Elemental Evil: Session 9

In the previous session the group arrived at the base of Feathergale Spire. As Princes of the Apocalypse is designed as a sandbox adventure and doesn’t have a linear story-line and “quests” leading people to the next goal, this session started with a discussion between the players on what exactly they were looking for in Feathergale Spire. The one point where they could all agree upon was that they were looking for Glasstaff, the evil mage from the previous adventure, who had escaped them but left a letter indicating he could be found in this tower. Landry the halfling monk also had a larger view on fighting the evil elemental cults as a goal, while Theren the elf warrior was especially interested in finding the keys to magical portal they had found in the previous session.

With the help of their Aarakocra allies the group ascended the pillar to the base of the tower, one level below the main entrance with the drawbridge. Here they found 12 large stable doors, with signs that this was were the flying mounts were kept. Listening to the doors they found an unoccupied stable and entered there. Another door led to the central staircase of the tower, but one of the Feathergale Knights was in that room. The group managed to jump him with surprise, and kill him before he could raise the alarm.

Going up the staircase they found that at each level there was a central room with doors to the other rooms of the level. They decided to skip all those doors, and just continue to go up. That worked well, because I played the tower as written, with there not being any guards on the staircase. So the group arrived just below the top level, seeing open sky above them. Landry decided to sneak a peek to see who or what was on the top landing. However he miserably failed his stealth check, and was seen by Glasstaff, who fired a magic missile at him. That started a fight, with the enemy consisting of the mage, two Feathergale Knights on giant vultures, and Thurl Merosska.

The group concentrated on Glasstaff, killing him before he got another spell off (I should have let him cast Shield as a reaction on the first attack, but forgot about that). Then Theren wanted to call a truce, persuading Thurl that they only were here because of a previous beef with Glasstaff, which he assumed to be the boss of the tower. However it turned out that Thurl was the boss, and Glasstaff his invited guest, so the group reconsidered the truce idea and the fight continued.

That fight turned out to be tough. In fact the book says Feathergale Spire could be handled at level 3, and they had a hard time at level 4. I guess the book assumes that the players don’t actually fight the air cult, because there is an option of joining them on a hunt instead and then sending them off against the rival earth cult. As an alternative the book describes the group being captured and thrown off the tower, but then being rescued by the Aarakocra. As I had played up the fight against the evil elemental cults and the information the players got on them, as opposed to the “players are in the dark about what is going on while searching for a missing delegation” story of the book, and as I had added Glasstaff to the tower, the peaceful option was a lot less likely.

Fortunately it all ended well: The group defeated Thurl and his knights on the pinnacle. They got the mage’s glass staff of defense [DM’s note: I changed that one to be able to cast Shield as a reaction, not only as an action, which would have made the spell rather useless.], they got one of the four needed keys to the magic portal from Thurl, and they used the Wing Wear wondrous item they had found in the stables to paraglide down from the top of the tower before further inhabitants of the tower stormed up the stairs. So apart from them not getting the xp for having killed everybody (which would have been very difficult) they achieved a near perfect outcome.

The group returned via the Sighing Valley to Red Larch and rested over night. Then they discussed where to go next. From Popée’s Zhentarim contact, the town baker, they got the information that the warrior in stone armor they had found in one of the four graves was presumably an earth cultist. From the dwarven book from the previous adventure they had a rough idea where the four Haunted Keeps were, and the baker told them about the Sacred Stone Monastery. They also learned about the existence of Rivergard Keep, and the information they had from Landry’s Order of the Gauntlet contact suggested that this might be where the water cultists were hiding out. That seemed to be a good next target, but as it was getting late we ended the session there.

Death of a Legislator: Dan Johnson’s Suicide and the GOP’s Far-Right Drift

Before facing abuse allegations and taking his own life, Kentucky Rep. Dan Johnson was becoming a far-right leader.

While the national press is focused on how the #MeToo movement is affecting Congress, state and city governments have also experienced a surge of women accusing politicians of sexual harassment and abuse. Kentucky has been especially shaken by this, with at least four Republican state legislators and a Democratic city councilman being publicly accused of sexual harassment in the past couple of months.

But the story took a particularly gruesome twist after a fifth statehouse Republican, Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson, took his own life last Wednesday. That came shortly after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published a blockbuster exposé of Johnson’s disturbing history, including allegations that he molested a 17-year-old member of his Heart of Fire congregation, where he was a minister.

This entire sordid affair is already being twisted by conservative pundits to discredit the #MeToo movement. Kathleen Parker asks whether Johnson had “a right to some sort of dispassionate hearing,” ignoring the fact that the alleged victim went to the police, to no avail. A deeper look into Johnson’s career, however, suggests a different moral: It illustrates the growing problem of radical fundamentalists quietly infiltrating local state governments.

Roy Moore may have lost his chance to be the U.S. senator from Alabama — if by an agonizingly narrow margin. But dozens of mini-Moores are flourishing in state legislatures, where they are pushing the Republican Party ever further to the right and quietly working to dismantle women’s access to reproductive health care.

While the molestation allegations against Johnson have been the focus, R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting also uncovered a dizzying amount of disturbing information about Johnson that should have been disqualifying long before those accusations came to light. The man was a con artist who told lies about his own biography so outrageous they hardly needed fact-checking. He had repeatedly been in trouble with the law for running an illegal bar out of his church, and over several apparent arson incidents. During the 2016 election, he posted racist memes portraying Barack and Michelle Obama as monkeys and won his election over Democrat Linda Belcher anyway.

“I think that led him to believe there were lots of things he could do, yet his folks would still support him,” Marcie Crim, executive director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, told Salon. 

When his Republicans colleagues came under fire in November for sexual harassment allegations, Johnson took to Facebook to offer a defense, writing, “I’m totally against anything that has to do with abuse, however there are no perfect people.”

Crim was not surprised by this, saying that both sexual abuse and anti-choice beliefs stem from an unwillingness to “believe that women’s bodies belong to the women.” Essentially, she said, right-wing men want to touch women “whenever they want, and they also want to tell them what kind of health care they can and can’t get access to.”

Johnson wasn’t just anti-abortion, which is par for the course in Republican politics. He was a radical anti-choice fanatic. He appears to have been closely working with Operation Save America, an extremist Christian organization that pushes what it calls the “doctrine of the lesser magistrates,” which holds that Christians shouldn’t obey laws that they believe conflict with God’s laws. It’s the same theory used to bolster the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Now it is being used to argue that federal laws protecting abortion rights need not be respected.

In October, Johnson pre-filed a piece of planned legislation called the Abolition of Abortion Act, which would have criminalized abortion in Kentucky both for doctors and patients. The proposed bill explicitly instructed the state to enforce this ban “regardless of any contrary or conflicting state or federal laws, administrative regulations, executive orders, or judicial decisions.” It appears Johnson was trying to put this “lesser magistrate” notion into law.

In an emotional video released before Johnson committed suicide — but after the allegations of sexual misconduct had emerged — Rusty Thomas, the head of Operation Save America, blamed the “sexual revolution” for sexual harassment, saying, “God is lifting the skirt of our national whoredoms.”

Thomas went on to defend both Johnson and Roy Moore, saying that the “establishment will spend millions of dollars to dig up dirt” and that it has “successfully weaponized sex as a political weapon” to publicly shame those “seeking to stand for righteousness and for godliness in our nation.”

Thomas, it’s worth noting, spends his days organizing protests outside abortion clinics that are meant to publicly shame women seeking abortion. Johnson himself showed up at one of these protests and was photographed by clinic escorts.

In the video, Thomas calls Johnson “the congressman we have been working with to introduce a bill of abolitions.” This comports with what Rewire reporter Jenn Stanley discovered while working on her audio documentary “Marching Toward Gilead.” She called Johnson to ask him about his anti-abortion bill, and he had Joseph Spurgeon, a pastor who works with Operation Save America, call her back within seconds. 

“I didn’t tell Dan Johnson that this was a story about Operation Save America,” Stanley told Salon. “So Joseph Spurgeon must be a guy he sends out to talk to reporters.” Spurgeon and Thomas have also said they tried to call and text Johnson to prevent him from committing suicide, to no avail. 

(Full disclosure: My partner was an executive producer on Stanley’s documentary.)

Operation Save America was the group that spent decades harassing Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Wichita, Kansas, until a regular clinic protester murdered him in 2009. When another clinic opened in the place of Tiller’s, Thomas declared, “OSA has some unfinished kingdom business in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller’s mill was reopened.”

But the main focus of Operation Save America has been the last remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky, which has been subject to the illegal clinic blockades that the groupused in the ’90s but abandoned for many years — until now. The group has been open about its desire to make Kentucky the home of the radical anti-abortion movement, especially now that it believes Donald Trump’s presidency has eased the path for more militant tactics.

The relationship between Johnson and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin also shines some light onto the political dynamics that are allowing Republicans to chip away at abortion access in red states. As Crim argued, people like Johnson “would have been fringe characters two years ago, five years ago, but now they’re getting elected to office.” 

