Beto and the Second Amendment….

I have avoided writing about Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and his rallying cry to disarm Americans, but I can’t stand it anymore. To ensure I stay on point, I will do my best to refrain from mischaracterizing Beto. Perhaps I should state up front, I don’t like Beto’s stance on the Second Amendment. Now, let me explain why.

If you ask people what they would do in an emergency, the overwhelming response is, “call 911.” I went to Women’s Self-Defense Institute (www.self-defense-mind-body-spirit.com) and read an article concerning the response time to a 911 call. According to American Police Beat, the average response time is 10 minutes. Atlanta is the worst of major cities with their time dipping into the 11-12-minute range. Nashville clocks in at 9 minutes. Now here is the scary part: the average criminal/victim interaction takes place in 90 seconds. Read that again.

Do you see why you might want a gun now?

Beto believes if only the military and law enforcement have weapons crime will take a long walk off a short pier. Nothing is further from the truth. What Beto and all the anti-gun crowd will not tell you is this: They have no idea how to take guns from the criminals. Instead, their plan consists of taking guns from law abiding Americans and turning us into sheep for the criminals to victimize. Because I assure you, Beto and the anti-gun politicians are not going to give up their self-defense weaponry or their armed security detail. An armed man/woman is a citizen, disarmed they are slaves.

This post is not meant to scare anyone, nor is it designed to ambush law enforcement. I am sure police are doing all they can to respond quickly to dangerous situations, however, if criminal activity takes place in 90 seconds on average, cutting 8-9 minutes off response time is unrealistic. A bullet fired from a 9mm, which is loaded with full metal jacket hollow point ammunition, travels at 1126 feet per second. This effectively deals with the threat and saves an innocent life in the process.

I know, Beto wants mandatory gun buy back programs in place for AK-47 rifles and AR-15 rifles or as the uneducated would state, “weapons designed to kill people.” Here is the problem with government buy back programs, you may remove X amount of weapons from the street but guess what they are doing with the money. They are buying new weapons, optics, etc. Selling the old crap and buying new weaponry, this is the benefit of a “mandatory” buy back programs. “Oh Freeman, how do you know?” When I was in Iraq, units operated buy back programs and sure enough, here they came with old busted junk. Smiles and handshakes were given, and cash exchanged hands. Then a night or two later, we were getting lit up with crap we had never encountered before. I’m sure it has nothing to do with us paying top dollar for non-firing weaponry.

In conclusion, the Second Amendment is designed so you can protect yourself, your family or other people, if you happen to find yourself in a 90 second interaction with a criminal. It is intended to protect innocent human lives and give you a fighting chance at survival. No amount of shouting, crying, or programs can replace the effectiveness of a good man/woman armed with a weapon when the crap hits the fan. Perhaps, Beto should take another look at the Second Amendment, specifically the part which reads, “shall not be infringed.”

22 September 2019

An Angry Man…..A Walk in Darkness…

“I think you are angry at me!”

My brow furrows in puzzlement, but my veins constrict and my temples pulse with anger. “What good would that do? It’s not like you are going to change your behavior any more than I am.” Classic husband and wife argument. It all boils down to money. She is angry because I decided to take 50.00 out of the bank for replacement gear without asking. In my mind it is no big deal, after all, I am the sole earner in this family. Why should I ask? On a subconscious level, I get it. It is a sign of respect, but why must I ask permission? I am a grown man, who works 100+ hours a week. There is a disconnect somewhere in our communication. Lately, all we seem to do is argue.

Welcome to the beginning of the end.

If time heals all wounds, time decided to skip over us and heal someone else. Each day just adds to the bitterness and frustrations we both feel with the other. There is no making up, it has become a contest where both sides are keeping score of their grievances. In hindsight, the divorce papers wrote themselves. I paid two hundred bucks for someone to have them signed and notarized. The ensuing fallout from the divorce proceedings eradicated any hope of ever making up. Too much has been said, too much has been done, and forgiveness is a foreign concept which seems unreachable. “You are so angry.”

Facebook floats around a meme that states: “I don’t have an anger issue; I need people to stop ticking me off.” After dealing with stupidity all day in its various forms, the last thing I want to deal with when I get home is more dumbness. At some juncture, the circus must end. It doesn’t. Instead of us attempting to reach a compromise, I move into a separate bedroom. The rift grows larger. Years pass, and we are two strangers living in the same house. I become distant, silently shutting any doors the pain of my failure as a husband may use to get to me. Emotionally, I shut down. “If I don’t respond, I can’t be called angry.”

