Sunday, January 26, 2014

Resurection in the place you were crucified

I have had a lot of time to think since my last blog post in October 2010. This blog was always about giving me an outlet to write and a place to express my thoughts. Even though it caused me to be popularized as "the blogging sheriff" I never intended this blog to be about making me popular or famous. I have always wanted to write and yet was not very disciplined in keeping a good writing schedule. The blog helped with that in that it forced me to write in order to keep the blog alive.

In November of 2010 my crimes were made public and as any lawyer would say you have the right to remain silent so use it. I stopped blogging and even though I stopped blogging and removed my blog from the public view it was used by my supporters and my detractors and the blog never really went away. I missed blogging and actually missed having that outlet for expression and writing. So here I am, it's a new year and I am trying to start a new life and decided to try blogging again. Because of who I am I have to know that I will not be able to do this with the relative anonymity that many bloggers have and that my thoughts and my words will be public and scrutinized. I take this step at least having convinced myself that I know the risks and understand them.

The other night I was channel surfing and could not find my usual shows I like to watch (at least not episodes I had already seen) when I came across the show celebrity wife swap. I never watch this show but I do watch Celebrity Apprentice and last year Gary Busey was on the Apprentice. Gary Busey on the Apprentice was fun to watch. I compare it to knowing a train wreck is coming, knowing you can't stop it, so you just sit there and watch it.

Well, Gary Busey was on Celebrity Wife Swap so I decided to watch. Swapping wives with Gary Busey was Ted Haggard. He is a pastor from Colorado Springs who ran a large church before he was caught soliciting a male prostitute and allegedly purchasing meth from the prostitute in 2006. I never heard of Ted Haggard but while watching the show I could not help but compare what he called his "scandal" to what my family and I are going through. He has three children and a wife who all stuck by him through the ordeal.  In the show you saw a glimpse of what his wife and children went through and what they are still going through as they stick by there father and husband. You also see that as he throws himself into restoring his life that he has begun to neglect his children. He seems to be a very passionate person who throws himself into what ever he does. It is part of my personality and sometimes can be a fault of mine. As I said I never heard of Pastor Haggard and after seeing the show I read about him and do not agree with some of his past teachings.

This show did make me look at my family and friends and reaffirm how lucky I am that they have stood by me in my struggles even as my sins have been cast on my loved ones and friends. As we were in the midst of the court case many people asked me why we did not just move away and start over. I would have done so but it was my wife who did not want to. She had had her life upended enough and to leave her friends and family to go else where was not an option. Now I am glad she felt that way. We have stayed and tried to make a go of a new life here. It is all made much easier by the fact that where ever I go I am stopped in the streets or the aisles of stores and people I do not even know wish me luck, prayers and tell me to hang in there because people still believe in me. It is the greatest gift god has given me. On New Years eve I posted on my face book that I feel like the person in the footsteps in the sand story who at the worst times in his life was carried by Jesus. The difference is that now in the worst time of my life I am carried by my family, my friends, and people I do not even know, as well as god.

One other thing that Pastor Ted Haggard said really hit home for me. He said  that after Jesus was crucified if he was resurrected in Rome, or Spain, or some other country that it would not have worked. He needed to be resurrected in the place he was crucified.  Before my critics say I am comparing myself to Jesus let me just say that in my wildest dreams I could not compare. But Pastor Haggard and his family had left Colorado Springs in shame after his ordeal and they later returned. He and his family understood that they needed to return to the place he was crucified in order to redeem himself.

I am glad my wife insisted we stay in Santa Fe, I need to redeem myself here in the town I was crucified. I need to show those who stood by me in my darkest days that they did not do so in vain and that there acts of compassion were appreciated and made a real difference in my life. To all of you who have prayed for me, forgiven me, and who have stood by me and even carried me, God Bless You. I still have a ways to go and while I can not promise I will ever truly redeem myself I do promise I will still try. To my family and extended family whom I sometimes get sidetracked from, I can never repay the debt I have placed on your shoulders but I will keep trying.

Footprints in the Sand
        One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
             Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
                  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
                       Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
                           other times there were one set of footprints.
                                  This bothered me because I noticed
                                that during the low periods of my life,
                             when I was suffering from
                         anguish, sorrow or defeat,
                     I could see only one set of footprints.
          So I said to the Lord,
      "You promised me Lord,
         that if I followed you,
             you would walk with me always.
                   But I have noticed that during
                          the most trying periods of my life
                                 there have only been one
                                       set of footprints in the sand.
                                           Why, when I needed you most,
                                          you have not been there for me?"
                                 The Lord replied,
                          "The times when you have
                  seen only one set of footprints,
          is when I carried you."
                                                   Mary Stevenson

Monday, October 25, 2010

Safety Tips for Halloween

Know the Rules...Safety Tips for Halloween

  1. Be sure older children TAKE FRIENDS and younger children are accompanied by a TRUSTED ADULT when "Trick or Treating."
  2. Accompany younger children to the door of every home they approach and make sure parents and guardians are familiar with every home and all people from which the children receive treats.
  3. Teach children to NEVER enter a home without prior permission from their parents or guardians.
  4. Teach children to never approach a vehicle, occupied or not, unless they know the owner and is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  5. Make sure all children wear reflective clothing and carry a glow stick when out at dusk and at night.
  6. Make sure children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks. All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant.
  7. Teach children to NEVER approach a home that is not well lit both inside and outside.
  8. Teach children to stay alert and remember any suspicious incidents and report them to their parents, guardians, and/or the proper authority.
  9. Teach children if anyone tries to grab them to make a scene; loudly yell this person is not my father/mother/guardian; and make every effort to get away by kicking, screaming, and resisting.
  10. Families my want to organize or attend parties at home, in schools, or in community centers as a good alternative to “Trick or Treating.”