Once in, legislators like Johnson embrace extreme and blatantly illegal positions, such as an effort to reclassify abortion as murder. This makes politicians like Bevin, whose strategy is to use ginned-up regulations to bury abortion clinics under red tape, look moderate by comparison. But in reality, as Crim put it, “The fringe has become the mainstream.”

There’s only one abortion clinic left in Kentucky, because Planned Parenthood was unable to get hospital transfer agreements required by a recently-passed (and medically unnecessary) law blatantly intended to shut down as many clinics as possible. Planned Parenthood says it has evidence showing that Bevin used defunding threats to prevent hospitals from helping Planned Parenthood follow the law.

There is also reason to believe that Bevin’s true sympathies lie with extremists like Dan Johnson and Operation Save America. In February, Bevin held a meeting with the leaders of Operation Save America, who say they gave him the book “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates” by Matt Trewhella, a pastor who has argued that murdering abortion doctors is justified. The group’s leaders further claimed Bevin had praised the book, even as he demurred on the question of signing legislation to classify abortion as murder.

(Bevin’s office and Operation Save America both failed to return Salon’s requests for comment.)

Stanley and Crim both told Salon that this entire situation highlights how easy it is for radicalized right-wingers to get power in state legislatures and start pushing a state’s politics to the right.

“Most people just have no idea who their state representatives are. People don’t go up to vote for that,” Stanley said. That makes the state legislature fertile ground for extremists to build a power base. “When you think about the things that really affect people’s personal lives,” she continued, “it’s the laws that are passed by these state legislators.”

Johnson’s death has certainly rattled the far-right fundamentalists who supported him, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down their efforts to push their absolutist agenda through the Kentucky legislature. Even before Johnson’s death, his supporters were writing off the sexual abuse allegations as a politicized lie created by the “establishment” and largely ignoring the multitude of alarming claims about Johnson’s long history of fabrications. The day after Johnson’s death, his widow, Rebecca Johnson, announced plans to run for his legislative seat. “These high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day,” she declared.

“People like to say it’s the last, dying gasp of previous generations,” Crim said of the rise of the far right in state legislatures. “And maybe it is the last gasp — but it’s a big gasp. It’s a very powerful breath they’re taking.”




Related Stories

  • Republican Senators Are Making Out Like Bandits with Special Real-Estate Tax Break
  • Paul Krugman: The GOP Is Completely, Hopelessly Corrupt
  • Is Trump an ‘Aspiring Despot’ or a ‘Bumbling Showman’? Why Not Both?

The ultra popular Arena of Valor finally launches in North and South America

  • Arena of Valor, a game with over 80 million players in China, launches in North and South America today.
  • The game is a MOBA and pits teams of five against each other.
  • There will be eSports leagues and competitions for the game.

One of the most popular games in the world is finally launching in the Americas. Arena of Valor is a MOBA from Tencent Gaming that has been all the rage in China. It has 200 million registered players with over 80 million daily active users— all using their mobile devices to play the game.

Arena of Valor, or Honor of Kings as its known in native China, pits teams of five heroes against each other in a bid to take over each others’ bases. If the game reminds you of League of Legends, you’re onto something. Arena of Valor is developed by Tencent Games, who owns Riot Gaming— the makers of League of Legends.

See also

The game is making some changes as it crosses the pond. It’s dropping the Chinese-specific parts of the game for more Western aspects. The in-game heroes are now more appealing to Western audiences instead of the original Chinese versions. Additionally, Facebook is used to log in, rather than WeChat. These changes are in an effort to appeal to a wider audience— something that other Chinese games in the past have failed to do. 

To hype the title, Tencent is creating an eSports league for competitive play. It is also partnering with streamers on Twitch to promote it. eSports has exploded around the world where Twitch streams can top a million viewers for popular competitions. Tencent hopes to tap into that trend and show audiences that eSports can be mobile games too.

See also: PC smash hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds coming to mobile 

This isn’t the first launch outside of China for Valor. The game is available in Europe and has accumulated about 2 million downloads since August. If you’re in North or South America and interested in trying the game out for yourself, you can hit the button below to download it. 

get it from google play

Elemental Evil: Session 12

In the previous session the heroes had finished the second keep of elemental evil and killed its boss, a wereboar. This session began with the realization that the group paladin was now infected with lycanthropy. And being just below level 5 they didn’t have the necessary remove curse spell to get rid of that. So instead of directly heading for the next keep, they returned to Red Larch again, where the local priests were able to heal the paladin from his curse.

On leaving the temple the group witnessed an attack on the town by two ankheg. They were able to defend the town, but the burrowing monsters caused a sinkhole to appear in the middle of the town square. Exploring that the group found a small dungeon (the “Tomb of Moving Stones”) with a temple inhabited by a priest of the earth cultists. They killed the priest and discovered evidence that he tried to convert a group of town elders, the “believers”, from a harmless excuse to spend evenings among men to a far more sinister cult of elemental evil.
The Tomb of Moving Stones is normally a far lower level adventure, designed to get a level 1 group started in Red Larch. In this case I thought it would be a nice opportunity to introduce the earth cult a bit more, before the group heads into their keep. The added advantage was that the xp from that dungeon got the group to level 5, which is what the next dungeon is designed for. As level 5 is a major jump in power, I thought it was wiser to do it that way.

YoU are GeTTing HaCKed! -‘Cloak and Dagger Attack’

Android users may want to keep a close eye on the apps they download onto their devices as researchers have discovered a series of vulnerabilities in the operating system that relies on two particular Android permissions to work.

Dubbed Cloak & Dagger by the research team that discovered the vulnerability, the attack relies on abusing the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW and BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE permissions in order to compromise the system.
System vulnerabilities
The way the exploit works is pretty straightforward: a malicious app gets downloaded and installed to the Android device, with the necessary permissions being granted without requiring the user’s input.

From there, hackers are able to perform Clickjacking, record keystrokes, phishing, and even installing a God-mode app, all without the user being aware of it.
Illustrate the danger that the vulnerability poses, the researchers have prepared three videos that demonstrates the potential attacks that could be carried out.

The first one is called the Invisible Grid Attack, and it works by placing an invisible overlay over the device’s keyboard. With it, the hacker could identify the information that is being typed out.
The second video depicts a clickjacking attempt that eventually culminates in a God-mode application being silently installed in the background without the user even noticing it.

Finally, the third video showcasing how a hacker could steal a password by manipulating the overlays.

Even newest Android version Android Nougat 7.1.2 might get affected due to this attack. So be aware of it.
As google is working on this problem, they will be coming with a solution pretty quickly. Stay safe!

Want  to learn Android Programming?

Confessions of a Killer Cop

John Tennis breaks his silence after being fired for fatal encounter with Joseph Mann.

Dressed in a faded Superman t-shirt that flatters his muscular torso, John Tennis points out the spot where he and his partner shot and killed Joseph Mann on a steamy summer morning last year.

It’s a crisp day in December along a resilient commercial stretch of North Sacramento, where unassuming bars and barbershops reside under washed-out signs, but Tennis tugs at his collar like a man who’s feeling the heat.

For more than a quarter of a century, Tennis patrolled this neighborhood for the Sacramento Police Department. In October, his career ended ignominiously. The 56-year-old former patrolman revealed last month to SN&R that he was fired following an internal affairs investigation into the fatal shooting of Mann, who was armed with a knife, rumored to have a gun and reported to be acting strangely in front of a nearby apartment complex.

The July 11, 2016, shooting—and the ensuing release of police video—plunged Tennis and partner Randy Lozoya into the scalding national debate about deadly law enforcement encounters caught on tape.

For perhaps the first time since Ferguson exploded more than three years ago, one of those officers is crossing the thin blue line to tell his side of the story.

After their colleagues spent long minutes avoiding a confrontation with the agitated Mann, Tennis and Lozoya swooped in with lethal decisiveness. In a span of 44 seconds, they attempted to strike Mann with their patrol vehicle twice, hoofed across the boulevard and put 14 bullets into the mentally troubled 50-year-old.

Despite his taste in t-shirts, Tennis dismisses the notion that he has a hero complex. He says he and his partner did what needed to be done.

“We don’t get trained to just follow someone at a safe distance and not act,” he says. “That’s the problem that went on for five minutes. And I didn’t get there and go, ’Oh, I’m gonna end this.’ I got there in absolute fear that something tragic was going to happen.”

Something tragic did happen, say Mann’s siblings.

“You just jump out of your car and unload on him—that’s unacceptable,” says brother Robert Mann. “That’s not protecting and serving our community.”

The forces that put John Tennis and Joseph Mann in each other’s path began a long time ago. Close in age, both men grew up in Sacramento around the same time. They both spun contented childhoods into careers in criminal justice. Both led lives interrupted by substance abuse and personal bedevilments. Both sought help from the system.

One of them got it. The other was Joseph Mann.

