2012 Index of Articles

Holiday Shopping Safety What's On Your Mind
It's Time Throw Away Your Four-Leafed Clover!
Self-Defense Act Afraid for her life
Pink Guns and Phony Religion Project *55
"Luckiest Girl Ever" Distracted Drivers

2015, 2014, 2013



Holiday Shopping Safety
December 2012

Every year we hear about people being robbed, assaulted, raped and even killed while doing their holiday shopping. These crimes are tragic at any time, but so heartbreaking during the holidays. That’s why law enforcement officials are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings while out and about shopping or celebrating.

The number one thing people can do (especially women) to protect themselves is to take a friend with them while shopping. We seldom hear about people being assaulted when with a group of people or another person. Thieves are opportunists, they search out and find people they consider weaker than themselves. You’ve probably seen videos of a woman being drug by a bad guy across a parking lot by a purse strap or being knocked to the ground as the thief yanks her purse off her shoulder. Every one of these videos has one thing in common; the victim is always alone. We feel that’s substantial and something to consider.

The second best thing people can do to protect themselves is to be aware of their surroundings. If your head is down looking at your phone as you are crossing a parking lot or inside a store, you aren’t going to see the dangers all around you. Please stay alert and be cautious when entering or exiting your vehicle or a business. You can’t steer clear of trouble if you aren’t paying attention.

One last thing to consider…nothing inside your hand bag is worth your life, so let the thief have it. Live to fight another day. Be the best witness possible, providing law enforcement with a good description of the suspect and his/her vehicle. We hope that you aren’t a victim though. It is our belief that these simple things suggested, will go a long way to keep you safe.

Merry Christmas!

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Distracted Drivers
October 2012

We are all busy now days. With advanced technology comes instant access to our family and friends. But on the highways and interstates across the state of Oklahoma, we are seeing the results of people that are instantly connected via their mobile phones. You may have seen people driving down the highway with their phone in plain view texting away as their car swerves over lane lines, fog lines and through intersections. You’ve grown irritated behind a distracted driver that drops below the speed limit and constantly taps their brakes because their eyes are not on the road and they instinctively hit the brake pedal even though there is no real need. Quite the opposite is also true as collisions have been known to occur where a distracted driver runs into the back of a slow-moving or completely stopped vehicle in front of them as their fingers tap on tiny keys. Several fatalities in the last year have been attributed to texting and driving or emailing and driving.

I’ve been guilty of texting and driving myself, so I’m not throwing stones. I’m simply stating the facts and hoping you’ll consider pulling to the shoulder if a phone call or text is that important. Distracted driving is dangerous, deadly even. Consider that the next time you’re tempted to send even a short text while operating a motor vehicle.

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"Luckiest Girl Ever"
September 2012


Okay, so maybe I am extremely fortunate...I run into famous people and somehow squeeze into photos with them. But before you get to feeling jealous about my good-fortune, let me explain that there is a sad side to this photo op. It is my belief that this TRUE STORY will pull at your heart strings, who knows...you may actually think I'm an unfortunate soul.

You see, when I ran into Vince Gill in the Nashville airport this past week, he was trying to give a lady back a pair of eye glasses that he had seen her drop. Star-struck, the woman stood staring at Vince not trusting her voice to speak. She neither took the glasses nor responded with anything but bug-eyes and an open mouth as the country music superstar stood holding her glasses out to her.

I chuckled under my breath while watching her obvious discomfort. She realized who was trying to return her eye glasses to her, but she was at a complete loss for words. She recognized his voice about the same time I did. We both had turned when he said, "Excuse me, Ma'am," in his beautiful, tenor voice. After the woman's husband began to coach her to take the glasses that Vince Gill offered, she finally took them.

I outright laughed as her shaky voice asked for his identity by simply asking, "You aren't...?" To which Vince just smiled his sweetest smile and cast his humble, sea-green eyes downward, "Yes, Ma'am...I am.

Introductions were made then with nervous laughter and many "Thank you's" said. Finally, the Grammy Award winner walked away to disappear into the crowd of people waiting to board a plane. It was obvious that he wished to quietly and anonymously sit in the gate area unnoticed. I was still silently judging the awe-struck woman and her bumbling acceptance of her glasses she had dropped. I would never be such a dork! I thought with a smirk of arrogance.

