M.W. Guzy | St. Louis Public Radio

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: Asked if he thought sex was dirty, Woody Allen replied that he thought it was, if done properly. His offhand witticism demonstrates the enduring truth that some things are best left in private. In fact, personal privacy allows one to assume some pretense of dignity in public life.

The cardinal sin for members of the Boomer generation was hypocrisy. The “tell it like it is” crowd prized truth above all else. The resulting deluge of candor transformed notions of propriety; sometimes for the better, often not.

The article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Though my writing is usually published on Thursday, the last one ran early.  It dealt with the Zimmerman verdict and my editor decided to post it on Monday while the subject matter was still topical. Turns out, she needn’t have worried about its shelf life.

Immediately after sending it in, I left for the annual family retreat in northwestern Michigan.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cable news is the ideal venue for sensationalistic coverage of a murder trial because the people who produce it know how to beat a story to death. They fixate attention on the focused topic to the virtual exclusion of all others — and it’s not as though nothing else is going on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I tend to confuse ideological people. Conservatives consider me a liberal; liberals — or progressives, as they now self-identify — accuse me of being a reactionary. I feel like the last kid chosen for a ball game at recess: neither team wants me.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: We like to think of ourselves as unique. Every person, the theory goes, has his or her own set of talents and abilities — each with unique contribution to make to the human saga. The notion’s a fundamental of Western thought.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I was not particularly shocked by Edward Snowden’s revelations that the National Security Agency has been snooping around in our supposedly private communications. Like Thoreau, “I heartily accept the motto, that government is best which governs least,” but I found news of widespread surveillance unsurprising because I’d long assumed it was going on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In just under six hours on the night of June 10-11, 17 people were shot on city streets. Another unfortunate was stabbed during the period.

The following day, a senior police commander, Major Joseph Spiess, was ambushed while participating in a crackdown on street violence. Thankfully, he escaped unharmed, which is more than can be said for the police car he was driving.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that adage is true, George W. Bush should be feeling rather smug at the moment.

The former president was pilloried by civil libertarians for some of the alacritous executive actions he took to protect the nation in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He popularized the once arcane term “enemy combatant,” established his own concentration camp at a naval base in Cuba (a.k.a. Gitmo) and authorized “extraordinary rendition” (a.k.a. sending people to countries where they are likely to be tortured) in limited circumstances, though that practice was also terminated on his watch. He championed passage of the Patriot Act and made generous use of the expanded surveillance powers it granted him.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The two big news stories of last week involved Michele Bachmann, a politically moribund congresswoman from Minnesota, and Phineas, a condemned dog in Salem, Mo. Critics maintain that the central character in each drama is a danger to society — a contention that their respective supporters vigorously dispute.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Some sort of survival mechanism seems to be built into the human psyche that disposes us to remember the good and to forget — or at least, minimize — the bad. For the new mother, the pangs of labor are soon supplanted by the joy of a child and thus does humanity endure. This tendency, I suspect, helps to explain our often-irrational nostalgia for “the good old days.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Occasionally, one stumbles across an unexpected harmonic convergence. The experience is similar to déjà vu, but without the “already done this” part.

Rather than reliving the past, you undergo a minor epiphany in the present when you suddenly realize that seemingly unrelated events are, in fact, different faces of the same coin. Recent news provides a case in point.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Hegelian philosophy is not exactly on the cutting edge of contemporary political discourse. It tends to be relegated to ponderous tomes on the back shelves of libraries where it collects more dust than admirers. Undergraduates are sometimes taught that Karl Marx borrowed from it to develop his theory of dialectical materialism. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In 1880, Fyodor Dostoyevsky published his final novel, The Brothers Karamazov. The work is generally considered to be a classic of Russian literature and the crowning achievement of the author’s distinguished career.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In deference to everybody’s least favorite high school teacher, let’s begin today’s column with a pop quiz. How many of the following people can you identify?

Dale Meinert, Sam “The Rifle” Etcheverry, Billy Stacy, Bill Koman, King Hill, Luke and Don Owens.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “…Where does a fool go when there’s no one left to listen to a story without meaning that nobody wants to hear?”

--Paul Williams (“Where Do I Go From Here?”)

The poet T.S. Eliot deemed April to be “the cruelest month.” Thus far, this year’s edition has lived down to his dismal expectations.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Moral panic is a disproportionate fear of a specific danger.  The threat is definitely genuine but also unlikely to occur.  An extreme example I often cite is the prospect of an asteroid striking your home. If a supersonic boulder from outer space should come barreling through your rafters, the consequences would be dire.  On the other, if worrying about this possibility is keeping you awake at night, you’re suffering from moral panic.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In her weekly letter, Editor Margaret Freivogel said that the Beacon will be reporting in depth on gun violence in the St. Louis area in coming weeks. The problem is certainly topical and worthy of thoughtful commentary. Unfortunately, I fear that as presently formulated, it is also too broadly defined to lend itself to productive analysis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The topic of heroism — and just what constitutes a hero — has engendered a good deal of recent debate. My Feb. 21 column, “The trouble with heroes” dealt with a cover story in Esquire, “The Man Who Shot Osama bin Laden Is Screwed.”

