Friday, October 17, 2014


Cpl. Bryon Dickson (right) was killed in the September 12 ambush

 Trooper Alex Douglass (left) was wounded and released

from the hospital today.


UPDATED Sunday October 19, 2014

(Friday October 17, 2014 Pennsylvania State Police Barracks, Blooming Grove, PA)  This densely wooded, sparsely populated rural corner of Northeast Pennsylvania is where as the 11 o’clock PM shift change on September 12 was underway at the Pennsylvania State Police Barracks here, a lone gunman concealed by the cloak of darkness, ambushed two Pennsylvania State Troopers killing one, critically injuring the other.  The gunman slipped back into the heavy hilly, timbered terrain from which he had emerged briefly enough to conduct his cowardly act.  State Police Officer Cpl. Bryon Dickson was killed instantly while Trooper Alex Douglass was severely wounded and was transported to a hospital in Scranton.

Within 48 hours of the ambush a suspect was identified.  Eric Matthew Frein, 31, who had until recently resided with his parents in a small community in Pike County.  Their exact address is being withheld from the public for security and privacy purposes.  Frein, a self-taught and extremely experienced survivalist, is also an accomplished marksman.  His father, a retired US Army Officer said of his son’s shooting skills, “He never misses”.  Frein has also been a member of a “military simulation unit”. Friends and associates have said that his particular “unit” assumes the role of Eastern European soldiers.  Some who know him have told the Police during interviews that Frein may have adopted the persona of a simulated character as his own.  Whatever the case may be, he remains an extremely dangerous fugitive on the run and has evaded capture for 36 days despite the substantial forces brought to bear to apprehend him.

Friends and relatives of the suspect say that he has long expressed a deep-seated hatred of “The Police” and had spoken on occasion of “acting out” in some way.  Some expressed more surprise than others after learning that Eric Frein was the primary – only – suspect.  That he is thus far able to elude the dozens of law enforcement agents with their infrared, night vision and heat seeking technology, tracking hounds, helicopter surveillance and as some have reported, drone aircraft, speaks loud and clearly about the challenges of apprehending a man in an environment where he is most comfortable and confident.  For some this may appear to represent a lack of skills or some measure of ineptitude among all the State and local police officers.  That is not the case.  A man determined to not be found can be a cunning, intelligent, adaptable, elusive prey.   Trooper Alex Douglass was released from the hospital earlier today while; according to the authorities Frein remains loose.  By their estimations they say he is within a five square mile box of rugged forested territory.

Several weeks ago some of the searches happened upon a make-shift campsite Frein had recently used.  They found empty cans of tuna fish, some ammunition and a note providing the details of the ambush that could only be known by the perpetrator.  Authorities have also stated without any details that Frein is “taunting” the police by leaving written messages in his wake for his pursuers to find.  Likely it will only be by sheer luck or by Frein making a mistake that he will be captured anytime soon.  Winter is fast approaching the Pocono Valley and obviously Frein prepared well for a protracted manhunt.

Perhaps the public has misconceptions about certain aspects of law enforcement based on the entertainment provided by dramatic TV crime series, police procedurals, and other forms of media.  While forensics science has become increasingly advanced and sophisticated, much of police work is what it always has been.  Yes, some of the equipment provides the police with great advantages but all the new science and technology available will never be able to replace “shoe leather detecting”, the nuts and bolts of tracking down leads and contacts, of gathering and analyzing information.  In this particular case, the suspect has the upper hand in many ways.  Eric Rudolph, the 1996 “Olympics Bomber” who had also bombed several abortion clinics throughout the south east remained a fugitive for five years before his apprehension.  He made the mistake of sneaking into a small town during the night in search of food and a local Sheriff’s Deputy nabbed him.  It was Rudolph’s mistake that lead to his capture not any police work involved. 


Jihadi John with American journalist James Foley

shortly before Foley’s gruesome death

While the current Ebola crisis has driven him from the front pages of newspapers and lead stories on the TV news, the Islamic State (IS aka ISIL, ISIS) leader known as Jihadi John is also a highly sought fugitive.  For whatever reason the man they are calling by this childish name, either chose or was appointed by others to be the spokesman for IS.  He first entered the American conscience as he delivered his threats against America while by his side knelt a captured westerner.  Eventually, those videos began to include footage capturing actual beheadings.  Even some of the most experienced law enforcement and intelligence agents who viewed these videos were horrified by their brutality.  As a means to authenticate whether or not the video clips depicted “real” decapitations required the CIA and FBI to seek other expertise such as Forensic Pathologists and some of the most experienced Homicide Detectives to view the clips and assess them within the area of their expertise.  The “full length” videos which, for obvious reasons will never be shown to the public, did confirm that those individuals posed in the kneeling position wearing orange jumpsuits had in fact been beheaded.  Due to the appearance of everyone else in these videos – they were all dressed identically as Jihadi John – it remains an open question that the actual decapitator has been Jihadi John himself.  Decapitation by knife or sword is a horribly messy undertaking and it has been theorized that Jihadi John makes the video with the victim at his side, the tape stops rolling while another member of IS, indistinguishable from Jihadi John steps in and does the actual beheading.  Afterwards Jihadi John continues his harangue with the head of the decapitated hostage placed on their own backs.  Obviously this barbarism is intended to shock and repulse Americans and, in that regard, it has been effective.  But why mention Jihadi John and Eric Frein in the same discussion?  Just to provide a reality check.