I quickly called a buddy of mine that I know is a childhood friend of Vince Gill's. When I got Rick on the phone I quickly gave him the low-down and asked if he would text or call Vince and ask if I could get a picture made with him. Rick insisted that I simply approach the country music legend and ask myself, but at my insistence, offered to stay on the phone and assist me with my introductions. I wasn't a bit nervous as I approached the now sitting Vince Gill. I stood in front of him and did as Rick suggested.

"Excuse me, sir," I began. My heart was beating fast, maybe I was more nervous than I thought. "Do you know Rick Buchanan?"

Vince laughed at my question and started shaking his head up and down while he said, "Yes, we are life-long friends."

I told him that Rick was on the phone and did he want to speak to him, I asked. He held his hand out for my phone and I placed it in his hand. My good pal, Rick, introduced me before Vince gave me back the phone. I thanked Rick and hung up so that I could spend a moment speaking with Vince before we had our photo made together as promised. I continued to stand as we exchanged pleasantries and stories about Rick Buchanan and how we both knew him. Vince, being the consummate gentlemen, asked for me to sit next to him and cleared off a seat for me to sit down. I grabbed my bags from a few chairs away and nestled into the seat beside him as we continued to talk.

A lady that sat opposite us asked if I wanted her to take our photo so I took my Blackberry out of its holster and held it in front of me as I looked down at it, getting the camera portion of the phone ready. That's when I noticed IT...the zipper on my pants. It was completely unzipped!

I had been walking around the airport for 20 minutes, standing in front of and then sitting next to Vince Gill all with on open fly. Everyone close to gate 2, terminal D in the Nashville airport that day knew what color of undergarments I was wearing, especially the guy sitting to my right...Country Music Hall of Fame inductee-Vince Gill.

The amount of instant blood loss to my brain from embarrassment had me nearly passing out. If it were possible to (poof) disappear...this would be the appropriate time and I most certainly would have done it. Being without magical powers, I simply slugged Vince on the arm. I did the only thing a girl can do in a situation like that...blame the guy! It had to be ALL his fault.

"What kind of a friend are you anyway to let me walk around the airport with my fly undone!" I demanded.

He laughed and laughed as I zipped up my zipper and tried to restore the normal color to my cheeks. The heat of my embarrassment still surging through my face could be felt all over my body.

With the now infamous photo taken, we casually visited between other photo ops with our fellow travelers who, by now, knew who I sat next to.

I don't know, maybe Vince will remember the goof ball woman who flashed him in the Nashville airport. I'll certainly never forget our first meeting. It was extremely memorable for me...and to think, you called me, "lucky!"

Betsy

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Pink Guns and Phony Religion
August 2012

I sat there, tears dripping on my shirt as I watched the news about the massacre in Aurora, Colorado. My fingernails dug into my palms as I balled my fists tightly, wishing I could hit something or someone. I didn't trust my voice to speak for this burning lump in my throat. What was there to say anyway? Turning the TV off, I sighed. I glanced over my right shoulder and saw my husband's reaction to the news perching in the corners of his sad green eyes. He was hurt and pissed too, he just shook his head.

The next day he comes home, riding a big orange Harley with something wrapped in white rags and slung over his shoulder like the Terminator. Carefully, he unwrapped his parcel and studied my face as he gingerly presented me with something he said he thought I needed. I smiled at the pink camouflage Smith and Wesson .22 model M&P15-22 rifle with the collapsible stock. I rubbed my thumb across the engraving that said, "Made in the U.S.A." and pride surged through me, I felt my shoulders square as I stood taller to raise the rifle and look through the sights.

Do I wish purchasing a gun were harder for law-abiding Americans to do? Hell, no!

Do I wish bad things didn't happen to innocent people? Absolutely!

Do I wish we could shoot people in the head right on the spot instead of letting them surrender after they go on shooting sprees? You better believe it!

We can not limit or eliminate freedoms based on the evil puppets of Satan and his angels. I don't have the answers to all the world's problems, but I know who does. The Bible says that we must all humble ourselves, fall on our knees and beg God for His forgiveness, we must seek God's face; turn from our wickedness, then He will hear us and He will heal our land, (II Chronicles 7:14)

Aside from that, folks, we have no hope. Our world will continue on its death spiral as we cling to our pink guns and our phony religion.