Seated at a conference table inside SN&R, a couple blocks from where he and Mann met, Tennis rubs his dry palms together and takes a drag of recirculated air. He doesn’t know what he’s doing here, he says. A cop talking to the press about a fatal shooting, one that’s still being litigated, his lawyer will probably have his head. But he feels the need to unburden himself.

“I’m not this beast that I’m made out to be,” Tennis says.

Joseph Mann’s loved ones say the same thing about Joe.

‘In the midst of chaos’

Sliding on his belly in the wet grass, John Tennis lay head to head with the man he was trying to choke into submission. Tennis didn’t know the man was a suspected car thief, or why he had rabbited from East Del Paso Heights, leading officers on a reckless, high-speed pursuit to an apartment complex a few miles away. He wouldn’t learn the suspect’s name until after he was dead: Albert Thiel. Black male. Age 35.

It was September 1997.

For the 36-year-old officer, the fatal encounter with Thiel would become a signature event. Here was a suspect high on drugs. Here were Tennis’ fellow officers, in his mind, unable to contain a scary situation. And here was Tennis coming to the rescue.

John Tennis didn’t always want to be a cop. The second son of a postal carrier and a homemaker, Tennis came up middle-class in the suburbs of North Sacramento and then Carmichael. He remembers cowboy matinees in East Sacramento at the old Alhambra Theatre, a chalk-pink Spanish cathedral of a movie house with a scarlet marquee and matching red carpet; solo bike rides to Citrus Heights, before it was a city, to stare at the pit of dirt that became Sunrise Mall; and, when he had his own wheels, getting pulled over more times than he’d care to admit.

“I didn’t really like cops because I got stopped a lot when I was a kid,” Tennis shrugs. “I was one of them guys driving around too fast.”

Tennis ran track at Hiram Johnson High School, but was an unenthusiastic student, he says. So one day, at the age of 18, he strode into an Army recruiter’s office and enlisted. “I told the recruiter, ’Send me as far away from Sacramento as you can,’” Tennis remembers. “He said, ’How about Italy?’ I said, ’That works.’”

The only people Tennis told of his decision were his folks, he says.

Tennis says he deployed with a paratrooper unit in 1980 to Vincenzo, Italy, his home base for the next four years. (A Pentagon official referred a request for Tennis’ military records to the National Archives and Records Administration.) A peacetime soldier, Tennis says he spent his tour skipping around Europe and the USSR during the dreg days of the Cold War, as only an American could. When Army intelligence warned him the Russians would read his mail and have him tailed once he was in their territory, Tennis started slipping pictures of Mao Zedong into correspondences written to “comrade” this and “comrade” that, he says.

On the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, he recalls, he lost count of the bullet holes pockmarking the buildings. In Budapest, he says, he unsuccessfully tried to train with Soviet soldiers. He became enchanted with communist-controlled Hungary and Yugoslavia, where he remembers a woman on a train warning him of a coming war. Why, he asked. Everyone here hates everyone else, she told him.

When Tennis returned stateside, he confronted an old quandary—what now? He had an associate’s degree, but didn’t see the point in more studying. He considered becoming a firefighter, but someone told him he was good with people and pointed him toward law enforcement.

“I truly believe in making the world a better place, as corny as that sounds,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d get hired, to tell you the truth. But I just don’t like seeing people get victimized.”

Sandy-haired with a rigid jaw and a raspy voice that he says he got from entering a burning house years ago, Tennis is the Type A sort of person the Police Department used to court, says Officer James Walker.

Like Tennis, Walker has spent nearly three decades as a patrolman with Sac PD. He started shortly before Tennis and has known him his entire career. “Working with John off and on over the years, I always thought he was a great officer—fair and just and morally grounded,” Walker says. “From what I know of him, he’s not a bad guy.”

Average in height, Tennis is hewn like an ox thanks to an exacting workout regimen, with a widescreen chest and knotted biceps and calves. Walker says that physicality makes Tennis good in a scrap, but that he prefers to listen, like that time they responded to a family row and Tennis let everyone air their grievances. “John would let people talk,” Walker says.

Noting Tennis’ black ex-wife and his four biracial children, Walker adds: “He might look like a poster child for Germany in the 1940s, but he’s not.”

But Walker can’t deny his former colleague’s propensity for finding himself in the middle of violent confrontations. Walker is careful to note that he doesn’t think Tennis sought out trouble. If anything, Walker says, Tennis is a victim of his devotion to tough, disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“I’d describe it this way: There are those officers, they just have this crazy habit of being in the wrong place at the right time,” he says. “John chose to be in the midst of the chaos.”

‘He left the world’

Vernadine Murphy Mann already knew who was ringing her bell when she answered the door. No one else had a talent for materializing out of thin air like her baby brother.

“Hey sis. I’m here,” Joseph Mann said plainly.

Joe looked a little rough around the edges. He needed a shave. His rumpled clothes begged for a dance with the spin cycle.

Vern stifled her joy and let her brother inside. How long had he been gone this time? She would fix him up. A hot meal and a warm bath, just like when they were kids and their mom deputized Vern, the oldest, to co-parent Joe, the youngest.

“With my brother Joe, it was maternal,” Vern says of their relationship. “I felt like he was my baby.”

But she knew not to smother. Joe needed to get into the garage first, to visit his suitcase, the one that held his papers, some clothes, and the old photographs that reminded him who he was.

Around the same time that John Tennis was asking the Army to ship him out of Sacramento, the Mann family was on its way here.

Wanting a fresh start in a new town, William Mann accepted an offer to join his insurance firm’s expansion west. In 1979, the Mann family made the cross-country exodus from Newburg, New York—a broken-asphalt burg with a backroom-dealing reputation—to Sacramento—a sleepy government town ringed by sleepier suburbs and sweeping, undeveloped land.

It proved a rough transition.

Their second week in Sacramento, a neighbor in their apartment building fell asleep with a lit cigarette between his fingers. The entire complex—and everything the Manns owned—turned to a heap of ash and cinder on the corner of 13th and G streets.

“We started with nothing,” says Robert Mann, who, like Joe, was in his early teens at the time. “That was just something that was the first challenge.”

Separated by two years, Robert and Joe navigated the early challenges together. Their three older siblings were all grown and living adult lives. Because they were so close in age, Robert and Joe were given a nickname by the first wave of Mann children. “We called them ’stair steps,’” Vern says.

The brothers remained tight after their parents separated and Joe moved with his mother to Stockton to finish up high school. If the split phased him, Joe didn’t show it. He flourished as a popular upperclassman at the largely white and Latino Tokay High School in Lodi, a small agricultural town a half-hour drive north.

“Most of his girlfriends [were] white,” Robert chuckles. “He was a ladies’ man, that’s for sure.”

“Joe was a people person,” is how Vern puts it. “And he saw the good in everybody.”

He also cultivated eclectic tastes. After graduating Tokay in 1983, he attended the University of the Pacific, where he spun jazz, rock and classical records as a college deejay called “The Character,” Robert says. When Vern was preparing to start a home-based childcare business, Joe drew up the interior design plans. He loved classic cars, discussing politics and giving unsolicited stock tips, Robert says.

Joe was also ambitious, his siblings say.

While working as a checker at the Raley’s supermarket on Mack Road, Joe attended night school at local community colleges in Sacramento, eventually getting associates degrees in business and communications, Robert says. In 2001, Joe landed a position with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he worked as an office technician for the next five-and-a-half years, a CDCR spokesman confirmed.

These were the salad days for Joe, and he enjoyed them a little too much, Robert says.

Thanks to a savvy home sale two years before the housing bubble popped, Joe was rolling in disposable income. He had a dashing Datsun 280ZX coupe and a new girlfriend who liked to travel—and to use narcotics.

“She pulled him in,” Robert claims. “When you have an addiction and all this money in the bank, it doesn’t end well.”

The family was slow to learn of Joe’s drug habit. A 2010 conviction for driving under the influence tipped them off. When Joe was forced to take a leave of absence from work, they knew something larger was at play.

In his time of need, Joe went to be with the one person he was closest to—his mom.

Robert says Joe moved to Georgia knowing their aging mother didn’t have much time. For her part, Lucille Mann knew her youngest was struggling. In their separate ways, Joe and Lucille tried to keep each other tethered to the world for a while longer.

“They were super close,” Robert says. “She was his whole world and he was her baby. And one thing I know is a mother’s love for her son is unconditional. No matter what he was experiencing or going through, she supported him. That’s just the way mothers are.”

When Lucille died in 2011 at the age of 72, Joe returned to Sacramento. But something in him had been set adrift, his family members say. He couldn’t see his way back to shore. Nor could he conjure a purpose for trying to find a way back.

“After my mom passed, he felt like he didn’t have that sense that everything was so important anymore,” Robert observes. “He left the world of the good community, so to speak, and got caught up in that other community.”