The annals of law enforcement are replete with the stories of famous and infamous manhunts; tales of highly sought criminals who lived in “plain sight” without being recognized.  But, there are also some remarkable accounts of “high value” fugitives being captured or killed by law enforcement.  The most recent of these amazing tales is the one detailing the 10 year efforts to locate Osama bin Laden who was killed by members of Navy Seal Team 6 at his fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.  Yes, it took 10 years and the combined efforts of the entire intelligence community, our military and other assets ultimately prevailed.

Despite that far flung success it is unrealistic to believe as British Prime Minister Cameron and the American President Obama have vowed, to find and capture Jihadi John.  Given the difficulties in locating and capturing Eric Frein, a man most likely confined to a tight square of forest, where some of those law enforcement officers involved in the search might themselves hunt and fish illustrates, Jihadi John’s ultimate demise might come by way of a well-timed laser guided missile.  Collateral damage will not be an issue just as has not been for many of the other terrorists and their leaders we have killed from afar. 

In a criminal setting here in America, our constitutional and criminal law dictate what methods may be used to capture a fugitive.  Since over 97% of murders in the United States are committed by a person(s) known by the victim(s), the investigation is often just connecting the dots, running down known associates and compelling witnesses and other to cooperate with the police.  Those arrested and indicted on a murder or homicide charge are afforded an ironclad bulwark of constitutional and civil rights; that is our way.  Where we or rather our government has gone astray is in maintaining the ideal that we can capture and “bring terrorists to justice”.  Yes, our principles and system of jurisprudence is nothing if not noble.  Even when that nobility has jeopardized our own interests we have not ever resorted to the tactics and methods of our adversaries; we have not, no matter what some on the liberal Left side of the political spectrum think, devolved into a brutal police state, an oppressive military or anything other than what we have stood for since 1776.


It was the early autumn of 1998 and President Bill Clinton was in the White House. Just weeks before two American embassies, one in Kenya, the other in Tanzania, had been bombed by al Qaeda.  The CIA and NSA had located Osama bin Laden then living in central Afghanistan.  The military presented President Clinton with some options to kill the terrorist leader and it was decided that Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from naval ships at sea would be aimed at bin Laden’s encampment.  Almost at the last minute satellite imagery revealed the presence of a swing set at the encampment indicating that bin Laden had his extended family with him that included up to 100 children.  The missile strike was scrapped and bin Laden lived another day.  He would go on to be responsible for the attacks on our soil on September 11, 2001.  This account demonstrates one of the most profound differences between those who oppose us and seek to do us harm on a massive scale.  The most vicious of those we fight, extremist groups such as IS, al Qaeda and its affiliates and groups practicing the most strict translation of Sharia law, have no qualms in committing gross atrocities, genocide, kidnapping and mass rape even on their fellow Muslims.  We in the west have a hard time comprehending these facts of life but, we cannot ignore them any longer. 


Individuals like Eric Frein and Jihadi John, by their own actions, have forfeited any kind of rights regarding capture and punishment.  Frein, a cop killing domestic terrorist and Jihadi John, an Islamic extremist both practice variants of the same trade.  For far too long many in the world have taken advantage of our legal restraint, our nobility.  We, as a nation have always been gracious, if not magnanimous in victory; never an occupying force although we had ample opportunity to do so.  After the bloody World War II the United States rebuilt the nations we had soundly defeated.  There is true nobility in that.  We treat or captured “enemy combatants” in very humane and decent conditions and manner.

Perhaps it is time we take off the proverbial gloves and go bare knuckles.  Our adversaries only understand force and violence; half assed measures, tempered responses should not cripple our efforts abroad nor should political correctness paralyze law enforcement domestically.

 Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2014 © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Action Day 2014: INEQUALITY

The Brooding Cynyx are proud to participate for the third
consecutive year in the annual
“Blog Action Day”
This year’s topic is “Inequality” and it seems even more appropriate
a topic given some of the realities of today.

(Thursday October 16, 2014, NY, NY, USA) Inequalities abound; they have come to define these first 13 years of the 21st century but they have long been with us.  The crises of the rampant scarcity of clean water, global hunger, gapping disparities in the quality of life from one country to the next are simply too big to ignore. Our world today is an intricately woven tapestry with each strand of yarn connected to several others and so on.

