Pure Slush

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Anonymity of Valor

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by Tom Fegan 

 

I had hung my suit for Sunday Episcopalian mass on the coat rack next to my desk when the call came in. “Desk Sergeant,” I answered. My place of employment was the police department of Alamo Heights; an incorporated city in the center of San Antonio, Texas. Our duty was more security related in keeping the criminal element at bay from the high digit neighborhood. A full moon hung over the placid, humid summer sky which meant paranoid callers would flood the circuits in the generally quiet hamlet.

“Who’s this?” The voice was clipped and educated.

“Police Sergeant Matt Lozano. Can I help you?” I asked.

“Take this address down,” he barked; stymied at his abruptness I grabbed a pen and pad. The residence housed retired Air Force Colonel Oliver Bates. Bates had lived in the vicinity for less than a year. Accordingly he was quiet and reclusive as reported by the local gossips-street contacts for the department.

“What’s this about?”I grumbled.

“I’m reporting a crime,” he sneered. My attention sprouted.

“Don’t try to trace the call. I swiped this cell from his home and will be mailing it to you, wiped clean of any prints. It’s evidence.” I listened intently as he told me how his crew bypassed the alarm and departed with antique guns, televisions, a stereo system and electronic gadgets but left the PC and film camera equipment along with photos and negatives that outlined a kiddie porn ring. Shock silenced me.

“Send some officers,” he laughed, “After all a crime has been committed.” I heard a click and the line went dead. I shook myself and dispatched two officers to Bates’ address. The following day he was in custody.

The media swarmed Alamo Heights with unwanted coverage that melted their tranquility. Our department kept them at bay. The residents bombarded City Hall with complaints of disturbance. In this mess I remained curious at the actions of this criminal and reminisced how a veteran officer taught me criminal’s ethics, a criminal’s code he called it.

Career criminals accept prison as part of the consequences of their professions. Boundaries are drawn apart from those perpetrators that prey on children. In prison, child predators and others involved in crimes against children are segregated. Access can be gained to them and violent non-judicial punishment administered by the inmates. Some of these punitive actions have resulted in death. An unwritten ruled linked to underworld professionals: children are left alone. I was late to mass that Sunday. I knelt at an empty pew and reflected on a verse in Matthew 19:14, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” I knelt and prayed.

 

published 23 March 2016