Joe’s drug use deepened. His absences from the family grew. Vern couldn’t abide them. She’d get in her car and drive around aimlessly, hoping to lay eyes on her brother. Nearly a decade apart in age, Vern hoped their special bond would act as a homing beacon. In a roundabout way, it did. She didn’t always know where to find Joe, but he’d eventually turn up on her doorstep.

“I feel he was coming just to let me know he was OK,” Vern says. “Sometimes I miss that.”

Two weeks before his death, Joe followed Vern into the garage and knelt down before his private time capsule. He popped the latches on his old suitcase and found the waxy celluloid reminders: Of him, primped for prom in a white tux, or standing shoulder to shoulder with Robert, or clasping his doting mother. In each photograph, that thousand-watt smile and the world on a string.

Joe felt his sister standing there. There was still time. He closed the suitcase and went inside.

‘Don’t go for my gun’

The county coroner determined that Albert Thiel asphyxiated as a result of blunt force trauma to his neck. Specifically, the thyroid cartilage on the left side of his throat had been fractured, causing hemorrhaging that partially blocked his airway.

“I said, ’That was probably me,’ because I was the one holding him down,” Tennis says now.

That admission never became part of the public record.

In absolving Tennis and other officers of criminal wrongdoing, the district attorney’s office said it wasn’t clear what caused the fatal injury, attributing it to a likely “misadventure.” The DA’s report also determined that Tennis may have rescued his fellow officers from an uncertain fate by grappling with Thiel­­, who was high on crack cocaine and listed as more than 200 pounds on a 5-foot-8 frame.

“Thiel was a big and powerful man and officers could be injured or worse if they were not successful in apprehending Thiel,” the report stated. “It was entirely reasonable for Tennis … to apprehend Thiel by trying to control the only part of Thiel’s body available to him, the head and neck.”

Thiel’s family filed a complaint that went to mediation, Tennis says. He says Thiel’s mother asked the officers to show her what happened to her son. Inside of a conference room, Tennis says he complied.

“We went down on the ground and showed her everything,” Tennis says. “My attorney decided to pay, whatever, $50,000 I think.”

A few years later, Tennis was involved in more critical incidents.

In 2000, he was sued for using excessive force during the arrest of a sex offender, court records show. The plaintiff’s attorney previously told SN&R he believed the case ended in a settlement, but didn’t recall the details.

That same year, Tennis says, he and another officer responded at night to a weapons call involving a man who had allegedly told a friend he wanted to kill a cop. At Branch Street and Harris Avenue, in a neighborhood of hunched roofs and chain-link fences, Tennis says, he spotted a male subject loading a gun near the side of a home.

“I think I said something like, ’Freeze motherfucker,’” Tennis recalls. “He saw me. He started running.”

Tennis says he gave chase across a couple of residential blocks. He lost sight as the suspect scampered down a dark driveway. As Tennis rounded a parked car, he says, he saw the suspect about to clear a low fence.

“He’s coming up and spinning around with a gun in his hand and I fire six rounds off-handed. I hit him a couple of times and he collapses,” Tennis says. “We roll him over and he had the gun right there. He lived. I think he walks funny, I don’t know.”

Tennis says he also fired his weapon at a suspected car thief who tried to run him down earlier in his career, in the mid-1990s. He says he struck the vehicle three times, but not the suspect.

He says he considers it a “miracle” that he hasn’t been involved in more shootings, given the sector he’s worked.

“Don’t get me wrong. I got in a lot of fights up there, but it was just real,” Tennis says. “The rule is, when you fight, don’t go for my gun.”

As for why—or even whether—Tennis got fired, police Chief Daniel Hahn says he’s prevented from discussing the personnel history of his officers, even former ones. Like Tennis, Hahn patrolled Del Paso Heights as a beat cop during the 1990s. Asked if he developed an impression of Tennis in those days, he says he did but demurs when asked to share it.

Unlike Tennis, Hahn says he’s never had cause to fire his weapon at a suspect. Neither has Walker. Both Hahn and Walker say it’s common for officers to draw their guns, but rare to pull the trigger.

“Guys like John, he’s just one of those guys that … I can’t explain it,” Walker says. “The fact that John’s been involved in that many things—I certainly haven’t. And most guys in the department haven’t.”

Like other police officials contacted by SN&R, Hahn expressed surprise that Tennis was speaking publicly.

“I’ve never seen such a thing before,” says Hahn, who took over the department months after the Mann shooting. “It’s really strange.”

‘Things to do’

With their matriarch gone and their dad getting older, the Mann children responded to Joe’s struggles the only way they knew how, with all hands on deck. The siblings and their adult children took Joe into their homes for long spells. Robert joined his brother at A.A. and N.A. meetings. Inside church basements where addicts talked about yielding to a higher power, the two discussed treatment options. Joe checked himself into the county’s Mental Health Treatment Center on Stockton Boulevard, and checked out a private psychiatric facility, Heritage Oaks Hospital, on Auburn Boulevard.

Joe was trying, Robert says. But the global economy had buckled. And the options were disappearing.

In 2009, Sacramento County cut 50 psychiatric beds and pulled the plug on its only crisis-stabilization unit, a 23-hour observation unit that fielded 6,800 adult visits a year, according to a 2015 report from the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society. Local emergency rooms were suddenly flooded with 1,600 new visits a month from people with nowhere else to go for mental health care. The medical society report called the ripple effects “staggering.”

The Manns weren’t spared.

“When all these programs started disappearing, there was more time spent away from the family, more time spent wandering,” Robert says.

Robert knew his brother was cloaking grief and shame. He saw the mask slip enough times to know Joe felt like a fraud in his own skin. His brother sought out people who didn’t know the old him. Joe found stranded addicts, shipwrecked in their own deteriorating vessels. With them, he had only the one thing in common: A grimy crystal over a hot torch. A sour wind that greases the lungs and hotwires the synapses. The hunger that left you emptier each time you fed it.

Joe’s contacts with law enforcement mounted. He accrued six convictions in Sacramento Superior Court after his mother’s passing. Most were for petty theft or shoplifting. In 2015, he was convicted in separate cases of making criminal threats, a misdemeanor, and felony burglary, online court records show.

Robert believes that last arrest occurred when Joe sneaked into an unlocked motel room on Richards Boulevard to steal a nap.

“The few incidences where he went to jail were for small things—vagrancy, shoplifting,” Robert insists. “He was still a good dude. Even though he was struggling.”

About a week before Joe was killed, Robert found his brother at their niece’s home in South Sac. Joe was doing chores outside in the airless heat. Robert’s face stretched into a grin. He missed his brother, but put it the way men do when they show their hearts to one another.

“Hey man, why don’t you come back and hang out with me for a while?” he nudged.

Joe swept a hand across his wet forehead and laughed his raspy laugh.

“Yeah, yeah, eventually,” Joe deflected, “but I got things to do right now.”

It was the last time Robert saw his brother alive.

‘This is going to go bad’

Officers Tennis and Lozoya were wrapping up a call near Rio Linda when they first learned police were dealing with an armed subject in North Sacramento.

The veteran patrolmen had worked together often, but didn’t normally ride together. Two days earlier, in Dallas, a harrowing sniper attack killed five police officers. The ambush was sprung near the end of a rally protesting the scrutinized police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. The piercing cracks that echoed between the tall buildings of downtown Dallas threw the city into a panic. Police used a remote-controlled bomb to kill the suspect, a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict.

Even with the Sacramento Police Department short-staffed, Tennis says, officers were told to buddy up that week in an abundance of caution. There was no escaping the nation’s shifting mood toward law enforcement’s treatment of black men, in particular. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Sterling and Castille. The names of the dead kept multiplying.

It was just after 9 a.m. Monday, July 11, 2016. Tennis picked up speed, heading southwest toward the call. Another name was about to join the list.

Back on Lochbrae Road, two callers had alerted dispatchers to a man acting bizarrely, doing karate moves in front of an apartment complex and flipping a knife. The man kicked the air. He shouted strange things. He urinated on himself. One caller said he had a black gun tucked in his waistband.

“He just pulled the gun out. He just pulled the gun out,” the caller repeated. “He said, ’I am the law.’”

No gun was ever found. As far as anyone could later prove, Joseph Mann was armed with a knife in one hand and a metallic coffee mug in the other.

Tennis and Lozoya didn’t hear the 911 calls directly. The information they received was broadcast over their police band radio signal and translated onto their computer screen in bursts of text. Rumors of a martial arts background. Might have military training. Seen with a gun.

“The first thing I start thinking was, this is one of those Iraqi vets with PTSD,” Tennis says. “He’s going off. This is going to go bad.”

Tennis wasn’t a stranger to things not going according to plan.

Somewhere along the way, the rules of the job changed. The cops Tennis came up with, the rookies he trained, they climbed the ranks while he remained on patrol. Twenty-six years on the street beat, chasing calls and fielding complaints. Never your own man, always someone’s grunt.

That wasn’t by design.