 In our world rife with bloodshed, oppression, warfare and a host of other ills, if they could all be summed up in a single word, that word is “inequality”.  The world of today is so complexly interconnected in every way that all the inequalities are all well-known, documented, and reported in the media.  Inequality comes in many guises and insidious forms just as it comes in grossly obvious manifestations.  Inequality between groups is at the root, the very core of so much that ails our world that it is often overlooked, it is the grinding tectonic force often obscured by the dense curtain of geopolitics, international commerce and finance, in a Darwinian conflict that have exceeds that between the “haves and have not’s”.   

In America talk of inequality these days is a debate about wealth and how it is consolidated in just one percent of the population.  Calls for a “distribution of wealth” represents a facet of this truth that is more an enigma than a problem seeking solution.  Here, too, we have deep seated racial inequalities that remain a stain on the soul of America despite over 70 years of efforts to eradicate this disparity.

But then we cast our eyes outward, beyond the shores of our America and learn what true inequality is; the scale and scope of it is enormous and leaves no corner of the globe unaffected.  Some of the most profound inequalities are masked by ethnic and religious animosities some that originated in antiquity. Oppression is a weapon used to reinforce inequality.  Whether it is the grotesque oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis, the genocidal practices of warring factions in Iraq and Syria where small, ancient Christian sects are being threatened with extinction, or the bloody civil wars that have ravaged some of the most remote swathes of Africa, where ever there is oppression there is inequality.

As we seek to understand the genesis of some of this venomous hatred, an event arises that, at least for the moment, changes the topic and serves as a stark reminder of not only our interconnectedness and inequality, by also the depths of both. 

From some of the deepest, darkest corners of sub-Saharan, western Africa, an ancient nemesis has emerged and emerged with a vengeance.  The worst outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD), (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is blazing a trail of horrific death from Guinea, Liberia and through parts of Sierra Leone.  The death toll is reportedly approaching 5,000 but due to the remoteness of some of the impacted villages and a public health infrastructure that is for all intents and purposes non-existent, the mortality rate is climbing while any opportunity to employ the tried and true tactics of “locate, isolate, quarantine and treat” has long since passed.  The reasons for this are many and varied; some the result of the conditions and circumstances within these countries, others, may be traced back to an initially tepid response by the international health care agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO),  United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and other non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). The corrupt practices in those countries have at times impeded getting donated supplies meant for the outbreak sites have been stolen by tin pot despots and local thugs demanding ransom. In an outbreak of this nature to say time is of the essence is a cruel understatement.  Reports of overrun jungle clinics, a scarcity of even the most basic medical supplies and rotting virus-laden corpses in the streets while those able to flee are running in fear from  their native towns and villages racing away from a virus they may  have already contracted but  has yet to show its tell-tale symptoms.

As we are finding out viruses do not respect borders; they have no nationalistic loyalty.  Their primary function is to replicate within a host and do lethal, fatal damage and move on to the next person.  However, the Ebola outbreak serves to underscore some of the most pervasive and disturbing inequalities among people today.  Over one billion of our fellow world citizens have no access to clean potable water or hygienic sewer system.   Almost as many barely make enough to sustain their families and, as a consequence a billion people are malnourished and susceptible to infections.  In some “Third World” “developing” countries upwards of 27% of new born children die within the first four years of life from simple Pneumonia and diarrhea while millions more succumb to relatively benign pathogens that children in the western world easily shrug off.  Polio and malaria remain at epidemic proportions in Africa and the Asian subcontinent while they have been virtually vanquished from the United States. The saddest element of many of these inequalities is that there are relatively cost effective fixes available.  What is lacking is the political will of the western world.  The United Nations proves its profound uselessness when it comes to seriously addressing inequalities as do the former colonial powers who exploited the natural resources and people of many African countries for centuries. 

Inequality is the direct result of prejudice; of the “divide and conquer” mindset that becomes a self-perpetuating organism that grows more malignant over time.  My religion is the “true” religion; my ethnicity is superior to yours. These thoughts are at the very core of some of the worst inequalities. 

There is an enigmatic component to inequality in that it appears that by our birth right, by simply being born into the environment that we are determines our fate.  How is it in a world with so much wealth that so many people long for clean water and reliable sources of food?  If anything these questions have assumed a greater sense of urgency now that our interconnectedness defines our world.  We are all truly related, the “six degrees of separation” principal is alive and well.  If we have any doubts about this, the current Ebola crisis is stark proof.  A man returning from a visit to Monrovia who had contracted the virus during his visit home found himself in a medical emergency within 40 hours of his arrival to his home in Dallas Texas.  The “Jet Set” reality of epidemiology cannot be ignored.  We can no longer say “well this or that is happening ‘over there’”; that defies today’s reality and logic.

What are the answers?  They may not be readily available but they are there and yes, they all require a commitment of money and resources.  We, all the western “developed” countries have a responsibility, an obligation, to our fellow global citizens.

 Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2014 © All Rights Reserved