Paul Ryan on House Floor: “We Are All Being Tested Right Now.”

This morning, at 12:18pm ET, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered an emotional address on the House floor, at times showing a strained voice as he encouraged his colleagues to move beyond the partisan rancor in a surreal moment for all of them.

 

“My colleagues, there are very strong emotions in this house today.

“We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and colleagues and those who serve and protect this capitol. We are all praying for those who were attacked and their families. Steve Scalise, Zachary Barth, Matt Mika, Special Agent David Bailey, Special Agent Crystal Griner… We are all giving our thoughts to those being treated for their injuries at this moment, and we are united. We are united in our shock, we are united in our anguish, and an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

*Standing ovation*

“I know we want to give our thanks to the first responders, and the Alexandria Police Department, who were on the scene in minutes. And I know this house wants to say unequivocally, that we are as ever awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol police.

“I spoke with Special Agent Bailey, and Special Agent Griner this morning. One of them was being treated, and the other one was about to go into surgery. I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on various eyewitness accounts, that without these two heroes, agent Bailey and agent Reiner, many lives would have been lost.

“I know that we all want to learn as much as we can about what happened. We all just received everything from the Sergeant-at-Arms. I have complete confidence in the investigation that is being conducted by the Capitol police, and the FBI, who are also working with local law enforcement.

“I know we want to extend our gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from throughout the capital and throughout the country. And now, knowing Steve Scalise as we all do, he is likely to be really frustrated that he’s not going to be able to play in the baseball game. I also know that Steve wants us all to commend the bravery of those who came to the aid of the wounded.

“In the coming days, we will hear their stories. We will have a chance to hold up their heroism. My colleagues, there are so many memories of this day that we will want to forget. And there are so many images that we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this house should keep. And that is a photo I saw this morning of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning, after hearing the news.

“You know, every time we come here to test and challenge each other, we feel so deeply about the things that we fight for, and the things we believe in, that at times our emotions clearly get the best of us. We are all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire. These were our brothers and sisters who ran into danger and saved countless lives. So, before this house returns to its business let’s just slow down and reflect. To think about how we are all being tested right now. Because, we are being tested right now.

“I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together, to lift each other up, and to show the country and the world that we are one house, the People’s house, united in our humanity. It is that humanity which will win the day, and it always will. It always will.

God bless.”

 

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) followed Speaker Ryan’s remarks with some of her own, acknowledging the “distinguished Speaker,” and in a lighthearted moment said, “to my colleagues, you’re going to hear me say something you’ve never heard me say before: I identify myself with the remarks of the Speaker. They were beautiful remarks, Mr. Speaker, thank you so much for the sentiments they represent.”

Seattle Law Enforcement Adopts Less “Negative” Terminology For Suspects

Some things can only take place in the far-left regions of the West Coast – you know, places like Seattle. Today’s evidence of Seattle crazy is a new initiative by law enforcement in that city to use less “negative” terminology to describe suspects and inmates. And among the law enforcement community, it’s going over about as well as you might expect.

When Seattle police officers write use of force reports they no longer call a suspect a suspect.

“Community member” is the new term. Several officers say the term is offensive, explaining their work with violent suspects.

Maybe you’re like me and wondering what community a suspect is part of, but the semantic overcorrection doesn’t end there. Authorities are also worried about how not to offend the incarcerated with their terminology.

Last fall, the Washington Department of Corrections stopped calling inmates “offenders” and instead use the term “student.”

“The term ‘offender’ does have a negative connotation and significantly impacts a broad group of people and communities,” Acting DOC Secretary Dick Morgan wrote in an internal department memo, obtained by KIRO 7.

“Times change, and so does our language.”

However, that means Gary Ridgway — the most prolific American serial killer who said he has at least 71 victims — is no longer called an inmate or an offender. Neither are other murderers, rapists and felons.

The phase-out of the word “offender” started Nov. 1 and replaced with “individuals,” “student” or “patient,” the DOC secretary wrote to his staff.

We need to start worrying about where we are as a society if we’re concerned about how negative our language is toward people who are serving time for having committed crimes. (Also, it’s funny that someone is worrying about the word “offender” being offensive.) Of course, this thought isn’t lost on the law enforcement community, and they’re speaking out.

Kevin Stuckey, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild president who can speak publicly, said he believes the term “community member” is too vague.

“I don’t think you should have a broad stroke like that and call everybody the same thing,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling someone who is a victim a victim, or calling someone who’s a suspect a suspect.”

There’s something terribly wrong when political correctness seeps into law enforcement in this way – even when it’s happening in Seattle.

Could it be that police and corrections authorities need to spend less time worrying about whether terminology offends those who commit a crime and more time making sure said crimes don’t get committed? Playing Orwellian word games with police parlance doesn’t merely come across as counterproductive; it just seems wrong.

HERO: Louisiana Woman Selflessly Saves Police Officer

Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, “is a hero and demonstrates the true meaning of loving God and loving your neighbor,” says Baton Rouge, Louisiana Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome.  Williams-Tillman is being lauded for her actions in assisting a police officer who was being attacked by a 28 year-old drug suspect.

She was “driving to a store, listening to gospel music on her radio” when she saw the officer in trouble.  The suspect was beating the officer with the officer’s baton and attempting to retrieve the officer’s sidearm.  Disregarding her own safety, Williams-Tillman stopped to assist and jumped on the suspect’s back to try to end his attack on the officer.  Soon afterwards, additional police arrived to assist, subduing the suspect with a stun gun and arresting him.

Of her heroics in helping the officer, Williams-Tillman is quoted as saying, “I could see in his eyes he needed help… You don’t have time to think about it … I did what God needed me to do… It was something that went through my soul.  You don’t think about the risk.”

