Month of depression….

Since 2004, I have taken the almost entirely taken the month of November off from work. The reason I’ve done this is because it is a particularly difficult time of year for me. I use that time as a chance to reflect on the past and remember.

On November 8, 2004 after a long patrol gathering military aged males in the area to bring back and question, we heard an explosion in the distance. Nothing out of the ordinary for being in Iraq, but my squad was immediately called on for a quick reaction force (QRF). On the way out of the gates is when I was briefed by my fire team leader.

That large explosion we heard was another platoon getting struck by an IED. It wasn’t our first run in with IEDs but it was our first of this magnitude. When we got to the site of the IED, I was shocked as what I saw. The sights, and smells are still vivid in my mind today.

What’s left of truck that Ramey, O’Donnell, Warns, Simon, and Kruchten were in.

I could smell the metallic smell of the explosives when we got there, and the carnage of the wreckage was insane. There wasn’t much left of the truck. We pulled up and got out of our truck, and I heard that we were looking for three Marines, two were critically wounded and we were waiting on the medivac.  We were tasked to find the missing three Marines, and then set up a perimeter to help with the security.

My fire-team walked around with a corpsman looking for our lost brothers, and then set up security. It was an extremely long day, and it was also an extremely emotional day. We lost great men that day, and two we were unsure of whether or not we would see them again or not.

Myself on the left, and Krueger on the right this is the crater left by the IED when it went off. For size comparison, I’m 5′ 4″ and the guy on the right is 6′ 4″

Later that month, the night of Thanksgiving actually. November 25th, 2004 my squad was on a patrol where we were ghosting large Army supply convoys. Now when I say ghosting we basically followed the convoy keeping back a few hundred meters with our IR lights on our trucks, while the Army convoy would have all their headlights on.

At that time, the Army SOP was to just keep driving through an ambush, were ours was to push through the kill zone then attack. What we would do if the convoy ahead of us got attacked, would be to go to wherever the enemy was shooting from and kill them. That was the game plan.

Memorial for the brothers we lost.

We followed a few convoys up and down the Main Supply Route (MSR) and we were waiting on the next convoy heading back south for us to jump behind and head back home. We waited for a couple hours and finally just said screw it and headed back. While we were heading back the lead vehicle hit a trip wire IED.

With that one IED blast it seemed like forever, but we got word that our Platoon Guide was injured, we had another Marine that was KIA, and two more that were wounded. After some things calmed down and we got someone from the Forward Operating Base (FOB) to bring back the wounded, which were all loaded into my truck now.

I ended up having to turn the convoy around as the guys that showed up to bring us back hadn’t been off the base often, then I got into a shouting match with an E-6, when I was just an E-3. The E-6 wasn’t happy with me turning his convoy around, and me turning my lights on while inside the FOB taking the wounded to the hospital. Normal SOP was lights stay off and we have a ground guide. I did not follow that since I had wounded in my truck that needed to get to the hospital.

Me patrolling in Iraq 2004

My First Sergeant happened to be walking around the corner while I was screaming at the E-6 and basically saved me from a whole lot of trouble down the road. That night was another rough night and I sat down and wrote my father a letter that completely changed the dynamics of his and I’s relationship since.

Now back to the entire purpose of what this blog is now that you have some background. I typically take the entire month of November to remember those brothers, and it is still emotionally draining on me. However, this year I was not able to take the month off like I normally do because of my work schedule earlier in the year. So I worked, and it was rough.

Where we slept in 2004, underneath an overpass on the main supply route.

I felt as if I was just going through the motions of being there, I did my work and what needed to be done, but I could have done a better job at some of the things. I’m sure I wasn’t a real pleasure to be around at home, because I didn’t have that time to reflect and just be by myself to recharge, and just not people or adult.

Now, November isn’t a completely terrible month. In fact my wedding anniversary is on November 8th. I have a niece who’s birthday is November 8th. My best friend and brother from another mother has a wedding anniversary on November 11th. There are a lot of good things about November, but I always find myself going back to those days so it’s typically a month of depression for me.

