Saturday Story and Lesson


One of the major things cops have to learn is to never promise to “catch that guy”, or any variation. Never.

In Hawaii the capture rate is no better or worse than anywhere else. Doesn’t matter, you still don’t make that promise.

“Fat Boy” Jim is a perfect example.

Jim was a really good cop. His dart team gave him the nickname and he didn’t mind it. Kind of wore it with pride.

I knew Jim for years and there were 2 incidents that affected him deeply.

He was throwing “league” darts at a bowling alley bar when he and another off- duty officer spotted two guys fighting out in the bowling lanes. No punches, but some serious shoving and pushing.

With some “I’ll get you-you just wait”, one guy walked outside to a car parked at the curb.

Through the window Jim spotted this guy pull a revolver from the vehicle trunk and start back into the bowling alley.

Jim and the other cop didn’t hesitate. Jim headed out of the bar while his partner told the bartender to call 911 and tell them what was happening. He then went out to join Jim.

They stopped the gunman in the entry hallway. There was no conversation, the gunman raised the revolver and both Jim and the other cop engaged in fire.

The gunman fired one shot into the wall next to Jim. The gunman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jim handled all the who-ha-ha over the shooting. It didn’t seem to affect him much, then. He made the required visits to the department shrink and went back to work.

A few years later, 1985 something happened that I think destroyed him.

He was working on the Windward side an evening shift on a Sunday. He had just picked up his dinner, a plate lunch, when he got a missing child call.

There was a family party and 6 year old Maile was missing and hadn’t been seen for some time. Like any good cop would do, he threw away the plate lunch and headed for the house. Jim handled the call, started the paperwork and put out the alert. In short, he did everything he was supposed to and was trained to do. Everything he could do.

During that investigation, Jim told the family he’d find their daughter and bring her home. The Promise.

She was found in a shallow grave far away from her home. She had been brutalized and then murdered.

Working backwards, Jim figured out that the killer and child had driven past the drive-in where he was picking up his dinner. At the time he was picking up his dinner. This timeline was his figuring. I never saw anything to support his figures. Didn’t matter, he believed it. He deeply thought it would have turned out different if he had been on patrol instead of getting that plate lunch.

That he couldn’t keep his promise was something he couldn’t handle. He started drinking more and playing darts less.

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer and given a few months. He had surgery.

He lost so much weight he always looked bad. They had gutted him like a fish.

He passed 3 years clean, and then the cancer came back. Six months later he was dead.

Some can say these things aren’t related, but I think the cancer was caused by Jim eating himself up. For the promise he couldn’t keep.

The promise you never make.

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