18 October will mark my eighth year as a divorcee. It irks me to no end for people to declare I am angry even now. “How would you know?” I want to shout this from the rooftops. Most of my friends and family have never seen me angry. Trust me, if you ever do-you won’t forget it. Anger destroyed my marriage, it caused me untold amounts of stress and it robbed me of my health. Today, when people accuse me of being angry it is a slap in the face. I don’t allow most people to be close enough to me for them to witness my anger. These eight years has taught me a valuable lesson, people will use anything they can get their hands on against you when anger takes the reins. Therefore, I attempt to limit the ammunition in which people can shoot me with. It is a wasted effort on my behalf. I am cursed with an angry face. Recently, my doctor made some observations about my health (mental, physical and emotional) and I can only assume the only reason he made said observations is because I smile too much.

I am doomed to be known as an angry man.

22 September 2019

Moons and the path of redemption….A Walk in Darkness…

The moon is playing hide and seek with the Cheyenne Mountain Range as I drive to the monthly meeting known NCO Night Out.  There is no light shining from the celestial body, just an ethereal glow that radiates around the peak of Cheyenne Mountain. Being from Mississippi, I have never seen anything to compare to this. The closest I have ever come is seeing a full moon in Iraq. My memory stirs as I recall the moon that night. It was full, round, and it appeared to hang so low you could touch it with your hand. It was a great night.

As I drive down I-25, I think back to the passage of Scripture which declares the moon will be red like blood, which is a sign to signify the Lord’s return. Fear grips my heart as I ponder my current spiritual status. “Dear God, I am not ready to meet you. Please have mercy on my soul.” Asking for mercy is out of character for me. Usually, I am the one who is asked to show mercy. It seems a bit like role reversal and I am uncomfortable with the change.  I was raised a Christian, and I know the truth. There is no excuse I can make for the way I live. To compound my misery, I struggle with addiction and alcoholism.

My addiction is of my own making. I take the pills to kill the darkness in my heart, I drink to keep my demons at bay. None of it helps. When I take the pills, my temper is shorter than usual. This leads to numerous misunderstandings which is caused by my need to stay high. It doesn’t help me fight the darkness, nor does it keep the demons at bay. It makes me remember the horror of war, to relive every loss, every moment of tragedy plays out in the theater of my mind This is a hell of my own making.

As I make my way to the bar, I dread another empty evening. Sure, I will go through the motions and act like all is well. Whiskey will be drunk, jokes will be told, and my heart will still be empty. At any time, I could go back to church and give my heart to God, but my pride will not let me. Instead, I pour whiskey down my throat until my troubles seem small. The following morning, I pay the price for my drinking. It is the same ole song and dance. I question if God would have mercy on me because of the choices I have made. “Is there a limit to the Grace of God?” With all my heart, I hope there isn’t.

Years pass and my heart remains empty.

Then out of the clear blue sky, redemption presents itself to me as loss. 21 September 2019

Fairy tales and chemical reactions….

As a young man, I would dream of finding the right lady to share my hopes and dreams with. “I will build her a house, treat her like royalty and we will live happily ever after.” I dreamed of being a good man, loyal, tough, rugged, and faithful. She would be intelligent, beautiful, witty, charming and faithful. Together, there would be nothing we could not accomplish.  Our children would grow up to be productive adults who would shower us with grandchildren. We would grow old together and sit on the front porch and reminisce about the “good old days.” Alas, it is not to be.

Fairy tales always begin with such fluff. Reality is a bit rougher around the edges.

There is nothing wrong with dreams, we all need to have a vision of what our life could be. With hard work, determination, and a few lucky breaks, it is even possible to achieve a modicum of success. However, in the romantic department, you need a lot more than these virtues to be successful. You can work your butt off, live a life of discipline, be the epitome of determination and sheer will, and still fail. It matters not if you have the perfect match, or that you broke the scales of compatibility. You can still suffer heartache. In love, your partner is vital to your success and if they will not match your effort, vision or determination to work through the issues, you will fail constantly.

It is cliché to spout that love stinks, but if the shoe fits….

Mysteries abound in the universe, and there is no greater mystery than love. Many people envision a life with their one true love, very few succeed in achieving the happiness we all dream of.  What is the root cause of failure in the arena of love? Is it our nature? Are we designed to fail often when we try to make a relationship work? The list of questions abound, but the answers are in short supply. Radio Shack had an advertisement back in the day, it was, “you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!” Be that as it may, there is no Radio Shack for love. Rather, love is an experiment where you must discover the hidden formula and elements for it to work. If you combine the right elements, your experiment will be successful. If you don’t, well, chances are it will create a black hole which will suck the life out of your entire universe.

May the odds ever be in your favor.

21 September 2019

Who am I? A Walk in Darkness…

“Who am I?”