Call the dispatch at 505-428-3720 to report any suspicious activities or unsafe activities in the area of “Trick or Treaters”. Check for sex offenders living in your area; do not go to these homes when trick or treating.

Extra Sheriff’s Deputies will be on patrol as well as fire personnel throughout the night to help ensure your safety.


Friday, October 22, 2010

La Llorona, A Short Story

For Halloween I give you a short story. I grew up with the legend of La Llorona and if anything it kept us from playing in ditches and until I was older it kept us from wandering around after dark. I hope you enjoy.


La Llorona (the crying woman)

By Greg Solano

Shiela was a beautiful young girl. She was only a few months past her eleventh birthday. As she walked along the arroyo (ditch) she picked dandelions going along the bank and tossed them into the water that filled the ditch from the last rain. The arroyo ran through the back yard of the 20 acres her grandfather passed down to her mother after her wedding in 1963. The sun was settling behind hills surrounding her home and the reflections of the last rays of light created shadows along the still water.

Shiela reached down to pick up another dandelion and as she did a translucent figure burst from the water. Terror filled Sheila’s face and before she could even scream a woman’s hand with blackened and cracked fingernails grabbed her arm and pulled her into the water. Just as quickly as the water opened up, it grew calm again. A dandelion floated on its surface, like a flower left at a grave site.

Officer Wolf drove up the small adobe house in his ford bronco. The old brown 1985 Bronco had seen better days but its ability to handle the rugged terrain that was his beat made this the perfect cop car for Officer Wolf. As he got down from the Bronco the teary eyed lady ran up to him. “Something’s wrong, she’s never done this, she never leaves the yard!” the lady exclaimed. “Whoa, whoa, slow down, what’s going on?” The lady fought back the tears and told the story of how her eleven year old daughter was playing in the yard. When it was time for dinner she went out to call her inside and she would not answer. She searched the whole yard and could not find her.

The area is pretty desolate and there are no neighbors within a mile so the chance she is at a neighbor’s house is nil. After getting the basic information the Officer began walking around the large 20 acre property. Officer Wolf learned tracking as a necessity for his favorite passion, hunting. He located fresh small foot prints and followed them along the property and up to the arroyo. The ground was still moist from the recent rains and the footprints were easy to find. He followed them right up to the arroyo where they seemed to just end. The most telling was that there were no prints headed back towards the house either. The water was not deep and an eleven year old child should be visible if somehow she fell in and drown.

It was getting dark so Officer Wolf instinctively walked downstream although the water was hardly moving at all. Removing his flashlight from his belt he continued walking. The wind was whistling through the trees and it made a sound that sounded like a young woman crying. It reminded Officer Wolf of the childhood story of La Llorona. The son of a Native American who married his Hispanic father he grew up fearing the lady who cried for her children along the rivers and arroyos in Northern New Mexico. The legend told by his father said that the lady had two children a boy and a girl. The lady loved her husband and children and devoted her whole life to them. One day she learned that her husband was having an affair with a single lady in town. She felt that she had lost much of her beauty after having her two children and blamed them for her husband’s affair. She took the two children and threw them in the river killing them both. When she realized what she had done she took her own life. Legend has it that she arrived in heaven and god asked her where her children were. God then sent her back to earth to spend an eternity looking for her children. She now roamed the earth looking for her two children and crying eternally. Legend also had it that she would take children who were alone near rivers or ditches in order to try and pass them off as her own and try and get access to heaven.

Officer Wolf remembered his father telling him that if he was not good or if he took off alone he could be snatched by the crying ghost. It was eerie how much the wind sounded like crying. The hairs on the back of the officer’s neck and arms stood on end. “I’m just freaking myself out” the officer thought to himself. He continued down the arroyo when a whitish transparent figure seemed to move across the water just up ahead. He moved his flashlight towards the area and it went dead. As quietly as he could he shook it trying to get it back on. He turned the switch on and then off again but nothing. He had taken his eyes off the water to look at his flashlight. He slowly looked back up towards the water sure that his mind was playing tricks and there would be nothing there.

She was still there, he could now make out that it was a lady, middle aged, with long white flowing dress or nightgown. While she appeared to be all white and floating above the water, her eyes looked red. Tears of blood seemed to drip from her eyes and now what earlier sounded like crying from the trees was definitely coming from her. He placed his hand on his gun while at the same time realizing it would not help him here. In his mind he prayed while his mouth spoke the words “where is the girl?” Where is Shiela?” The figure did not respond it just floated there for what seemed like forever but in reality was only about ten seconds. Then it slowly faded away, the crying also slowly faded away.

Officer Wolf still could not move, He was more afraid then he had ever been in his life. The earth was quiet, the only sound was the officer’s heart pounding and chest heaving and struggling for breath. Then the water splashed as though the earth opened up and spit something out. A young child’s body shot up from the water and then floated on the surface. Officer Wolf walked over and pulled the young girl up to him. The child’s skin was bluish white and cold to the touch. He knew she was dead. He picked her up and began walking back to the house. His mind raced as he thought about what to say. He would only say he found her in the water. No one would ever believe otherwise.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Losing Candidate makes 74th run for Office

John Turmel from Brantford Canada is running for mayor in his home town in Canada. What makes his run special is that it is his 74th run for office. He has an impressive record, He holds the Guinness world record for most elections contested. Even more impressive is that with 74 elections he has never won a race! John's occupation is listed as a professional poker player.

John has advocated for the abolition of interest on loans, and the legalization of marijuana and gambling. He has opened several casinos only to have them raided and shut down. Voters will decide on October 25, 2010 if he will continue his losing streak or finally come up with a win.

