About Me

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I'm the author of four books: Warrior SOS, The Work of Death, Together Forever, and Leaders Wanted. 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, a 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. I'm a father of six, a husband, and a police officer. I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon. See also www.WarriorSOS.com.

September 27, 2012

Rants & Thoughts -- Guns, War & My Foxy Wife

I’m a little nervous telling anyone this. I mean, anyone can read it, right? But, maybe no one will. After all, some things are better left unsaid.

I think telling my wife all the bad things that have happened at various working periods in my life as a gun-wielding warrior freaked her out a bit, especially the first few years of our marriage. I was on a full-time tactical team when we were first married. All the stories of “man’s inhumanity to man” finally got to her I suppose, at least subconsciously, that is. One or two really bad nightmares while she was pregnant made her not ever even want to ever touch a gun. She wasn’t anti-gun, per se; she just didn’t necessarily want a gun near her personally.

To point, when a woman marries a man, she also marries his career too. If my wife would have married a dentist or a computer technician, the conversations would have been vastly different than the ones we’ve shared together. Believe me.

“Hi honey, how was work today?”

“Oh, same ol’ thing. Two or three cavities to fill and a few semi-annual teeth cleanings that the hygienist did. Same ol’ office drama from the receptionist, ya know.”

Verses my wife calling the police department in a panic wondering if I was still alive since I didn’t come home for several hours after my shift had ended; or like the time when I called her at 2am (her time) from overseas and said, “You might see some reports on CNN. I didn’t want you to worry. We lost some teammates in the Gaza Strip, but I’m okay.” Or, a few years later when I received a tearful letter from my loving wife while I was in Iraq with the US Army Reserves. She wrote and said how absolutely sad and horrible and close-to-home it was that my other Army buddy, SRT teammate and colleague, Johnny, died. She knew Johnny. Now he was dead. She wrote that she was worried for me, and that if I were to get killed she simply wouldn’t know how to go on living anymore.

Yeah, wives get to know a lot about their husband’s profession – even if he doesn’t talk about it very much; even if she does try to associate her own life with the fictional drama of Hollywood’s “Army Wives,” which I hate, by the way. Those actors couldn’t come close to understanding the hell or the camaraderie or the shear fear faced by warriors. They might capitalize on the thoughts or emotions of viewers who don’t know any better, but any movie or television show glamorizing shooting, war or killing from real warriors who’ve been there or who’ve done that…well…they should just be ashamed for making it look “cool” or appealing. There’s nothing good about war.

But… who would want to watch a show about dentists or computer geeks? Just sayin’. Cops and military commandos: that’s what shows are made of, even if they do get it all wrong. As much as my wife has been “tortured” by my living reality of police, military and para-military tactics, at least she didn’t marry some guy who was boring. I’m the antithesis of boredom. In fact, I so miss the adrenaline and the fight that at times I find myself going 110mph with my hair on fire (what’s left of it anyway). That’s not boring, right? Of course, safety first.

But really, let’s think about it, warriors are different than any other person or profession. When the dentist goes out with his wife, he’s looking at all the nice smiles. Perhaps, he’s wondering how, if the economy gets any worse, he can succeed in this recession. More than anything, he’s just enjoying the shopping mall.

By contrast, when a warrior kindly tells his wife he’ll accompany her to the same mall (although he hates it), he may appear casual, but he’s constantly searching for threats. Not only does he loathe the shopping experience and the crowds, but he’s checked out emotionally and mentally.  He’s checking for avenues of egress and emergency exits. He has his back towards the wall, hopefully. He positions himself to gain the best tactical advantage should an attack be imminent. He’s looking at hands; the hands hold weapons that kill. He’s considering the evil tendencies of man by “war gaming” or “what if” thinking (e.g. “What if someone came in here with a few IEDs or started blasting everyone – shooting the entire crowd? What should I do to protect myself, my loved ones and innocent by-standers? How would I stop him and how could I save the others?)

