BYE-BYE - 10.13.2021
October 13, 2021
Good Monday morning. I'm author Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California. Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMAN SERIES posts.
No, I'm not saying bye-bye to you. My posts will keep coming for the foreseeable future. But, it seemed that bye-bye was an appropriate title for this post based on the bye-bye's I've noticed in the last few days.
One was a sizable tree that stood in front of the Burbank Senior Artist Colony where I live. It did not survive the high winds we have been having in Southern California. You know what I mean about the wind if you happen to watch my Dodgers play the Giants on Monday. My pad is just 10.5 miles away from Dodger Stadium. By the way, the Dodgers/Giants playoff series has been exciting. I'm looking forward to the final game tomorrow. Go Dodgers!!!
Monday evening, I felt my stomach drop with having to say bye-bye to Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS and Matt Amodio on Jeopardy, who had long runs on two of my favorite shows. I can understand why at 70, Mark Harman has stepped away from playing Gibbs after 18 years. While he is staying on the show as Executive Director, I'm not sure the show will survive without him as the lead character.
Speaking of not being sure of something, that was a strange last appearance after a 38-game/$1,518,601 winning streak for Matt on Jeopardy. He seemed to have missed some easy questions. But, he is scheduled to return to the next Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.
Then one of my favorite NFL coaches to watch on the sidelines, bobblehead Jon Gruden had to say bye-bye to the Raiders over a series of offensive language emails he sent. I will miss him on the sidelines.
I'm not sure if we are saying bye-bye to James Bond movies, but Daniel Craig is saying it to the 007 roles. He has said " shaken, not stirred " since he debuted as 007 in Casino Royal in 2006. I thought he was a superb 007. Ian Fleming, one of my favorite authors, created the character James Bond as a 00 section agent of MI6, which is considered the secret service's elite. A 00 is a field agent that holds a license to kill in the field, at their discretion, to complete any mission.
While we are on the subject of being licensed to kill, THE CRIME REPORT indicates that the number of concealed handgun permits has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 21.52 million permits were outstanding, a 48 percent increase since 2016 and a 10.5 percent increase over the number of permits in 2020. The most significant increase was to women and Black Americans. In Texas, for example, Black females saw a 6.3 times greater percentage increase in permits than white males from 2002 to 2020. Similarly, in North Carolina, Black individuals' permit applications increased twice as fast as whites from 1996 to 2016.
A reported Fresno gun problem reminds me of the research I did for my novel DEATH & TAXES. I found that a street gang called the Bulldogs controlled a segment of Fresno called the Dogpound, which the police would not enter. I have pieced together info from several publications that indicate Fresno has not changed much since writing DEATH & TAXES. I noticed articles about Christiana Lopez, a 42-year-old Fresno resident, who purchased guns from part of Fresno's $4.9 million settlement for the police killing of her 16-year-old son (a gang member) who fled from them in 2017. She and her 14-year-old son then distributed the weapons to fellow members of her sons' gang. Lopez now faces 22 charges, including child endangerment, gun trafficking, and conspiracy to provide firearms to a minor for the benefit of a street gang. The arrest of Lopez is part of a more extensive investigation into gang activity in Fresno County, which alleges that a street gang member currently serving life in prison for a 2014 murder has been directing teenagers of Lopez sons' gang to commit murders. As indicated, things have not changed that much in Fresno since I wrote DEATH & TAXES. Researching for the crime genre takes you to the worst of places. As is often said, life is stranger than fiction. You ask yourself, why do people do these things?
This is from Chapter 26 of DEATH & TAXES, published in 2015, which may indicate how Ms. Lopez guns may end up being used –
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It had been a long day for them. Hartmann and his squad were tired and hungry as they piled into the two Bucars and headed out of the IRS service center. They paid no attention to the boy with the red shirt sitting on his bicycle across the street.
The cell phone call was made quickly. "They just left the center and are headed your way."
"Gracias," was the only response.
The cars headed toward the hotel. Just as they started turning left into the hotel driveway, the front vehicle's windshield burst into a million pieces. Dick and Daniel were covered with shards of safety glass. Fortunately, both were wearing sunglasses that protected their eyes from the glass splinters. There were bursts of bullets hitting the vehicle.
"What the hell?" came rolling off Dick's lips.
In an evasive move, Dick swerved the car toward the hotel driveway and shouted, "Get out! Use the car as a shield. Somebody's shooting at us!"
Their instincts took over. They responded just like they'd been taught at Quantico. Each agent rolled out the left side doors and slid down behind the car.
Coleen's mind raced as she hit the ground. I just went through this at the academy. But she wasn't at the academy. Someone was firing real bullets at her, not colored paint bullets. She looked at the two holes in the car above her head. Those are real hoses in the car. The windshield actually broke.
Daniel, who was sitting in the right rear seat of the front car, felt a bullet hit his right shoulder. The force of the bullet had moved his body backward into the seat. Blood was spreading over his shirt. He felt an adrenaline rush as he bent down, moved across the seat, and rolled out of the car. His right hand was useless, but as he'd been trained, he got his service weapon into his left hand and started firing.
The gunfire continued both ways. Bullets were coming in rapid-fire. They just kept coming, hitting both Bucars. The windows were gone, and the tires on the right sides were flat. There was at least one automatic weapon, maybe a shotgun, a couple of semiautomatic rifles, and handguns firing.
After peeking over the hood of the car, Dick shouted, "The shooters are in those two SUVs across the street. Cover me!"
As the squad rapidly fired their weapons, both Dick and Brian managed to crawl to the trunks of their Bucars, where the heavy artillery was stashed. They pulled out MP5 semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. Thank God they had their Bucars. Then the fireworks really started.
It was a busy street. Cars started swerving, and brakes were screeching as vehicles came to a halt and either turned around or emptied. People on the streets were running for cover.
In order to get better firing positions, Brian and Harriett ran across the street, using parked cars on the street as shields. From behind one of the parked cars, they started returning fire, Brian with the semiautomatic rifle, Harriet with the shotgun, and then her service revolver.
. . . The Bulldogs figured it was time to ditch the scene. Two of them ran from the rear SUV and jumped into the one in front. The bullet-ridden SUV took off with its tires squealing. Gunfire was still coming from the vehicle's windows. As it turned right at the corner, it sideswiped a responding Fresno squad car and sped out of sight.
Suddenly, there was dead silence . . .
Dick looked over at a sergeant who appeared to be in charge and asked, "Any idea who they are?"
"Based on the red T-shirt and bulldog tattoo, I'd say he was a member of the Bulldog gang. That's the largest gang here in Fresno."
"Yeah, I see the tattoos on both of them. That one is just a kid. He can't be over sixteen."
"The sergeant responded, "He's probably younger. I suspect this was part of his initiation into the Bulldogs. They use young kids as shooters. If they get caught, they end up in juvenile court. No death penalty, and they get short sentences. The driver is probably in his twenties. He was here to make sure the kid did his job."
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Richard V. Rupp, Author
Website – www.richardvrupp.com
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Copyright©2021 by Richard V. Rupp