Tennis says he aced his department’s SWAT tryouts in ’99 but was passed over. He’d pissed off one too many lieutenants, he says, spoken his mind too often. Maybe he’d gotten into too many fights, drawn too many complaints. Tennis says he made his peace with it. He was Sisyphus, shouldering a boulder he knew he’d never summit. He could either curse his fate or embrace it. Tennis says he chose the latter.

Del Paso Heights became his house beat. A hard neighborhood, yeah, but filled with decent, hardworking people. Tennis was there to protect them.

But time is a persistent hammer. Fashions and philosophies change. Society evolves. Chiefs come and go. Every badge loses its luster. Every pawn meets its sacrifice.

“Most people realize, when you’re out on patrol, that’s when shit’s gonna happen. That’s when you’re gonna get in trouble,” Tennis says. “You’ve got to get out of that environment. It’s not survivable.”

Tennis couldn’t take his own advice.

He was drinking too much. Like many other cops, his marriage unraveled. In 2011, the same year that Mann’s mother died, Tennis was stripped of his gun when an El Dorado County judge hit him with a temporary restraining order. Tennis’ ex-wife had accused him of domestic violence and child abuse, charges Tennis denies. The judge later lifted the restraining order and Tennis got his gun back when the department went to bat for him.

In 2013, the department ordered Tennis into treatment after he admitted to abusing alcohol. But Tennis’ career was stalled. He got tired of humping out to calls, of getting yelled at, of the filth. “I’ve been thrown up on, shit on, comed on—I’m dead serious,” he says. “It can be very disgusting.”

I ask Tennis if he ever felt burned out.

“I got tired of it,” he admits. “Because my department is very, very big on putting you in a box.”

Tennis says he learned to do things differently. He stopped running plates or pulling over suspicious vehicles. He answered his calls and went home to his kids.

“You just give them a different product,” he says. “You’re not doing things that are gonna raise an eyebrow or get you into a fight, you know what I mean? So, ’Oh, gee, you got into another one.’ It’s not me.”

In Tennis’ mind, he had changed. Hadn’t taken a drink in years. Even his mouth had mellowed. He kept a well-worn photo of his kids on him at all times and thought about how smart they were, how eager to make the world a better place. He glimpsed retirement just over the horizon and focused on coasting toward it.

Then Joseph Mann entered his field of vision.

As their car shunted down Del Paso Boulevard, Tennis and Lozoya watched a figure juke past a sergeant’s patrol SUV with an arm cocked down by his side, according to dash cam videos released last year.

“Fuck this guy,” Lozoya said.

“I’m gonna hit him,” Tennis said.

“OK, go for it. Go for it,” Lozoya said.

Their squad car swerves into a stubby crosswalk, narrowly missing Mann. Tennis stomps the brakes and peels into reverse, finding Mann standing on the sidewalk past a white-plaster compound with a gated parking lot. Tennis says his partner noticed a lady standing on a median in the middle of the street.

“He started to head towards her,” Tennis says of Mann. “Randy and I are both convinced that, if we didn’t … take his mind off what he was doing, he would have stabbed and killed her. Absolutely convinced of that.”

From the videos that the Police Department released, it appears that Mann only briefly approached the woman to escape getting hit by Tennis’ car.

After another attempt to ram Mann off his feet, the car slams to a stop at the tree-and-bush-lined median. One of the officers says, “We’ll get him.” The doors open. Mann’s momentum has carried him up a shaded sidewalk. Tennis and Lozoya briefly jog up the street parallel to Mann before closing the distance.

Tennis is a few feet ahead of Lozoya, who levels his gun first. Tennis says he’s looking for an opening to talk, but didn’t find one. He acknowledges that he didn’t give Mann any verbal commands before he opened fire.

“I really didn’t think it would have mattered at that point,” he says. “He stood there screaming at me. And when that hand came up, that’s when I shot him.”

Mann points with the knife in his hand. He points again. The third time, he buckles forward.

The cracks come in rapid succession. By the time it was done, Tennis’ sidearm had bucked eight times. Lozoya fired 10 rounds. Fourteen struck Mann, snapping into his chest, abdomen, groin, both legs and one ankle as he stooped over and crumpled to his side. Tennis says he doesn’t know who shot first but believes Lozoya fired last—a bullet that skipped off the sidewalk.

Tennis says he went over to a groaning Mann and kicked the knife away and grabbed his arm. He says he was still looking for the gun. Even though no gun was ever found, Tennis says he is convinced that Mann had one.

“He probably tossed it,” Tennis says. “People do it all the time.”

After the other officers approached, Tennis released Mann’s arm and turned around to see Lozoya on the ground with an injured leg. Tennis says his partner already had bum wheels when he dangled one outside the car as Tennis banged to a stop. Lozoya went to the hospital and Tennis went to the headquarters to speak to the union lawyer before proffering his statement.

Sitting in the dim newspaper conference room with a neglected gas station soda at his elbow, Tennis tells me that it was at the stationhouse where he learned what he and Lozoya had done.

“I was sitting there in a room and nobody was telling me how he was doing,” Tennis says.

Who, I ask.

“Joseph Mann,” he says. Tennis looks to the side and shifts his jaw. “Just give me a minute please.”

He goes on.

“They told me he was dead.”

‘A category that nobody wants to be in’

Vern says she doesn’t remember the call where her dad told her what happened to Joe. She just knows that she can no longer go inside the restaurant where she answered her phone.

“I think it’s because I mentally shut down. I know it is, because you told me my baby brother is …” she says, not completing the thought. “This is a category that nobody wants to be in. And it’s thrust upon you.”

Robert got the next phone call. He left work and rushed to police headquarters, seeking answers to impossible questions. He says the homicide detectives unbuttoned their lips just enough to tell him what would appear in a department press release later that day: His brother came at officers with a knife. They had no choice, so they shot him multiple times.

Joseph Mann was responsible for his own demise.

The explanation infuriated Robert.

“I know that’s not my brother. My brother doesn’t carry guns. My brother doesn’t act erratic. My brother doesn’t harm anybody. Because I’ve been with my brother all 50 years of my life. I know who my brother is,” he says. “It was heartbreaking to me, because my first instinct was to act a fool.”

Instead, Robert promised the detectives he would get to the bottom of things and left the station. Inside his car, his body shook without his permission.

A few days later, a bystander’s cellphone recording surfaced. Then the Sacramento Bee got hold of the business surveillance video showing the actual shooting. Together, they contradicted aspects of the official account. Joseph Mann appeared to be the hunted instead of the hunter.

Under mounting community pressure, the Police Department made the unprecedented decision to release a trove of internal recordings documenting the incident. SN&R was the first to report that Tennis and Lozoya tried to run Mann over before shooting him. Mann’s story drew national attention. It joined a blossoming chronicle of questionable law enforcement killings. Tennis says he and Lozoya received “legitimate death threats” that caused their department to assign officers outside their homes.

The repercussions came in slow waves. The police chief announced his retirement at the end of 2016. This January, the City Council passed a slate of accountability measures for the Police Department, instituting a video-release policy and creating a community-staffed police commission. A month later, the city settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Joseph Mann’s father for a little over $700,000.

But the Mann family wasn’t satisfied.

“They kind of pressured my dad into taking the little money that they gave him to try to close out the case as quickly as possible,” Robert says. “I was still upset, because I felt like nothing really had been accomplished. So what, you gave my dad a few dollars. But what about the accountability?”

Behind the scenes, the Police Department was exploring a similar question.

In October 2016, Tennis says, Internal Affairs opened its investigation into the Mann shooting. Tennis claims the three-month gap between the shooting and the start of the I.A. inquiry is unprecedented and shows that the department was politically motivated to get rid of him and Lozoya.

Chief Hahn says there’s nothing unusual about the time frame, since I.A. only begins its work after the criminal investigation and an administrative use-of-force review are completed. “We want them to have all the evidence,” he says.

When the ax started to swing over the summer, Tennis says it became a race for him and Lozoya to medically retire from duty before the department fired them. Lozoya with his bad legs crossed the finish line; Tennis with his respiratory problems didn’t.

Tennis was already under the pall of a separate I.A. investigation, he says. Four months before the Mann shooting, Tennis says, he accidentally struck a 15-year-old assault suspect and a fellow officer with his patrol vehicle out by Grant High School.

“Never happened before,” Tennis says. “And then some other things happened. Obviously I can’t go into that.”

All Tennis will say is that those other things—and not the collision—are what prompted his sergeant to file an internal affairs complaint against him. When a commanding officer files a complaint against an officer, it has a better chance of being substantiated than one coming from a civilian. It’s what cops refer to as getting “blue-sheeted.”

“It was kind of an extreme call and there were some issues,” Tennis acknowledges. “I knew it was going to go somewhere. … When you’re blue-sheeted by a supervisor, you’re not gonna win.”

After Mann’s death, however, Tennis says I.A. revised the complaint to say he had a pattern of hitting suspects with his car. Tennis says he was suspended for a month without pay. When he returned to duty at the end of May, Tennis says, he was called into his supervisor’s office. “I said, ’Oh, you’re going to fire me today, aren’t you?’”