It can be a dark month, but I have found over the years that I have been looking more and more towards the good of the month. It can be extremely difficult to pull yourself out of a dark place, when you find yourself in one. You have to find the good to get yourself out, and it can be extremely difficult to do so. I have found that my center, my purpose and how I pull myself out is my wife and kids. When I’m down, them just being there helps me. Find your happy place.

My Happy Place

The Monkey on my back…

In 2001 I had no idea what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was as an 18 year old kid. When I got my first class on PTSD in 2004 before I deployed to Iraq. I thought only people with a weak mind that went to combat would develop PTSD. If you had a strong mind the stress of combat would not affect you the rest of your life. I have since learned exactly how wrong I was with that assumption. My goal of this blog is not to try and get sympathy from others, but that these words find someone that might be struggling, someone that has been afraid to seek help with their struggles, and lets them know that they’re not alone.

With PTSD you get a whole range of things lumped into that PTSD moniker. Things like depression, anxiety, irritability, anger issues, and a general distrust and dislike of people. At least in my case that is what I have noticed, and it is not the same for everyone. I never noticed the depression however before this year and I’ll discuss that later on in this blog. For the most part I stayed away from the things that triggered my anxiety, like large groups of people, fireworks, and sitting with my back to a door at a restaurant. The little things I could control.

For the longest time I did not accept that I had PTSD, I played it off that combat had just made me more aware of what the world is like. How nasty of a place it could be. I didn’t want to be one of the weak that had it. You see that’s the stigma that goes along with PTSD, “you’re a crazy vet that is going to shoot some place up, you have anger issues, unstable, weak.” Just a few of the things that seem to always come up when you heat combat related PTSD talked about by people. Veterans shame other veterans that have PTSD as well, that I have seen personally and makes me sick to my stomach.

I never went and sought help, because I did not want to be weak, after all I am a Marine, I’m one of the Few, the Proud. It wasn’t until I had gotten married and my wife pushed me until I finally went and saw someone for it. I was embarrassed, I didn’t want help because I felt I didn’t need the help. I was wrong, and she was right, it pains me to admit that, and I still feel some shame in admitting that I have PTSD. However, going and talking to someone has helped with some things. It’s made me realize that I’m not alone in this struggle, that there are many others that have the same issues.

Panic attacks I have helped friends through before, but never had experienced one myself. Until I did, at the time I thought I was having a heart attack, it came out of nowhere. I was laying in bed thinking about what I had going on the next day, all of a sudden I was having chest pains, I was having a hard time breathing, I couldn’t catch my breath let alone take deep breaths. My wife drove me to the ER and I found out that I had experienced a panic attack, that I did not have a heart attack, and I wasn’t dying, that is when I decided to take my wife’s advice of going to see someone.

Since then I have stopped seeing someone, things were going really well. My wife still encourages me to go see someone though. I have good days and bad days like everyone else in life, but this year something new related to my PTSD hit me that has never hit me before. Depression, I started feeling like I didn’t matter, that if I wasn’t around no one would miss me, that I wasn’t appreciated, that I was just in the way. Suicide isn’t something I would ever do. I have people that depend on me and I know that, but the way it hit me, I felt alone.

It affected not just me, but also my wife, with the depression I withdrew from things that I normally enjoyed. Kind of shut myself off from everyone around me, I withdrew from everything. It was something that I didn’t know how to bring up and discuss with anyone. Until one day I just did, I told my wife, we talked for a long time about it and it helped. Having someone tell you that you’re appreciated, that you’re needed, and loved does wonders for you when you’re feeling the opposite. Not just the words, but the actions to match the words is something that has helped lift me out of a dark dark place that I’ve been in for a while now.

I recently told someone that for me, it seems the longer I’ve been out and away from it, the harder it is to deal with some of the issues. I have been there for a number of my brothers and friends when they have needed me. One in particular lives 8 hours away from me and I never don’t answer one of his phone calls. He was in a very dark place for a number of years and I always pick up when he calls. When life allows it I visit him or he comes and visits me. I will always help someone if they’re struggling, regardless of whether I served with them or not.

Seeking help through the VA

22 veterans a day commit suicide because they don’t either seek help, or the help they get is unsuccessful, or they feel that they don’t matter. It’s sad, and you can ask almost any combat veteran out there, and they know someone who’s committed suicide.

