There are many things that contribute to crime being prevented and criminals being caught. More often than not, both occur as a result of the arrogance/ignorance of the offender mixed with some blind luck. The ‘good police work’ comes in how the arrest is effected and the post arrest investigations are conducted. In the post 9/11 era, you’ve seen virtually all law enforcement agencies adopt some form of a ‘See something, say something” campaign, basically acknowledging that the eyes and ears of those outside our profession can be an effective tool as it pertains to preventing crime. So you can imagine our frustration when this group, made up of thousands of trained active/retired law enforcement officers, is virtually ignored when we attempted to make the Florida National Guard aware of a potentially legitimate threat within their organization.
First, the background.
Last week, BBO made the Florida National Guard aware of a situation where one of their members, using his own personal Facebook page where he had advertised himself as an ‘Armorer at Army National Guard’, commented on a post on BBO’s public Facebook page. Again, that page is maintained by volunteer members from our charity and done so in order to give our member families, our line of duty death families and all those who support law enforcement a place to go to see pro-law enforcement material and to basically keep up with what the charity is doing. Back in May of 2019, on the anniversary of the assassination of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, one of members visited the memorial set up in his honor marking the spot where he was shot by FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Joanne Chesimard. Our member then made a post on our public page that included some photos of the memorial.
Last week, unsolicited and unprovoked, ‘Tracy Taurus Haynes’ trolled our page long enough to find that post and comment under the photo of the memorial, “I wish I could take a shit on this”.
‘Tracy’ then went on to arrogantly declare his love for Joanne Chesimard, addressing her as ‘his hero’. Prior to him wisely locking his Facebook page down, ‘Tracy’ was publicly leaving several pro-Joanne Chesimard posts on his page, including one praising the Cuban government’s refusal to allow Joanne to be extradited to the United States.
We said it last week and we will say it again, as offensive as these sentiments are to the Foerster Family, the New Jersey State Police Family and virtually any pro-law enforcement American citizen, they are all ‘Tracy’s’ right to feel and express. No one, least of all BBO, debates that. However, when you consider that these comments are coming from a US Soldier and are expressing both admiration for a terrorist and respect for the communist government harboring her, you start to see why they are an issue.
Even after locking his page down aka making it private, ‘Tracy’ has still gone on to publicly make concerning statements, writing in one post on his page:
“I am not a soldier…Soldiers stand in line, soldiers ALWAYS do as they are told, soldiers don’t question the establishment, soldiers need to be led. I’m a warrior. Warriors go against the grain. Warriors don’t have to be led. Warriors question the establishment for the greater good of themselves, their people and society. I’m not a follower nor do I do anything to be liked. Actually I’d prefer to be disliked. Kudos!!!!”
Keep in mind, once a page is made private, unless specifically selected otherwise, all posts can only be viewed by a page holders ‘friends’, meaning those they allow access to their page. Translated, ‘Tracy’ is consciously choosing to leave these posts public for a reason. Is it arrogance? Ignorance? A warning?
Acknowledging that the Army CID, just like law enforcement, can’t be everywhere all at once, BBO Founder/President Michael Burke took the next logical step and ensured that the Florida National Guard was aware. After all, their member, AT MINIMUM, is guilty of non-violent dissent. More than that, with the rise in violence on US military bases, you’d think that a soldier, in charge of ammunition and weaponry, expressing that he is NOT a soldier, that the ‘Army isn’t for us’ and declaring himself a warrior for his people that questions the establishment would all be of grave concern to the powers that be. WHO exactly are ‘his people’? WHO is he a warrior for, if it’s clearly not for the Army or the American citizen?
After initially contacting the Florida National Guard, Michael was messaged by someone from the public relations department that assured him that the issue was being ‘run up the chain of command’ and then asked if our (BBO) post and subsequent article could be taken down. Michael also received several messages allegedly from soldiers in the Florida National Guard. All of the messages received, including the one from the public relations department, made it clear that the sentiments being expressed by ‘Tracy’ were not in line with their own nor the National Guard as a whole. Michael has been clear from the outset: any and all related articles would only be removed after the comments were publicly acknowledged and apologized for by the Florida National Guard. After all, the Foerster Family, the New Jersey State Police family and the over 27,000 followers of our public page had to read their members comments publicly, the least they can do is return a similar favor.
Michael was then contacted via email by a Sergeant stating that ‘Tracy’ is one of his soldiers and requested that all and any information be forwarded to him so that the matter could be ‘thoroughly investigated’, even providing a direct number to call. Several attempts to contact that Sergeant at the number provided went unanswered and switched to a voicemail with a full inbox, meaning no message could be left. When contact was made via text with the Sergeant and he was made aware that his inbox was full, his response was “Most likely”.
Subsequent messages seemed to be more concerned with WHO asked us (BBO) to take the posts down more than the actual posts and poster themselves. Ultimately, Michael was informed that he is not privy to what, if any, discipline is being taken and that the Florida National Guard has received instruction to ‘cease all communication’ with him and BBO; which is a far cry from wanting all and any information forwarded to you for a thorough investigation. In fact, isolating and ignoring the very entity WITH all the information is the exact opposite of a thorough investigation. Moreover, Michael was informed that there would be no public acknowledgement nor apology.
So, here we are.
The Foerster Family and the New Jersey State Police Family deserve better.
Michael Burke and the members of Brothers Before Others will continue to fight on behalf of those lost in the line of duty and advocate for the ones they left behind; we will continue to shame anyone who chooses to insult or disrespect either, as well as those who protect the ones who do.
We have nothing but the utmost respect for the National Guard, the Florida National Guard, the Army and all of our selfless soldiers who serve this country and safeguard our freedoms. In fact, in a twist of irony, Trooper Foerster, who ‘Tracy’ deemed a racist that got what he deserved, was an Army Veteran having served in the Vietnam War. Our issue is not with the institution, rather the manner in which this matter is being handled.
Just like law enforcement, the military and its soldiers are not immune to lapses in judgement. However, in those instances, it is important that those matters are handled properly and in the best interest of those effected.
To the members of the Florida National Guard who still consider themselves soldiers and ‘your people’ is translated as American citizens of all races, sexes and religions, it is our opinion that you have a threat amongst you. Someone lining up next to you has publicly declared that he is not a soldier instead a warrior for ‘his people’ and that the Army is not for him. Those are his words, not ours and the aforementioned opinion is coming from over 3000 active/retired law enforcement officers who made a living by looking out for red flags.
And now you know.