Two officers Tennis says he knew escorted him to the internal affairs office. He glanced down at their hips. Had they always worn their guns inside the station? Then he noticed how they were pacing slightly behind and flanking him, in what’s called a bladed stance, which officers employ when dealing with subjects of volatile intent. Tennis told his fellow cops they didn’t have to treat him this way.

“Do you honestly believe I’m gonna go postal?” he says he told them. “I got four kids.”

In I.A., he was stripped of his badge and placed on administrative leave, a precursor to his termination. Then the two officers walked Tennis out of the station and off the premises.

“And that was the end of that. It was pretty humiliating,” Tennis says. “It’s literally being treated like a criminal.”

This past October, the Police Department announced that Tennis and Lozoya were no longer employed by the agency. Citing a California law concerning peace officers’ personnel records, Hahn says he is prohibited from providing additional details.

That hasn’t stopped Tennis from making the unusual decision to share some of those details himself.

Tennis discloses that the official grounds for his termination were that he violated the Police Department’s general orders regarding use of force, discharging a firearm, professional conduct and the agency’s code of ethics—“whatever that means.”

“Basically the department said I had no reason to do anything I did,” he says. “I had no reason to get out of my car. I had no reason to approach him. No one was in danger. The public wasn’t in danger. Officers weren’t in danger.”

Looking down at his termination letter, Tennis reads the following: “’Use of force was not necessary for self defense, [to] affect an arrest, prevent his escape or overcome his resistance.’” He looks up. “So what they’re saying is that I was 100 percent wrong, according to the general orders,” he says.

If that’s the case, Tennis says he should be charged with a crime.

“Am I a murderer? Or am I not a murderer?”

In June, the surviving Mann siblings hired local civil rights attorney Mark Merin, who filed a new federal lawsuit seeking not money but answers. The city tried to argue that Joe’s two brothers and two sisters don’t have the same legal standing that their father did to sue. In September, the judge ruled that they do. The city is appealing that decision.

“That’s where we are,” Merin says.

Somewhere in there, Thanksgiving arrived. What was left of the Mann family gathered around an incomplete table, broke bread and muddled through.

“Him being gone right now, it’s like there’s a hole,” Vern says. “There’s a spot gone right now. That’s Joe. Joe’s missing.”

Seventeen months after his brother’s death, Robert says his family has no intention of stopping its crusade until Tennis and Lozoya face criminal charges.

“From the very beginning, it was never about money,” he says. “I want them to be held accountable. I want them to be prosecuted. I’m not going to stop until they’re prosecuted.”

Tennis makes a very different promise to his former employer.

“I told them I am not going out the backdoor with your boot in my ass. I’m leaving the front door like I’ve earned,” he says of his employment claim against the department. “Because I hate to say this, but this is going to cost a lot of money. I’m going to get my job back.”

Like it has done in every similar case for more than 30 years, the Sacramento County district attorney’s office ruled the officer-involved shooting a clean one. Tennis is free from criminal prosecution, but feels a prisoner of his tarnished reputation. His parents, who are in their 80s, canceled Christmas this year due to the enduring scrutiny over what their son did one summer morning a year ago.

“They kind of had a breakdown over this,” he says. “That’s the kind of stuff that really upsets me.”

The job and its bleak visions have always provided ample stress, but Tennis finds the dark moods gathering more frequently now. He gets mad at what he hears about himself on the television. He feels discarded by his department, and embittered that his name is now associated with all those reckless, rash and abusive cops who throw their cities into sorrow-stricken turmoil.

Tennis refuses to see himself as one of them. “I live for my children,” he says. “They’re trying to throw me in the same boat as those [shootings] you see that are bad, that anger me.”

All those shifts spent in emergency rooms waiting with the despondent and mentally ill. All those times he’s gotten suspects McDonald’s before taking them to jail. All those uneventful contacts where nobody went to jail.

And this is what he’ll be remembered for.

Every once in a while, out in the world, Tennis says, he gets “the look.”

He shrugs his long, slanted shoulders. He’s nursing a slight limp, the result, he says, of doing weighted sprints up the stairs of the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. He dismisses the injury and underlines it at the same time. It’s nothing, he says. He was pushing himself too hard, exhausting his body in the hopes of quieting his mind. Nightmares, he says. Gasping lungs, he says. Phantom thoughts haunt his sleep. A coffin darkens his heart. He flashes a thin smile. It’s nothing, he says again.

Temporarily unburdened of his grievances, Tennis walks a little stiffly to the door. I ask him one more question before he leaves. I ask him what he would say to Joseph Mann’s family.

Tennis says he actually offered to meet with them right after the shooting, to show them he was a regular guy, a dad. The lawyers scuttled that idea. He says he wishes them peace, and a passage through their grief and anger.

“I know when you lose a kid, you never get over that,” he says. “I know it’s a goddamned shame when you have a kid murdered—”

Tennis stops and resets himself: “… killed by the cops.”

It’s a momentary gaffe. An unfortunate mistake. The story of John Tennis is full of them.



Related Stories

  • A ‘Security Robot’ for the Homeless Has Already Been Tried—It Didn’t Go Well
  • O’Reilly Accuser: Time Bomb of Info on Sex Harasser Executives in ‘Highest Positions’ at Fox News Is Counting Down
  • How One American Journalist Took Down Militiamen Who Raped 50 Young Girls

What is PATH and CLASS-PATH all about in JaVa ?

What is PATH and CLASS-PATH 

Many problems in the installation and running of Java applications are caused by incorrect setting of environment variables (global system variables available to all the processes running under the system), in particular, PATH, CLASS-PATH.

PATH Variable:

PATH is basically an environment variable on Unix-like operating systems, DOS, OS/2, and Microsoft Windows, specifying a set of directories where executable programs are located. In general, each executing process or user session has its own PATH setting.
When you launch a program from the command line, the operating system uses the PATH environment variable to search for the program in your local file system. PATH maintains a list of directories for searching executable programs.
If the program cannot be found in these directories, you will get an error. For example, if Java Compiler “javac.exe” is not found in the current directory and all the directories in the PATH, you will receive this error when compiling java source code:

ERROR:javac is not recognized as an internal or external command.

 For Java applications, PATH must include the following directories:
  • JDK’s “bin” directory (e.g., “c:Program Filesjavajdk1.7.0_{xx}bin”), which contains JDK programs such as Java Compiler “javac.exe” and Java Runtime “java.exe”.
  • “c:windowssystem32” and “c:windows” which contain console programs and commands.

How To set Path in java?

There are 2 ways to set java path:
  1. Temporary.
  2. Permanent.
1.Temporary path of JDK in windows:

  • Open command prompt
  • copy the path of jdk/bin directory
  • write in command prompt: set path=copied_path

Let’s see it in the figure given below:

2.Permanent path of JDK in Windows:
  • Right click on ‘My Computers’ and open ‘Properties’.
  • In Windows Vista or Windows 7, go to “Advanced System Settings”. Else go to next step.
  • Go to ‘Advanced Tab’ and click on Environment Variables button.
  • click on new tab of user variables
  • write path in variable name and paste path of bin folder in variable value.
  • Click on OK botton.

Setting JAVA path in Linux OS:

Setting the path in Linux OS is same as setting the path in the Windows OS. But here we use export tool rather than set. Let’s see how to set path in Linux OS:

export PATH=$PATH:/home/jdk1.6.01/bin/

CLASS-PATH in java:

The CLASS-PATH is an Environment variable is one way to tell applications, including the JDK tools, where to look for user classes. Class-path in Java is the path to directory or list of the directory which is used by Class-Loaders to find and load classes in Java program.
It would be impractical to have the JVM look through every folder on your machine, so you have to provide the JVM a list of places to look.  Therefore you need to set your class-path such that, JVM should be able to locate all your resources like classes, files, jars etc.

In order to set Classpath for Java in Windows you need to specify the value of environment variable CLASSPATH, the name of this variable is not case sensitive and it doesn’t matter if the name of your environment variable is Classpath, CLASSPATH or classpath in Java.


    How to se Java Classpath in windows and Unix Linux

  1. Go to Environment variable window in Windows by pressing  or you can go from rig“Windows + Pause “–> Advanced –> Environment variable ht click on my computer than choosing properties and then Advanced and then Environment variable this will open Environment variable window in windows.
  2. Now specify your environment variable CLASSPATH and put the value of your JAVA_HOMElib and also include CURRENT DIRECTORY by including (dot or period sign).

Now to check the value of Java classpath in windows type “echo %CLASSPATH” in your DOS command prompt and it will show you the value of directory which is included in CLASSPATH.

  • You can also set classpath in windows by using DOS command like:

This way you can set the class-path in Windows XP, windows 2000 or Windows 7 and 8, as they all come with command prompt.


