Black, White and the Gray In Between

When I was in the Navy, I was taught there was more than one way to accomplish a goal. Sometimes you had to think outside the box to get things done.

I carried that philosophy throughout my life because I believe that those who succeed in life and make the world a better place, sometimes have to break rules for the right reasons so long as the goal didn’t violate ethics, morals or cause anyone harm. Without this philosophy and practice, lessons can’t be learned and progress can’t be made. Without progress, where would we all be?

As a law enforcement officer, I was taught I had discretion, something I have never forgotten how to use. I can’t even begin to count how many people I’ve let go with a warning for a traffic violation. Many times I’ve blatantly asked them if they preferred a lecture or a ticket and I like to think the lecture is more effective because knowledge is power, but financial burdens don’t do anything but create divide.

There have been countless times I’ve been forced to stand up to corporate America and it’s managements who’ve insisted I arrest someone for shoplifting things such as toilet paper or batteries and essential items necessary to life. I’ve made waves when I’ve refused to make those arrest and instead “filed charges” for the state attorney’s office to decide whether an arrest was necessary. I can’t think of a single occassion a prosecutor has disagreed with me after reading my report which explained the entire story beyond the “black and white” view of “they were stealing and that is against the law”.

Instead of I provied resources to the “thief” and pointed them in a direction to get help and assistance so they wouldn’t find themselves in the same situation again. I am assuming that has worked because I never responded to another call on that person again. As cops, we know our “frequent flyers” who don’t want help and prefer a life of crime, these are the individuals that plague our society and don’t learn from the warnings and breaks they get from law enforcement only to continue a life of crime until they go to far and end up in prison or worse… dead.

Discretion is an important tool, not just in law enforcement but in every occupation. This Covid crap has robbed our society of all common sense. “Everyone must wear a mask! No exceptions!” That is the biggest crock of shit there is these days. What if you’ve already had the virus? What if you’ve had the vaccine? What if your asthmatic and rebreathing your own carbon dioxide is harmful? What if you have PTSD and anything that makes you feel your airway is obstructed is a trigger for you to have an anxiety attack which can make for a very bad day?

Why must our entire society change their ways of living a free and happy life for the risks of a few? Especially when the survival rate is over 99%?!

Why should an elderly woman in ICU be deprived of spending quality time with her young adult teenage granddaughter, especially when that teen has been in quarantine herself for six weeks? What is more harmful? Bending a hospital rule or allowing an old woman to spend time with her only grandchild during what might be her final days on earth? I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out mental health plays a huge part in someones physical health and vice versa.

I am angry because the way I was raised to use my God given common sense and methods of problem solving seem to no longer exist in our society, thus creating a generation of robotic citizens who can’t think outside the box when problems arise. The world is not black and white, it is full of gray and the only way to make progress is to know how to navigate it while standing up for what is right.

I was trained to make decisions, right or wrong, make them and have a good reason for them. There are exceptions to every rule and so long as a person can articulate why they made a decision, even if it was against the rules, that is how lessons are learned and progress is made.

As the saying goes, “Sometimes it’s best to ask for forgiveness than it is permission”. I sure wish some of these philosophies would get put to use more often.

That’s my .02 as 2020 comes to an end. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a whole lot better!

Wake up America.. before it’s too late.

2020

Wow! Where does the time go? I haven’t posted in a while so I suppose I need to catch this page up.

July 20th I had my shoulder surgery which went well, but I’m still not back to 100%. With that said, I haven’t let it slow me down. My book is FINALLY OUT and so far the reviews have been INCREDIBLE and truly humbling. I’ve heard from people from all walks of life reaching out to me telling me how much they related to my book and what a great and entertaining read it was while still inspiring.

I’ve had a few successful book signings, although booking them hasn’t been easy with the Chinese Virus wreaking havoc. (Don’t get me started on where I stand on this)

In November for Veteran’s Day weekend I attended the Annual Navy SEAL Muster in Fort Pierce which is always an incredible time. I can’t put into words how much it means to spend time with the incredible people of the Naval Special Warfare Community. They are so much more than friends, they are my family and always will be.