That piece related the plight of a former Navy Seal — identified only as “the Shooter” — who claims to have taken out bin Laden and later resigned from the military after 16 years of very honorable service  He reportedly feels slighted because he was not granted a 20-year pension.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The film Platoon is narrated by a fictional American infantryman in Vietnam named Chris Taylor. At one point, battle-scarred and exhausted, he says, “Hell is the impossibility of reason.” For his sake, let’s hope Chris didn’t become a cable news junkie in his later years because the 24/7 news cycle contains enough illogic to fuel several infernos. To cite but a few examples:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It was just after 11 p.m., and the weather was clear. The driver was an attractive woman in her late 40s; fashionably dressed, hair and nails professionally done. In simpler times, you might have described her as a “career girl.”

Her late model car was properly licensed and operating within the speed limit. In short, there was nothing about her outward appearance to suggest that she would be a person of interest to law enforcement.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.”

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I teach a night school course in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at a local university. To encourage classroom dialog, I tell my students that the only stupid question is the one they fail to ask because they’ll never learn the answer to it. Alas, there are exceptions to every rule as Deb Feyerick demonstrated rather convincingly last month.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The email arrived unsolicited. A friend forwarded it to my inbox after he’d received it from a mutual acquaintance. Nobody seems to know who wrote the thing originally. Attribution is apparently not a high priority among internet theorists.

Like so many of the factoids circulating through cyberspace, the text was intended to be read in cursory fashion and then shared with others as revealed truth. This particular missive sought to compare the nation’s financial situation to a family budget. It concluded — wrongly — that pending federal cuts equated to a $38.50 reduction in spending for a household making $21,700 a year.

Finally, some encouraging news. While wading through the seemingly endless litany of wars going badly, economies gone south, broken dreams, busted marriages and what Charles Bukowski once called “the routine tales of ordinary madness,” I came across a glimmer of hope, thanks to a report published by Time/CNN. Turns out drinkers — even heavy drinkers — tend to outlive their teetotaling counterparts.

Steve Chapman is worried about your eggs. He's a featured columnist for the Chicago Tribune -- a sort of Windy City epigone of Bill McClellan -- who devoted his Aug. 29 oped piece to the recent recall of salmonella-infected eggs.

To the extent that this recall was national in scope and the offending bacterium makes its victims violently ill; posing a real -- albeit remote -- risk of death, you might think that he would advocate on behalf of greater public scrutiny of the food industry. You would be wrong.

America is a peace-loving nation. — George W. Bush

My parents were born in the decade following WW I -- also known as "The Great War," "The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy" or "The War to End All Wars." Their children were born in the decades following WW II -- an armed conflagration of global proportions that demonstrated that the first one hadn't ended wars, after all.

Theories have limits. Some account for phenomena quite well when applied within given parameters, only to fail miserably when expanded beyond them. Ironically, it is often the more limited theory that appeals most strongly to common sense. Consider the case of Ptolemy.

Ptolemy (ta-le-mi) was a 2nd-century astronomer who, like virtually all of his contemporaries, believed that the heavens revolved around the Earth. This geocentric conception of the universe worked quite well for the ordinary living of his day. In fact, it still does.

Oh see, CC Rider, oh see

What you have done...

On a brutally hot Tuesday in early August, about 22.9 percent of Missouri's registered voters went to the polls to deliver their verdict on ObamaCare. For the Democrats on Capitol Hill who'd struggled so valiantly to reform health care, the results were less than encouraging.

To: Her Royal, Majestic Highness

Dear Liz:

Forgive my maladroit salutation, but we here in the colonies are never quite sure how to act around royalty. On the one hand, we think it's pretty cool that you've got crowns, robes, thrones and all that rot. We never tire of tabloid coverage of palace gossip and consider it rather sporting of your taxpayers to pitch in to make sure that you don't have to work for a living.

In American politics, as in society at large, the issue of race is often likened to the proverbial 800-pound gorilla lurking in the corner. That metaphor is misleading. Race is better understood as the irritable 8,000-pound bull snorting in the middle of the living room that everybody tiptoes around, hoping not to provoke the beast.

The off-year elections are looming and, fairly or not, they figure to be a referendum on the Obama administration. If the polls are even close to accurate, it looks as though the "Yes, We Can!" crowd could be in for a "That's What You Think" awakening.