To set Class-path for Java In Linux, you can simply export CLASSPATH=”your classpath” from either your .bash_profile or .bashrc script which will run whenever your login into your Linux or Unix Machine. Now to check the value of Java CLASSPATH in Linux type “echo ${CLASSPATH}” this will print the value of Classpath in command prompt. By using the export command, you can set the classpath for Java in Unix, Linux, Solaris, or any other UNIX operating system. 
What are main differences between CLASSPATH and PATH?

  1. Path is an environment variable which is used by the operating system to find the executables. Classpath is an environment variable which is used by the Java compiler to find the path, of classes.i.e in J2EE we give the path of jar files.
  2. PATH is nothing but setting up an environment for operating system. Operating System will look in this PATH for executables. Classpath is nothing but setting up the environment for Java. Java will use to find compiled classes.
  3. Path refers to the system while classpath refers to the Developing Environment.

Want to learn more about java?

Irk a Politician This Holiday Season by Giving to These Progressive Causes

Republican leaders won’t thank you, but others in need will.

For some progressives looking for holiday gifts, there are guides to ethical and feminist products. Others prefer to donate to an organization or cause. This holiday season, let your gift-giving be inspired by celebrities and their charitable donations. Celebrities like Mila Kunis have been donating to Planned Parenthood in Vice President Mike Pence’s name—and others have followed suit.

Instead of donating to a charitable organization in the name of a loved one or friend, try gifting in the name of a politician who stoked the dumpster-fire of 2017 politics. Support the work of these important organizations and give a reminder that the resistance is stronger than ever.

1. If the Alabama special election had you on the edge of your seat and the thought of child-molester Roy Moore (who has still not accepted the election results) makes you want to punch a wall while throwing up…

Photo Credit: Emily C. Bell / YouTube

…then donate to organizations and campaigns working to support voting rights and black candidates. When pollsters examined the special election voter demographics, Doug Jones was victorious because of black voters, specifically black women (96 and 98 percent voted for Jones, respectively). In response, The Cut released a list of organizations and campaigns working toward voting access and political empowerment of black women. Check out Woke Vote and Higher Heights, and give Roy Moore a reminder of the power of local organizing.

2. If you despite head of the EPA Scott Pruitt for refusing to recognize human contributions to climate change and for subsequently leading the government in throwing the planet under the bus in 2017, and you’re appalled by the plethora of climate change deniers, not just in the White House but also in Congress…

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/WikiCommons

…then support those who are standing up to them, like the youth activists who protested at the UN climate summit. You can also donate to organizations educating and raising awareness about climate change, including Earthjustice and 350.org.

3. If you oppose politicians like Representative Steve King for his support of the DACA repeal and for saying Dreamers can “live in the shadows”… 

Photo Credit: WikiCommons

…donate to organizations like United We Dream, which is calling for a clean #DreamActNow and organized a national call day on Thursday.

You can also support organizations like Movimiento Cosecha and the Immigrant Defense Project that are fighting back on Trump-administration policies, protesting the actions of ICE and advocating for the rights of immigrants.

4. If you’re outraged over Donald Trump ignoring the crisis in Puerto Rico…

Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/ WikiCommons

…and his childish behavior when he visited:

…donate to organizations that are providing services on the ground in Puerto Rico and working on rebuilding efforts due to the destruction of Hurricane Maria. A list of reputable organizations includes Friends of Puerto Rico and Light and Hope for Puerto Rico: A Citizen Campaign, which is raising money to purchase and deliver specific supplies: solar lights, phone chargers and washing machines that don’t require electricity.

5. If you hate that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and GOP lawmakers are reducing access to birth control, something Price clearly has no knowledge of…

…and the GOP tax bill, which is an overall travesty for poor people, because of health care provisions that will remove the individual mandate and hurt access to birth control…

Donate to organizations concerned with access to birth control and reproductive healthcare, like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood, and feel inspired by their recent activism to stand up to the Trump administration for the birth control rollback:





Related Stories

  • In Alabama, Black Women Saved America From Itself—as They’ve Always Tried to Do
  • The Alt-Right Is Melting Down in the Wake of Roy Moore’s Stunning Defeat
  • Whitefish Energy Fleeced Puerto Rico During Recovery Efforts: Report

The best tech gifts for men

Yes, the holidays are almost here again, and so if you haven’t finished shopping yet, it’s time to start thinking about what to get those special people in your lives. Or the people you want to suck up to – could go either way. So this year, we have a roundup of some of the best gifts you can give that will apply to most guys… though many of them will honestly make sense for anyone regardless of age or gender. Or you can go regift that fondue set from last year. We won’t judge. Should you decide not to go that route, here are some things you can think about.

Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:

  • 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
  • Best tech gifts under $25
  • Best tech gifts under $50
  • 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
  • These gifts look like they come straight out of Star Trek
  • 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore

Exercise tracker

Exercise trackers are a thing these days. They allow you to track your steps, heart rate, and a number of other vital statistics to keep you healthy and happy. The Fitbit Blaze is Fitbit’s first foray into smartwatch territory. The Fitbit Blaze uses Fitbit’s custom software to track your body’s stats, and deliver some smartwatch notifications as well. The design is a little on the chunky side, but it can average around four days of battery life.

See more

If Fitbit isn’t his style, maybe give the Garmin Vivosmart a look.

Get Fitbit Blaze at Amazon
Get Garmin Vivosmart at Amazon

Home Assistant

Home assistants are one of those items that, once you have them, you can’t live without them. From checking on weather, appointments, or traffic to controlling your smarthome, a home assistant is one of the more futuristic technologies available today. But they can be a little pricey and it seems like something one wouldn’t buy for oneself, which is what makes it a perfect gift!

Google Home is a great product, and it even allows you to make phone calls and play movies and YouTube videos on your Chromecast-connected TVs. Google Home is a jack-of-all-trades kind of product, while other home assistants are a little more focused in one area or another. So, The home is definitely our recommendation in this gift guide. Check it out in the links below.

If your recipient is more Amazon-focused, then the second-generation Echo is also a great buy. Don’t forget both Google Home and the Amazon Echo have “mini” counterparts – you know, if you don’t love them THAT much.

See more
Get Google Home at Google
Get Amazon Echo at Amazon

VR Headset

In the world of VR, Oculus is by far the best known brand out there. While devices like the HTC Vive offer an outstanding experience the Oculus Rift headset is one of the go-to models in the world of VR. It offers a great array of games, plus support from a multi-billion dollar company which is always helpful. The Oculus Rift requires a pretty hefty computer to hook up to, much like the Vive, but the price is a bit lower – around $100 dollars lower.

Truth be told, the HTC Vive is a great experience too – you won’t really go wrong with either one. But Oculus has the name recognition and has a much stronger source of cash, tipping the scales in its favor.

Of course, if your recipient has a Playstation, the Sony Playstation VR is a great headset as well.

Get Oculus Rift at Amazon
Get HTC Vive at Amazon
Get PlayStation VR at Amazon


In case you haven’t noticed, wired headphones are a dying breed. At least, those with a 3.5mm jack are. It remains to be seen what will happen with USB Type-C connectors or lightning connectors (hashtag #courage). For now, it’s best to adapt or die, so let’s talk about some bluetooth headphones.

The Jaybird X3 bluetooth in-ear headphones are sleek and stylish with great connectivity. These headphones come with a nice carrying case as well, making them a nice little package. That being said, these are in-ear monitors, which isn’t for everyone. The sound coming from them tends to be good, but not great, so if sound quality is of the utmost importance, or you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones, you may want to look at the Grado SR60e instead.

Get Jaybird X3 at Amazon
Get Grado SR60E at Amazon

Media Streaming

More and more of our content is coming from the internet these days. With the somewhat recent introductions of cable replacement services, like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and others, cord-cutting is becoming a real possibility for many folks out there. Of the wide variety of set top boxes that are out there, Roku stands above the rest. First and foremost, Roku has been doing this for a long time – long before the cord cutting phenomenon began. The Roku Express is an inexpensive, but not underpowered little box that can load up all of your cord-cutting apps without breaking a sweat, and without breaking the bank.

Roku’s UI is also very nice and very streamlined. Oddly enough, Amazon’s Instant video app works much better on the Roku than it does on the Fire Stick. Go figure. Speaking of the Fire Stick, that’s not a bad alternative to a Roku, if you happen to like Amazon’s interface and ecosystem.

See more
Get Roku Express at Amazon
Get Amazon Fire TV Stick at Amazon


The future of tablets doesn’t really look all that bright if we’re going to be totally honest. But, there are still some solid use-cases for tablets today. The aforementioned cord-cutting/media streaming is a big one. Gaming is a solid number two. Whatever the case, tablets are still here, and they’re still fun to play with. And in the tablet space, the industry leader is far and away the iPad. From its inception the iPad has handled the transition from small phone screen to large tablet screen the best. Apps are designed exclusively for the iPad, and not just scaled up.