One of the biggest reasons I feel that a lot of veterans don’t seek help, is that the VA is extremely underfunded and staffed to deal with veterans that have been fighting for almost the past 20 years. When they do go to get help, they’re given pills, or told they can’t do anything for them, they don’t see any connection with their issues to their time in service. So the VA has successfully done nothing for a lot of veterans with issues.

They do however, at some of the veteran centers they do group therapy sessions, which I’ve gone to one before, and never went back. Reason I never went back to one was that the particular group I was in, someone shared a story that I detected to be a complete fabrication. Not one piece of the story was truth, and I found out later that this particular person never deployed overseas, let alone a combat deployment. They were stateside their entire enlistment. So the group therapy session was a no go for me, but I have a few friends that have success in going to a group session.

When someone does get treated at the VA for PTSD, they typically get prescribed some kind of anxiety meds or depression meds. Some even combine those with alcohol and everything just gets compounded. Mixing those types of meds with alcohol is a sure fire way to get yourself in a position that is worse than what you started with. Some people take the meds for a short time and decide they don’t want to take them and just stop taking them, which if not tapered off correctly could result in worse symptoms than you had before. It’s a slippery slope and sometimes the meds are the answers, at least until someone can talk to someone and start coming off the meds because things are getting better.

When deployed the weight one carries is typically physical, when they get home it’s emotional, and the quick fix from the VA is typically a large supply of different meds.

Pride is a mother fucker… I struggled with that personally. I didn’t want to admit I had a problem. I didn’t want to seek help because there are people in worst positions in life than myself. I have a great job with amazing benefits, a wife, two children, and a family that loves me. Why do I need to get help when there’s people out there that don’t have that. That are missing limbs, and their wounds are physical, that people can see. You cannot see mine, they’re not as bad right? Wrong! That is the thing I had to learn, not getting the help, It was affecting my day to day life.

Don’t let your pride get in the way of getting help. Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to go talk to someone. What you should be focusing on is making yourself whole again, get yourself right. The military whatever the branch you’re in, has taught you that you’re the baddest mother fucker on the planet, no one is going to take that from you, you’re an unstoppable force, second to none. Now with that being said, the Marine Corps is obviously the best of all the branches, but that can be a topic for another blog, plus I might be a bit biased because I am a Marine.

There are serious problems with holding onto your pride too long. If you need help, and you want help, don’t be afraid to go get it, don’t let someone talk you out of it, and for the love of everything holy do not talk yourself out of getting help. Someone out there is just waiting for you to ask for the help. The hardest thing for anyone to do is to let go of their pride, and let someone help you.

A lot of veterans don’t seek help, because of their pride. They don’t think they need anyone to help them because hey can help themselves. Everyone needs some help sometimes.

The biggest thing I want people to know, is that the hardest thing for someone with PTSD to do, is get help. If you have a friend that reaches out to you, do more than tell them to suck it up and keep pushing. LISTEN to them and how they’re speaking to you, see what you can do to help. Sometimes it’s just listening to them vent, other times you need to reassure them that they are loved, and needed, and that they are important to you. Other times there are more drastic steps you need to take, get in your car and go to them.

Don’t take this as I’m looking for sympathy, or I want someone to thank me for my service. I hope what you gather from reading this blog, that you can affect someone with PTSD in a positive way just by listening to them talk, giving them a hug. Randomly calling them or stopping by and seeing how they’re doing. I believe that the main reason we have so many veterans committing suicide a day, is because they don’t feel like anyone cares if they’re gone or not because they don’t have any interaction with people on a daily basis. They feel alone, and like people don’t understand what’s going on with them.

So do me a favor, if you’ve made it through all of this blog, reach out to someone you know that is having a hard time. Let them know how much they mean to you, and that you’re always there if they need you. You never know, that phone call, text, or visit could save someones life.

Guns are dangerous

We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country. According to the CDC’s website in 2017 we had 38,658 gun deaths, that is a massive amount of gun deaths. We should really evaluate how easily it is to get a gun in this country and slow down some of these deaths. Possibly even a full-scale confiscation, only law enforcement and the military should have them anyways. We restrict how people can buy these instruments of death, we can reduce the amount of guns used in crimes, and then even reduce the amount of gun deaths in this country. It’s a sickness and we have the cure, but these pro-gun nuts just won’t give them up. It just that simple with all the mass shootings that seem to happen daily in this country, we need some common sense gun laws to combat this epidemic.