As election day nears and New Mexicans grow weary of politics we can still thank god John Turmel lives in Canada. On the other hand he just might make our elections a little bit more fun.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sheriff Raises Money for Breast Cancer

I have joined Team Yvonne to help raise money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Please make a donation $10 or $500 it all helps and counts. I never wear pink cause "real men don't wear pink". If we raise $1000 I will wear a pink shirt and post a picture on facebook. Its my challenge to those who tease me because I... don't wear pink! Thank you for your support. Click Below to make your donation!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Sheriff Solano became involved with Billy the Kid.

When I first ran for Sheriff in 1998 I never thought that an issue I would deal with would involve Billy the Kid. It wasn't in 1998 when I lost my first run for Sheriff but actually in 2002 when I ran that I was first brought into the legend of Billy the Kid.

During my campaign for sheriff I met a woman who befriended my wife and I and began helping me in my run for office. I credit her with a lot of the success of the 2002 campaign. A lot of people think that there must always be ulterior motives or someone helps in a political campaign just because they want a job. But that is not always the case. This woman is very active in political campaigns just because she chooses candidates she believes in and works to get them elected. She chose me and I have been honored ever since. At the end of my campaign for sheriff and when it was all said and done I ended up with a campaign debt of thousands of dollars. When you end up with a campaign debt it means you paid the money out of your own pocket, not usually that there are creditors waiting to get paid.

A young lawyer had moved to Santa Fe from out of state and was making the social and political rounds and was making a name for himself. He was donating to political campaigns during the 2002 elections. He had a multi state law firm that must do well as he seemed to do well financially for himself. The woman who helped my campaign had met him and convinced him to throw a party at his office to help raise money to clear my campaign debt. It was a small wine and cheese get together at his downtown office and my campaign debt was cleared. Once again I was greatly appreciative of all her help and I found a new friend in that attorney, Bill Robins.

I ran during the year that Governor Bill Richardson was swept into office on a groundswell of support. While he may have his problems now in 2010 in 2002 it was a different story. As I ran breathless and exhausted from political event to political event, he floated from event to event on the shoulders of thousands of supporters. Unions, State workers, Democrats, Republicans, Women, Men, Anglos, Hispanics all groups supported him and enthusiastically swept him into office. One of his campaign contributors was also Attorney Bill Robins who became my friend. But the truth is Richardson was a master at raising money and almost everyone who ever gave to political campaigns gave to Richardson.

I truly believe it was not a favor for the donation and fundraiser, but about a year later Bill Robins and I were having dinner and he asked me what I thought about a pardon for Billy the Kid. Now I read a lot but mostly modern day biography's, fiction, and anything news related. The only thing I really knew about Billy the Kid came from watching the movie Young Guns. Sometime around 1987 the movie was being filmed in Santa Fe and my wife Antoinette got Lou Diamond Phillups autograph at a now defunct nightclub in Santa Fe called Mr. R's. All she had at the time was a bar tab receipt borrowed from a waitress and a pencil to get the autograph. In 1988 we were invited to the Santa Fe Premiere of the movie at the old Lensic theater. It was the source of just about all I ever knew of Billy the Kid.

Lou Diamond Phillups Autograph and our invitation to the Young Guns Premier.

Well at that dinner Bill Robins told me a story about how Billy the Kid was not all the legend made him out to be. It was a long story and the basics of it can be found here. Now I have found out that there are a lot of versions of his life and how many people he killed and whether he was fighting for justice as a deputy in the Lincoln county wars or whether he was a cold blooded killer. If you have about 20 minutes to read the above link it is a very interesting story of his life and exploits. Keep in mind as you read it that other versions of his story are out there as well. The basics is that Billy the kid claimed he witnessed the murder of an attorney Huston Chapman however some claimed he took part in the murder. By this time Billy the Kid was already wanted for murder related to the Lincoln County Wars and the Governor Lew Wallace wanted the murderers brought to justice. Billy the kid contacted the governor by mail and offered to testify in return for a pardon on his outstanding warrants for murder. The following was taken from the above link with one of the stories of Billy's life.

On March 13, 1879 the Kid wrote to the governor and offered to testify against Chapman’s murderers in exchange to have his indictments annulled. The governor wrote back inviting the Kid to meet with him. In his letter to the Kid, he wrote, “I have authority to exempt you from prosecution if you will testify to what you say you know,” and he closed with: “If you could trust Jesse Evans, you can trust me.”

On March 17th, the Kid met the governor in Lincoln. During the meeting, Governor Lew Wallace made the promise the Kid had hoped for. The governor stated clearly, that if the Kid testified in court, that “in return for you’re doing this, I will let you go scot-free with a pardon in your pocket for all your
misdeeds.” The agreement was made. The Kid would submit to a fake arrest, testify against Chapman’s killers, James Dolan and Colonel Dudley, for a full pardon. A couple days later, the Kid and Tom O’Folliard surrendered to Sheriff Kimbrell as planned and were confined at Patron’s store. The governor interviewed the Kid by asking him about the Rustlers’ hideouts and about the rustling activities in the territory. The Kid held nothing back and told everything that Governor Wallace wanted to know.

