Ride to Remember 9/11 – Hall’s Harley Davidson, Springfield, Il.

Yesterday I had the distinct honor and privilege to be part of an amazing memorial to honor the heroes of September 11th. The event, organized by Hall’s Harley Davidson in Springfield, Illinois, is a motorcycle ride to remember those lost in that horrific attack. I would like to personally thank Stan & Pat Hall, Diane & Larry Hughes, and Theresa Jones Unger. Not only were they kind enough to include us in this event, but they made us feel like family.

I have done speaking events in the past and they are always very emotional, as I remember those we lost that day and those who continue to suffer through illness brought on by exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, but to be surrounded by so many patriotic folks restores my faith that those who sacrificed everything that fateful day will never be forgotten.

These gatherings seem to happen at such a quick pace that it is impossible for me to remember all the amazing people that I get to meet, from the military veterans to the young school kids who weren’t even born when the Towers fell. It might just be a quick handshake or brief conversation, but for that moment I am reminded of just how far-reaching the impact of 9/11 was to this entire nation. To them I would just like to say that your kindness and warmth are truly touching and I thank you all.

I would be remiss if I didn’t extend my sincere thanks to Springfield, Illinois Mayor Jim Langfelder and Fire Marshal Chris Richmond who both went out of their way to make me feel welcome at the event. I would also like to thank Cymphanie Sherman, from WICS Channel 20, for interviewing me about the attack and the first responders who continue to suffer with illnesses attributed to exposure at Ground Zero.

If you are in the Springfield, Illinois area, mark your calendar for next year’s memorial ride: September 8th, 2019 and if you are ever in the area, please stop by and thank the staff at Hall’s Harley Davidson for being the true patriots that they are.

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Thank you and God bless.

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Book Release: Where Was God?

I just wanted to let everyone know that my latest book, Where Was God? An NYPD first responder's search for answers following the terror attack of September 11th 2001, is now available in both e-book and print through Amazon.

Have you ever struggled with the question of where God is during difficult or tragic times? I know I have and this was especially true for me, both during my career in law enforcement, as well as in the aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks. I set out to explore this question, but it ultimately developed into an investigation to discover the actual existence of God.

When you pick-up your copy you will be supporting two very worthwhile causes. 100% of the royalties are being donated to the Salvation Army and the Fealgood Foundation. Beyond the purchase of the book, please consider donating to these amazing groups that do so much work for others.

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Kindle Countdown Deal - PERFECT PAWN (08/22/18)

Just in time for Back-To-School & Labor Day, my debut book PERFECT PAWN is going to be available as a Kindle (e-book) Count Down Deal through Amazon. 

Starting Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) Perfect Pawn, book #1 in the James Maguire series, will be available for only $.99 

Then, over the next week, the price will slowly rise until it returns back to its normal retail price of $4.99 at midnight, August 29th. 

Don't miss this opportunity to grab the book that started it all.

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Stop Blaming the Cops !

As a writer, I spend a lot of time on social media, engaging with my fans, a number of whom are in law enforcement. Over the past week or so I have seen several videos, involving police officers, which have sent a cold chill through me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I spent over two decades in law enforcement; including twenty years with the NYPD. While I have a deep appreciation for the often thankless work that our law enforcement officers perform on a daily basis, that does not mean I am a biased cheerleader. I believe that we should always examine every issue through a clear lens.

Are there bad cops? Absolutely.

Should law enforcement be held to a higher standard? Absolutely.

But make no mistake about it, we don’t recruit officers from some mythical alien planet, where everyone is virtuous and never makes a mistake. We recruit from local communities, from among us, and if we are flawed as human beings this means those who we ask to protect and defend us are equally flawed. Theoretically, the background check is designed to weed out any problems, but too often we see that these checks become lax when politics enters the mix.

The authority entrusted to officers is immense. They have the power to take away your freedom and that is something that should not be treated lightly, but I’m often dismayed at how this is treated as a one-way street. Often the biggest critics of police officers are the ones who aggressively abuse their freedoms and push for confrontations.

Case in point: Charlottesville.

Regardless of what side of the fence you are on this issue, we have to agree that American’s have a First Amendment right to free speech. You may not agree with it, but you have to respect it. The reason is pretty clear: today you might not agree with their speech, but tomorrow they might not agree with yours. But disagreement was not on the hearts and minds of some in Charlottesville. By all accounts the ‘white supremacist’ contingent failed to materialize, but that wasn’t a problem for the Antifa folks. No they showed up ready for a fight and when they couldn’t find any ‘fascists’ to bash, they turned their anger toward the cops and journalists.  They were a riot looking for a reason.

This is part of a growing trend in America where people are being emboldened to act in any way they want without fear of any consequences.

Recently in New York City, the police were called to a location in the Bronx. As the officers were leaving the location, several males confronted them, cell phone cameras in hand, and began a profanity laced tirade against them. Even though they were committing a clear case of disorderly conduct, no action was taken by the officers.

Why?

Because police officers now work in an exaggerated environment of: damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Frankly, I have never seen it this bad before.

Politicians and pundits are actively supporting groups who call for the death of police officers. They even make excuses, citing the current president as being the source of all these issues. Apparently, for as enlightened as these folks claim to be, they are unaware that these groups and events predate the last election.

The reality is that they have been running roughshod over facts for a very long time.  Why you ask? Ratings and votes. I wish I could say it was something more profound, more enlightening, but it’s not. If you are interested, I wrote about this previously (Violence Based on a Lie) and I am sad to say nothing has changed.

The fact is that law enforcement in America is an illusion. The population of America is 320 million and there are less than a million law enforcement officers. You do the math.

The origins of policing in America are founded on the British model which contends that the powers to police are with the implicit consent of the public. That means we want to be safe and we want the police to perform this job. It’s the principal of community policing, but what happens when it is undermined?

That is what is happening today in America when politicians and journalists spread misinformation or just outright lies. Sadly, this mindset is also taking hold among police administrators, who fear a career ending political backlash if they don’t toe-the-line.

Imagine the message that is sent to the front-line officers when they perform their job exactly as they were trained, in accordance with the manual they were given, and yet when the public protests, they are made a scapegoat. Is it any wonder why more and more officers are taking a hands-off approach?  It’s a tough enough job to do when you know the agency has your back, but entirely different when you know that your bosses will sacrifice you to protect their careers. 

When we demonize and dehumanize law enforcement, we make it acceptable to do anything we want to them. They become the nameless, faceless representatives of evil repression. We don’t have to look any further than the assassination of NYPD police officers Ramos and Liu in 2014 to see what that looks like.

But when the cops are gone, who will protect us? And that question should send a cold chill through YOU.

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The WTC Cross

 The World Trade Center Cross - by Anne Bybee, Copyright © 2001

The World Trade Center Cross - by Anne Bybee, Copyright © 2001

When I was coming up with the design for the cover of, "Where Was God?" I wanted something powerful, something which would evoke the raw emotions that we felt in the aftermath of that horrific day, but also one that conveyed a sense of hope among the devastation. 

I think it is safe to say that all of us were aware of the World Trade Center Cross, the steel I-Beams that were sheared off at the joints, forming the shape of a metal crucifix. While doing research I stumbled upon an iconic photo that seemed to convey all of the elements that I was looking for.

After doing some serious internet sleuthing I was able to finally locate the photographer, Anne Bybee, who graciously gave me permission to use this extremely powerful photo for the cover of the book. I am deeply honored. 

Many have dismissed these 'crosses' as just the end result of metal fatigue, but to those of us who were there, they took on an entirely different meaning. They were hope, they were comfort, they were a reminder that we were never alone.