Racial slur responsibility

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

 

I was in my office this morning and caught a report from the George Zimmerman trial on the news.  The prosecution had a witness on the stand who was evidently a friend of Trayvon Martin.  When asked, she stated that calling a white person ‘honky’ or ‘cracker’ should not be considered racial slurs.  This statement raises a lot of questions for me, but after thinking about it for a while here’s my thought.

 

It is only hurtful or inflammatory language if I allow it to be.  You, or anyone, can call me any negative name you would like to, but it’s still in my power to accept or deny those titles.  It is my choice how I react to those statements, or any statements.  Just because another person launches some type of verbal assault against me doesn’t mean I have to accept it.  Actually, I don’t have to do anything. Nothing at all.  I have the free choice to walk away from that person at anytime.  Their words can only affect me if I choose to let them.

 

I have been called many negative things in my life by various races of people.  Most of which occurred while I was a police officer.  None of those names could be allowed to cloud my judgement of the law or the person.  They were, are words and nothing more.  I may not like the intent behind the words, but again that is my choice to like, not like, or be indifferent.

 

So, in the end who is responsible for your reactions, your feelings?  Is it really all in the hands of another person?  Is it really the right thing to let another person’s words affect you or me to such an extent that we are willing to give up time and energy to try to exact punishment or revenge on them?  Obviously, there are places where such things are outside the bounds of appropriate behavior.  But, speaking of a one to one situation outside of any other situations, it is your job to decide what words you accept.  Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your own feelings.  You are the only one that can control them.

 

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What PTSD feels like in crowded places

Loudspeaker, 4-Ways

Loudspeaker, 4-Ways (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I got an invitation from a friend of my mine to an event he’s playing in.  He’s in a band by the way.  I would love to go, my wife would love to go.  But, I can’t.  PTSD will not allow for these kinds of activities anymore.  Some would claim that it’s just my age, I’m 42.  But, it’s much more than that.  I remember clearly, right before I went into the Army, going to an AC/DC concert with a friend of mine.  Obviously it was loud.  But it didn’t bother me.  Now, a mildly crowded mall is enough to make me run.

 

I’m going to try to explain to you what it feels like with PTSD in a crowded place.

 

1. Imagine standing in the middle of a crowd of hundreds of people, all of them talking and moving.

 

2. Now, add in loud speakers very close to your ears that are playing loud and constantly change music and/or sounds.

 

3. Now, add in a tv screen in front of your face that is switching channels rapidly.

 

4. Now, add in the feeling that there is some kind of threat in this crowd that you can’t identify, although you are trying desperately to find it.

 

5. Now, add in the feeling that you and your loved ones are in grave danger if you can’t figure out what to do.

 

6. Now, add in the overwhelming feeling of a fight, freeze or fight response.

 

This is a glimpse of what is going on my in my mind and body with PTSD in a standard, run of the mill walmart on a saturday.  There is no threat, but my mind keeps looping back to past experiences and responding to those instead of the present.

 

 

Weapon carry confusion

     I have a permit to carry my pistol in Georgia.  I’ve always found the verbage in  these laws a little confusing.  Is it open carry, meaning it can be seen?  Or concealed carry only?  Will you go to jail if the weapon is accidentally seen by someone?  And on and on the questions go.  It has turned into a very murky topic.  Of course, government wording in laws doesn’t help.  

     I spent several years as a police officer.  Believe me when I say, many of the laws are so vague, or in such confusing language that even the police don’t always know for sure what crime fits the bill, or if something’s a crime at all.  

     Georgia’s weapon carry law is no exception to that confusion rule.  The permit is called a weapons permit.  Not a concealed carry permit.  Not a pistol permit.  Not an open carry permit, etc.  Just a weapons permit.  So, open carry is permitted in Georgia with the permit.  But, who else knows that?  Does the lady at the grocery store know?  Or is she going to hit the deck in Kroger if she catches a glimpse of you Glock?  

     In my opinion, the media doesn’t help.  They don’t do a good job, in my opinion, of relaying clear and concise information.  Especially when it comes to any kind of firearm.  They often say enough to grab attention, but never fully explain or cover all of the details.  Of course, explaining all of the pertinent details may hurt ratings by making a story a little less controversial.  

     I guess that one good reason for all law abiding gun owners to work on educating those in their sphere on what is right and what is wrong.  

