Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bump Back

There are things that go bump in the night, we bump back.” It was taken from a popular movie, Hellboy. I really like it, it encompasses a lot.

We train, we are dedicated, we are unified the few thousand of us at LAPD. I have six months of over the shoulder critiques after coming to my job with more than a decade of taking photos, video, and film. I am ready and confident that the misery I walk up to shall not go undocumented when I'm there.

When the night horrors fly unfettered looking for easy prey they will avoid the few who bump back.
There are times when I feel like bitch slapping half the planet for doing stupid stuff like burning books and tagging.

I just remember one thing. A book that lives in your heart can never be burned. Fill your heart with good stuff. The bump in the night will go bother someone else.

Friday, April 27, 2012


We have to be careful. Some more than others will simply stick their hands into a whirling machine just to see why it's stuck, I have seen what happens on that one. Longevity sometimes goes to the observant, impulsive non observance can really end it for you quick.

Around Parker Center there were many signs posted to avoid annoyance. Smoking was a big theme.

We put up caution tape that says; “DO NOT CROSS”, in two languages that should tell anyone to just walk around. I have seen people just duck under and go on through like it means nothing. One guy on a bike zipping down the sidewalk caught the tape with his throat. Were it not forgiving plastic that would have been another headless person for me to photo. I have photographed missing arms and the squashed bodies of those who just think the words are for someone else.

My dearest love and I had what I now understand to be an intense misunderstanding when we were struggling to keep going together. Communication broke down often, I had poor understanding of her signs. We sat facing each other at a favorite restaurant. Her fists were tight and near hear face. I knew something was wrong but I am poor at reading such things. After more than a month of discussion with understanding I now know that she wanted so badly to be touching me, to feel my warmth.

I have felt poorly about not reading the signs around me, the ones that lack words. I am assured that I won't be missing any limbs or worse for it. It is now my joy to see her in many places even when the miles separate us both. Look around, lovely is everywhere.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I have seen more crime in a year than most sworn members of this department will in their career. That's just the statistic. I wonder how long I can continue to see society's worst.

How often the eyes of a new officer are so obvious to me. They flash with a kind of excitement that is between curious and the 'can I take it' look I must have had when I first got here. After a few years I became accustomed, but not numb to what I am surrounded by. It took me a while to realize that the calm pallor I now exhibit is actually noticed. I hear, 'you see a lot of this..' as they look back from direct eye contact with me to the scene. Not until recently did I see my self as the calm one. In my thirties that would not be the case. The only thing that gets me wound up now is if I miss lunch.

There are scenes so horrific that management has had to ask if I'm okay after viewing the photo's I bring back. As though they are coming back from being their I am looked at with a kind of horror and wonder. How odd that I feel the need to be reassuring. I share my short version of philosophy and thank them for their concern. My eyes are on to the next assignment.

I don't always find dead people with their eyes closed. Often the look is a relaxed vacant one. As though they saw the other side and knew it was going to be okay. I found it creepy at first and now find it reassuring. They seem to me to have seen the mercy that lies ahead forever and they just stepped over to the other side, willingly, happily. They leave the shell behind with this world and no regrets go with them.

When I take photos of victims of violence they give me looks that range from, 'when will this be over' to 'please don't hurt me too'. The first is a kind of anger to resolution that is hard to describe. I would say it is a frightened glare, way off into the distance. The second ranges from looking down and away to staring at me, eye brows arched up to their maximum, very close focus. Children stare at me, trying to read what I might do. Those are looks I regard as normal. What wrenches me still is when the child is smiling because pictures are a happy time. Even with older wounds healing over and sometimes skin that reflects malnourishment they are as happy as you might expect them to be if they were going to Disneyland.

Through my own eyes the witness to life’s last pain has been remarkable. I have them set into the future and on a bigger prize. That thought alone keeps me focused, when I need to, on the toughest job I have ever loved.

I think the look I have had the hardest time with is in the eyes of an inexperience officer who has had to use the ultimate power to defend their life. Even the coolest ones know that without the training and teamwork they are surrounded by the deadly duel could have gone against them. It is then they look down the long path of investigation that will involve them wholly. It is a worried, thousand yard stare into an unknown distance saturated by fog. Not even the slightest detail to let them know if the path is windy, or straight and down. No one will ever get the fear of the unknown trained out of them. It's why we call them brave.

History may show some glint leftover of my life. For every thousand words my shutter is worth they are digitized and left for posterity to remember, if it wants too. I have loved ones, I do what I can so they have the best of what I can be to view in their minds eye, when they remember to.