Memorial Day Weekend

I feel like every Memorial Day weekend is based on sales, BBQ-ing and long weekends for people to travel and do whatever.

Recently I attended a Veterans Memorial and the elected officials that attended made a very remarkable statement. The statement, which by the way I can not recall word for word, really hit home. It surrounded around the idea that Veterans in this nation have sort of been pushed to the way side. We name our streets and plants trees for Veterans and have Veterans Day and Memorial Day and all these special dates, times and events, but all I see on social media are “Memorial Day Sale” and “Veterans Day Sale” and barbeques on sale and travel times, etc.

I hope Veterans aren’t forgotten. I hope people actually have a memorable weekend and keep those who served in their thoughts and prayers and don’t succumb to the pressures of a capitalistic weekend brought to you by Macy’s, Sears and whoever else. It’s sad that days like these are surrounded by greed.

But I digress.

I’m going to end this short blog entry with a message to a person who continues to leave comments. Or tries to. JHope@Yahoo.com, I’m sure you’ll read this and it’ll give you some sort of satisfaction that I acknowledged you. I even tried to email you but it says your email is invalid. You left a comment stating “I’m running away like a little bitch.” Yet, this is coming from a person who not only has an email specifically for trolling purposes, but won’t allow any incoming email. That to me says “coward”. I understand the internet is a fun place to go to harass people under an anonymous persona. You don’t have to take any responsibilities for the things you say and you can just disappear whenever you want.

This whole recruiting thing is in the past and forgotten about. It happened nearly ten years ago and I’ve let it all go and moved on. You seem to be thoroughly stuck on it like you want to squash some vendetta you have about the whole thing. Or maybe I’m just giving you too much credit. Who knows. I can’t even recall the First Sergeants name whom you’re speaking about; nor do I care what he’s doing or how he retired. If he retired with full benefits, good for him. Anyone who puts their time in no matter how great or poor of a leader they were, deserves such. Comparatively to the leaders in past units I served it, the ones I had in recruiting were extremely poor. When you have a Company Commander state that he hates recruiting and doesn’t want to be there, take a guess what that does to the morale. Recruiting is a tough gig all the way around. That’s all I need to say about that.

I’ve taken responsibility for the things that happened. And again, I was not kicked out of the service. I had a JAG lawyer and I signed a voluntary resignation and left the service under honorable conditions. Now I own a home, I have a good job and that’s that. If you’d like to open the lines of communication instead of hiding behind an email, I’m fine with that. You can also send me your address and we can talk face to face. I’m not hiding or running from anything.

You say you’re a Veteran, well, lets see.

Edit: JHope left another comment claiming he was in the same recruiting company I was in and insists I was “kicked out” of the Army. Yet, JHope continues to keep his emails blocked and won’t identify who he really is. He’s just “calling me out” on all my “lies” during my time in service. My time in service isn’t defined by 2 years and 8 months in recruiting but yet defined by my DD214 that says “General Discharge under Honorable Conditions”. That’s not being kicked out.

One day JHope will stop being so afraid and post his address along with allowing for emails because I have a pretty good idea who this JHope person really is.

 

Gun-Crazed America

I’ve been thinking about this topic for weeks. Well, actually, that’s a lie. I’ve been thinking about this topic ever since the Ferguson situation went down. I’m not taking a particular side on that; mainly because I don’t have a side to take. I do, however have an opinion about Ferguson.

I can sympathize with the emotional trauma that a community might be feeling after one of their own is gunned down. I feel similar grief having been to combat and losing friends in the war. Although, the two don’t really go hand-in-hand. I do feel like there are some similarities between the two. Violence is apart of our American culture. Violence is apart of our very existence. From the beginning of time.

America, specifically, has this obsessed attitude that everyone should have a gun. And not just one gun. Many guns. Our favorite video games are first-person shooters. Our favorite actors are gun-totting mad men blowing up buildings and mowing down countless third rate rent-a-thugs. Children grow up playing with toy guns and then their parents buy them a BB gun when they turn 13 and a hunting rifle when they turn 18 and then they go get their concealed weapons permit as soon as they turn 21 because they can. For no other reason other than because they can. Or want to. It’s an obsession.

I want you to understand something, though. This isn’t some liberal rant against guns. I’m sure by now most of you are rolling your eyes thinking that very thought. This is going to be an educational, informative piece and probably the longest blog entry I’ll ever write. Please. Indulge yourself and read on.