Sure, the iOS interface is about as exciting as watching paint dry in a cornfield in Iowa after 8 hours of fishing having caught no fish. I may be overstating, but the point is, even though the interface is not exciting, the apps make the ecosystem, and iPad app development is not going anywhere any time soon. However, if you’re a fan of thumbing your nose at industry trends, the runner up in the tablet market – the Amazon Fire also sports a solid lineup of devices to choose from with its own app ecosystem – assuming you can live without Google services.

Editor’s Pick
Get iPad Pro at Amazon
Get Fire tablets at Amazon


Of course if you really want to blow away a man during the holidays, who doesn’t love a new phone to play with. And recently, the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the most solid phones you can buy today. It’s true, there may or may not be some screen issues, and until those can be addressed it’s hard to throw a lot of weight behind this recommendation. But, by the time you procrastinators out there are looking to shop for the holidays, perhaps we might have more clarity.

That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is also a great phone to pick up for the holidays. Samsung has been absolutely killing it in the hardware department, and the Note 8 takes real advantage of that stylus. For a powerful phone that will last and last, the Note 8 might just be your phone of choice this holiday season – especially when it comes to snapping photos and sending them to friends and family.

See more
Get Google Pixel 2 XL at Verizon
Get Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at Amazon


But since we’re talking about computing power, why settling for a phone or tablet when a full-blown laptop might be just what the doctor ordered. And in that area, the Dell XPS 13 is a beautiful line of laptops that absolutely kills it in the hardware department. The Dell XP 13 laptop can be just as powerful as you need it to be – it’s a very versatile line of laptops and comes in a number of configurations. But all of them come in the same gorgeous package.

If you’re not a Windows fan, give a long hard look at the ASUS Chromebook Flip. With a full touchscreen, tablet mode, USB-C ports and more, this is a solid contender in the Chromebook space.

Get Dell XPS 13 at Amazon
Get Asus Chromebook Flip at Amazon

Robot vacuum

When you think of robot vacuums, you think of Roomba. Sometimes you think of a puppy on a Roomba, but that’s a different conversation. Having a robot vacuum wandering around the house, doing what you hate to do is one of those wonderful things that you don’t think you need, until you have it. Giving this as a gift to someone is another one of those “you won’t buy it for yourself, so here” gift ideas. The Roomba 690 is one of the midrange options which gets you a lot of bang for your buck. It has WiFi connectivity and can be controlled using an app, plus there’s a host of other bonuses and add-ons that are pretty huge.

If the Roomba doesn’t float your boat, you can also take a look at the iLife A4. We also have a breakdown of a number of different robot vacuums over on DGiT.

Get Roomba at Amazon
Get iLife A4 at Amazon

Smart Coffee Pot

Coffee is arguably one of the most important parts of waking up in the morning. Millions of customers standing in line at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more every day can’t be wrong. But this is the future, and the future of coffee is in the smart Coffee Pot. Not to mention, we all like to drink coffee while we watch radar; everyone knows that. Enter the Mr. Coffee Smart WeMo Coffee Maker. This app-controlled coffee pot lets you automate much of the coffee making process – check the status of the coffee pot, set daily schedules for brewing, etc.

Alternatively, you could also take a look at the Behmor Connected Coffee Pot. We also wrote up a comprehensive look at smart coffee pots over a DGiT. Take a look!

Get WeMo Coffee Maker at Mr. Coffee
Get Belmor Coffee Maker at Amazon



Nothing says love during the holidays like a new TV, but getting the best new TV, without busting your budget can be a pretty big ask. The Vizio M Series 55-inch TV offers a lot of bang for your buck, and comes with an Android tablet to boot. The downside is, you use this android tablet as a remote which can be less than ideal. But to wrap up a TV and a tablet for the holidays, is a pretty big win in our opinion, so this would be a good way to go.

If you’re looking for a TV for gamers, the TCL P607 is a solid buy as well. Both TV’s are full array backlit instead of edge lit resulting in better black levels.

Get Visio TV at Amazon
Get TCL TV at Amazon


What man doesn’t want a drone? For the money, the DJI Spark is one of the best out there. Remarkably slim and stable, you can even fly the DJI spark using gestures, rather than a remote. Sure, it’s mostly a parlor trick at the moment, but it’s still pretty awesome tech and fun to brag about at parties. The DJI Spark is a great, “Grab and go” type of drone which will get you some great shots, and has a fair bit of range as well.

But it you want to really blow their doors off, take a look at the Phantom 4, also by DJI. The Phantom 4 is the Cadillac of drone flying with a range of two miles and more. Learn even more about your drone options over at DroneRush.

Get DJI Spark at Amazon
Get DJI Phantom 4 at Amazon

Home Game Console

At the beginning of the year, Nintendo came out with its new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. At first, the console was tough to get hands on. Now the system can be had at most retail outlets without much hassle. The Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile gaming systems out there. The tablet-like console has controllers on either side that slide off, the tablet itself has a kickstand, plus there’s an included dock to hook the console up to a TV. It is very close to an optimal gaming solution.

It’s not without its drawbacks – it’s a little underpowered compared to most modern gaming consoles. But the versatility of gaming scenarios, from family game nights, to road trips is pretty much unparalleled by any other system. If you know a gamer who doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch, this would put a smile on their face. Of course you could also get an Xbox or PS4, but odds are the person in your life already has one if they are into games at all. 

Get Nintendo Switch at Amazon


Smartwatches are one of those fun accessories to a smartphone that you need to use, in order to understand. Unlike many accessories of this nature, there’s a pretty high barrier of entry to get in on this trend. So, what better way to bring joy to a man’s heart than with the gift of a smartwatch. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch is a stylish smartwatch that works great with his Android smartphone. The Tizen-based watch even add Samsung Pay ability through the watch, making contactless or magnetic stripe payments fun and easy. The days of cash are numbered and contactless payment opportunities are becoming more and more widespread. Best get on that wagon now.

Of course, if you need a watch for an iPhone user, look no further than the Apple Watch Series 3. No seriously, look no further, because that’s basically the only smartwatch that will work. The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity to the fold, which can be a great addition to the smartwatch family.

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best smartwatches.

Get Samsung Gear S3 Frontier at Amazon
Get Apple Watch at Amazon

Power bank

You can’t anticipate what’s going to happen on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your smartphone battery. So many smartphones today boast “all day battery life” which frankly leaves little room for error if your day is going to be longer than planned. Sometimes, you’ve just had a heavy gaming day. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to have some extra juice on you when you need to tether on the train ride home, or entertain the kid while in line at the DMV. Does that seem to specific? Because believe me, it happens.

In cases like those, the Anker Powercore+ 20,000 mAh power bank might be a little on the beefy side, but it is very slick looking and slips easily into a bag. Plus it gives you PowerIQ technology and even a USB Type-C port for charging. This will top you off at the end of a long day, or keep you going during an overnight camping trip.

If you need something a little more compact, take a look at the Eighty Plus 10,000 mAh power bank. It’s a lot more sleek and also more attractive. We have a full rundown of a number of other power banks here on Android Authority. If neither of these two are exciting – well, that’s because they’re power banks, but we also have a longer list to look at.

Get Eighty Plus 10,000 at Amazon
Get Anker External Battery at Amazon

Tracking Beacon

People lose stuff. Like always. Which is why there has been a recent surge in tracking tags that attach to your stuff, so you can locate it when you lose it. Use cases for these things extend from wallets and purses, to bikes, to keys – you name it. Many of these tracking tag systems rely on the crowd to throw a blanket of coverage over an entire area. Connectivity range is limited, so in order to track items beyond 30 feet away from your phone, Tile users can report items they come across to their owners. It’s an elegant solution that requires a ton of user adoption in order to saturate an area.

Tile, and similar competitor Trackr have both gotten the type of widespread adoption required to make this somewhat of a reality. There are still gaps, to be sure, but GPS enabled trackers have miserable battery life and cost a lot of money. If you know someone who tends to misplace items, Tile or Trackr might just be a good stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Get Tile at Amazon
Get Tracker at Amazon

So that’ll do it for our holiday gift guide for the men in your life. ‘Are any of these items on your shopping list? Think we left something out? Hit us up in the comments below and let us know what you’ll be camping out on Black Friday for.

Disclosure: E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

MSNBC Shows Scary Clip of Trump and Putin Using Exact Same Talking Points

The two appear to be synching their propaganda.

Using footage from President Donald Trump’s recent rally in Florida and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual media conference, MSNBC demonstrated how the two world leaders are sharing talking points.

Both leaders insulted Trump’s opposition, made grandiose claims about the stock market and claimed Trump is the victim of fake news.

Putin has spoken on the phone at least twice with the president in the last week as he blatantly vies for power over Trump by boosting his fragile ego.

Watch the clip below.


Related Stories

  • There’s an Insidious Strategy Behind Donald Trump’s Retweets
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Seriously Claims Ignorance of CDC Banned Words Report
  • Sarah Palin’s Son Track Palin Was Arrested in Alaska on Domestic Violence Charges