In a world that is too often filled with bad news and dark stories, I find this one particularly uplifting.  Vickie Williams-Tillman acted with Christian love towards someone in need, putting the officer’s wellbeing above her own.  Upon seeing the officer’s distress, she leapt into action, trusting in God that He would see her through.  Weston-Broome added of her, “Vickie Williams-Tillman epitomizes the true Good Samaritan.  She reached out and offered a courageous and unconditional response to the officer.”

Indeed, the world could use more like her.

 

Free Speech Should Not be a License to Abandon Our Humanity

For the past couple of weeks, there has been a battle brewing around the Capitol, and it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
This time.

No, the battle has drawn a dividing line between free speech versus what is decent, humane, and noble.

Several weeks ago, a story surfaced regarding a student painting that was hung in the Capitol complex, in Washington, D.C.
The painting depicted police officers as pigs, holding their guns on protesters.

When Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Ca.) took it upon himself to remove the offensive painting and have it returned to the office of the congressman who was responsible for it being there, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), the battle was on.

Rep. Clay and the Congressional Black Caucus, with great fanfare, rehung the painting, defiantly calling it a “free speech” issue.

But that still wasn’t the end of it. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Brian Babin (R-Texas) removed it together shortly afterward, forcing Clay to return it for a third time in one day.
Since then, someone – the identity unknown by Clay’s office – has taped above the painting an image of the American flag with a highlighted blue stripe, a symbol of support for law enforcement.

Let’s be honest: Had a white Republican decided that a depiction of the KKK lynching a black man was “art” and had hung it in a prominent place, Clay and the rest of the CBC would not be such vocal fans of the freedom of speech.

This was about making a statement against law enforcement, and they meant for it to be ugly and divisive.

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), a former sheriff, asked the Architect of the Capitol on Wednesday to review whether the painting violated rules of the student art competition that prohibit “subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature.” The competition guidelines adhere to the policy of the House Office Building Commission, which is currently controlled by GOP leaders.

I would say this particular display of “art” certainly meets the criteria for prohibition.
And police officers were offended. They were hurt.

Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) office informed Reichert on Friday that the Architect of the Capitol concluded the artwork did indeed violate the rules. The painting will be removed on Tuesday.

And that is a good thing.

One tragic fact that should be threaded in with this story is that a black police officer and mother of two was gunned down in Orlando, Florida, the day before the Congressional Black Caucus so callously, hatefully chose to make a show of rehanging a painting that, basically, portrayed her as a pig.
The Congressional Black Caucus have forgotten their own sense of humanity.
The fact that this painting was allowed to hang for as long as it did in a high traffic area on Capitol Hill shows a disgusting lack of respect for the very difficult job our police officers do, every day.

For now, it is taken care of, and the good guys won.
What doesn’t change is the fact that we have representatives in Washington who are too willing to foment the ugliest parts of our society, and are doing so while their very livelihood relies on the tax dollars of those they’re insulting.

Free speech, the freedom of expression is a wonderful thing. We should never rush to trade our humanity or the break the bonds of good will, in order to make a point, however.

Man Criminalized By NJ Gun Laws, Pardoned By Chris Christie Becomes A Baltimore Police Officer

Do you remember the story of a young New Jersey private security guard who nearly faced jail time for being in possession of a legal firearm? Well, he’s now free to become a police officer and will be serving in the Baltimore Police Department.

I had originally written in The Hill about this major victory for 26-year-old Steffon Josey-Davis, but they chose a different title unrelated to the article to generate more clicks. So I chose to publish an article about Steffon desiring to serve this country in law enforcement.

Josey-Davis is a former private security guard from North Brunswick, NJ who will now serve as a police officer in Baltimore, Maryland. His case first garnered attention after he was arrested for possession of a firearm–a legally-owned Smith & Wesson M&P Shield–on September 20, 2013. His crime? Leaving it in his glove compartment.

Following that ordeal, Josey-Davis was treated like a criminal since New Jersey boasts some of the country’s most Draconian gun laws in the books. Steffon couldn’t apply for most jobs and was viewed in the same vein as a harsh criminal because of the felony charge placed on him. It wasn’t until June 2015 when he was pardoned by Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ).

In January 2016, he had his gun rights fully restored to him. I wrote more about this in Townhall:

“To my knowledge, right after I was pardoned by Governor Christie, I didn’t attempt to purchase any firearms since my arrest. I went to purchase a Savage Axis 30-06 on January 28th. I was delayed for a day or two and I was then approved after I made a few phone calls to my lawyer’s office as well as the governor’s office,” said Josey-Davis in an email.

“This is a victory for our Second Amendment community,” he said. “Someone who legally possessed a firearm, losing his Second Amendment rights, becoming a felon, being pardoned and getting his rights to purchase firearms again in the state of New Jersey is very rare.”

Steffon was kind enough to allow me to ask him some questions about him becoming a police officer with the Baltimore Police Department. Below are his responses:

RST: Do you believe many innocent people are criminalized by gun control policies just as you were? 

SJD: Being in law enforcement is a lifestyle. You have to want to help people. You have to have the patience and most importantly, the integrity. Police officers are trusted to keep the public safe. Having that opportunity is an honor.

RST:  What do you look forward to most about becoming a police officer?

SJD: I want my story to inspire our younger generation to prosper. It’s the perfect example of strength. It shows them with hard work and dedication anything is possible. Just being a role model to the public. I’m also writing a book called “The Pardon” that explains being prosecuted, to being pardoned, then entering law enforcement which has always been a lifelong dream. I’m happy to have this opportunity.

Steffon is in the process of writing a book about the legal ordeals he faced called, “The Pardon” due out in Summer 2017. You can support his writing efforts here.

Follow Steffon on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.