The following month the Kid began his court appearances, but due to the fact that Judge Bristol and prosecutor William Rynerson were Dolan men, the defendants were either pardoned under the governor’s proclamation or acquitted. Surprisingly O'Folliard was even given amnesty, but the Kid wasn't so lucky. The Kid's enemies were dead set on not letting him get away. The biggest threat to the Kid was prosecutor attorney William Rynerson, who not only wouldn't go along with the governor's bargain with the Kid, but got a change of venue to Dona Ana County for the Kid's trial. So instead of being tried in Lincoln where the Kid would be acquitted, he would be put on trial in a very bias courtroom where he didn't stand a chance. But that wasn’t the Kid’s only problem, the governor wasn’t making good his promise of a pardon, probably due to the lack of cooperation from Rynerson, so left the Kid to his fate, while he went back to Santa Fe to finish his book Ben Hur. After all, to Wallace, the Kid was just an outlaw -so who cares?
So Billy the kid was tried and sentenced to death by hanging. He never received his promised pardon. According to one of the stories he felt betrayed and rather than face death he escaped and killed a deputy during the escape. Thus began his cat and mouse game with newly elected Sheriff Pat Garrett who eventually killed him. Attorney Bill Robins also told me about a legend that Billy the Kid may not have been killed after all but instead lived a long life under the alias of Brushy Bill Roberts. Some wanted to exhume body's and do DNA testing to see if Billy the Kid really did finish out his life as Brushy Bill Roberts. Bill Robins was very interested in the life of Billy the Kid and was talking to Governor Richardson about pardoning Billy the Kid and giving him the promise Governor Lew Wallace broke when he was found guilty and sentenced to hang.

Bill Robins wanted to know how I felt about the whole thing. I told him that being a law enforcement officer all my adult life I could not publicly support the pardon. He told me he had hoped to have a trial which would allow a mock jury to make the decision and give a new look at the old cases. I told him that once again while I could not support the pardon I would not publicly oppose it either. He was happy with that since he was most worried about huge opposition from law enforcement.

It made national news when Bill Robins got as far as getting appointed by Governor Richardson to represent Billy the Kids interests as his attorney in looking at a pardon and even though a new trial was promised it has not happened. The whole Billy the kid thing kind of went away during the rest of Richardson's term and Bill Robins married and seemed to go on to other endeavors including children. I also forgot about Billy the Kid as well.

On October 1, 2009 I was invited to unveil a plaque marking the site of the jail that held Billy the Kid in Santa Fe for three months in 1880-1881. I was joined by the mayor and the Grandson of Sheriff Pat Garrett, J.P. Garrett. It was a fun event and meeting the Grandson of Sheriff Pat Garrett was an honor. I gave him a small Sheriff's Badge Pin from the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office. Last week he contacted me as the push for Governor Richardson to pardon Billy the Kid has again made the news and the Governor appears as though he is ready to consider it again as he leaves office. J.P. Garrett asked me to sign a petition which the Garrett family was going to send to the Governor along with a letter from the Garrett family asking the Governor to not pardon Billy the Kid.

Once again I remembered my promise to my friend to not get involved in this issue so I explained to J.P. Garrett that I had agreed to not get involved and I would abide by that decision. I have no doubt that Billy the Kid murdered a Sheriff and several others. Whether he felt he had no choice or not he did still commit murder. However, if he was promised a pardon for his testimony in the Chapman murder there is a lot to be said for the pardon of his crimes up to that point. Then there are those who say that if he had received the pardon he would not have had to escape jail and kill others during the escape and manhunts that followed. Billy the Kid claimed he wanted to come clean and live a clean life after he was pardoned. Whether he really could have done that or whether he would have just continued in a life of crime after being pardoned is something we will never know.

I have read a lot lately about the Lincoln County wars and the truth is New Mexico truly was the wild wild west where corruption and murder were the name of the game. Sheriff's were corrupt and the "rings" as they were called controlled the law, the government, and controlled New Mexico. It has made me appreciate even more the responsibility of being Sheriff. I often think back to my discussions with movie star Burt Reynolds whose father was a Sheriff. He once asked me " do you know how you can tell an honest sheriff?" No I answered, how? "He is a broke sheriff." he said with a smile. While I am not broke, I lead a modest but good life.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

From Baghdad to Santa Fe, A Short Story

In 2005 I wrote a short story for the Santa Fe Reporter's yearly writing contest. I won second place for the story. I posted it online on an old AOL account I had and a few years ago AOL shut down its FTP site and I lost it. I had it on an old computer and lost my copy there also. My assistant did me a favor and contacted the Santa Fe Reporter and retrieved a copy. So besides saving it in multiple places so I don't lose it again I thought I would archive it by posting it as a blog post. Its kind of dark so I won't necessarily say I hope you enjoy it.

From Baghdad to Santa Fe
By Greg Solano

Sweat poured down my forehead as I awoke in the middle of the night for the fourth night in a row. What the hell is going on? I glance over at the clock and the red neon numbers tell me that its 3:30 am. I am wide-awake and the adrenaline is still pumping through my veins. My heart pounds and I can feel my chest still heaving for air. Might as well get up, no way I’m going back to sleep. As I step out onto the portal the Autumnal Moon lights up my entire neighborhood, big bright and so large I felt like I could reach out and touch it. The brisk morning air felt good against my still sweating body. I couldn’t help but think how different this was than early morning in Baghdad. Actually, I can’t help but think of Baghdad every day, or every night.

It’s now 8:00 am, time for my morning walk to the convenience store to get the paper. Another day spent looking for a job.So much for “being all that I can be”, I often thought that going into the military out of high school would be the beginning of my adult life. A good start to some kind of career. Boy was I wrong. When I left Santa Fe I was making $7.00 an hour at the auto parts store. This was my after school job while I finished my senior year. Now with the living wage law, that job as many others pays at least $8.50 an hour. But still, what do I do, go ahead and take one of these minimum wage jobs?I sure am not having much luck with anything else. The only job I have been offered so far is from a friend who needs help cleaning Whole Foods parking lot at night. I don’t really think my country owes me a job or anything but is this what I spent two years of my life in the military for? Maybe this is all I can be.