Recently I pulled up my big girl panties and took my mother and daughter to march in the Million MAGA March in Washington DC. I say that because I strongly dislike crowds, but I felt compelled to go and be part of history and while our trip home was a bit of a nightmare, the experience of marching from the White House to the Supreme Court with 1.5 million Patriots was the experience of a lifetime. It felt so good to experience the Unity and Love of Country with so many Americans from all walks of life. I can honestly say I saw folks there from every demographic you could imagine. No one identified themselves by their color, gender, sexual orientation, religion etc. Everyone identified as AMERICANS and it was truly beautiful to see.

No one was burning things or destroying lives and property, the Patriots marched in peace as it should have been. I’ve never in my life had a desire to participate in a protest and I never thought I would, but I wouldn’t trade that day in our Nation’s Capital for anything and I’m proud of every one of my fellow Americans who made the journey like we did.

With that said, I met a few Proud Boys and I’m here to say, they are NOT racists or white supremesists and they do not go looking for violence. They are made up of several races and share one thing in common, Patriotism and Love of Country. They show up to protect those who cannot protect themselves from the evil and hatred that exists in the BLM and Antifa groups. The Proud Boys did not start fights, they finished them. They did what the police weren’t allowed to do and if I were a citizen of Washington DC, I would vote out that Mayor as quickly as possible. It’s criminal what she is allowing to happen to such an incredible, beautiful city.

To anyone who disagrees with me on this post, that is fine. You see, that is the beautiful thing about the First Amendment. Free Speech and the right to disagree with one another. So while someone may not agree with my views, all I would have to say to that is, Were you there? Did you see and experience first hand what I did? If not, then consider this, unless you were there and walked away with a different opinion, keep an open mind.

God Bless You All & God Bless America!!

NEVER QUIT

Never Quit…. It’s more than just a saying. It’s a way of life… A mindset. Are we born with it or is it a learned behavior? This I’m not sure of. Some say, “you just gotta learn when to quit”. I’ve heard that a lot in my lifetime. I’m 50 now and I still haven’t learned it…lol Sometimes it’s a curse as it woud be so much easier to quit and save myself some of the stress and grief I put myself through. Other times it’s a blessing when I FINALLY accomplish what I set out to do.

This book project is certainly one of those times. As it turns out, writing was the easy part. Preparing to share it with the world has been utterly exhausting. I have spent hundreds of hours over the past few months at this computer learning about building websites, formatting documents, converting computer files from one version to another. Meanwhile putting the word out and being overwhelmed and incredibly humbled by the support I’ve received from total strangers from around the globe.

I’ve already done two interviews and have several more lined up once I have a confirmed release date, which I pray I will know very soon. As it turns out, getting hurt on the job in March was a Blessing in disguise. It’s given me the time to focus on this and I feel as though I’ve learned a whole new trade. It’s also taught me there isn’t enough money in the world to work in the IT field, so for you computer geniouses out there?? God Bess ya! Someone’s gotta do it. LOL

So, with that said, I’m glad I’m not a quitter, even though it’s cost me a ton of sleep over the past few weeks. I can only pray that tonight I got it right and I will receive a positive reply from the publishing/printing company letting me know we can finally move forward.

To my dearest daughter, I’m sorry I’ve been such a pain in the butt and I’m sorry you’re tired of hearing about each hurdle I’ve had to learn to jump. I promise it’ll be worth it when it’s all done. Always remember, the best things in life don’t come easy… they come with hard work. Otherwise, nothing would have value and what kind of a world would that be to live in?

God Willing, come November, when it’s time to celebrate the book release, we will do it right!

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Help Make a Difference 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

As I recover from shoulder surgery and I see so many of my veteran friends taking on the 22 push up challenge to bring awareness to the 22 veterans that die each day because of suicide, I’ve been inspired to donate 10% of my book sales to a couple different non profit organizations that I truly believe can make a difference in reducing these tragic numbers.

While this will increase the price of my book a few dollars and push the cost slightly higher than the average book similar to it, I believe the extra few dollars is worthwhile in an effort to save lives and help those who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

I am a firm believer that a combination of therapy with the help of a service dog can make a huge difference in the mind and overall well being of a veteran or first responder and their families. I speak from experience and I know countless others who can say the same thing.