That is what the anti-gun community would want you to believe. Which is just simply not true. Lets examine the numbers on the CDC’s website first. So 38,658 firearm related deaths out of a population of 325.7 million. I do not math well, but according to my math that is .00011869%. Not even one half of a percent of the population was killed by firearms in 2017.

Now, out of that 38,658 firearm related deaths, 19,103 of them were ruled homicides so that is about .5% of the total number of deaths are murders. That leaves the other 99.5% of firearm related deaths in 2017 as accidents, and suicides. So looking at these numbers, do we really have a gun problem in the United States, or do we have a larger problem?

There are an estimated 393 million guns owned in the United States. If we had an epidemic of gun violence in the United States, don’t you think those firearm related death numbers would be a little bit more? I do, I think it would be much higher than what it was in 2017.

I think the problem is larger than firearms. I love guns, I’m what you would call a firearm enthusiast. I love shooting, whether it’s targets or animals when hunting. It is my place of zen, I go to the range with friends, we have little competitions, running courses with handguns, or long guns. We even take bets on distances who can get closest to the “x” on the targets.

fullsizeoutput_227b

When I go to the range by myself, I race the clock. I try to push myself to be faster, more accurate. Not because I’m a psycho looking to be able to take out as many people as possible. But because I want to be as skilled as I can be with a firearm in the event I need to use one to defend myself. I would rather have the training and ability to defend myself, and never have to use it, than need the training and ability to defend myself and not have it.

The gun grabbers like using the big numbers of the firearms deaths to fear monger into trying to get laws passed restricting the rights of legal firearms owners. There are a lot of arguments for both sides of this coin. This is an extremely emotional topic to discuss because like I said I’m a huge fan of guns. I love the ones I have and I want more. It’s not that I’m some psycho stocking up an arsenal prepping for a civil war, or zombie apocalypse. It is a hobby I enjoy, and I want to continue to improve upon my skills.

IMG_7261

What cracks me up about the great debate on gun control is that all the laws that the government wants to make and enforce only affect the law-abiding gun owners. It doesn’t affect the criminals. If making laws stopped criminals from doing things then we wouldn’t have a drug problem in this country either. So making it harder for people to legally buy or own firearms would not stop the gun violence we see or hear about on the news.

The Department of Justice recently released a study they did where they asked criminals where they got their guns. No surprise here about half of those (43 percent) were bought illegally on the black market, six percent was through theft. Only 10.8 percent actually bought their firearms through legal means either a local gun store or at a gun show (which despite what the media tells you, there are still background check paperwork conducted to purchase guns at gun shows). 11 percent of the time, someone else bought them the firearms, either as a gift, or as a straw purchase (a straw purchase is when you buy a firearm for someone you know cannot legally own a firearm, which is illegal). 15 percent of the people got them from a family or friend by borrowing, trading or renting them from them, and 12 percent of the time the guns were brought to the crime by someone else all together or found where they were going to be committing the crime.

So again looking at the DOJ’s report, how would making it more difficult for me, a law-abiding gun owner, to purchase and own a firearm going to reduce the amount of gun violence? It’s not, and the DOJ’s report reflects that as a fact. Criminals will always find a way to get around gun laws to get guns. It kind of goes with being a criminal, you break the law.

But then again, what do I know about guns and gun laws. I’m just a man who likes his guns, had formal firearms training when I enlisted in the Marine Corps, and before that was taught how to shoot by my grandfather who was a life long hunter, and my father who also was in the Marine Corps. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that what the government is trying to with these gun laws is one step closer to confiscating your weapons.

They use the media to paint a picture of how dangerous a world we are living in, and we have mass shootings all the time. Do you know the definition of mass shooting that the government uses to make their claims about how many mass shootings we have? It is an incident where two or more individuals are killed or injured by a firearm. But that also includes things like gang shootings. The shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 was a mass shooting, the kid that shot up Sandy Hook, that was a mass shooting.

