<em>What Probable Cause has to do with Gossip</em>

What Probable Cause has to do with Gossip

When I was in law enforcement, one of the hardest concepts to explain to the public was PC.

PC is an affectionate term used in cop-ville that means Probable Cause.

It can be confusing, even for cops, what PC is and how to apply it.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Probable Cause as…

Facts and evidence that lead many to believe that the accused actually committed the crime…

Bottom line is, PC is the burden of proof, not a hunch, that an officer needs to make an arrest.

But, to convict someone at trial, I must prove the suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher burden of proof than PC—the proof I can arrest for.

“That’s bull$%*^!” you exclaim.

And…you might be right.

Simply put, PC are facts that I, as a cop, can articulate at the time of arrest, that #1—there is a crime; #2—that the suspect is connected to that crime, and #3—there’s enough evidence, whether it’s testimony from eyewitnesses, or hard evidence—like you’re the one standing with a ball bat, glass all over your happy-self, and the window you’re standing next to is broken—


I slap cuffs on you and you get to ride in the back of a police car.

But that doesn’t mean you’re guilty.

That just means I have enough proof to take you in to be booked and charged with a crime.

Now, what happens if…

Your friend calls you, insists that you meet him wherever, but doesn’t say anything about the broken window he just busted.

You arrive, he hugs you (thus, now you have glass all over yourself), hands you the bat and says, “Gotta go, cya.” and runs away.

Seconds later, I show up.

You have to admit, this looks bad.

In your possession is incriminating evidence.

There’s an actual crime not more than a few feet away.

You tell me your story.

I say, “Hm, sounds interesting.”

Now, I have a decision to make.

Do I take for granted what see or do I conduct an investigation to find out the truth?

Do I look around the neighborhood for your friend, so-and-so?

Do I have another cop go over to so-and-so’s house to talk to them? Which, we’re likely to find so-and-so’s story not too credible, and who can’t notice the blood oozing from his knuckles after he smashed the window?


If I do a proper investigation and take a little bit of time to discover the truth, then I will make a proper judgment call with PC on the correct suspect. Thus avoiding a stinky situation called, a false arrest.

Everyone is probably nodding heads right now. But, this isn’t about cops or how they do their jobs.

It’s about you and me on an everyday basis.


Gossip is so insidious, malicious, and damaging.

No proof, no investigation into what is heard, and yet judgment is handed out behind someone’s back. There’s not even a text, email, or God forbid, a phone call to the accused to find out what is what.

That someone, is condemned without any PC at all, no less the burden of proof to actually convict someone, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Well, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” says those who love to gossip. Hey, I’ve said it too. As far as I know, the fire could be coming from the neighbor’s house. How would I know unless I cared enough to find out?

And yet, when I give myself to the gossip mill, I can feel hurt, slighted, demeaned, and betrayed, all at the same time.

Hurts and wounds, all because my filters allowed me to see something that someone else painted about another person that involves my life, and yet, without proper investigation, I have condemned a potentially innocent person, and I carry a weight that isn’t even real.

Gossip doesn’t warrant one minute of our time, but I can tell you; I can get caught up with it as quickly as anyone else at the thought of so-and-so, doing such-and-such, without any burden of proof whatsoever.

That creates drama, anxiety, fear, and doubt. All of which wastes emotional energy that we all have a very limited supply of.

If I do hear potentially incriminating evidence, I need to call you to find out what’s up. But, one thing I MUST NOT let myself do, and that is repeat that information unless I have PC.

AND…so what if there is PC, then what? Usually, it’s none of my business, and need to keep my mouth shut anyway.

How about this…if there is PC and it bothers me, perhaps I can reach out to you and help in some way.

How different would that be and how many hurts and wounds could be healed doing that instead of repeating slander?

And here’s something that is liberating…realize that what others say of you behind your back is none of your business.

As you make adjustments in life to become better…people will talk.

As you change directions…people will talk.

As you walk a path that doesn’t fit into the box others want you to live in…people will talk.

Seriously, it’s okay. Let them do so.

Like training yourself not to gossip, train yourself not to fire back at those who gossip about you…this also liberating.

Never worry yourself about what others say of you who don’t have the courage to sincerely ask you about your path and truly want to know how you are doing.

I want to be drama free.

I don’t have the energy to chase down empty clouds and play with stories in my mind that enslave me with fear, worry, or bitterness, because I don’t have PC.

And, without PC, I’m free.

I want to live free.