The Bill of Rights state, and I quote, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Over time there have been laws that dictate and regulate who actually gets to carry a firearm. This done so in a manner as to not to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. For example: if you commit a strong-armed robbery with a firearm and the police catch up with you, you will no longer be able to carry a firearm. These laws are implemented for the greater good of society because we don’t want unhealthy people carrying weapons that can harm others. I think we can all agree on that.

One thing I’m truly against are law-makers making up laws that make absolutely no sense. I’m also against police agencies trying to govern my life and I’m really against big government trying to tell me what I can and can not do. There is no such thing as gun sense in this country because everyone wants a gun and no one wants to take responsibility when something bad happens with it. So the governments answer to that is to make up laws that really don’t extinguish the problem. What we need is firearm education and firearm training.

Example Number One: You want a firearm for home defense. That means you’ll be engaging potential targets at close range, close quarters with little to no visibility. What is your training regime for that? Do you know the laws concerning firearms and defending yourself, family and personal property? Are you a Castle Doctrine state? Are you a Stand Your Ground state? Do you even know what those things are? When’s the last time you cleaned your firearm and when’s the last time you went to a shooting range? Lastly, someone breaks into your house at 2am, you’re woken up from a dead sleep. How fast can you gain your bearings and get to your firearm before something goes down? Do you keep your firearms in a safe with a combo lock or key to keep the kids out? Would you be able to open the safe up in time? Do you train to these scenarios? If not, you have no business owning a firearm to protect your house hold. Stick to a baseball bat.

Example Number Two: You are going grocery shopping and someone comes in to the grocery store with a gun to rob the cashier. You have a concealed weapons permit and you have your 9mm strapped to your side. Consider your options: do nothing or attempt to defuse the situation. Without proper training, your best bet is to call 911 and stay out of the way.

I’m not in any way trying to tell people not to own firearms or that firearms only belong in the hands of cops and members of the Armed Forces. All I’m trying to point out is that America looks at firearms as a type of novelty and people buy guns without any real form of education or training. Guns get into the wrong hands. Kids get them and shoot other kids. Teenagers bring them to school and kill other students. There are plenty of reasons (and valid ones) to strengthen our gun laws. The most important thing, though, is education and training. If you own a firearm and you think you might become a victim of a violent crime one day, get some formal training. Talk with a lawyer about your states gun laws. Know your capabilities and know your limitations.

This isn’t Hollywood and you aren’t Bruce Willis. A guy breaks into your house, you won’t be able to just shoot his leg out and that be the end of your nightmare. Make sure you understand the judicial system, understand that you aren’t safe from civil lawsuits and have a clear understanding that once you decide to pull that trigger, there is no turning back.

Veterans Day

I wish I could write up a piece and have it go viral like what I wrote about it my latest entry.

I’m not interested in being in the spotlight when it comes to Veterans Day. Hell, I don’t even really ask for this day off from work. I’m hoping my employers will simply identify me as a Veteran and schedule me off out of courtesy. Not because I feel like I’m entitled to this day off from work or because I feel like I’ve earned this day off. It’s simply because I don’t want to be apart of what America has turned into: a capitalistic fat pig.

Every retailer in the United States has some kind of “Veterans Day sale” going on. Whether it’s today or last weekend, they have something happening. People head out in droves to spend money on today’s sale instead of just staying at home and remembering the ones who have given up their lives during combat operations. Veteran’s Day isn’t about you or me. It’s about them. The ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice. The ones who never returned home from duty. The ones who have left children and wives and close relatives behind. The ones who now reside on Fiddler’s Green.

I’m not a veteran because I want a free coffee from Starbucks or a free meal from Applebees. I’m a veteran because I felt like serving. Not for hand shakes and “thank yous” or for prestigious medals and awards. I served to serve. Nothing more, nothing less.

Today is not a celebration but a day of remembrance. It is not “happy Veterans Day” because there is nothing happy about going to war and watching your friends get killed in combat.

Dog on a Leash

“I see it coming, I’m supposed to follow
No, I don’t even want to hold the chain
If this is really what it’s like to let go
It was all in my brain..
There’s something living in the house tomorrow
’cause you don’t even wanna hold their face
Would it be of I refused to let go
It was all in my way!

