About Me

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I'm the author of four books: The Work of Death, Together Forever, Leaders Wanted, and Warrior SOS. I'm in the doc film Please Remove Your Shoes. I've blogged for The Washington Times, and I write for Guns.com. I've worked for the high-profile U.S.-led Roadmap to Mideast Peace in Israel and Palestine. I've also worked as a SWAT team leader, an undercover Federal Air Marshal and a sole-source training instructor on a classified contract with a U.S. government customer. My master's degree is in Military Studies and terrorism. I'm a former noncommissioned and commissioned Army officer, with service in Iraq. I've been Scuba diving and skydiving; I have trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and I'm an FBI-trained crisis negotiator. My interests lie in helping others and in strengthening America through inspiring moral courage, government fiscal responsibility and accountability, and maintaining principles that have made--and will continue to make--the United States of America a blessed and prosperous country. My greatest blessing is my family--my beautiful wife and our six kids. I'm a police officer, I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon.

November 25, 2014

Nez Perce Elder's thoughts on PTSD


Thanks to Tom Spooner and ElderHeart.org for sharing this. 

Below are the thoughts of Nez Perce Elder on PTSD: 

They said I would be changed in my body. I would move through the physical world in a different manner. I would hold myself in a different posture. I would have pains where there was no blood. I would react to sights, sounds, movements and touch in a crazy way, as though I were back in the war.

They said I would be wounded in my thoughts. I would forget how to trust and think that others were trying to harm me. I would see dangers in the kindness and concern of my relatives and others. Most of all, I would not be able to think in a reasonable manner, and it would seem that everyone else was crazy. They told me that it would appear to me that I was alone and lost even in the midst of the people, that there was no one else like me.

They warned me that it would be as though my emotions were locked up, and that I would be cold in my heart and not remember the ways of caring for others. While I might give soft meat or blankets to the elders or food to the children, I would be unable to feel the goodness of these actions. I would do these things out of habit and not from caring. They predicted that I would be ruled by dark anger and that I might do harm to others without plan or intention.

They knew that my spirit would be wounded.  They said I would be lonely and that I would find no comfort in family, friends, elders or spirits.  I would be cut off from both beauty and pain.  My dreams and visions would be dark and frightening.  My days and nights would be filled with searching and not finding.  I would be unable to find the connections between myself and the rest of creation.  I would look forward to an early death.  And, I would need cleansing and healing in all these things. 

Poem delivered at Gettysburg in 1869

Her once war-wasted arm,
Put forth to shield a sister land from harm,
Ere the last blood on her own blade had dried,
Shall still be stretched to succor and to guide,
Beyond our borers, answering each need,
With counsel and with deed ---
Along our Easter and our Western wave,
Still strong to smite, still beautiful to save.

-- American poet, Bayard Taylor

The link to my Guns.com posts

http://www.guns.com/author/jd/

November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause....

...some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for and democracy is worth dying for because its the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. ...

Something else helped the men of D-day, the rock hard belief that Providence would have a great hand of what would unfold here--that God was an Ally in this great cause. 

And so the night before the invasion when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them, ‘Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we are about to do.'

Also that night, General Matthew Ridgeway, on his cot, listening for the promise that God made to Joshua: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ 

...Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgeway listened: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’ Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value and born by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died. Thank you very much and God bless you all.

--Pres. Ronald Reagan Normandy Speech
President Reagan's Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc - 6/6/84.

October 20, 2014

Shooting Low and Left? Here’s a New Technique to Try

Want to help fix your shot placement when shooting a pistol?  I came up with a technique a few years ago while instructing shooters that I think could really help.

Normally, for right-handed shooters, shooting low and left with a pistol means a couple of things: anticipating the recoil (a.k.a. flinching or pushing, as some like to call it) and a combination of sight alignment/sight picture along with improper trigger work (e.g. slapping or mashing the trigger, or improper finger placement on the trigger).  But I submit there’s also something else: an involuntary convulsing of the whole hand—a sympathetic movement of the entire palm occurs when some shooters try to manipulate the trigger finger.