What’s that smell? My mind flashes back again, I can hear the ammo flying through the assault rifle. I smell the gunpowder and hot metal in the air. I hear the sound of lead ricocheting on the pavement around me. Pieces of asphalt hitting my leg, or are they bullets? I look over at the rest of my regimen and realize that Adam’s been hit, several medics are working on him. He looks dead, Damn Iraqis! My fear turns to anger as I empty my weapon in a hail of gunfire. I sweep my weapon from left to right hoping someone ahead of me goes down. An eye for an eye, they kill one of ours we kill ten of theirs. What’s that horn? Oh, all right, all right I’m getting out of the way. Asshole flipped me off. And then you wonder why people have road rage and shoot others. Ok, so I was in the middle of the road. There’s that smell again, oh, ok it’s my neighbor and his welder. Amazing how much the hot metal being welded smells like the hot metal smell of an assault rifle. Or how the smell of meat on the barbecue smells like burning flesh. It’s been six months now. I wonder how long before I stop having these flashbacks. When will I be normal again?

I pick up the local paper and on the cover there is some kids stuffing the head of Zozobra. What a ceremony, thousands show up to see a hundred foot puppet burnt to the ground in a pagan ceremony that is the closest thing to witchcraft I have ever seen. It’s fiestas in Santa Fe this weekend. It used to be a big thing for me. All my friends and I would go downtown and hang out. Used to be everyone had drinks on the plaza and the burning of Zozobra was on Friday night. After the burning we would all walk down to the plaza and eat, drink and drink some more. Even though we were not 21, it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now. We all walked around with beer in our coke cups. The cops were ok with it as long as we didn’t totally get out of hand. Now there is no drinking what so ever on the plaza. Zozobra’s burning has been moved to Thursday, which cuts down on the party’s and drinking afterward since people with jobs have to be at work in the morning.

I go into the convenience store and get a cup of coffee and a lottery ticket. What the hell, if I can’t get a job, maybe I can win a hundred million and not have to worry about it. As I drink my coffee I look through the classifieds. Nothing new today, same ads that I applied for on Monday and Tuesday.

It’s 1:00 in the afternoon, my old high school buddy agreed to give me a ride to Albuquerque for my appointment. Two months ago I decided to call the V.A. Hospital and talk to someone about the flashbacks. A couple of visits and months later I am finally actually seeing a councilor. Man, me going to a shrink. Who would have ever thought this would ever happen to me. I never needed anything from anyone else before. I was a tough young man who prided himself on being a “real man”. I used to joke with my friends when one of them showed up in sandals and I would say things like “real men don’t wear sandals”. I never even went to the doctor. Once when I cracked a rib, I sucked it up. Took some Tylenol and went on telling others, and myself “there’s nothing they can do with cracked ribs anyway”.

The counselor is kind of a hippy looking dude. Turns out he was in Vietnam and came back with the same kind of problems I have. They have a fancy name for it now he tells me. It’s called P.T.S.D., stands for post traumatic stress disorder. According to the doc it’s pretty common for those returning from Iraq. The doc says it’s probably why I can’t get a job. I’m not at my sharpest and the depression I am feeling is probably showing up in my interviews. As we talk about my experiences in Iraq I start telling him about the first time I saw a dead body. I always thought it would be exciting with the moody sounding music playing in the background just like in the movies. But, it wasn’t.

The first body I saw as I exited the back end of a truck just inside Baghdad was lying in the middle of the road. It was an older man who only had a small amount of blood dripping down from the edge of his mouth. It looked unreal, I remember thinking how this was no different than watching a body on TV. At least it didn’t feel different. I had no feelings for this man; I looked at him with curiosity but no feelings. A hundred bodies later, some kids, some adults, some women, and some men, and I still thought I didn’t feel much. But now six months back in the U.S. I wake up in the middle of the night after I see their faces again. Now they matter to me, why now? Well the end of my first counseling session and I have more questions than answers. My buddy asks me if I want to go see old man gloom tomorrow night with him and his kids. Maybe, I tell him. I’ll call him tomorrow and let him know.

It’s 5:00 in the afternoon now, as we cross St Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road I see the protesters out again. This is odd; they are usually out on Fridays. Veterans for peace they call themselves. I wonder how many are actually veterans. Maybe that’s how they deal with their flashbacks. I wonder would that make me feel better? Standing on a street corner holding signs declaring to the world my quest for world peace? They are persistent. Almost three years they have been out here doing this. One day I sat in the old Bonanza parking lot and watched them for a while. Some cars drove by and gave the thumbs up and some gave the one finger salute. Sometimes the protesters didn’t know which was coming as they turned to wave at the latest car driving by honking. Sometimes they were waving to the finger and some derogatory comment, and sometimes they were waving to a peace sign or thumbs up. Would it be hypocritical to have the anger that I do towards those that killed my friends and still promote peace? Is that how I atone for all the people I killed or helped kill? The bible says only say the word and you shall be forgiven. Jesus forgave Judas, maybe that’s what I need, to be forgiven. Maybe that’s why they stand there every Friday holding their signs.

It’s 11:00 at night and I’m feeling a little woozy. The television blares a baseball game above the bar at foxes. One more Bud Light and I’ll head home. The lottery numbers flash across the television screen. My streak of luck continues as I see that I didn’t even get one number. Two beers later and I head to Taco Bell. Thank god for late night drive up windows. As I cruise down Cerrillos Road I try to keep the car centered between the white lines. I’m cool I tell myself, I can drive ok, I’m not that drunk. As I approach Taco Bell a mortar shell crosses in front of my windshield. I swerve right as I reach for my radio to warn the troops behind me. I feel my armored humvee start to roll. It rolls several times and I feel glass and metal all around me. The pain is sharp and sudden but then just as suddenly disappears. Medic, Medic! I can’t believe I’m going to die in an accident, no blaze of glory, no big firefight. I rolled my humvee! I can see myself lying in the street now, thrown clear of the small car that once surrounded me. Wait, small car? Who are those kids running away? Was that really just a bottle rocket?