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Afraid for her life
July 2012

A single girlfriend of mine told me this past Tuesday how terrified she felt the day before while standing in the middle of her living room floor, stark naked as someone tried to kick in her front door.

She was on her way to the shower after working out in her gardens all morning. Coming into the house, she went straight to her wash room and stripped off her sweaty, dirty clothes and put them into the washing machine and turned it on. She was halfway across her living room floor, headed to the shower, when the doorbell rang. Freezing in place, she stood stock still, waiting for her midday interruption to go away. When the doorbell brought no results, her uninvited visitor began to bang on her wooden door with his fist. That was when she began to feel the first twinges of fear.

She crept towards the window and snuck a peek at the unknown man, who continued to bang loudly on her door. All she could see, through the tiny holes in the blinds, was a muscular, tattooed arm. Hoping he would go away, she remained silent. Her two dogs meanwhile continued to growl and bark insanely. Suddenly, the brass mail slot in her front door opened and the stranger began cooing to her two precious dogs. Being a dog lover and knowing this man would do her dogs harm if he could, she became angry. But before she could think of what to do next, the man on her porch began kicking her front door. He had hoped he could cave-in the door frame and dismantle the locks.

Now the real fear hit her.

You know the kind of fear that has your heart pounding and freezes time as you force your limbs to move, to respond? She explained how vulnerable and exposed she felt with a maniac on one side of the door kicking for all he was worth and her, undressed and unarmed, on the other side of that door feeling completely powerless. Reflexes like a spider monkey had my friend moving with a purpose before anything else happened. She beat on her side of the front door and ordered the man to leave. She claimed to have called the police and she boasted that she had a gun. Without so much as another tap on the door, the would-be robber ran away as fast as his weasel-like legs could carry him.

I told you this story to tell you this…my friend hadn’t called the cops that day and she had never even held a gun, let alone owned one or fired one. That was until yesterday. Now my girlfriend is sporting a .38 revolver I lent her until she can take Tammy’s classes and purchase her own firearm. Here is what I told her. “I hope this pistol brings you some measure of comfort. Use it to protect yourself. You don’t have to be powerless. You don’t have to live in constant fear of what someone else could do to you. No one should be afraid to be in their own house. No one should be without a firearm. The Second Amendment establishes your right to keep and bear arms and you should claim that right and protect yourself. My fellow peace officers and I will do everything we can to protect you, but we aren’t everywhere and we certainly are nowhere when you need us to be (at least that’s what people say). You may never have to use your firearm to protect yourself, but you’ll have it in case you do. Either way, the peace of mind in having a weapon will be well worth your time and expense of getting one.”

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Throw Away Your Four-Leafed Clover!
June 2012

Situation: Memorial Day 2012, 0830 hours, Logan County, Oklahoma, just north of the city of Guthrie, an Oklahoma State Trooper runs the license plate on an abandoned vehicle south bound on Interstate 35. The vehicle comes back to a homicide suspect from Renton, Washington who had fled that state after killing his 17-year-old girlfriend. Before abandoning his vehicle, the suspect writes a note and leaves it on the windshield stating that he was going to get gas. After receiving a call from our communications center about the situation, I quickly posted the Washington state wanted poster on our Oklahoma Highway Patrol Facebook page. Within minutes, people were calling to inform us that they had already given the suspect a ride to gas stations in Logan County and Oklahoma City. As nervous minutes ticked away, we waited to see where the suspect would surface next. Ground units searched the area where the suspect was last seen, while OHP Aircraft flew overhead. The suspected killer had traveled halfway across the US in an attempt to elude his captors; there was no way of telling what lengths he would go to, to stay free.

While law enforcement searched for the suspect, reporter Adam Mertz with KFOR, news channel 4, telephoned me to inquire about doing a story regarding our search for the suspect. Adam had seen our OHP Facebook page and was following a journalistic hunch that the murder suspect was still in the area. I agreed to meet with Adam and give him a sound bite concerning our efforts. As Adam Mertz and his photojournalist, Mark Paris, drove from Oklahoma City to Guthrie to meet me, they passed an individual on the Interstate service road at Wilshire walking northbound. Adam noticed as they passed that the person walking, matched the description of the murder suspect. Just to be safe, Adam asked Mark (who was driving), to turn around and go back. When the men circled back around, Adam could clearly see that the suspect was wearing the exact clothes that were shown on the wanted poster, to include a green Seattle baseball cap.