Photo by Alexas Fotos

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Leadership, Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
<em>Leadership and…Thyself</em>

Leadership and…Thyself

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on Leadership.

Leadership is a passion of mine and I think I’ve waited too long to get back to it here.

Life is like that though. Isn’t it?

You have things you want to get done, want to start and complete, but darn if life gets in the way sometimes.

And that’s the whole point of this: living an Intentional Life.

Especially as a Leader!

Living more authentically. Living with purpose. Living with conviction as to who we are, where we’re going, and how we will be.

This is a lot easier said than done!


Know Thyself —


Someone once told me, “I don’t want to examine who I am, it’s too much work!”

Within minutes, that person complained about repeating negative patterns in their life and didn’t know why or how to stop it.

If we’re going to be the type of leader that inspires others around us—I mean, that’s what we want to do, right? Create an atmosphere where our people feel safe and secure to make decisions that are spot on, perform to their peak level, and do an outstanding job at what they do?

Then we really need to learn how to Lead Ourselves.

Wish I was saying something new here, but there’s an old Proverb that says, There’s nothing new under the sun.

But we forget.

We’re like leaky buckets and truth has a way of leaking out of us.

Whether you learned it or not, or forgot it, if we don’t Lead Ourselves, then someone else will. And that’s when we get into trouble.

I’m not talking about gaining a new title, position, or rank.

The whole idea behind Leading Yourself is this:

Do you lead yourself or do you allow others, things, society, or social media to lead you?

Or worse…your emotions! Do your emotions lead you, or do you led them? More to come in future posts about this.


Lead —


As leaders, we can hide behind a smoke screen of rank and power and parrot policies and procedures.

Hide behind a desk. Hide behind an organization. Hide behind a veneer of organizational rules of does and don’ts, demanding others to get the job done and be the first to complain that These people just don’t get it, or, Why don’t these people go the extra mile around here.

Then, in a strange weird way, get excited to write a reprimand on someone who may have slipped a little in attempting to follow all the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.

The same rules and regs that were knee-jerked out of a committee of other “leaders” that forgot what it’s like to be in the trenches, slugging it out to perform their specific job assignments from the other end of the P&P manual as to how they should accomplish it—usually with no other reward than simply getting to keep their jobs and receive less pay this year than last due to inflation.

But, I digress…

When you Lead Thyself, you know who you are, what you believe, and how you want to be in life.

I’ve told those who I have partnered with over the years not worry about rank and titles, lead right where you are.

But first, you must learn to Lead Thyself.


Thyself —


So, what does Leading Thyself really mean?

Here are a few things I do, have done, and still do today, that works for me…

  1. Who am I? For me, this means quieting my mind with no other distractions and thinking (sometimes writing down) about my own purpose and separating what outside influences are yelling at me versus how I truly want to live; what is it that I truly want to do; and how I truly want to be—without the guilt from someone else’s agenda. This isn’t easy in a world that bombards us with happy porn from Facebook to Pinterest and then we feel bad because we compared ourselves with So&So, and now somehow we should be as happy as they look but we’re not. We’re influenced all the time, from all sorts of angles, and the blitz never ends. At the end of the day, we’re so mentally exhausted, who has time to sit in quiet and engage our thinker about who we are? Yet, it’s crucial to get to know who you are…intimately.
  2. What do I believe? This isn’t some religious thing, although it could be for you. What is it that you believe? What do you hold as important and value the most in life? Do you understand yourself to the point that you can honestly look yourself in the mirror with no one around and tell yourself what it is that you wholeheartedly believe in? Knowing this to an intimate degree will help guide yourself through the dark pits of anything in life, to include the dark pits of any organization.
  3. How to be? Not what to be, or gain, or have, or acquire, or…whatever. But How to be. Knowing who you are and what you believe will guide you in how to be. This is where you realize that you are different from the rest of the pack and you will stand out. This will separate you from just going with the flow and living a life that is based on mindless decisions.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a starting point.

Leading Thyself is a way of life. Knowing who you are and basing your decisions and your actions on what your core values are will help you navigate out of a herd mentality and keep you from being corralled like so many others.

When we live mindlessly we lose passion in our lives. We wake up in the middle of the corral living a life that we think others expect from us, and yet we desire so much more—To be free.

Fear keeps us caged and hemmed in—just like cattle led to the slaughter.

I don’t like that feeling.

When you stop and quiet yourself to find out about yourself, you might be surprised where you will Lead Yourself.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Leadership, Self-Improvement