The cops are around me now. The ambulance arrives and one of the men tells the cop, we can’t resuscitate, he didn’t make it. “Another D.W.I.” the cop says as he unrolls the yellow crime scene tape around my car and body. After all that fighting in Baghdad who would have ever thought the Iraqis would kill me, right here in Santa Fe New Mexico.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Can a Parent Kill a Child?

In La Puebla yesterday the State Police handled an apparent murder suicide case in which a father allegedly shot his two sons ages 10 and 12. When the 911 call came out some of my deputies arrived on scene with the State Police however, we did not handle the investigation and I did not visit the scene. After receiving the phone call from my deputies letting me know of the situation I probably thought the same thing everyone thought when they read about this case in the newspaper or saw it on TV. How could anyone do this?

I want to write about this subject but first the disclaimer. The following is in no way about this or any specific case but rather about the subject in general.

When a parent murders a child it is called filicide. There is a group called the Filicide Prevention and Education Association. Those wanting extensive information should visit this website which offers just about everything you could ever want to know about this phenomenon. They also offer information on familicide which is the killing of a family and then suicide of the perpetrator.

There are basically three reasons a father kills a child, the first is physical abuse, when a father abuses a child and then eventually takes it to far and ends up killing a child. The second is mental illness, illnesses such as depression or psychosis, the third is a custody battle type situation.

In the first instance, child abuse, it is usually pretty clear after the fact. The deaths are usually violent and show signs of rage. The father may decide to try and cover up the murders or commit suicide afterward.

In the second instance, mental illness, the cause is not as clear for police to prove motive especially when the depression or mental illness is undiagnosed. Manner and cause of death tends to be less violent. There have been cases of a father building a makeshift gas chamber, or using a car with carbon monoxide. Poisons or drugs may be used and yes while guns are considered a violent death it will still usually be a well placed shot designed to end life quickly. There may be no notes, no signs that this was planned or alternatively the parent will leave a note and have a very thought out and executed plan. Often the parent feels that they are doing a poor job at parenting or that the child will have a deprived life. They convince themselves that they are somehow doing the children a favor or allowing them to go to a better place. These types of murders are usually followed by suicide by the parent committing the murder.

In the third instance, custody battle type situations, the father feels he is being deprived of his children. Or alternatively the hate he has for his spouse or former spouse causes him to want to extract revenge on the spouse by taking away the children. "If I can't have them no one will" or "I will teach you". Often times these types of murders include the spouse but not always.

Alternatively Mothers who kill their children have a few more reasons and unlike fathers usually do not kill the spouse or father during the homicide. Research has also shown that mothers tend to kill younger children or babies while fathers tend to kill older children.

Like fathers a mother can kill her children because of mental illness or depression as well as during a child abuse or fit of rage situation. Unlike a father a mother is more likely than the father to kill an unwanted or unexpected child. A mother is also more likely than a father to kill a child who has serious illness as a mercy killing. A mother is less likely to kill for revenge or to deprive the father of the child. However, she is likely to kill a child because of feelings of jealousy or envy of the child and feelings the child receives more attention. With male children the mothers anger towards the father can be directed at a male child who might remind the mother of the father. Statistics show that a third of all mothers kill their children over some sort of depression.

After a killing like this the media clamors to find friends and family to talk about the parent and deceased children. There are always people who say what a nice father or mother or family they all were and once in a while there are a few who say they saw signs of abuse, depression, or maybe even there is a restraining order or several police calls to the residence. If there was ever a crime police wish we could prevent, wish we would never have to investigate, it is the death of a child.

I still remember vividly the first time i saw a dead child on the job. I was on the job only months when I was called to a back yard where a three year old child died after strangling herself on a back yard swing. It was the first of many young children I had to investigate after I became a detective in the juvenile division of the city police. Most were victims of sudden infant death and a few were teenage suicides. None the less after seeing countless murder, car accident, and suicide deaths not to mention all the natural and overdose deaths, nothing leaves more of an impression than the death of a child.

So there is all the reasons why in a pretty non emotional straight forward way. But is any of these really a reason or just a list of facts? What can we do to prevent these killings? Are there signs we could look for? If we do think we see a sign would anyone believe us if we reported it? Lots of questions and unfortunately not a lot of good answers.

Some things you can do:

  • learn the signs of depression, You can find a good list here.
  • take threats by spouses seriously and report them.
  • report suspected abuse of children even if you are not sure.
  • report domestic arguments you hear or see don't be afraid to get involved.
  • Look for signs of postpartum depression in new mothers, you can learn more here.
  • If you or someone you know is in emotional distress and/or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Calls are free, confidential, and help is available 24/7.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Its Election Day!

Happy Primary Election Day! It has been a busy weekend as we prepared for election day. We learned over the weekend the Rio Grande Sun joined The Santa Fe New Mexican, The Santa Fe Reporter, and the Albuquerque Journal North in endorsing Undersheriff Robert Garcia for Sheriff of Santa Fe County! Don't Forget to Vote today, Tuesday June 1, 2010 if you have not already, and Vote Robert A. Garcia for Sheriff!

After the polls close we will all head over to the Fraternal Order of Eagles for an Election Day Celebration. Come and Join us! Free Food and Fun!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Fraternal Order of Eagles
833 Early Street
Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Santa Fe Reporter Endorses Robert Garcia for Sheriff

Congratulations to Undersheriff Robert A. Garcia, All three Major Newspapers in Santa Fe have joined me and endorsed him in his campaign for Sheriff. Today the Santa Fe Reporter joins The New Mexican and the Albuquerque Journal North in endorsing Robert! Congratulations Robert on a Home Run!