Adam called for help and the suspect was quickly arrested. Now, the newsman was part of the story. Adam and I began to record our interview that would play later that night to thousands of people across the state. Smiling, he said with a nervous laugh, “I guess that I was just lucky.”

I’m not sure why I said the exact words next that I did, but I wouldn’t take them back even if I could.

There are defining moments in life when we are outright, no question about it, presented with a situation where we can choose to acknowledge our belief in God and His ever present presence in our lives or we can remain silent. No one forced fancy theological words out of my mouth that day. I could not then, nor can I now, buy into some pre-scripted “company” line about how we just did our jobs. I refused to say how coincidental it was that Adam Mertz just happened to see our Facebook page and download the wanted poster, or how he just happened to desire to do a story, or how he just happened to be on the same interstate at the same time and just happen to see the homicide suspect from a moving vehicle traveling at highway speeds (70 mph or better) or how he just happened to recognize the suspect from the poster. I didn’t believe that to be true, so I didn’t say that.

What I did say was this, “I do not believe in luck. I believe it was Divine Providence that made everything work the way that it did today. We are so grateful that we could capture this dangerous person before he harmed or killed someone in his desperate attempt to escape.”

On camera and off, my interview with Adam lasted for over an hour as we stood in the sun, sweating from the heat and humidity. I would learn later that night which direct quote Adam had chosen to use in his story.

You guessed it, he used, “Divine Providence.” But I’m sure that was just dumb luck as well.

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What's On Your Mind?
May 2012

I'm sitting behind my desk leaning forward at the waist because my long sleeve uniform shirt rubs on my jaw line. With every movement of my head the sun screen that I applied liberally to my face and neck coats the collar of my shirt. So to compensate, I lean forward in my chair, but in so doing I'm cutting off the blood flow to my feet because of my unforgiving gun belt and too-snug trousers.

Sure, I could lose ten pounds and save myself all this discomfort, but since I can't do it overnight, I will likely permanently lose all the feeling in my feet. It's no big deal, plenty of people get along every day with no feeling in their feet or no feet for that matter.

(Sigh!)

I've been sitting here staring at this computer screen with both kickstands, otherwise known as elbows, holding my head up off the desk all day and all I can think about is...stretchy pants...

(Big sigh!)

Guess I'll go work out...

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Self-Defense Act
April 2012

When Tammy asked if I wanted to chip in my two cents for the April newsletter, I couldn’t think of a single thing to comment on. It wasn’t until she asked me a question about the SDA, Carry Conceal law and told me of a particularly difficult student that I thought I may pitch you a few bones.

First off, let me say that I’ve instructed many folks, both in the Army and with the Patrol. There were some I couldn’t teach a thing to because they had it all learned up before I got a hold of them. Don’t be that student. As a professional instructor, we will sigh and move on when presented with that student, while in the back of our mind we feel discouraged because we want each student to come away better than when they came to us.

Now, the question Tammy posed to me was this, “Does a law enforcement officer know that you have a conceal carry license just by running your driver license?” Like I told Tammy, the answer is possibly yes and possibly no. Here’s why, when a LEO initiates a traffic stop, they ask for your driver license and you hand it over. That LEO goes back to their patrol car and either runs your information through their communications center or swipes your DL on their computer DL reader and gets a return instantly. Either way, the possibility that you are a registered licensee will be known within a matter of minutes or not at all.

Sometimes, we get the information just from running your DL and sometimes only a background check will reveal the information. But you want to do the right thing all the time so you give both your DL and your SDA CCL when stopped, even when you don’t have a weapon with you. The law states that you don’t have to tell us when you don’t have your weapon, but you’ll want to, here’s why…

Because you are a responsible, respectable and respectful card/pistol carrying individual, you will automatically produce and inform the LEO simultaneously. We (LEO’s) appreciate that and you when you do that. By handing over your carry conceal license, we know you’ve jumped through a few hoops and thrown down some cash to obtain your SDA CCL and we respect that. Sometimes, we even cut you some slack because we know that you are one of the, “good guys…or good gals!”