Once the details are ironed out, I will announce who I have chosen to donate 10% of my proceeds to and why. I’d like to thank everyone for patiently waiting on me as I work towards the finish line of this project and express my sincere appreciation for all of the wonderful support.

God Bless our Veterans, Law Enforcement and God Bless America!

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Happy Birthday America! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

July 4th, Independence Day..

Truly one of my favorite holidays, next to Christmas, I can’t think of two more important holidays. OK, Easter is important too, but as a Patriot, I hold a great deal of joy in celebrating the birth of the greatest country in the world.

Why is it so important to celebrate this day? I can sum that up in one word.. FREEDOM. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom to worship God how we choose, or not if that is our belief. Freedom from persecution if we believe differently from others. Freedom to speak and practice our beliefs even if others disagree. Freedom to get an education which many are deprived of in other countries because of their race, gender or financial status. Freedom to pursue happiness without the tyranny of telling us who to be, what to be or where to go. Freedom to bear arms so that we can protect ourselves from the evil that exists. Freedom to bear arms how we wish because as our forefathers stated, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. I think they made that point pretty clear. They had the forethought to put these inalienable rights in writing so that if anyone in our government chose to infringe on our rights, we could defend them and ourselves.

We have the right to speak our minds which we have seen in epic proportions in the past several weeks. Recently we have seen Americans using their second amendment rights to protect themselves from those who wish to do harm and destroy property.

In August and November we will have the right to chose whom we wish to lead our government and as Americans it is vitally important we exercise those rights more than ever. We need to forget about parties and look hard at who is fighting for our rights and who is trying to take them away. Personally, I make my choices based on my moral and ethical beliefs because I believe that is what our forefathers had in mind when they wrote the laws of our great country.

So why is it so important to remember and celebrate the importance of this day? On Memorial Day we remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, on Veterans Day we thank those who have served and on July 4th we remember and celebrate those who had the courage to risk everything and fight for our independence. No, we have not always been a perfect country. There have been evil doers in the past who have put some black eyes on our history. However, there have also been heroes who have corrected those mistakes and made things right, like President Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Instead of erasing our history as though it never happened, we should look at it as lessons learned, the same way each of us goes through life. For if we forget our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them.

I, for one, will celebrate this important joyous holiday thinking of Francis Scott Key. The brave lawyer who wrote the words to our National Anthem as we fought for our independence from tyranny. Too many brave men and women have died and sacrificed so much defending our Flag which represents every freedom we all enjoy. It is time our country pulls together, each and every one of us and pays respect to what our flag represents which is freedom.

Freedom to make millions playing a sport. Freedom to speak out against something we do or don’t believe in. Freedom to do whatever we wish so long as we don’t infringe on the rights of others.

So while you are at the beach, bbq’ing by the pool or are enjoying a day on the water somewhere, remember what you are celebrating, fly the most beautiful colors there are, Red, White and Blue and be proud of being an American. So many have and continue to defend this country while others are striving to enjoy our freedoms and call themselves Americans.

Lastly, Thank you Thomas Jefferson for writing the document that allows us this great day and all of our forefathers for signing it.

May God Bless the United States America!!

PTSD Awareness Day

22 A DAY… 22 Veterans commit suicide every day. Despite all that we have tried to do to bring this number down, it remains. The question is Why? Afterall, enough awareness has been created that it now has it’s own day. Perhaps it is the type of awareness that we need to look at? I know my veteran friends will understand this, because many of us live this life. Sadly though, the public doesn’t and I believe that is because of the media.

The media portrays those with PTSD as ticking time bombs waiting to go on a killing spree. Every time there is a mass shooting and the shooter happens to be a veteran they are quick to blame his actions on PTSD. When American Hero Chris Kyle was murdered by a fellow veteran, uninformed people said it was because he had PTSD. No, that lunatic likely had other serious mental health issues that had been left un-diagnosed. Perhaps he had done drugs which caused paranoia and hallucinations? Perhaps the crazy voices in his head told him to do it? One thing I know for sure is PTSD did NOT cause him to murder two men that day that were trying to help him.

Those of us who do have PTSD understand that it doesn’t make you want to go on killing rampages or seek revenge. We know better and we wouldn’t want to bring that sort of dishonor to those who have sacrificed so much and live with it each day.