Every day, there is an example of gun violence in the city of Chicago. It has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet is has the most gun violence. Why? I thought these strict laws were supposed to prevent these types of things? They don’t, and Chicago is a prime example of that. Shitty people always find a way to be shitty people. You cannot eliminate gun violence by making more laws. Something that would help with this would be more community policing, enforcing the laws that are currently on the books, which would mean that Crook County would have to stop cutting deals to career criminals and dropping gun charges for a plea deal, or for giving up a bigger fish.

Like I said, I don’t know much, but to me passing more laws which make the process of getting guns legally, will only affect the people who already follow the laws.

What in the actual fuck is going on??

Today we have 37 genders, two socialists sitting in positions of the United States Government, war on cops, racism that only exists if you’re white, because “if you’re a person of color it’s impossible to be racist,” we have a president whom people either love, or who call him a rapist, misogynist, racist, and think he’s the second coming of Hitler.

WTF.jpg

We once stood proud as the greatest nation in the world. We now bicker amongst each other, and the news we get on any major news network is a circus. Which are all paid for by whichever political party pays the most. Everyone wants free shit, no longer actually working for said shit they want. I have never once in my life thought anyone owed me anything. I have worked for everything I have and wouldn’t want anyone to hand me something for free. Except maybe tacos or pizza, because who the fuck doesn’t like tacos and pizza.

We are the laughing-stock of the world, and if you ask “The Left” it is because we have President Donald J. Trump sitting in the biggest of big boy chairs. If you ask “The Right” it is because the left won’t shut up about Trump long enough to actually do something productive in this country. The fact is both sides of government have made us look like assholes in the world and the real people at fault are “We The People”. That’s right you heard it here. It’s every single legal voting aged persons fault. If you voted you did something, if you did not vote, you didn’t do shit and have no reason to bitch. Regardless of popular belief, that “your vote doesn’t really count” well it does, and not casting one and then bitching about the outcome is childish.

You know what the biggest issue we are facing in the United States? Being taken over by the people WE vote into fucking office. That’s exactly why we vote, to keep the douche canoes out of office and vote someone in that is worth a damn. Well guess what America, we’ve all been asleep at the wheel and now the fucking lunatics are running the asylum. We’re fucked, and the only way to change this is to educate yourselves and vote.

The issues we have are whether we vote left or right, republican or democrat. Why does it just have to be those two? There are plenty of “others” on the ballots, but they don’t get much attention. You have to actually do some research on your own, and we don’t because we’re lazy and we take whatever has been spoon fed to us. We vote for a person because we’ve heard the name before, and if they’re in office now, they must have been doing a good job, right?

That’s why people like Mike Madigan, a hustler, swindler, and bully here in The People’s Republic of Illinois still in office, people know his name. It’s why Bernie Sanders a Socialist is looking to be the Democratic nod as the Presidential Candidate in 2020. What has he done in his 30+ year political career to warrant a shot at the title? Not a damn thing, but he promises free shit to the lazy. It’s why a nobody bartender from New York was just elected, who is a “Democratic Socialist” was just elected.

This country is more than politically divided. Yes, you have your Left & Right, but you also have your racial divide. The likes we haven’t seen in this country for decades, but the last sitting president helped with that. People call Trump racist because he wants to put up a wall along our southern border, to keep out illegal immigrants. Illegal being the word most people forget. The racial divide, combined with the political divide is sending this country spiraling out of control.

We all have our beliefs, and we are entitled to those beliefs. If you’re currently a 47-year-old man named Frank that lives in his mothers, basement and have decided you want to be known as Patricia, and go through gender reassignment surgery, and all the hormone drugs. More power to you Patrica, you do you. I could careless about someones gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or anything else that you might find unique about yourself.

What I do care about is your character,  how you are as a person. That’s how we all should be, but guess what? We do not live in a utopian society, and we never will. There are always going to be racists, misogynist, homophobes, and all the other -phobics, and -ists that you can think of. How do we change that? Stop listening to the news, and talk to your neighbors. You see a car broke down on the side of the road, stop and see if they’re okay, or need a hand with anything. Be decent human beings again. It isn’t a hard concept.