I see it coming, it’s so hard to swallow
Cause I don’t even want to help the chase
Too hard to sleep if you can hear the echo
Hear it calling my name…
Now I’ve been searching in a love so shallow
Never even wanna have the blame
If this is really what it’s like to let go
Was it all in my way?!

It’s you and it’s me
Dog on a leash

I’m like a dog on a leash
No one in life, I feel it holding on
I’m like a dog on a leash
No one will stop you savin’ my soul
I’m like a dog on a leash
It’s you and it’s me
Killing the dream
Dog on a leash

Is there a reason that you hold the solo now
You don’t even wanna help us stay
I wouldn’t be if I could learn to let go
Would it all be the same!

It’s you and it’s me
Dog on a leash

I’m like a dog on a leash
No one in life, I feel it holding on
I’m like a dog on a leash
No one will stop you savin’ my soul
I’m like a dog on a leash
It’s you and it’s me
Killing the dream
Dog on a leash
Dog on a leash

It’s you and it’s me, the dogs on a leash
And I can’t be fine like that
It’s you and it’s me, the dogs on a leash

I’m like a dog on a leash
No one in life, I feel it holding on
I feel like a dog on a leash
No one will stop you saving my soul
I’m like a dog on a leash
It’s you and it’s me
Killing the dream
Dog on a leash
It’s you and it’s me
Killing the dream
Dog on a leash.”

I had such a shitty day at work yesterday. I walked into work and my work items had been moved. One thing I’ve learned with PTSD (that a lot don’t ever understand) is Combat Vets aren’t “moody” or “just mad” or mad at any one individual. Our minds are so cluttered with filth and garbage that we lose focus of ourselves in the moment.

Small things that generally wouldn’t irritate the common man now hold us like we are on a leash. Something small happens and it literally ruins our entire day. Someone moved my coffee cup or moved my note pad. It literally drives me to the brink. Could you imagine living your day to day life like that? When I get to work, what will get at me today?

I find myself needing that extra time to cool down because in the civilian sector, believe it or not, we can not treat our co-workers like a stupid Army Private. We can’t call them “shitbirds” or anything like that like we did in the Army. We can’t yell and scream and vent our frustration out on the platoon and have everyone doing front-back-goes for an hour. It just doesn’t work that way.

Life goes on, though, doesn’t it? Life continues and we continue with our own demons.

Oyster Run 2014

I missed last years Oyster Run because I had to work and because I really didn’t have anyone to run with. The year before last, I went and it was amazing. I loved every minute of it.

This years Oyster Run was more of the same but I went with a friend of mine and saw many good people I used to hang with while they were in the CVMA.

Here’s a video of the long line of bikes trying to get parked as we walked around. It was pretty awesome.  There was even the 12th Man Seahawks flag flying proudly as we walked into Main street:

IMG_0387

The amount of motorcycles that show up for this every year, (rain or shine) is just uncanny. It’s literally miles and miles of motorcycles. They take over all the parking at Safeway, they park down alley ways, in peoples’ drive ways, on the sidewalk… it truly is the best thing I’ve ever experienced while owning a motorcycle.

It’s kind of amazing, too, considering it was just one guy 33 years ago that started this whole thing. Him and a few pals met up for beers in Marysville after a long season of fishing in Alaska and eventually they moved to Anacortes because so many people were showing up. Soon, there were 20,000 followers. This year, it looked like it easily surpassed 35,000 bikes. It was crazy.

I met up with some friends and we talked about things, this and that. Not too exciting but I love my old pals from the CVMA. They’ve moved on to bigger and better things, (in which one day maybe I’ll follow down their path) and it’s always good to see them.

Good friends are hard to come by. People generally have their own agenda’s and you really have to try hard to keep the good ones around. In the end, to me, it’s worth it, though. I’ve had lots of good buddies I would chum around with but never any lasting relationships. I know a lot of people, some I keep in contact with and others I just see on the Facebook or whatever. Truly, some of these relationships I’ve built since I’ve been out of the service, I’d really like to keep. It’s hard being out of the Army and not having a barracks full of friends you can always count on to be there when you need a friend.

It’s really hard some times not to just quit my job, slap on a “nomad” patch on my motorcycle vest and just cruise America looking for my path. I know things aren’t forever but we like who we like and we love who we love. Even though we may not receive the same kind of mutual feelings in return, we don’t know what we don’t know, right?

Anyway. Until next years Oyster Run, I’ll just be cruising around in the rain for the rest of the year. Washington State is good to me like that.