The only person an individual with PTSD wants to hurt is themselves. Why? Because the pain that comes from the thoughts and emotions in the brain make life unbearable. The injuries to our brains be it from physical trauma or emotional trauma throw off our chemicals making it difficult to enjoy life and think rationally.

Many don’t believe PTSD is real, I used to be one of those people. Little did I know I had it and when I was faced with the demons that reached from the grave to pull me down, I went into complete denial. I refused to admit I had a problem. I blamed my issues on everything from hormones, stress, heartbreak, you name it. But I was NOT willing to admit I had PTSD because of the stigma that is attached to it. I was convinced I would lose my job and have to start all over at the age of 47.

I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t pick myself up and keep going like I had so many times before. The physical pain deep inside was crippling and all sense of rational thinking was gone. All I could think about was how bad I wanted to be out of pain.

THANK GOD I reached out for help to that ONE person I truly trusted. I will spend the rest of my life grateful to him for helping me believe I could get better if I asked for help and convincing me there was a way to get help privately so my employer wouldn’t find out.

This past week I had a friend join the ranks of 22 and I can’t stop thinking about him. It had only been a month since we spoke and I deeply regret that. He was doing great the last time I spoke with him and we had plans to meet for dinner when things settled down on the home front.

Then a few days ago I got a strange text from his phone. It was his brother reaching out to me because I was one of the last people he had been talking to. His brother told me what had happened and I was devastated. My friend suffered from PTSD, just like so many other similar warriors. He and a friend were the only two to survive an attack about 10 years ago and that friend joined the ranks of the 22 about 2 weeks ago. When my friend got the news of his brother in arms taking his life, it broke him and he couldn’t take the guilt anymore. He had just lost everything in a divorce, although I speculate he didn’t fight very hard and just gave everything to her.

Before he took his life, he cashed in everything he had and paid off his ex-wife’s home and the home of a friend’s mom who had been good to him. My friend was a really really good man with a really really good heart. This shouldn’t have happened.

So why didn’t he get help? Why didn’t he feel comfortable calling the Crisis Line or a friend he could trust? Based on my experience and in talking to so many others, it’s trust. Veterans don’t trust the system. They fear the judgement because of the stigmas. They don’t like meeting new people and going through the labor of trying to trust someone so they can open up.

So today I’d like to ask each person reading this post, when you hear the term PTSD, don’t believe the media or buy into the fears so many believe. I know COUNTLESS people who are every day heroes who walk among us with PTSD and you would never even know it. They are Veterans, Cops and Firefighters. They can be children who’ve been abused or abused spouses or sexual assault victims.

PTSD is real and it sucks. But I can tell you that it doesn’t have to break you if you learn to live with it. That takes time and help. No one can do it alone so don’t even try. If you get a counselor and you don’t like them, find another one. There are some real loony counselors out there, but there are also some kick ass ones.

Lastly, if you know someone who suffers from PTSD and has been going through a tough time, don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to them. You don’t have to be a counselor, you just have to be a friend and a good listener. Don’t worry about being the person who has to take on the responsibility for their well being, that is on them. Just let them know you appreciate them and you support them. Most importantly, don’t judge them and make sure they know that. Help them find resources that can help them so it doesn’t get to the point where their worst fear is imagined… being hauled off in a pair of handcuffs because someone called the police. That should always be the last resort because of what it does to them. Find help before it gets that bad.

If you have questions or need help finding resources for someone you care about, contact SAMHSA’s website and search for PTSD support or click on this link https://store.samhsa.gov/?ptsd. You can also reach them at 800-662-HELP (4357)

God Bless and Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Welcome to My World

Over the years I have found writing to be cathartic. It’s always come natural to me. I remember venting in my spiral notebook in high school. Little did I know I’d put my entire life onto paper 30 years later in a memoir. This journey started as something I was doing for me. I struggled to make sense of my life and found myself questioning so many crazy twists and turns.

Before I knew it, I was well on my way to writing a book that at times made me laugh and then cry. I rediscovered people who came and went from my life but left their imprint on my heart. Some good… some painful. These imprints or scars shaped me into the person I am today… Courageously Broken.