San Diego Plays ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for Fascists

by on July 17, 2008 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, San Diego

Commentary on the Oceanside shooting / road-rage incident – Rachel Silva, her 8 year old son, and Officer White

by Lawrence M. Ludlow / Strike the Root / July 16, 2008

Anyone who has seen the 1982 film Sophie’s Choice remembers the acting of Meryl Streep. She played the role of Polish immigrant Sophie Zawistowski, who revealed the lurid details of an ordeal at the Auschwitz concentration camp. There, a Nazi officer forced her to make a terrible “choice.” She had to decide which of her two children would be allowed to live and which would be condemned to death in the crematorium. At the conclusion of the film, memories of this sick game of government power and coerced obedience led her to commit suicide. But what if the tables were turned? What if those who wore the “official uniform”-or their enthusiastic supporters-were forced to make a similar choice?

Well . . . for the past several months, San Diegans have been revving up for precisely that opportunity. With a population swollen by military families, DEA and FBI agents, border-control officers, customs officials, admirers of the militarized police force, weapons manufacturers, surveillance technology companies, and the usual surplus of uniform fetishists, San Diego has-for quite some time-presented a ripe target. The demographics are perfect for a no-holds-barred game of Sophie’s Choice in which all of the “players” are deeply enmeshed in the welfare-warfare state.

Cop Shoots 8-Year-Old Son (and Former Wife) of U.S. Marine

First let’s take a quick look at the facts. On March 25, 2008 , off-duty San Diego Police officer Frank White fired five shots at Rachel Silva (divorced wife of a U.S. marine) and her 8-year-old son. The shooting was the culmination of a road-rage incident that took place in a parking lot after Ms. Silva’s 1991 Honda Accord cut off and sideswiped Officer White’s much larger Mercury sedan. As a result of the shooting, Ms. Silva was hit twice in the right arm, and her son was hit once in the left knee. Both were hospitalized. As to automobile damage, “the car had some minor body damage, such as scratches on the right front bumper, a scratch and vertical mark on the back right corner, but nothing significant,” said an attorney representing Ms. Silva’s son.

And what are the legal ramifications? Ms. Silva was charged with five misdemeanor counts. These included two drunken driving allegations (she was tested for alcohol), driving with a suspended license and a revoked license, and driving while in possession of marijuana. In addition, Ms. Silva faces child endangerment charges because she “willfully put her son . . . under circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death,” said Special Agent Stephen Duncan, acting as a spokesman for the police. In contrast to the pickle facing Ms. Silva, Officer White was not subjected to any screening whatsoever for illegal substances. Furthermore, he faces no charges for shooting Ms. Silva and her son. His side of the story? The standard line of all policemen who shoot civilians: he feared for his safety. Ms. Silva, however, claims that Officer White is “manifestly unsuited” for his job and that Oceanside police are showing favoritism toward a fellow police officer.

In an attempt at damage control, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne tried to reassure the public. He claimed that “all officer candidates are given a thorough psychological screening before being hired.” He added, “We have a very good system.” Gee, for some reason, the boy’s father disagrees. Currently stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton (on emergency leave from Iraq ) to be with his son, Mr. Silva filed his own lawsuit. He claims that the San Diego Police Department failed to properly screen and train Officer White.

The Jury’s Choice: Drunken Military Wife or Maniac Cop?

What a conundrum! It’s an authoritarian nightmare with no way out. Representatives of two powerful systems of Big Government-one foreign and one domestic-have collided to form a Perfect Storm of state-sponsored violence laced with oodles of bad judgment all around. On one side, representing the bone-headed failure of bloodthirsty foreign interventionism is the former wife of the Marine and her son. On the other side, representing the Nanny State and its meddlesome “policing” of everything except genuine criminal behavior is the off-duty cop with a trigger finger, seeking obedience even when not in uniform.