Operating the trigger finger independent of the whole hand—the palm and other fingers—can be tricky, especially if you don’t shoot all the time.  So how do you stop the involuntary squeezing of the palm when moving your trigger finger?  Try squeezing a racketball.

Relax your trigger finger as well as the thumb of your firing hand.  Then, with three fingers only squeezing the racketball (simulating holding the grip of the gun), move your trigger finger back and forth.  The idea here is to perfectly relax your trigger finger independent of your tightened pinky, ring and middle fingers.  This will keep you from convulsing the whole palm of the hand during the shot, which can throw your shot to towards the side of your thumb (left for right-handed shooters and right of the target for southpaws). 

Relaxing the thumb of your firing hand will allow the gun to stay aligned and not push the rear of the pistol one way or another.  That said, the support hand should do all the work.  Your support hand grip, ideally in a thumbs forward grip, will stabilize your grip to the point where you can relax your shooting/dominant hand much more.

In short, relaxing your trigger finger (and thumb of your firing hand) allows you to caress the trigger.  Be rough and tough with the entire weapon, but be soft and gentle with the trigger.

Oh, and it should be noted that shot placement is opposite for southpaws.  Left-handed shooters may shoot low and right.  The hand squeezing and convulsion goes towards the palm of the dominant hand.  A lot of practice and training will curb this phenomenon for both right and left-handed shooters.  Concentration on the sights and trigger concentration will help fix this, but there’s also a part of the body that needs to unlearn sympatric reflex.  That’s only done through proper, repetitive motion and training.

In the end, what needs to happen for a good shot, is the sights need to be lined up while the trigger is smoothly depressed (pressed or pulled, whatever terminology you like to use). Fixing all of the things mentioned above will help. Also, a really good support hand grip can help, too. 

Anyway, give the racketball technique a try.  You might be surprised at the results.


Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

October 15, 2014

Locking the (Pistol) Slide Left-Handed

Southpaws rarely get quality pistol instruction.  Why? because most instructors are right-handed.  Thankfully, I had an opportunity to work with a terrific, knowledgably and skilled instructor for several years.  His only flaw: he was left-handed. 

Seriously, though, working with my friend and fellow training instructor, Matt, was an incredible learning experience.  He taught me a lot more about how to operate all types of weapon systems bi-laterally and with the other hand in ways that I had not previously known.

I recall years ago—before working with the aforementioned southpaw—teaching a left-handed shooter in a pistol course.  The shooter, who had been shooting for many years (but lacked skill in some areas) just put the semi-automatic pistol in his right hand whenever he wanted to lock the slide to the rear.  Obviously, because speed matters in gun fights, that’s not a smart thing to do.  Besides, switching pistols from the right to the left hand under stress (or not) can be unsafe (e.g. muzzle awareness, finger on the trigger, dropping the weapon). 

So, how does a lefty lock the slide to the rear?

With the weapon in the left hand, the shooter puts his right hand forward like he going to shake hands with the top of the pistol slide.  The thumb of the right hand should be near the index finger of the left hand, while the four fingers of the right hand are on the opposite side of the slide (the right side). 

Being careful not to cover the ejection port, the shooter will grip the slide using their four fingers and the palm of their right hand.  When the slide is extended backwards, the shooter will then use the thumb of their right hand to activate the slide lock. 

Locking the slide to the rear left-handed is actually a lot easier for new shooters than doing the same thing with inexperienced right-handed students.

Just remember, practice with the weapon unloaded.  Keep your finger straight and off the trigger, and be safe.

Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.


Bow and Drill Fire Technique

Tyler is a friend and skilled survivalist.


October 7, 2014

The Warrior Archetype

"We are trapped in a terrible tension between the soul’s craving for a warrior archetype and the reality of a warfare that devastates the soul who seeks it." 

--Edward Tick, in War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder


I wrote about this in my book The Work of Death, available on Amazon.  Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N1WO4XI

September 29, 2014

Peace for our children


Pray for those engaged of the things of battle

Give protection and guidance to those who are engaged actively in carrying forth the things of battle.  Bless them; preserve their lives; save them from harm and evil. Hear the prayers of their loved ones for their safety.


—Prayer offered by President Gordon B. Hinckley in the October 2001 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints