M.W. Guzy

M.W. (Michael William) Guzy began as a contributor to St. Louis media in 1997 with an article, “Everybody Loves a Dead Cop,” on the Post-Dispatch Commentary page. In addition to the St. Louis Beacon and now St. Louis Public Radio, his work has been featured in the St. Louis Journalism Review, the Arch City Chronicle, In the Line of Duty and on tompaine.com. He has appeared on the Today Show and Hannity & Combs, as well as numerous local radio and television newscasts and discussion programs.

Fresh out of graduate school, Guzy joined the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He spent five years as a uniformed patrol officer and seven as a detective before being promoted. He subsequently spent two years as a patrol supervisor before returning to the Bureau of Investigation as a detective sergeant in the Homicide Section and later in the Intelligence Unit.

He has served as first assistant to the St. Louis sheriff since the mid-2000s He is also an instructor in the Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Guzy is a 1971 graduate of the University of Missouri in St. Louis (political science, cum laude) and holds a master’s degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago (1972).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair The quote was cited in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” to explain opposition from the energy industry to the theory of human-induced global warming. People who profit from fossil fuels are understandably reluctant to embrace arguments for the abolition of their use. Fair enough. A recent Associated Press article, however, indicates that Sinclair’s observation may be a blade that cuts both ways.

From left: Sarah Palin, Cindy and John McCain
Rachael Dickson | Wikipedia

Sarah Palin has profoundly influenced my view of politics. She persuaded me, for instance, to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. Before her introduction as the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate, I’d thought the resume of the first-term, junior senator from Illinois was a bit thin for the Oval Office and his vision for the nation’s future seemed disturbingly vague. The prospect of Sarah sitting a heartbeat away from the nuclear launch codes, however, convinced me that it was indeed time for change...

house leaning against dollar
sxc.hu

There is a discouraging circularity to folly. The tendency to repeat mistakes, I suspect, is born of forgetfulness. We usually remember the catastrophic failure itself, but often overlook the seemingly minor missteps that led to calamity. The ability to forget unpleasant realities is probably a necessary component of human progress. After all, the first guy to fashion a spear out of materials on hand and then venture into the wilderness to hunt mastodon had to be an optimist. And optimism is...

Ragesoss | Wikipedia

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. The dictionary defines it as “that department of philosophy which investigates critically the nature, grounds, limits, and criteria, or validity, of human knowledge; Theory of cognition.” Woody Allen once called it the intellectual discipline that asks the question, “can we know what we know and if not, how do we know that?” Allen’s tongue-in-cheek formulation notwithstanding, most people will dismiss the subject as esoteric and obscure — a suitable...

Wikipedia

Allow me to confess that I am a Winter Olympics junkie. This is an unlikely affliction for a man who doesn’t ski or skate and hates cold weather. As is often the case with perplexing addictions, I got hooked as a kid. If memory serves, I was first exposed through ABC’s Wide World of Sports . That program began in the 1960s as a Saturday afternoon curiosity and ultimately morphed into the template for ESPN . It’s not often that weekend filler evolves into a network of its own; but cheap...

Rams media

Stan, baby, you’re busting my chops. Every time I write about your Rams and their on-going stadium contretemps, I go to great lengths to remind the readership that without you, the team would have never come to St. Louis in the first place. Back in the day, you were a civic hero. As you know, the local track record in the NFL has had its ups and downs—with a strong emphasis on the latter. Our first love, the football Cardinals, came here from south Chicago. The forlorn franchise sought to...

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

It’s been my experience that people are normally murdered for one of two reasons: money or sex. When I share that observation, somebody will invariably suggest that I add narcotics to my short list of prime motives for slaughter. That idea seems reasonable at first but upon further review, it turns out to be redundant. Killings in the drug world are usually not prompted by drug usage per se, but rather by the failure to pay for the drugs being used. Junkies are notoriously poor credit risks...

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Let’s begin by acknowledging that the words “legal” and “wise” are not synonyms. It would be legal, for instance, to install aluminum siding on my brick home but that would probably not be a wise course of action. Just because there is no legal barrier to doing something, it does not necessarily follow that it’s a good idea to do so. That rather obvious observation came to mind when I read recently of the troubling case of one Cary Ball. Mr. Ball, 25, was killed by the St. Louis police last...

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham, England
Wikipedia

In America, we celebrate our thugs. They’re entrenched in the popular culture as familiar threads in the social fabric —collectively speaking, an integral part of who we are. After all, who didn’t like Tony Soprano? Because they exist in the shared imagination as mythical figures, it really doesn’t matter that much whether the thugs are real or fictional. Al Capone and Don Corleone are equally well remembered. Many cultures venerate some sort of Robin Hood character — the roguish rascal with...

Lou Gehrig chewing gum card
Wikipedia

You may not have heard of him but baseball historians well remember Walter Clement “Wally” Pipp. He was the starting first-base man on the 1925 New York Yankees. One day, the story goes, he arrived at the ballpark complaining of a terrible headache. Manager Miller Huggins overheard Pipp asking the trainer for aspirin and subsequently told him to take the day off to recuperate. In his absence, Huggins would give the kid who backed him up a little playing time to see if he could cut it in the...

photo of Barack Obama
Pete Souza | White House | 2010 photo

You can be just or you can be merciful but it’s damned hard to be both simultaneously. Barack Obama may have pulled off that difficult trick when he recently commuted the sentences of eight people serving extended time for crack cocaine violations. Perhaps moved by the holiday spirit, the president exercised his constitutional authority to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States” and released the federally imprisoned octet in time for its members to be home for...

Photo of Nancy Pelosi
Wikipedia

A Words to Live By award goes to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who reportedly advised her fellow Democrats to “embrace the suck” and vote for the budget agreement crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. It seems that liberal colleagues objected to certain provisions of the compromise but Pelosi believed a flawed deal beat no deal at all. Her half-a-loaf-is-better-than-nothing approach was reminiscent of the practicality that once characterized...

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Convenient ignorance explains most of the folly in human affairs. The things we don’t know really can hurt us. Worse, the things we think we know are often wrong. Once a misconception gains general acceptance, calamity is all but assured because the flawed assumption allows us to logically proceed to absurd results. Unquestioned belief, masquerading as common knowledge, provides a kind of lazy wisdom — it relieves us of the burden of critical thought while lulling us into the delusion that we’re in control of events.

This commentary first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When I was a kid, Halloween was the day we gave thanks for attending Catholic school. Because the day after is All Saint’s Day in church liturgy, we were off for a holy day of obligation while our public-school counterparts attended classes as usual after a night of trick or treating. (Suckers.)

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - I really didn’t want to write about it. In fact, I intentionally avoided the subject. My previous column, which ran on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING, dealt with the hazard posed to Thanksgiving by the commercialization of Christmas. I thought it was a topic worthy of discussion, but admit that it was also a dodge.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Listen, Sarah Palin is mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. At least, that’s the impression I got from news reports surrounding the roll-out of her latest intellectual treatise, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - It’s been 148 years since we’ve had a civil war so maybe we’re about due. In 2009, while gearing up for a presidential run, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted at a Tea Party rally that his state retained the right to leave the Union at its pleasure.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - On Friday, Nov. 1, one Paul Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport. According to the Associated Press, the 23-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic carried a duffel bag containing a fully loaded AR-15 rifle, five additional 30-round magazines and hundreds of rounds of spare ammo in 20-round boxes. How he planned to find time to reload his magazines with the extra ammunition is anybody’s guess.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pessimism is often confused with cynicism, which taints the mindset with an undeservedly negative connotation. A cynic is a person who delights in the ill fortune of others and celebrates the fallen plight of the human soul. It’s probably some form of externalized self-loathing: Being a loser is more tolerable if everyone else is one too.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Pessimism is often confused with cynicism, which taints the mindset with an undeservedly negative connotation. A cynic is a person who delights in the ill fortune of others and celebrates the fallen plight of the human soul. It’s probably some form of externalized self-loathing: Being a loser is more tolerable if everyone else is one too.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I’ve had it with zombies and Republicans. Every newscast begins with the latest demands of House Republicans that must be met before the government is allowed to function and the nation can pay its debts.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The current edition of the U.S. House of Representatives has been likened to a hip hop band from Detroit called the Insane Clown Posse and -- with due apologies to insane clowns everywhere -- I can't think of a more apt comparison.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The adage has it that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. Understood thusly, the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. “Obamacare” — is a steed worthy of Lawrence of Arabia.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I majored in political science as an undergraduate. In one sense, the field of study is an oxymoron because nothing is more antithetical to science than politics.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Douglas MacArthur once remarked, “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: too late.” George Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” These men understood the urgency of warfare and the subsequent need to act with alacrity and dispatch.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was 9 a.m. in the morning on a fall day in October when the endless repetition campaign was initiated for the first time. After that, the effort subsequently caught on and spread like uncontrolled wildfire until it became a popular fad. Enough, already: Redundancy sucks. The example above is muddled speech, which usually reflects muddled thought. Worse than false, it is stupid — though the sin can be forgiven if it is sung.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Dog Days of Summer draw to a close. The Romans so named this time of year because of the celestial ascendancy of Sirius, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Major — the “Large Dog” in the night sky.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was a routine murder in the Metro East, hardly a “ Stop the Presses!” caliber story in an urban area where murder is pretty routine. In most major markets, a viewer can contract a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder from watching the 6 o’clock news and St. Louis is no exception. Somebody is always killing someone…

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “They became what they beheld.” -- Edmund Snow Carpenter The Atomic Age debuted in the skies over Hiroshima, Japan, at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. Col. Paul Tibbets had yielded control of his aircraft moments earlier to his bombardier, Thomas Ferebee, who would guide the ship on its bomb run. Ferebee’s aim was off by some 800 feet. Given the nature of his ordnance, the bombardier’s near miss was inconsequential.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In a June 13 article (“ Combating Terror with Eyes Wide Shut ”), I remarked on the coincidence that whistleblower/turncoat Edward Snowden shared the same last name with a key character in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 . Both the real Snowden and his fictional predecessor became famous by spilling their guts, though the former did so metaphorically while the latter was quite literal about the process.

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