Alien Gear Holster Review

Alien Gear

Alien Gear

I’ve been looking for a new concealed carry holster for a Ruger LC9.  One that would be light weight, but still sturdy enough to hold up and, most importantly, comfortable to wear.  I’ve seen several online ads for Alien Gear holsters as I’ve been looking around.

Honestly, my favorite holster is a Blackhawk Retention Holster.  But, it’s not an inside the waistband carry and therefore it’s difficult to conceal.  I have one for a Glock 27 but it doesn’t get used very often because of the bulk.  Anyone that’s carried a pistol in their waistband for any length of time knows that it can be quite the uncomfortable experience.

I like the Versacarry holster because of its light weight and small size, but it comes up lacking when it comes to keeping the pistol in place.

So, with that all said I decided to try an Alien Gear Holster.  They’re inexpensive, below $30.  And, at first glance it appears to be durable.  The back is a pliable leather, the waste band clips are steel and the holster is molded kydex.  Steel bolts connect everything together.  It’s very light weight.

I gave it the ultimate test for me.  Will it stay in place and not pull my shorts off when I’m wearing athletic style shorts.  Answer:  It passed the test.  Granted, if I was running, jumping, etc, then the athletic shorts probably don’t have enough strength to hold it up.  But, that’s a problem with the clothing, not the holster.  It was very comfortable to wear.  Doesn’t move unless the clothing it’s attached to moves, and held the pistol securely.

Obviously, I’ve got more to do to make sure that it’s all that they say it is.  But, at first glance I’m impressed.  Here’s there web page if you want to take a look:  http://aliengearholsters.com  .  One last thing, no, I don’t work for Alien Gear nor do I get anything if you buy one of their holsters.  This is just my opinion post.

Packing with PTSD

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

First, by packing, I mean packing for a trip.  Not packing heat!  Ok, so my wife travels a lot for work and occasionally it’s to a place where I can tag along.  This is awesome since I’m unable to work.  It gets me away from the house.

Packing can be an issue with the memory/concentration issues that PTSD can cause.  It can take me an entire day to pack because I keep forgetting, or obsessing, over whether I packed certain items or not.

I have used the Evernote app on my phone to deal with this problem and relieve the stress of traveling.  I created a checklist in Evernote of all of the things I need to pack for a trip.  I have one list for a normal trip, and one for a camping trip.  As I pack I simply go through the list and check them off.  Then, later in the evening when I start stressing over whether I packed something or not I can simply open Evernote, look at the list and see if I checked it off or not.  This saves me from the obsessive thoughts that cause me to eventually go back to my suitcase several times.

Never too late to make mistakes

Bullet ear ring

For various reasons I grew up believing that mistakes of any size were unacceptable.  I do mean unacceptable.  This belief continued to follow me into adulthood.  In fact it was enforced even more in adulthood.  As a soldier and police officer mistakes could make the difference between life and death.  Come to think of it, it was the same at times when I was a child.

I’ve recently started making jewelry out of my bullet casings that I collect after I go to the shooting range.  I was asked to make a set of ear rings for my cousin for her wedding.  They needed to have a rather specific, rustic look.  I gathered the parts and went to work.  I used some rub n buff on the them for a more antique look.  As I was rubbing off the excess, some of the color I had just applied started to come off in patches.  I thought they were ruined.  I knew I had just screwed them up and these were the only parts I had for this specific pair.

Disappointed as I was in myself, I went ahead and sent them to her with my apologies.  I let her know that I would not be offended if she got rid of them.  How wrong I was.  She got them today and loved them.  She took no time to post them to Facebook and say how excited she was with them.

I’m in my 40’s now and I’m learning that mistakes can be ok.  Sometimes what we perceive as a horrific error can turn out to be just what was needed.

Are you a God hunter?

What's Opera, Doc? (1957) is the only Bugs Bun...

What’s Opera, Doc? (1957) is the only Bugs Bunny cartoon included in the registry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A God Hunter.  Sounds strange doesn’t it?  It brings to mind Elmer Fudd hunting that wascally wabbit.  But, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Like many well meaning Christians, I fail daily to be a God hunter.  Rather than hunting for all of the amazing things that God has created, all of the fantastic people, situations, and blessings He has brought into my life, I look at the negatives.

 

This may be partly due to the damage done by PTSD in me, but I feel that that is no excuse for failing to see the blessings all around me.  I’m not ashamed to say that money is an issue for us right now, as it is for many.  PTSD has removed my ability to work at a normal paying job.  But, that doesn’t mean that God has left me, or that there are no blessings to be found.  With God as my dad and me as the child, I need to go through each day like I’m on an easter egg hunt.