Robert Garcia receives the endorsement of Former Dallas and O.U. Coach Barry Switzer.

Here is a copy of the endorsement from today's Santa Fe Reporter.

Santa Fe Reporter Endorsements for June 1, 2010 Primary...
Robert Garcia

Four Democrats hope to replace outgoing Sheriff Greg Solano. There are no Republican challengers, so the winner of this primary race will take over the sheriff’s department come 2011. We interviewed Undersheriff Robert Garcia, retired Santa Fe Police Department officer Charles “Charlie” Dalton, retired SFSO Rex E Doerfer and Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff Rubel A Tafoya as a group in consideration of which candidate to endorse.

All four bring law enforcement experience to the table, and there aren’t, actually, significant differences in terms of policy that we could discern. Rather, the election of Dalton, Doerfer or Tafoya seems to represent the chance for a regime change and—some of the candidates say—the opportunity to improve morale in the department.

Garcia, on the other hand, promises consistency and staying the course put in place during Solano’s eight years running the department.

Although we’d have preferred to hear some new ideas and goals from Garcia, ultimately we believe the sheriff’s department has made important improvements over the last two terms, and Garcia has been part of those changes. Under Solano, the sheriff’s office has been very accessible, using technology at every turn to help keep citizens (and the media) informed. Questions get answered, information gets shared and, when mistakes are made, they are acknowledged. While the city has suffered from a burglary boom, such crimes are down relatively in the county. At the same time, the sheriff’s office has prioritized, and Garcia says he will continue to prioritize, fighting DWI. Garcia is a 30-year law enforcement veteran who brought to his position as undersheriff years of service with the city police department; voters should choose him to continue the tradition of effective and open leadership in the Santa Fe County sheriff’s department.

“We’ve come a long way in a very responsive way and everything will continue as it’s been.”


Monday, May 24, 2010

Santa Fe New Mexican Endorses Undersheriff Robert Garcia

On Sunday May 24, 2010 the Santa Fe New Mexican joined the Albuquerque Journal North in endorsing Undersheriff Robert A. Garcia for Sheriff. Both papers had kind words to say about my administration so I want to take a sentence in this blog post to thank them both. The last eight years of hard work did not go unnoticed by Santa Fe's two daily papers. One major endorsement remains and that is the Santa Fe Reporter which is expected to issue their endorsement on Wed.

I am saying a little prayer tonight for a home run with all three endorsements. Robert has worked hard for 30 years serving Santa Fe in Law Enforcement and he deserves to be our next Sheriff. Below is the endorsement issued by the Santa Fe New Mexican.

For sheriff, Robert García; Mayfield, Bacon to board
The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, May 22, 2010
- 5/23/10

Term limits, those mixed blessings bringing blessed relief from endless incumbency but sometimes depriving people of good public servants, mean changes are in store for three crucial Santa Fe County offices:

  • Sheriff, where Greg Solano has been especially effective and, at least as important, open as can be with the people his deputies have served and protected from Edgewood to Chimayó.
  • County commissioners for Districts 1 and 3, serving the northern and southern parts of the county, have been well represented by Harry Montoya and Michael Anaya.

All three races drew plenty of competition — Robert García, Rex Doerfer, Rubel Tafoya and Charlie Dalton for sheriff; Jon Paul Romero, Paul White, Danny Mayfield and Lenny Roybal for the District 1 seat and Robert Anaya, David Bacon and Angélica Ruiz in District 3. The candidates are all Democrats — so June 8's winners stand to take office in January.

The field of candidates running for sheriff is one of the strongest in recent memories. We endorse Robert García, current undersheriff, because of his decades of experience and commitment to openness in running the sheriff's office.

Under current Sheriff Greg Solano, the sheriff's office has moved into the modern era, putting out crime bulletins electronically and providing computers to deputies in the field so reports can be filed instantly. That's not all. Burglary rates in Santa Fe County have stayed relatively low compared with skyrocketing rates inside city limits, and DWI prevention has been and will remain a priority for deputies. Solid police work, in other words, is a characteristic of this office.

Importantly, Garcia understands that a good sheriff remains open with the public and the press. He doesn't stonewall or avoid hard questions.

Finally I want to congratulate Undersheriff Robert Garcia on garnering the endorsements, You also have my enthusiastic and heartfelt endorsement.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Online Polls are Manipulated.

Heath Haussamen has an excellent News Blog called He is one of a few bloggers doing it full time and trying to make a living doing so. Any web site or blog thrives on traffic. The number of visitors to the site daily increases the value of ad revenue that can be generated by the site. If you want to keep people coming to your site on a daily basis you need content and you need to give them a reason to keep checking back.

Online opinion polls are a good way to do this. If someone is interested in the poll they will encourage others to go to the site and vote. Those interested will also check back daily to see whether their chosen candidate or issue is winning the poll. However these polls are easily manipulated. As long as people realize this and don't take the poll too seriously than maybe that does not matter. However on a political web site polls are often touted by candidates on their social media pages and web sites and even in speeches and literature. Those not familiar with online polls and how easy they are manipulated could believe the results.

Screen shot of poll

Heath Haussamen is currently running a poll on the Democratic Appeals Judge Race between Dennis W. Montoya and Linda Vanzi. Over night hundreds of votes were added to Dennis Montoya's numbers. The Same thing happened to State Auditor Hector Balderas when ran a poll on whether he was doing a good job. You could almost see the frustration and desperation on Hector Balderas face as he begged for votes on twitter and facebook and the no votes kept racking up by the hundreds on the poll.

In politics small things can sway close elections, remember the hesitation during a forum that cost Patricia Madrid a congressional election? In order to realize how easy these polls are to manipulate you only need to look at how they work.

