Friday, July 20, 2018

PTSD: Self-Defense Reality

30 years ago I experienced a combat experience. This was my only experience and it was intense for short period of time. Others have experiences that go through a long deployment. Either way, it has affected my life. I found out just recently that I could talk about it and so I’ve started late where most deal with it shortly after returning from a deployment. I only say this because it can really change someone’s life. The problem with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is that it is associated so often with military experiences. Combat is certainly a cause of PTSD but it is not the only cause. Accidents, disasters, physical attacks, and other things can give someone this disorder. Don’t ever forget that just because a person did not experience military conflict doesn’t mean they are not affected by this problem.
Unless you live with PTSD it can be hard to understand why an event from the past can still affect someone now. You may wonder why they just can’t “forget about it,” or get confused when seemingly low-stress situations evoke a strong reaction.
But for people with PTSD their brain actually changes. They don’t need to be told to forget about their trauma, what they need is support and understanding. To find out what else people with PTSD need from their loved ones, some who suffer with PTSD were asked what their family members or friends can do to support them.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “Don’t assume because I have PTSD I’m mentally weak. I’m actually strong. I have survived.”
2. “Just because I haven’t been to war, doesn’t mean I can’t still have PTSD. Keep that in mind.”
3. “Respect my space when I decline to do something with you I think will trigger me.”
4. “Understand that boundaries are important to me.”
5. “Help me make new memories. Focus on the present and finding joy, while being understanding of your symptoms of PTSD.”
6. “Help me ground. Speak softly. If I ask, don’t touch me. I’m trying to get control of it, but PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal trauma.”
7. “Understand this type of thing doesn’t find a solution overnight.”
8. “I’m accepting this as my reality. I’m trying to learn how to work with it instead of against it. Please try to do the same.”
9. “Understand when I don’t want to open up about the trauma I’ve experienced, that doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.”
10. “Try not to minimize my feelings or symptoms. They’re indeed real and not imagined.”
11. “Educate yourself about it.”
12. “Simply listen.”
13. “My PTSD affects every single part of my life. It has changed me and the way I view everything. Support, comfort and compassion is vital.”
14. “Allow me to talk about my past without saying, ‘Stop living in the past.’ A listening ear for the moment is all I need.”
15. “I had a new friend ask me what my triggers were so she could avoid them. She didn’t ask about my traumas out of curiosity, she actually cared and wanted to make sure she doesn’t do or say anything to accidentally trigger me. It was awesome.”
16. “Don’t tell me my coping mechanisms are silly or irrational. If I need to sleep with the lights on to avoid flashbacks, let me. If I need to lay on the floor, don’t question me. Allow me to be the judge of what I need. Let me take the lead on where and how I want your support. It may not makes any sense to you, but for me, it’s everything.”
17. “Understand that some situations are scary. I cannot tell you why. It’s just a feeling. If I am emotionally uncomfortable and need to bail, I am not being a baby.”
18. “Understand that my reactions to you or situations may have nothing to do with what’s going on in the present and everything to do with what happened in my past.”
19. “Believe me.”
PTSD symptoms are divided into four separate clusters, including:
1. Re-experiencing
Re-experiencing, or reliving, the traumatic event includes these symptoms:
• Frequently having upsetting thoughts or memories about a traumatic event
• Having recurrent nightmares
• Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again, sometimes called a flashback
• Having strong feelings of distress when reminded of the traumatic event
• Being physically responsive, such as experiencing a surge in your heart rate or sweating, when reminded of the traumatic event
2. Avoidance
Actively avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the traumatic event includes these symptoms:
• Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event
• Making an effort to avoid places or people that remind you of the traumatic event
• Making sure you're too busy to have time to think about the traumatic event
3. Hyperarousal
Feeling keyed up or on edge, known as hyperarousal, includes these symptoms:
• Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep
• Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
• Having difficulty concentrating
• Feeling constantly on guard or like danger is lurking around every corner
• Being jumpy or easily startled
4. Negative thoughts and beliefs
Thoughts and feelings about yourself and others may become negative and can include these symptoms:
• Having a difficult time remembering important parts of the traumatic event
• A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities
• Feeling distant from others
• Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love
• Feeling as though your life may be cut short
If you know someone with PTSD or someone who may not know they have PTSD support them and encourage them to get help.
My situation is mild in comparison to others. But I do recognize that it affects my life and those around me. I’m more aggressive but not violent. I sometimes experience sleep problems or nightmares. None of these things are extreme but one of the reasons for this blog is a little therapeutic for me.
Know that PTSD can be severe and if left unchecked can be dangerous for the sufferer. It can ruin relationships and keep someone in a miserable state. Seeking help is not weak but is a strong, positive choice. This is not an incurable disease. We get better.
As a proponent of self-defense especially with a gun, I am aware that the very act of self-defense can be traumatic. No one should have to go through PTSD but it is a reality of trauma. Be aware3 of this as you train. PTSD is a good reason to practice strong avoidance and de-escalation.
If you know someone who is suffering from PTSD be a help and support to them. You can make a difference.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The OODA Loop: O=Orient (Part 2 of 4)

