MLK Rememberance

In honor of today’s holiday, I read some of Dr. King’s speeches and am humbly inspired to say a few words.

In the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, I felt an affinity by the following words:


I come to this great magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization that brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.


A time comes when silence is betrayal. A true call to action is in those words. Silence is betrayal when that silence results in harm to any other person or people. That was the accord Dr. King must have felt. Those words ought to convict every person’s soul when they are read. Are we not all guilty of letting our silence betray another person?


The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.


Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement, and pray that our inner being may be sensitive to its guidance. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us

POWERFUL WORDS! While the conflict mentioned is Vietnam and it is a horrific and confusing conflict at that, inwardly, we are all heart broken with the conflict around us.

Those that know me know that I have been re-investigating the Billings Case because something never seemed right to me about how that was said to have happened. I also knew Patrick Poff or as most know him Leonard “Patrick” Gonzalez Jr. I have made no secret of the fact, I had nothing but contempt for this man, but my conscience told me there was something wrong here. Then came the inevitable question, is Patrick worth saving? Many said, NO and justified it by saying “if he didn’t do this, he probably would have done something this bad in the future” or “if he didn’t do this, what hasn’t he been caught for that he IS guilty of?”.

Both of these justifications are flawed. Our justice system runs on the premise that the guilty should pay for the crimes they have been charged with. The crimes for which no one was “caught” are moot as are the crimes not committed yet. And in looking at this case, Pat was not the only one who was wronged, many of the others were too. I have no way of knowing for absolute sure if Pat is guilty, but I tell you that the one thing he didn’t get was a fair trial. Based on the evidence used to convict him, we should all be afraid for our own safety, because he is on Death Row and there is NO physical evidence, no legitimate eye witness; he didn’t own the gun used nor the vehicle seen in the famous video the ECSO destroyed.

None of these things happened to people who could defend themselves. All the people jailed had history of crimes, drug issues, were minorities, or were brain damaged, and all were indigent with the exception of Donnie Stallworth’s first 2 trials. But in the final trial, after being driven into indigency, he was convicted. That alone should be noted. Wayne Coldiron, a serial criminal and Pam Long are the only ones not in the racial minority. This case is a cookie cutter example of what is wrong with the justice system. Rush to judgment followed by stereotypical victimization of people who cannot defend themselves.


It is the biggest anathema among us—taking advantage of those who are marginalized (minorities, lower class, victims, people weakened by life for one reason or another). Wrongful conviction is ultimately the most consummate act because it takes the only thing broken people have left—freedom. In all exonerations, there are people who were aware of the misinformation that led to such convictions. Silence, indeed, betrayed the exonerees. Isn’t it likely that Dr. King would be advocating for those who have been convicted due their socio-economic status or race, rather than actual guilt?

2018: A Reflection

I am highly disappointed in myself for the lack of postings I made on this blog. So many things happened last year.

– The CFO of the ECSO was MIA for months and no one could ask about him.

-Morgan publicly showed his ass regarding pay for the deputies that his agency kept.

-Scott Trotter, a Democrat, united many Republicans & Democrats in an effort to overthrow the ineffectual, pathological liar, Doug Underhill. This was unprecedented in this political climate in the Panhandle. While the media perpetuates the flames of division in partisan politics, in Escambia County, the opposite was happening. People with differences put them aside to make the community better. Despite having lost, Trotter brought about a way of cooperation that could be longstanding in the community. That is huge.

-Morgan was slapped on his hand regarding LET money but with the incoming BOCC Chairman, Lumon May, this may have only been a temporary measure. Lumon backslid after the election. His flip-flopping view on Underhill and his ways of deceiving the BOCC have all been forgotten by May and Underhill and Morgan are his BFF’s again. A step backwards for the county, indeed.

-The continuation of convicting people, who are likely not guilty of the crimes they are convicted, continued. Robert Howard, the man arrested for murdering Naomi Jones, is possibly being wrongly convicted. In looking at her autopsy, it is impossible to call her death murder. Her hyoid bone is in tact…due to marine predation (animal feeding) there is no evidence of sexual assault either. This guy may be guilty but her autopsy does not support that. Yet he will likely be convicted due the media and law enforcement comments to the public.

Mary Rice is another one that is probably not guilty of the murders for which she was convicted of. Most certainly, according to deputies, Morgan is responsible for Kayla Crocker’s murder. Morgan ineptness as an LEO led to not searching woods close to Crocker’s home that Boyette and Rice were indeed hiding in. Morgan was convinced the ditched car next to woods was a result of Boyette ditching the car to get on the adjacent interstate. He refused to use resources made available to him to search the woods. Deputies frustrated by this decision called me from the location. They thought it was worth investigating and Morgan said to stand down. This decision resulted into Crocker’s murder. Yet somehow Mary Rice is more culpable than Morgan.

-A good friend of mine, and a hell of a reporter, Hayley Minogue of WKRG was summarily fired after being transferred from Pensacola to Mobile coverage after she pissed off Sir David in a Naomi Jones press conference by asking him what he thought the motive of her motive was. Morgan’s classic response, “I am a law enforcement officer. I don’t care why…..I leave the whys to the psychologists and the script writers.”

The insane part of that statement is that motive is usually the one thing that leads to an arrest. Motive is stepping stone to catching the suspect. Was it a sexual predator? Was there a personal riff that ended in accidental death? was this a suicide? The “why” always factors in to the “who did it”. That is why mens rea (intent) is so important; it is one of the elements of a crime and successful prosecution. If you don’t have a why, then anyone in proximity could be arrested as a potential killer. It is the why that narrows and eliminates the field of persons of interest. Anybody that has ever watched “Law & Order”, “Matlock” or “Perry Mason” knows that..it isn’t rocket science, yet ye olde sheriff doesn’t care what the why is.

But I digress, Morgan felt humiliated by Minogue’s why question and blackballed WKRG from info from the ECSO. Minogue was re-assigned to Mobile and later fired. Ironically, as soon as she was fired, WKRG came off the blacklist at the ECSO. Funny how that works.

After all these things happened, the bumbling Sheriff still has pull in the county. I think the citizens should scrutinize that for themselves.