We have a crisis here in the United States, and it has everything to do with the people leading it. I for one, have one problem with our current President, and that is his lack of filter when he uses Twitter. When I happen to walk by a TV and it brings up what the president tweeted I roll my eyes. I just don’t care what he tweeted, because we have bigger problems. Under the Trump administration the country is at an all time low for unemployment. We have paid less in federal taxes, and all this from a guy who is a business man, with no “professional” political experience. I put professional in quotes because to be a great business man and make the money he did, you have to play some politics.

Trump might not be the President you wanted in the White House, but he’s there now. Pending who runs against him next year, I’m pretty sure he’ll be there the following four years. This man has donated all of his Presidential income to various charities, has helped the raising unemployment rate, brought jobs back to the United States. All in all the man has done a pretty decent job as President. Yet people hate and despise the man.

I just don’t understand where everything went wrong. How did we go from being so united on 9/12/2001 to being so divided in 2019? Does anyone know the answer? Asking for America…

The War on Cops…

I will start out this blog with the following statement, I am very pro-police, it takes a special breed for someone to want to be a police officer now a days, it has to be extremely difficult. I grew up in a home where my stepdad was and still is an active Police Officer. I wanted to be a Police Officer when I grew up however, my life’s choices have taken me down a different path. I have a massive amount of respect for the people who choose to put their lives on the line and serve their communities.

With that being said, I have noticed in the past few years that war has been declared on those very people who are there to protect and serve, and that breaks my heart. It makes me sad that these people who have dedicated their lives to serve and protect the communities they live in, are under constant attack by not only the criminals in the areas they’re responsible for, but also because the media attacks them as well.

These are troubled times we are living in, and declaring a war on the people who are supposed to be there when you’re having your worst day of your life, the same people who try to stop the violence from happening in the communities they work are being attacked. When did this happen? When did we as a society decide to say fuck the police? I have some theories on this very subject that I’m going to dive into a bit later in this blog, but I want to tackle some other things first.

I can remember growing up and hearing about the Rodney King beating and thinking to myself, he must have done something to deserve it, because as I said at the beginning of this blog, my stepfather is a police officer and that’s not something that just happens where I’m from. Turns out according to all the media reports, and the video that he did nothing to deserve it, just had some bad cops, after the hearing there were riots in L.A. Now lets fast forward a few decades, and all over every 24/7 news outlets you see various forms of their top story. Something along the lines of “White Cop Shoots Unarmed Black Teen” and with that headline you see an 8th grade graduation picture of the victim.

You hear about this young promising black teen who has gunned down for no reason whatsoever. It’s being broadcast all over every news outlet, 24/7 but the story is “developing” but it the story never changes. All of a sudden the town of Ferguson, Missouri is up in flames because of the media narrative of what happened. Before the facts were even out about what had happened, that officer that defended himself was being condemned by the media.

That is one of the major problems with our current always in your face all the time news coverage just throwing shit down your throats. It’s no longer about journalistic integrity, it’s whoever can have the best ratings so they don’t report facts, they report speculation, and rumors. It did not help that the last standing president had his attorney general Eric Holder getting involved in that case because too many young black men are getting killed by police.

It took multiple days before any “news” outlet was reporting that Mike Brown had just committed a strong armed robbery, and that autopsy reports confirmed exactly what Officer Darren Wilson had said happened that day. Then when he wasn’t being charged with anything because it was determined to be a justified shooting, that little town was burning to the ground. People rioting, looting, throwing rocks and bottles at the police trying to respond. Burning empty police cars and having Michael Browns father screaming “Burn this Mother Fucker Down” after the results were released.

Fast forward to July 7th, 2016, five police officers in Dallas Texas were murdered and another nine were injured when a man decided to open up fire on a group of them. This attack happened, the same time a protest for officers killing black people was winding down. Someone decided that they were going to even the scales in their mind.

What a waste, I get so sick and tired of hearing about the race baiting and how this police officer killed this man, yet no one bats an eye when in 2018 Chicago, a town that has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation had 555 murders in a single year. But when the police are involved in a shooting, and it is a white officer killing a person of color it is all over the news. It’s sickening and these so-called news outlets jump all over that but not the massive amounts of gang related violence in places like Chicago.