 

Remember those?  You and a bunch of other kids are suddenly release into the wild to find treasures that you know are there.  You knew they were there because you trusted.  You trusted that your parents and those in charge wouldn’t fail you.  You knew they wouldn’t bring you to an empty, desolate field and just send you out to find nothing.  They had as much fun watching your joy in finding the treasures as you did in finding them.  That is God’s relationship with you.  No, he is not hiding things from you so that He can be amused as you struggle to find them.  He has placed all that you need and more in the field of life before you.  But, the really awesome thing is this:  He doesn’t just stand on the sidelines and watch you try to find them.  He walks with you.  Holding one side of the basket, while you hold the other.  If we will relax and trust, then we can see all of the other amazing things that He wants to show us.  We can see all of the other amazing things, blessings, that he has placed in the field of life as well.  And then, in His timing which is always right, He will say “look! there it is! There’s what you need.  There’s the answer to you prayer.  I prepared it for you long ago because I already knew what you would need and when you would need it.”

 

Sound simplistic?  Yep.  But, that’s the point.  Although we all educate ourselves and then believe we have it all figured out, we do not. We are children of all ages.  And as children we need our Dad to take us by the hand and teach us.  We need Him to lead us to the next step in life.

 

Without Him, we are just lost children wandering an empty field trying to find to fill our basket when we don’t know the difference between candy and a snake.  Turn to Him today.  He already knows what you need and where it is.  He’s just waiting for you.

 

What is a gun free zone for?

lawsuit lotto

lawsuit lotto (Photo credit: Shira Golding)

 

My wife showed me a window sign from a store today that stated it was a ‘gun free zone‘.  What exactly does that mean?   Does anyone really believe that such a sign is going to deter a criminal that is coming in to rob or murder?  Or, is it just a legal statement meant to protect the store from lawsuits in the case of a shooting.

 

I thinks it’s the latter.  I really have a hard time believing that any company believes that putting a “no gun” sign on a door or window will stop a bad guy from carrying out their misdeed.  Who in their right mind thinks that a sign will stop a criminal?  There are already laws, police, and prisons for handle such things and crime still happens everyday in every place.

 

I believe a business or store displaying these signs is going for two things.  First, they are trying to cater to a specific clientele.  They believe that anti-gun people outnumber pro-gun people.  So, they put up a sign that gives an anti-gunner a false sense of security.  Or at least it tells them that “hey, anti-gun dude or dudette, we put up a sign.  You’re safe here and we’re on your side.  Now buy our stuff.”

 

Second, and probably closer to the truth.  A business puts up one of these ‘no gun’ signs to try to protect themselves from a lawsuit.  Here’s the scenario in today’s America:

 

A person goes into a store or restaurant with their child.  An idiot comes in to steal or kill and uses a gun, most likely illegally obtained, and pulls the trigger.  Patrons and/or employees of the business are hurt or killed.  It’s totally wrong in my opinion, but sometime afterward a family member of one of the victims will file a lawsuit against the business for failing to protect their injured or killed family member.  It goes to court and somehow a judge or jury decides that in the name of political correctness the business is liable for failing to provide adequate protection for its customers.  Unfortunately, these kinds of idiotic lawsuits are allowed to go on everyday for this type of situation and a million other reasons.

 

So, are these ‘gun free’ signs helpful to the public at large?  No.  They are a gimmick used for the reasons I stated above and no other.  The most unfortunate thing is that lawful gun owners, many of whom believe it is their duty to protect those around them, will not be around to stop an insane person from doing their evil deeds.  Gun free patrons of the business will have to hope that they can hide long enough for the police to arrive.

 

If a ‘gun free’ business were to say they are a gun free zone, and then hire more than one armed guard to be in the building during all open hours, then by all means put up signs to your hearts content.  Because the business has provided a replacement for a citizen with a weapon.  But, this is not or at least rarely going to happen.  If it does happen, you and I are going to pay for it with higher prices.  Again, this scenario is a win-win for the store.  They’re able to justify charging more and have reduced their liability to fraudulent lawsuits.

 

In closing, this is what I will do when I come upon a gun free zone.  I will take my gun and my business elsewhere.  If the business did hire armed security, do you really believe that they have gone out and hired the best of the best?  I think not.  They consulted with their attorneys and then hired the cheapest security they could find.  After all, if they hired highly trained security, then they might as well take their chances with a lawsuit.  It might cost less in the long term.  So, do what you want.  If you believe that the political statement of a gun free zone is worth your life, then go for it.  If you believe that it is your right and responsibility to be prepared to protect yourself and those around you, then go to a business that actually wants you.