The online polls are supposed to only allow you to vote once. They attempt to do this by using two features of a computer. They place a cookie on your computer (a small data file) which tells the poll that you have voted once you have done so. Now these cookies can be easily erased by software in the web browsers so as a backup the poll also records your I.P. address. This is a unique identifying number assigned to your computer when you log onto the internet. This number is assigned to you by your internet provider. When people use cable modems, DSL and other internet providers which are always on then the IP address stays the same most of the time. But if you use dial up, it changes every time you dial in to make a new connection. You can also change your IP address by using a proxy service which allows you to change your IP address to numerous generic IP addresses.

So if you want to manipulate an online poll you need to do the following. Vote in the poll, then refresh the web page and clear your cookies. Then its easiest to change your I.P. address if you use dial up. The easiest is if you use a wireless air card like Verizon. Simply disconnect from your wireless connection and reconnect. You will now have a new I.P. address which can be used to cast a new vote. Now this is time consuming but I set up a fake poll on and I was able to cast 2 votes a minute using my Verizon air card.

It was much longer and harder using Foxyproxy which is a I.P. Proxy service available for free as a firefox browser add on. The problem with using a proxy service was that the I.P. addresses available are limited to a few hundred so you can only cast a few hundred votes and it takes about 2 minutes per vote.

Changing your I.P. address using DSL and Cable modems is very hard to do and will only allow you to cast a few extra votes. As I have an IT background I understood how easy these polls are to manipulate but by testing these methods I was actually surprised at how easy and fast it really is. Using a wireless air card and getting used to the steps I could easily add 120 votes an hour to an online poll. Someone with programing background could create a script which could do the work for them and allow them to walk away from the computer and let it do the work for them.

I understand that the polls bring visitors to and that is the lifeblood of running this kind of business, but the political polls on this site are constantly being manipulated and it may be time to pull the plug. On the other hand Heath Haussamen has been open and honest about the non scientific nature of the polls and alerts his readers when obvious manipulation is at hand. However using the methods I described here if someone has a lot of time on their hands and is not as overt in manipulation of the poll they could do it without Heath being aware.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Susana Martinez Not Tough on DWI.

Sheriff Rene Rivera of Valencia County Joined Sheriff Joe Mascarenas and Myself on the steps of the Courthouse steps in Albuquerque to let the public know some startling information from the Administrative Office of the Courts in new Mexico. Susana Martinez candidate for Governor on the GOP ticket has been touting her tough on crime stump speech for some time now. Information released by the Administrative Office of the Courts shows that even though she pledged not to plea bargain DWI Cases in both 2000 and 2004, her office has arranged plea bargains on over 1000 cases since 2004. A great article on the matter can be found here along with the statistics which can be found here.

Here is a You Tube Video of the press conference.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Albuquerque Journal North Endorses Undersheriff Robert Garcia

Undersheriff Robert Garcia was endorsed in Sundays Albuquerque Journal North. The editor was kind to our administration and I was honored to be cast in the same light of former Sheriff's Benjie Montano and Ray Sisneros. Both were excellent sheriff''s who left a legacy for me to follow. Below is the endorsement Be sure and get out and vote as early voting has begun. At the end of this article are the early voting times and locations.

Garcia Best Choice for Sheriff

Santa Fe County has been fortunate to have had a whole string — two decades worth, in fact — of competent sheriffs. And maybe even more — we're just casting back as far as former Sheriff Benjie Montaño's first term in office. Montaño served two terms and then worked to get his Undersheriff Ray Sisneros elected. That happened, but when Sisneros decided not to run for a second term, he cleared the way for a wide-open race in 2002, which was won by Greg Solano.

This election cycle, it's Solano who's out under the term limit rule, and true to form (or custom, or whatever it is), he's supporting his Undersheriff Robert Garcia as his successor.

Garcia has three challengers, but his campaign theme, predictably, has been to stress that he's the only one of the four who is poised to take over the department with no on-the-job training required.

And, predictably, he stresses that what he and Solano have been doing to combat Santa Fe's two high-profile crimes — burglary and DWI — is working. The other three candidates talk about what they would do if elected, says Garcia, but he can talk about "what we are doing" to address these problems.

Garcia's critics grouse about morale in the department and say promotions don't proceed fairly, but they're short on specifics.

Garcia's got the more persuasive argument, backed by facts. He notes that burglary rates in the county are down compared with the city, where police have brought down the numbers only to see them shoot right back up to record levels.

The Santa Fe Sheriff's Department fields more DWI officers than any other law enforcement agency in northern New Mexico, according to Garcia, and by emphasizing roadblocks and saturation patrols has made driving safer.

Another plus, the sheriff's office under Solano has been consistently forthcoming with information about criminal investigations and everything else, and Garcia has been the point man in the department's communication with the media and the public.

Garcia says he won't change what works. A 30-year law enforcement veteran, he's certainly qualified for the job. But it's his record as Solano's chief deputy that should be most reassuring to voters — despite the national mood, change isn't always the best option.

As with so many local races here in el norte, there is no Republican on the ballot in November, so the winner of the June 1 Democratic primary is a shoo-in.

The Journal recommends Garcia as the best choice for Santa Fe County sheriff.

Early Voting is held on Tuesday – Friday from 12 Noon until 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The locations of Early Voting sites are:

Santa Fe County Fairgrounds – 3229 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe
El Dorado Senior Center – 14 Avenida Torreon, El Dorado
Edgewood Fire Station – 25 E. Frontage Road, Edgewood
Pojoaque County Satellite Office – 5W. Gutierrez, Pojoaque
Santa Cruz – 153 Camino De Quintana, Espanola
Santa Fe County Clerk’s office, 102 Grant Avenue, Santa Fe