Saturday, July 30, 2011

It was frustrating for me, unbearable for his family.

A book "that every cop in America should read," said one of the taglines to the book Bringing Adam Home. And they may be right.

I had intended on finishing up a few books on vacation, but I didn't get to all of them. Hey, it was vacation. But, I did get through this one, which I originally picked up for my wife, Diane.

Bringing Adam Home is the story of the investigation of the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh, son of John Walsh of America's Most Wanted Fame. In the book, you feel the palpable frustration of a mystery that is not solved until very recently, in spite of John's efforts to bring numerous other fugitives to justice.

The reasons that the investigation took so long involve the ego, the unsubstantiated pre-conceived notions of the investigators and the bureaucratic stonewalling of the agency.

In this fascinating story, the lead investigators had numerous confessions of a suspect that had substantial information that only the killer could have, yet this was overlooked and ignored. I still am not sure if the primary motivation was laziness or a desire to have the credit for finding the killer. But either way, the story spells out the grindingly frustrating investigation and the department's later lack of elan in working the case, due to it's concern about avoiding embarrassment regarding it's most prominent case.

The book also brings light to how the abduction of Adam Walsh led to many of the things that missing children and missing person investigators now take for granted, like Amber Alerts and Nationwide databases.

The chilling descriptions of young Adam's abduction and murder, as well as the descriptions of other murders his killer was involved with, make this book one to avoid for the faint of heart. But it holds much for anyone interested in this case, the machinations of an investigation, or those simply looking for an interesting read.

For more info about the book, go to: Bringing Adam Home

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whirling Dervishes

We are off for a time in the land of Red Rocks and an odd blend of New Age and Old West, otherwise known as Sedona.

Since we are here, we decided to get all into the tourist thing and start our morning off with one of those guided hikes that the resort provides.

Another thing Sedona is known for is it's vortexes. I realize that the plural of vortex is vortices, but around here it is vortexes. If you don't know, a vortex is a place where all sorts of spiritual energy comes out of hell or something to infuse you with it's weird power and make you happy for a little while. It also helps you if you grind up gypsum weed and smoke it prior to your journey to the vortex.

Our hiking guide seems to have been a bit of a skeptic. He told us about how the vortexes, when they were identified, were all curiously placed. It seems that, among the group identifying where these anomolies were, was a rather heavy lady. Not a hiker at all. Strangely enough, all the vortexes were found to be close to roads and parking lots, even though they had been in place for thousands of years.

Actually, it is rather convenient. Especially if you are not much of a walker, but you still want all the benefits of a strange psychic journey.

Maybe tomorrow I will tell you about how we almost got Weird Cowboy Al fired after he told us about the 7 directions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are there more kooks in small towns, or are they just easier to spot?

In 1995, I went to a small town in Arizona to take the helm for the first time as Pastor of a Church. Some of the most ridiculous antics involving people that I have ever seen happened during my tenure there and the time I spent on staff at another Church in the same town. I thought I would share some of those stories with you in the coming days.

Some of the the wild goings on include:

- How Pastor Stan got his "man crush" on Pastor Sean (not their real names).
This one has one of the Pastors screaming at the pizza lady and me riding all around town as he chased after his wife's extra-curricular lover.

- Why the Old Lady didn't need another Bible Study and what she said she needed instead.
This story includes why she thought Emily's hair looked better than all those "Mexican babies" and how I got back at their friends for secretly recording our conversations.

- The only bribe I was ever offered.
This includes the reason why the man abhors certain pastors and quacking like a duck from the back of the room where all the quilts and pillows were stacked.

Disclaimer: These notes are not intended to "bash" the Church or denigrate anyone in particular. I believe in people and I believe in the Church. They are going to be shared point out how far off base our "spirituality can get, both individually and corporately, when we are left to our own devices. And so you can have a little fun. These things really happened and most of them were really funny.


The picture is of the actual building of the 1st Church where I was the Pastor. Some other group has their sign on it in this picture, but it is now of historical significance.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Used To,

Sometimes we can feel like a collection of used to's.