 

 

God is my co-pilot?

dog is my co-pilot

dog is my co-pilot (Photo credit: origamidon)

 

I don’t know why it popped into my head this morning, but it did.  I was suddenly thinking about those bumper stickers that say “God is my co-pilot”.  I’ve never really thought about this before, but God really pushed the issue this morning.

 

 

 

Why would God be my co-pilot?  That’s kind of like having no knowledge of how to fly a jet and jumping into the cockpit and telling the pilot, “move over, I got this!”  And then steering the jet off the runway and into a ditch and wondering what happened.

 

 

 

I don’t want God to be my co-pilot.  I don’t want to be the pilot because I don’t know where the hell I’m going or how to get there if I did.  I don’t even know how to fly the plane or drive the car.

 

 

 

God is not my co-pilot.  He is the pilot, co-pilot, ground crew, mechanic, re-fuler, and flight tower.  I am the flight crew.  It’s my job to pass out the peanuts when He tells me too.  He even provides the peanuts.  It is my job to wander up and down the aisle of life and serve those on the same flight path as me.  As i’m giving you your mid-flight snack, please don’t ask me where we’re going.  I don’t know.  I’m not the pilot.  The pilot gave me these snacks to give to you to show that He is big enough to fly the plane and provide for everything you need.

 

 

 

I, we, need to learn more than anything how to be ok being nothing more than a servant.  Just staff.  God will provide everything you and I need to do the job.  I hope you’ll join me as I stop trying to force my way into the cockpit.  Pray for me to be happy that God has allowed me to push the snack cart.

 

 

 

p.s. there is no coach on Jesus airlines, He see’s us all as first class.

 

 

 

 

 

Is God punishing me?

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in ...

English: Leaving traces on soft sand dunes in Tadrart Acacus a desert area in western Libya, part of the Sahara. Français : Un marcheur laisse des empreintes sur le sable mou des dunes de Tadrart Acacus, une zone désertique de l’ouest libyen appartenant au Sahara. Italiano: Tracce lasciate sulle soffici dune di sabbia nel Tadrart Acacus, un’area deserta nel sud-ovest libico, deserto del Sahara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Before you automatically answer with “God would never!”, please read the whole post.  I know very well that God loves those whom he calls His own in a way that human minds cannot fully fathom.  There is a difference between punishment and struggles.

 

We all have struggles at one time or another.  Sometimes those struggles look like they are insurmountable.  But, with God nothing is impossible.  To be completely transparent, my wife and I are going through some struggles right now.  The fact that I’m unable to work due to PTSD makes these struggles that much harder.  Basically, it makes me unable to help us.  At least financially.

 

But, I find that during trying times God uses them to continually turn us back to Him.  When I start sliding into the feelings of inadequacy and feeling trapped and alone, it is that much more important that I stop mid stride and look to Him.  Look to the only one who can save.  This is not easy.

 

When the tough times come, especially financially, my first instinct is to frantically start hunting for a way to fix it.  A way out of the corner I’m in.  And I usually start this harried process without a full dependance on God.  I’m kind of like an animal in a trap.  I run from side to side, front to back hunting desperately for a way to free myself.  It’s not until i’m totally exhausted and out of options that I stop, lay down and cry out to God for help.

 

This should be my first step, not my last dying resort.  My first move should be to go to God.  What should I say to Him?  Maybe just, “Father, I don’t understand what’s going on.  If I need to change direction or fix something in my life, please show me.  If I need to only be patient and wait for you, then please make that clear as well.”  And then wait.

 

That last step will be the hardest.  Depending on the desperateness of the situation, it may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.  But, again, not even in the waiting has God left your side.  Jesus is by your side each step of the way.  Guiding, comforting, teaching.  I won’t try to sugar coat this with some out of context bible verse.  What I’ll say is that these times bite hard.  It’s a suck place to be and often there’s nothing you can do about it.  Other than work on your faith and wait.

 

So, to answer the question, no, God is not punishing you.  No, God has not left you.  And, yes God will bring you through this in His time and in His way.  Which is always the best way.  Please pray for me and my wife as we are in the midst of another trying time.  Pray for us to have courage and faith, and most importantly that we will be an example to others on how to endure with God.