The only innocent casualty is the 8-year-old boy. He had no choice in selecting his parents or his shooter. His mother demonstrated bad judgment both while driving and in picking as a husband a man whose life’s work is to kill people on the orders of a cocaine-addled frat-boy-in-chief with a Decider complex. And what about his father’s judgment? Well . . . he chose the woman who chose him. My sympathies to the 8-year-old, who will probably have a hard time accepting the concept of Officer Friendly when the D.A.R.E. program gets a hold of him.

Sophie in Wonderland

But which party should win the legal battle? To which uniform should the jury bow down in worship? And who should they stuff into the maw of the government’s overfed penal system? It’s a thorny issue. Do they side with the donut-eaters of our militarized police force? Or do they stand tall and opt for the drunken wife and injured progeny of a true-blue Marine hero? After all, heroes need closure, and this one needs to get back to the important work of taking oil away from Third World countries and shooting up terrorist wedding parties that “hate us for our freedom.”

Gosh, there’s enough confusion here to choke a congressman looking for military pork-barrel projects to support. San Diego is a military town, but it also worships its police force. What should the jury do? What would Sophie do? Either way, the state wins. And if the recent $5.5 million settlement in the shooting of San Diego linebacker Steve Foley by an off-duty cop is any indication, the city’s taxpayers will be poorer. What’s my guess? A jury will award the boy a mega settlement because he’s the son of a “hero,” and the policeman will keep his job because he, too, wears a uniform. As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”

[Go here for the original article at Strike the Root.]

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

nunya July 18, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Check this out

Why are San Diego Police officers Not solving the case of missing mom Rosa Lisowski in spite of her two trips to the police department to report her life was in danger?
Try misogyny.

San Diego police attitudes towards women are not particularly good for their survival.

Tips not being followed up until eleven days later, what might be important leads not acted upon at all and one begins to wonder. Hank Liswoski leaves town for long periods of time, which the police seem unaware, and meanwhile detectives complain of workloads.

As family members move away, count on the Rosa Liswoski case to be shoved through the cracks until people forget. It doesn’t help that the Family Court System in San Diego is Down and has been down due to a “computer virus” with no one saying when it might be repaired. So court dates are dropped, to benefit – Hank Lisowski.

And then what about this?

(Dumanis goes to bat for a cop that shot his wife in the face)


nunya July 18, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I haven’t had any faith in the cops since 1983 when an obviously annoyed female cop snarled at me, asking after I was beaten up by a boyfriend if I was “just gonna sit there, fat, dumb and happy?” I moved out four days later and am somewhat impatient now reporting crimes. I do my best to avoid contact with the police, not because I break the law, but because I don’t know who the law works for?


OB Joe July 18, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Nunya – don’t blame you really. It’s tough being a black man or a woman running up against off-duty cops in this county.


PA Durrett October 24, 2008 at 12:44 pm

You all might think differently if you actually knew Frank White and his family. I do. He is a member of our extended family.

I’ve watched Frank grow up and I know what kind of person he is. Had he known there was a child in that front seat there is no question in my mind he would not have shot that gun at that little boy.

From the get go, when I found out that Frank was entering the police academy I didn’t want him to be a police officer. Not because he wasn’t capable of being good policeman … but because I thought he was too tender hearted … he never displayed any aggressive type behavior that I know of growing up. He was a good son and just a really decent nice polite kid. He came from a church going family who taught him right from wrong. I know him to be a really good family man who loves his kids.

The blogs and news are painting him as a monster…trigger happy. That is just plain wrong.

Clearly, he was not the aggressor in this case…and the evidence will exonerate him at trial I am certain.

Why doesn’t character have anything to do with this?

I am so so sad for that poor little boy of Silva’s. His wounds will heal thankfully, but a mother who would endanger her child willfully may continue to inflict greater damage upon him … I dare say unless she has truly learned to control herself….both her anger issues and her drug abuses. She needs counseling and psychiatric help badly it seems to me.

Why don’t you all wait and hear all of the evidence…before you start condemning Frank White.

Please pray for all the parties involved … that they may recover and make the amendments to their behavior so that this will never happen again. Especially pray from Frank and his family…these are heart wrenching times for him.


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