I grew up in a small sleepy town that if I looked up arrest statistics the number one crime is probably DUI. I never saw gang shootings, or gun violence in the town I grew up in. So I do not understand the inner workings of major urban areas, and understand that there are some pretty shitty parts of Chicago that have a whole lot of crime. There are all sorts of stats on why these areas have more crime than other parts, but I’m not going to talk about that. Frankly, I don’t care I believe it boils down to personal choices one makes in their lives. They might feel it’s the only choice they have to make so it’s easier, but doing the right thing is always harder than doing the easy thing.

Now I mentioned above about getting to my thoughts on how we’ve gotten to where we are in this country with this war on police. Well here they are, I do feel it is motivated by a severe warped sense of reality. We have multiple news outlets that report on every officer involved shooting as long as it fits their narrative. The only ones that are on every single major news network is if it is a white officer that killed a person of color. It is a pretty shitty situation that we have let ourselves fall into. The media have set back racial relations decades. I have seen more videos on social media of people threatening police officers, or people simply not complying with the officer’s commands.

The big thing that sticks out in my mind when I hear about these is a scene from the Jim Carrey movie Liar Liar, when he answers the phone after he’s no longer able to lie and screams “STOP BREAKING THE LAW ASSHOLE!”stop-breaking-the-law-asshole

I don’t have the answers, but what I do know is that we are in a shit show. This week a Deputy from McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was killed while on a task force serving an arrest warrant on someone. A felon, who was not allowed to have a firearm in his possession that had a warrant for his arrest, shot and killed a man because he did not want to go to prison.

So far in 2019 in the United States there has been 23 Police Officers killed in the line of duty. 11 of those were from gunfire eight of those due to vehicle related incidents. It is March 8th at the time of my writing of this blog. That is unacceptable to me, I think the majority of the readers of this blog would agree with me. We should be supporting our law enforcement, showing them support.

Life, choices, and happiness…

WeddingThis photo is from one of the happiest days of my life. I had just married my best friend, and as of this writing we have been married for five years, and on November 8th, 2019 it will be year six.

What I want to talk about in this blog is my life in general, the choices I made, and how I measure my happiness, and hope that some of you may read this and take something from it. Help you get out of that rut that you’re in or help you figure out a way to make yourself happy.

For me, life is all about the choices you make. You are in the position you’re in because of the choices you have made. Whether those choices are good or bad, you’re where you’re at in life because of those choices. I always enjoy seeing the posts on Facebook, saying “if you could go back in time, and with the knowledge you have now, what changes would you make?” For me that answer is simple, I wouldn’t change a thing. I firmly believe that the choices I have made in my life have made me into the man I am today. All the dumb shit I did as a kid/man-child have made me the strong man I am today. Even all the horrible things that I’ve done, and seen in my life, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. If I could change anything, what kind of man would I be now?

In 2008 I made the one of the biggest decisions of my life. I decided to start doing things that made me happy and stop trying to please everyone else. I was tired of being the one that was being walked all over and taken advantage of. What helped me come to this decision was a failed relationship I was in. I was doing everything in my power to make that woman happy, and at the end of the day I realized I wasn’t happy. I was breaking my back for someone who wasn’t on the same page as me, and ironically it took her leaving me, and some deep soul-searching while I was deployed to come to that decision.

You see, for me up until I was away from the toxicity I was living in, I didn’t realize how miserable I actually was. Yeah it hurt, but it helped me look at things in a bigger picture. I had a whole lot of time to sit and think about this because shortly before she left me the Marine Corps reserve unit I was in was activated for the second time. So anyone that made the decision to join the military knows, there is a whole lot of down time to think about things, and you have some of the best people around you to help you through anything.

At this time I also had a newborn son and was getting ready to deploy back to Iraq. So I had to push past those feelings and do what I needed to do to ensure I was able to get back to my son. Luckily, this all expense paid vacation to Iraq was nothing like my first one. There wasn’t nearly as much chaos and I was fine with that. I spent the days I wasn’t on patrol soul-searching, thinking about what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be.

