. The Camaro needs a new paint job, but will recover.  It’s not as easy as you might think to blow up a Chevrolet.

Finally, as in years past, I was the bag-man for some gifts given by a women’s group at a church and the employees of a small retail business.  These two groups sought my assistance in finding a good recipient.  Jody Brott in our Victim/Witness Unit had told me last week about the plight of a domestic violence victim and her teenaged kids.  From Jody’s description, I knew they could really use the help, so I decided this family would be a good match for the generosity of the anonymous donors.  I called the women on her cell phone in advance of the delivery, so no one would be surprised by the police chief banging on the door. She was working on Christmas, though, so I explained my mission.  She was in tears on the phone when I told her what I had in mind, and when I dropped the envelope off to her oldest daughter at the house, she told me that Mom was not only working the swing shift on Christmas, but had worked on Christmas Eve as well. 

You never know how good you have it, until you encounter someone who is struggling mightily against the slings and arrows of life.  I hope the kindness of strangers warms Christmas a little bit for this family.


Anonymous said...

It didn't look like the torch guy had any adult criminal record, at least not one that showed up on the County Atty site. Way to start one off with a Part I felony crime. I wondered if he'd been drinking enough and becoming a felon suddenly seemed like a great plan.

Steve said...

I only wish I could have gotten the license plate number of the guy who took out the mailboxes of my duplex next door with his pickup in the middle of our family gathering to open presents. He lost control on the ice, which could happen to anyone not being careful enough. However, he was driving even faster than one would in perfect weather, and chose to drive off, burning rubber as he went, rather than facing up to his "mistake". I have to wonder if he was already fleeing some other crime, or even driving a stolen vehicle. Other than maybe being drunk, there was no logical reason for driving the way he did. He might have made good company for the arsonist.

Tom Casady said...

I noticed the report last night. Sorry to hear about your mailbox.

Steve said...


Your condolences are appreciated, and I don't expect this guy will ever be caught in connection with this incident. If we hadn't been so crowded in my living room with guests and presents, I might have made it to the door fast enough to get a plate number, or even snap a photo as he left. I guess, we can't complain about having too many presents or good company though. I'm sure he'll eventually be caught for something else. If nothing else, he made Christmas a little more exciting for us! Hope yours went well, too.

Anonymous said...

I had a rather hectic Christmas day and went to bed after midnight. Around 2 A. M. I was half asleep when I heard one loud noise. It sounded like a large caliber handgun, at least a .38 or larger. I was so tired at the time I didn't get up to go to the phone in the next room to report it. I did this morning at seven A.M. I sincerely hope it was just a large firecracker or some idiot firing his gun into the air to celebrate finishing his case of beer. I just wonder what you would suggest as the appropriate action to follow in an incident like this Chief?

Gun Nut

Patty said...

My thoughts and prayers to officer Winter and his family.

Anonymous said...

Tom, it's great to see you apologize for Steve's mailbox, but ultimately, are you going to end up aplogozing to this guy? I think you need to write a blog about this, because the truth is awfully distorted.

Anonymous said...

Here was another sort of family gathering on Christmas, just up the road in Omaha. Scrap metal meth-heads?

Steve said...

Not sure what 7:36 was implying, suggesting, or questioning. However, the chief didn't apologize to me for anything, nor does he need to. He simply expressed his condolences for my loss.

As for the crossbow incident, I'd bet there was plenty of reason to believe there may be a danger to public safety, thereby warranting an investigation. I can't offer any incite as to the legality of the methods used, but it's been my experience that people who have nothing to hide and haven't committed any crime are much better off if they simply cooperate with the police regardless of whether a warrant is issued or an arrest has been made or anything of that nature. I know the lawyers and ACLU will say otherwise, but that's how they make money and get publicity. Still, it will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

As for the legality of discharging a weapon in the city, there aren't many ways of getting around the charge if the police decide to cite someone for it. Firearm, crossbow, slingshot, pellet gun, BB gun, cap gun, or pea shooter, they could all fall under one charge or another. Even carrying a toy gun is illegal in this town. Just a wee bit overboard if you ask me. Still, a crossbow in the back yard in a residential area with lots of kids around, insane. Reminds me of drunk the guy shooting the bucket in his backyard with his Desert Eagle 45 a while back.
Lincoln's weapons laws could use a little revamping and clarification, though. I've heard of people shooting BB guns being charged with discharging a firearm in the city. Yet, the city's own definition of a firearm requires the projectile to be propelled by an explosive. I don't know of any BB guns that use an explosive. And, carrying a toy gun against the law. Ridiculous. If someone was using one to commit a robbery or something, they would be guilty of armed robbery regardless if it was real or not. So, why make it so children can't even play cowboys and Indians. Oh, I guess it's not politically correct. And, how is it okay to carry a real gun and not a toy gun?

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to start anything with that link... I was floored when I read it, and hoping like Hell, that none of it true.

I hold LPD in fair high regards, and Casady has my deepest respect as a law enforcement officer and the chief of LPD.

Yeah, we spar with words once in a while, but my point in posting that link was in hope Tom would visit the reports and compare to the news article and set things straight.

I don't see LPD as thugs, i see them as professionals doing their job, much as anyone else would.

Just wanted to clarify things here. Thanks.