Under a cloudless sky, the blazing, bright orange sun burns me through my clothes. My gaze is cast out upon the sea of endless sand, my thoughts questioning my very existence. Yellow sand swirls around me, stirred by the furious whipping of the rotors of gunships hovering overhead. “You know who you are, you’re Freeman.  You’re here to make a difference, to avenge those lost on 9/11. Own the darkness, embrace the hate, let it fuel your righteous rage!” This doesn’t sound like me at all.

“Who am I?”

“I don’t know” is the only answer I can give myself. Somewhere between the training in preparation for war and the life I left behind, I have lost the most important part of my humanity. The sun continues to torch my flesh, and I wonder if I will ever recover from this loss. “How important is it to know who you are, really? You now have an opportunity to redefine who you are!” Yellow sand beats against my dark shades and my Kevlar covered hands pull the brown gatorneck over my mouth.  I wipe the sweat from the top of my head, put on my helmet and trudge to my vehicle.

“Who am I?”

I climb into the driver’s seat and start my vehicle. The roar of the diesel engine breaks my thoughts and for a moment, I have a sense of peace. It doesn’t last. Yellow sand hits the ballistic windshield and I am thankful to be out of the sandstorm. “I don’t want to redefine who I am! I liked who I was, there was nothing wrong with the nice guy from Mississippi!” In a moment of clarity, the truth sinks in. The “nice guy” from Mississippi was killed during basic training. All the training to be a warrior decimated the remains of my past. All that remains is the angry man who is fueled by vengeance. “Give in to the hate, embrace the darkness.”

“Who am I?”

I don’t know, but I don’t like this.

21 September 2019

I could have been….A Walk in Darkness….

I could have been….

For many years, I thought I had learned all the lessons my divorce had to teach me. It turns out I was wrong. This morning, another revelation sprung to mind as I made my way home. I did not give up on the marriage, I gave up on my children. Sitting in this broke-back recliner, I can’t help but wonder why I was so hellbent to give up. Prior to breakfast, I read an article about DNA. In the article, a university did research and stated that the more partners a woman has sex with the more it changes the cells in her body. My thoughts turned to my daughters and I find myself wishing I could have been the dad they thought I was.

I could have been a good man. An example to be emulated, but instead, I gave up. I could have been a steady presence in their time of trouble, but instead, I am a faceless voice at the end of a telephone call.

I could have been…but I wasn’t.

It seems my scars will never heal.

21 September 2019

Idiocy….A Walk in Darkness….

“How dumb am I?” This question bounces around in my mind as I stare into the abyss of another failure. Grimacing, I rub my calloused hands over my beard. “What a cluster! Why does everything fall apart?” My eyes narrow as I clench and unclench my fists. I am ready to pounce on the first unfortunate soul who dares to open their mouth.  My life is a series of unfortunate events, much like Limony Snicket. My frustration pushes me into motion, I pace the floor in my small apartment. Another attempt at having a life has collided headfirst into failure. “Screw it, I am done.”

The blue recliner beckons to me and I drop into it like a glass dropped from a great height. In my mind I hear the breaking of glass as the soft fabric cushions my sudden stop. “Broken and rejected…..”  As I take stock of my current situation, I realize this is not the first time I have encountered these emotions. I should be used to it now. The pain of my recent divorce intermingles with another hangover, and it is compounded by another failed relationship.

“You need to grieve. Get it out of your system and let time heal the wounds.”

“Great, I am channeling my psychiatrist.” Joy’s voice cuts through the fog of my mind and I try to silence it. “I wonder if the Bronco’s won. What time is formation Monday? What is for dinner?” Nothing works. The advice sticks in my mind and each remembrance brings tears and anger. I slam my hand on the arm rest and angrily, I decide to question Almighty God why my life sucks so bad. “WHY!?” Silence is my only answer, and I open my phone’s Facebook app. The first meme I see provides the answer I am seeking. “Not everything can be blamed on other people, sometimes the reason your life sucks is because you are dumb and make dumb decisions.”

“How dumb am I?”

At this point in my life the answer is apparently very dumb. Almost eight years later, the answer has not changed. While some parts of my life has changed for the better, I still struggle with my idiocy. It seems no matter how stern the lesson, I am hell-bent to fail at certain things. Perhaps, it is my makeup to be a colossal screwup. Or perhaps, I am unable to recognize the trap for what it is. Either way, hard lessons should culminate into hard earned knowledge, but in my case, it results in another attempt and another failure. I suppose we all must be good at something.

I refuse to end this post on such a “poor me” note. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities. Therefore, I have another opportunity to get it right. I can make adjustments and cuts where needed. The ball is in my court to do whatever is needed to cultivate a better life.

18 September 2019