That’s when it hit me like a punch from Mike Tyson, I decided, I was going to live for me, I was going to do whatever I wanted to do that would make me happy. Get more tattoos, get a motorcycle, buy more guns, shoot, play video games. It didn’t matter I was going to finally start doing things I wanted to do for once and enjoy life and make myself happy. I had sworn off serious relationships, the idea of ever getting married, or having more children were the farthest things from my mind. I was going to be the happiest motherfucker in the world, just being me. No longer being the door mat for people to walk all over. If people didn’t like the new and improved me, fuck em. Only person I needed in my life was my son. Everyone else was just there, I wouldn’t let anyone inside my circle again.

That was going great for me until the day I met the woman who is now my wife, and mother of our beautiful daughter. From the first moment I saw her, it was like she put a spell on me, there was just something about her, I wanted to know everything about her as I grew to know her more within three months we were engaged and planning a wedding, we got married the following year. Now I live for my wife and children, I want them to be the best they can be, and my wife pushes me to be the best I can be, and to me, my wife is the best she’s ever been but she pushes herself and is currently in school to be a Nurse practitioner. I couldn’t be prouder of the woman who is spending the rest of her life with me.

Something that I have done in my life and notice a lot of other people have a hard time doing, is cutting toxic people from their lives. I don’t have a problem with this because the most important people in the world to me are my wife, son, and daughter. I would do anything for them, and I’m sure the vast majority of you reading this post would agree about that statement when reflected upon themselves. However, there are people in my life that for some reason do not seem to care for my wife, and I have tried to have conversations with them, and get the awkwardness out so we can live our lives. When that has failed after multiple attempts, I no longer reach out the olive branch and try to involve them in our lives.

To some that may seem harsh but you have to understand what drives you, what is your purpose in life? What are you willing to cut away to ensure that you and yours thrives? That is what I have done, if someone wants to be part of my family they can make the effort to right the wrongs, but it isn’t going to be a short road. There’s been a lot of damage done and it is something that would take a long time to repair. So for me, the simplest thing to do is cut that negativity out of my life. The only things I need in my life to make me happy are my wife and children. If I didn’t have them, I would be nobody.

I see plenty of people complaining about their situation in life, how it’s unfair to them, or how they’re always the victim and seems like the whole world is working against them. To punish them for some unknown reason. Well I’m here to tell you the world isn’t punishing you, you’re punishing you. If you don’t like the situation you’re in, you have the power to change it. Despite your thoughts being to the contrary, all you have to do is first accept that you’ve made the choices in life that have put you in this position, and you need to make some new choices to get out of the position you’re in. Make a plan and do it. KidsAs I said in my first blog, I’m a 35-year-old man, who is a husband and a father. The picture above is of me and my children. They are my measure of happiness. Not the materialistic things like a big fancy house, car, or huge paying job. I don’t need those things to be happy. I just need my wife and children to be happy and healthy and I’m happy.

There have been times where I have sat and asked myself “what the hell am I doing with my life?” and I can say the answers I’ve given myself throughout the years has changed drastically. The answer to that question tonight in case you’re wondering is “I’m doing everything right.”

Everyone Starts Somewhere

As I sit here trying to figure out how to start this blog out, all I can think of is how easy it was to set up and what it is I want to say.

I would like to welcome you all to my page. I’m hoping this will be a different type of blog than you are used to seeing, as I’m not going to be writing on one particular topic as an expert. I’m not a word smith by any means, in fact the reason this blog is named “Thoughts of a simple mind” is because that is exactly as I see myself. I’m a 35 year old man who is a father, and husband, who enjoy firearms, motorcycles, and just spending time with those that are important to me, I have done some things others have not, and have done some things that others have. In reality I’m a nobody behind a keyboard and a computer screen putting his thoughts to a piece of paper if you will. I’m hoping that these thoughts will help some people, but it could possibly outrage others. I want you to be able to question the reality of what you believe by reading my words. But I’ll dive deeper into those topics in a later post.

I just know that this will be a great outlet for me, a chance to get out some of my thoughts and ideas of how one functions in this crazy time we live in. Be forewarned however, this blog will not be your typical blog where someone is pontificating and sounding all fancy. It will be tackling all sorts of different topics, at times it will be vulgar, and I will not pull any punches on my perceptions of life. I hope you all enjoy this page as I will be throwing things out from time to time, and it is all about how I see things going on around me in this crazy world we are living in.