I did that even before Columbine or 9/11 – far before terms like IED, VBIED or CBRN became household terms, even before the military transitioned to those acronyms in full force. Far before the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, I had regularly told my wife and kids where to go and what to do “should a Wildman come in the movie theater and start shooting into the crowd or throwing homemade explosives.” My wife would often give me that “look” – as in, stop saying that to our little kids; you do that at the restaurant and everywhere else we go. Don’t create panic in them. But is my wife wrong?

Disclaimer: I married Mrs. Right – Mrs. ALWAYS Right.  

Somewhat-seriously, though, I believe if Bambi’s mom had a plan when the forest fire and the hunter came, she might have lived to see Bambi and Thumper grow up! If you have a plan, you’ll be prepared; and if you’re prepared you won’t fear…at least not as much as you would without a plan or without any training.

Okay, listen, who cares about a cartoon deer or even real deer? I care about people though (however, not necessarily the characters of some people, to include actors’ characters. No pun intended. Well, maybe).

I care about my kids and my wife. That’s why I’ve shown my wife how to use the guns. She’s good-to-go, by the way. She has heard me say at least a thousand times how terrible and unrealistic Hollywood tactics are and that “that would never happen” or “you should never do that” or “they should hire me to help them look good on the Big Screen.”

Seriously though, my mon cheri knows how to pull back – and lock – the slide of the semi-auto handgun. She knows other basic stuff too, like muzzle discipline, finger indexing, loading, aiming and pulling the trigger – all the necessities to put a few holes in any would-be attackers.

My darling has probably only touched a gun, well, at least ten times. She has listened to me enough to know about the basics, especially safety measures. After all, repetition is the law of learning. Why wouldn’t she know about muzzle discipline or finger placement when I tell our six-year-old boy to “get your finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. You don’t want to have an ND, do ya?”

“But dad, it’s only a squirt gun.”

“I don’t care, boy. Treat it like its real. Then you’ll know how to use a real gun safely one day.” Well, that’s another issue. I don’t let my kids play with guns. “Gun play” isn’t playful. Talk about a play on words or…whatever.

Back to my wife, the better looking one.

My wife does not like shooting. Have I mentioned that yet? She sure would look good with a gun though, her hair pulled back in a pony tail with a Warrior SOS ball cap on. Nice. (Don’t get worried. I’ll stop there. This is a family friendly, PG-rated blog.) The truth is I’ve tried to convince her she needs her own gun. She secretly knows I just want another pistol though. What in the world made her think that? C’mon, she really needs a tricked out, custom tactical 1911 in .45 ACP? At least I think she does. But she doesn’t need it in pink. No, not pink. That wouldn’t look good when I decide to test it out every time I took it to the range. Besides, she doesn’t even like guns. But she’d like that one…the one I’ve dreamed of having since I was a little boy.  (Okay, back to reality. Daydreaming about my beautiful wife and tactical weapons would probably give Freud something to talk about, but we don’t have to go there.)

My wonderful wife has shot literally two rounds at two separate times in nearly 15 years of our marriage. Like I said, she’s doesn’t really like guns. Guns kill people. That’s what guns are for (at least in my line of work).

I digress, but this needs to be said: They say (whoever they is) that opposites attract. If that’s the case, and it appears so, at least in part, in my marriage, then if my wife doesn’t like guns, that means I would really love guns. And, hey, I do. The other thing is I’m O positive and she’s A negative. (Personalities aside.) She’s a Payne (that’s her maiden name), and I’m not so much of one. (Pun intended). Okay, admittedly, I might be a pain in her neck sometimes, but borrowing from God’s creation of Adam and Eve, there’s occasionally a side ache from the rib extraction. I’m joking. Kidding.

I’m reminded of a great poem by an unknown author. It goes something like this:

Woman was created from man
not made out of his head to ruled over,
nor out of his feet to be trampled upon,
but out of his side to be equal with him,
under his arm to be protected,
and near his heart to be loved.

And I do love my wife. I am so very blessed to have her. Besides, who else would put up with me? I want to protect her and love her forever and ever – throughout time and all eternity.