In closing, remember two things; Present both your DL and your SDA CCL when stopped by a LEO, even if you don’t have your firearm with you. Second, don’t be a know-it-all…anywhere and at any time to anyone.

Gnaw on those bones!

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It's Time
March 2012

You may have heard that crimes against law enforcement officers have increased in recent years. While this fact may disturb you, it makes me physically hurt. When I see a guy or gal in uniform, I pause to think of all the people that would be broken-hearted should something happen to them. That's the part that hurts me.

Those of us in law enforcement don't spend too much time thinking about losing our lives in the course of our duties. We are adrenaline junkies. We love to drive cars fast, shoot loud weapons and wrestle alligators for fun. Okay, the last part was a bit much, but you get the gist. We love the excitement our job offers.

We enjoy not knowing what's going to happen next. We jump on our partners calls if things are slow in our area so that we can stay in on the action the whole time we are on duty. Universally, we all have a fascination with the obscure, the morbid, the gross. We love puppies, the outdoors and we despise people that hurt children or the elderly. We cry, sometimes sob, when we notify next-of-kin out of a fatality car crash.

You'll see us laugh like goons at stupid jokes or at terrible accident scenes - because that's how we cope. We fight amongst ourselves like hateful siblings, but won't hesitate to rush to the aide of a partner, no matter the uniform or the personal threat of harm.

We want what you want. Peace, harmony, love and days off when the weather is nice. So maybe the next time you see a man or woman in a law enforcement uniform, you'll say hello. You don't have to thank us. We love our job, we don't do it for recognition. We do it because we are called to the occupation and because we can't imagine doing anything else. We may not know when "our time" is, but we know we all have one. We know the dangers are out there. We know there is a small element of society that wishes us dead, but we are confident in our Protector to see us safely home at the end of each shift until He says, "It's time."

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Project *55
February 2012

By Trooper Betsy Randolph, #375

Oklahoma Highway Patrol – Public Affairs Division

(Oklahoma City, OK.)  There have been numerous times in my nearly 20-year career in law enforcement, when a person has called in to dispatch about a possible drunk driver on the roadways. In recent years, with the advent and prominence of mobile cellular phones, those calls have increased in number and severity. With more drivers on the road, the probability of more intoxicated or distracted drivers has also increased. On any given day, at any hour, in every city in America, intoxicated drivers are risking your life and those you care about by getting behind the wheel and choosing to drive. That’s why we have created a phone number where you can quickly and easily call the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for help or to report a drunk driver. Star 55 or *55 on your mobile phone works anywhere in the state and goes directly to the closest OHP troop headquarters.

We believe that drunk drivers are usually not bad people. They are just ordinary people who make bad decisions. The decision to drink and drive is usually made after a person has consumed alcohol and the first thing alcohol does is alter a person’s decision making skills. That’s why it is so important for people to designate a sober driver long before consuming any alcohol. We believe that operating a motor vehicle after consuming even one alcoholic beverage is dangerous and we strive to convince people to have a designated driver or an alternative to driving if you are going to drink alcohol at all.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol works to provide a safe environment for everyone on Oklahoma roadways, but even at our very best, we simply cannot be everywhere all of the time. That’s where you come in. If you happen to see a reckless, distracted or intoxicated driver, we implore you to call us on your mobile phone. Star-fifty-five (*55) is the number to call state-wide for assistance. That number will be routed to the nearest Oklahoma Highway Patrol troop in the state of Oklahoma. When the communications officer answers, they will ask you a series of questions to determine where you are, what direction you are traveling and what help you need. A trooper will then be dispatched to your location and you may be asked to provide a description of the vehicle or a license plate number to help identify the vehicle in question.

By dialing *55 on your cell phone you will aid not only the state troopers, but every other motorist who will come into contact with the possible drunk driver. You can save a life! It may be the drunk drivers’, someone you care about or your own. Together we can make a difference and together we can put the brakes on drunk drivers for good. Remember, call *55 and help the Oklahoma Highway Patrol take a drunk driver off the road and off to jail.

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