Take me, for instance.

I used to SCUBA dive, but I haven't done that for years. I quit my job to go on a dive trip, and then I didn't have the money to do it any more.

I used to be a soldier, but that only lasted a few years. My enlistment time ran out, and I was interested in other things.

I used to be a student, but I got tired of always going to class and not getting paid for what I did with my time.

I used to be a preacher, but no-one has asked me to do that in a while.

I used to kayak in the whitewater, but there is no water around here, so I keep my kayak in California.

I used to regularly train at a martial arts place, but I decided I should spend my time and money on other things.

I guess it is okay to have some used to's, but I think I need a new schtick. Anyone up for some skydiving?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Brian Miller/Pima County GOP Update.

I know the whole SWAT shooting thing is so two months ago (to the day, as it turns out), but repercussions are ongoing.

Do you remember the story? Our SWAT went to a house to serve a warrant, a man inside is waiting for them with a rifle and he gets shot and dies.

The Chairman of the Pima County Republican party immediately calls it a murder, says that we are all __________ ___________ (the man who was shot in the warrant) and calls for everyone to show up at a vigil at the man's house.

In recent news, the Executive Board of the Party asked Miller to resign, based on these outlandish and inflammatory statements. He refused, saying that he would have them all voted out and now the issue rests on the backs of the Precinct Committeemen.

Whatever the result of all this will be, it will be less than graceful.

Here is the latest from the Pima GOP:

Pima GOP Statement Regarding Brian Miller

The role of the Republican Party is clear: to elect candidates and support those candidates once elected. The recent statements and actions of Chairman Brian Miller have not served to further those goals, but rather the opposite. Mr. Miller’s statements regarding the SWAT raid have created serious problems for our elected officials, money raising efforts and have divided the Party. Mr. Miller was given repeated opportunities to either mend these fences or resign his position, and has chosen to do neither. Instead, he has continued to make controversial statements to the press.

As is the case with any organized governing body, no elected officer should be off in their own direction. This is especially important for the Chairman position. When the leader of an organization speaks for himself instead of the body that he was elected to, then division and chaos are the result. That is an unacceptable position for any organized body to be in and yet that is where the Pima GOP finds itself today.

Furthermore, in recent days serious questions have been raised as to the use of Party funds under Mr. Miller’s leadership. Mr. Miller has contracted for thousands of dollars of spending without proper Executive Committee oversight or approval which is in violation of the Committee bylaws.

In light of these concerns, the Pima GOP Executive Committee has chosen to strip Mr. Miller of his authority as Chairman. The Precinct Committeemen of Pima County have called a special meeting and we will be convening as soon as possible to vote on a bylaws change. If that passes the PCs will decide whether they wish to remove Mr. Miller from the board.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Running Scared

Recently, Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), closed down several of our local school facilities due to a lack of funds. They entertained offers and ideas from the community about what they could do with the facilities.

Included in these offers were proposals to purchase some of the facilities by local Charter Schools, another form of public school that we have in Arizona.

It seems that TUSD is concerned about selling the facilities to the Charter Schools. It sounds like it is because they are afraid these schools will thrive where they have not.

Here are a couple of thoughts from TUSD as reported by our local paper:

Despite the high offers, TUSD Governing Board Clerk Judy Burns isn't too keen on the idea of negotiating with charter schools.

"Personally, my feeling is if we couldn't sustain a school there, we shouldn't give someone else the opportunity to do so," Burns said. "For me, the focus is what would be to the liking of the neighborhood - what would fit with the community? Any monetary gain would be welcome, but that's not the primary reason."

TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone also is hesitant to sell property to a charter school.

"When you consider selling to an organization that may be in competition with you, that requires careful consideration because you lose that asset, and sometimes a fast dollar may not be the best investment," Pedicone said. "We have to balance the value to the district and the value to the community."

They also have some offers to lease the facilities at the rate of $1.00 a year. Perhaps, in keeping with the financial policies of the past, they should go with the $1.00 option.

Here is the link to the article:

Charter schools offer millions for closed TUSD buildings