While I was overseas protecting US diplomats, our home was broken into. I was armed to the teeth, but I wasn’t home to protect my wife and kids. What a paradox. What a shame. Although my wife doesn't want to go shooting on a date or at any other time, she is a firm believer in her Second Amendment rights now. In short, when our home was broken into, she was compelled to think about taking a life even more than she had previously. After all, she was at home all alone. As any mother, she had the instinct and internal drive to kill, if need be, to protect our children. She’d do that. Like most women and mothers, she might hesitate to protect herself, but she’d maul anyone like a sow bear if someone attempts to harm our little cubs.

There was nothing I could have said or done to parallel what four burglars did in five minutes. Their actions were the catalyst that changed her thinking on shooting people. I mean, she didn't like the idea, but after that criminal action, fear entered her heart. With the possibilities of what could have happened, she was now determined to ensure bad things wouldn't happen. Even if it meant killing another human being to prevent such horrific crimes and would-be tragedies.

Thankfully, although our home was damaged, no one was hurt. Thankfully, my wife didn’t even see the bandits and robbers since she was taking me back to the airport. All of that now to give this stern – very stern –

Warning! Any and all would-be burglars or bad guys had better watch out. Although my bride has only shot two rounds, they were DEAD center in the bullseye. She doesn’t mess around. She doesn’t play games. She told me that when we first started dating and that was no laughing matter. Like most people who haven’t ever pointed real guns at real people under stress and conflict, if you try to break into our house now, she just might start shooting. Her unwritten motto just may be shoot first, ask questions later.

Now, she just has to keep putting up with me. And I sometimes wonder if being a dentist would have been better for me and her and our kids. Oh well, I guess I’ll never know. There are some boys who’d rather choose to grow up and break out people’s teeth and other’s who’ll fix ‘em. And, still others – the warrior class – who, should the worst occur, will shoot someone right in the teeth to help save lives. The problem is such a life and livelihood always seems to leave some things a little broken.  

For instance, shooting another human being, when you get down to it, is a very serious psychological, moral and spiritual matter. Although there are justifiable circumstances, in one sense, there isn't ever a true "winner" in battle. I’ve been carrying a firearm for many, many years with the sole purpose of having it to use against another human being, if necessary. Such constant thinking, guarded awareness and specialized tactical training and experiences shapes our characters and belief system; it shapes who we are and who we will eventually become.   

I've met – and have worked alongside – a lot of operators. I’ve been in some pretty hairy situations and I know a lot of people who have had to use lethal force. They’ve shot other people at close distances. Can you imagine looking into someone’s eyes and then shooting them? Even saying the words “shoot them in the face” adds an entirely poignant dimension to the lethality and personal, psychological insights pertaining to “the work of death.” (Note: That phrase is used five times in the Book of Mormon.)

Although moral, psychological and even physiological responses differ between individuals who’ve been involved in lethal confrontations, there are always – always – some sort of negative repercussions. No one can bypass that. No one can escape it. Some people don't even want to think about taking another person's life, let alone dwell upon it. But, I submit that even those who pursue the pathway of a warrior – those who work and train, eat, breathe and sleep after this manner, experience a mental and emotional change that dentists or computer techs are otherwise ignorant to forever. Perhaps, in some things, ignorance really is bliss.

Consider the warrior I spoke with today. He said the guy next to him was shot while they were in a war zone. While telling the story, my friend became emotional and upset. There’s nothing good about death when someone else is causing it. It’s too bad that Hollywood tends to make killing and guns look so cool. I mean, my wife is hot, and while I think it would be fun to have her be excited to go to the range and let me teach her how to shoot a .22LR, I sure don’t ever want her to have any bad dreams. And, I certainly don’t ever want her to have to know what I know about guns and the psychological impact of war on the soul.


To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out my book Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

1 comment:

  1. Funny how great minds think alike. I was writing the other day about how trained my family is... Don't silhouette yourself, don't linger in hallways or doors. Never stand by a window (even with blinds/curtains drawn). Watch the exits, have an egress... Love you man!

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