Part 2
The OODA loop is the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel Joh Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level during military campaigns. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes.
Remember that the Loop is not a concept by itself. It is mingled with everything else: Situational Awareness, Fight or Flight, your past experiences, and your personality.
The Loop is not normally noticed in everyday life with things that are not as stressful as a life threatening experience. We all do it over and over many times a day. Knowing this gives us an opportunity to see it for what it is and try to manipulate it to our advantage from a security standpoint. The Loop is used in business and many other aspects of life but we use it in a defense/security view.
Again, OODA is Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.
Here is a brief description of the process.
Observe The initial stimulus triggers a response.
For example, you are in a dark room and a TV set goes on unexpectedly. It gets your attention and you look in its’ direction – whats that?
Orient Identification of Stimulus
Oh, that’s the T.V. and that’s the Seinfield show.
Decide Decision to Act / Choice of Action
I’ve seen that episode – I’m going to change channels.
Action The physical act of carrying out the decision. You reach out and change the channel to another show.
Let’s talk about Orient or recognizing the stimulus and moving to a place, mentally or physically, to where you can act. “If he does this then I’ll do this” part of the action. Planning is the key.
If you are in Taco Bell and it’s the middle of summer and a guy walks in with a hoody covering his head, then you make an assessment. ”That’s weird” you have observed. “If he goes to rob the store I’ll get behind concealment and draw my weapon. When I see he has a weapon I’ll shoot him.” Now you have addressed the Orient and Decide part of the Loop. You are now ahead of the game simply by a little planning.
Whenever I go to a restaurant I try to get a seat close to an exit and where I can see the entrance. In doing this I want to orient myself for a problem. I’m near an exit if needed. I’m facing the front door if a problem comes in that way. I’m trying to be able to skip the orient step in the event of a problem.
When our circumstances change, we often fail to shift our perspective and instead continue to try to see the world as we feel it should be. This is also called the normalcy bias. This the inability to adapt to reality because what you are watching (a man with a gun!) is not the way it should be. Some experience this with disasters or with their economic status. Being honest and being prepared can be your new normalcy bias.
Preparing by pre-positioning yourself, or equipment, or gear is manipulating the orient step of the Loop and possibly eliminating the step and speeding up your Loop process.
Being oriented to the threat is a combination of things. It’s physically being in the best place possible, but it’s also mentally being prepared and having a plan. By having a pre-planned course of action before the OODA process begins eliminates or removes two of the steps from the four step OODA sequence. And these steps can only be removed through training. Specifically, training designed purposefully to remove those steps. This is a fixed sequence of events and if this sequence is started or engaged, it follows through from start to finish. But going through each step quickly is what you’re looking for.
The two steps that can be removed through this training are, Orient and Decide, leaving only Observe and act. This effectively cuts the fixed time sequence of the OODA loop in half. Through training, both physical and mental, these steps are addressed again and again at ever increasing speed so that when engaged in combat, there will be complete and immediate action without thought. The phenomena referred to by trained and experienced operators as “The Calm of Combat.”
We are always in this Loop. But in reality, we should always be orienting.
Observation is important because overcoming the normalcy bias can be challenging. It’s important to see the possible threat or the actual threat for what it is as soon as possible. But the Orient step is the heart of the Loop. We create and destroy mental models as we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But we must be able to orient if the situation does not fit our mental model. Re-orienting until we are prepared to decide and act is the difference between a win or a loss. This is why orienting is so important.
Once we orient and move to decide we are taking an educated guess about which model will work. If we are in combat, that flow of information is very fluid so the change in orientation can be almost constant. In a defense situation it can be similar but not as fluid. Sometimes you are able to go from orient to act and skip the decide step.
The OODA Loop can be a very useful tool in training and in understanding and planning your defense.
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Monday, July 2, 2018

The 4th: Remembering Honor And Sacrifice

Two hundred and forty-two years ago, a brave group of patriots signed their names to a document that would change the course of human history.
These fifty-six men publicly declared their commitment to the “self-evident truths” that formed the foundation of our nation and which have continued to serve as a beacon of hope for all people around the world who have ever yearned to be free.
The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence is a promise among the signers, to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor,” and many of them and their fellow patriots did in fact sacrifice their lives and fortunes in service to our country. No loss of life or money could ever diminish the honor of these heroes, and it is that honor that we celebrate today.
Over two centuries ago, fifty-six men put their lives on the line to preserve and protect the freedoms that are the God-given unalienable rights of all free people.
This is a list of particulars of this fight for freedom:
•8.37 years was how long the war lasted
•80,000 militia and Continental Army soldiers served at the height of the war
•56,000 British soldiers fought at the height of the war
•30,000 German mercenaries known as Hessians fought for Britain during the war
•55,000 Americans served as privateers during the war
•25,000 Revolutionary Soldiers died during the war
•8,000 Revolutionary Soldiers died from wounds inflicted during battle
•17,000 Revolutionary Soldiers died from disease during the war
•25,000 Revolutionary Soldiers were estimated to have been wounded or maimed
•1 in 20 able bodied white free males living in America died during the war
•24,000 British Soldiers were killed during the war
•100,000 Loyalist fled to Canada, the Bahamas and England during the war
•45% of colonists fully supported the war
•20% of colonists were outright loyal to Britain
•3 million is the estimated population of America in 1776
•1 million is the estimated population of London alone during the same period
•$8 is the monthly salary of a teenage drummer in the Continental Army
•5 feet is the length of a standard Continental Army Flintlock Musket
•10lbs is the weight of a standard Continental Army Flintlock Musket
•1oz is the weight of a standard musket ball
•1,547 known military engagements occurred during the Revolutionary War
•10 was the age of the youngest member of the Continental Army
•57 was the age of the oldest member of the Continental Army
•6.5% is the population participation rate during the war, higher than any American war since WWII
•$151 million was the total American cost of the war
•$600 was roughly how much the war cost each American in 1990 dollars
•$0 was the amount George Washington was paid for his military service
•26 original copies of the Declaration of Independence are known to exist

Some might say that this was too much to pay. But can you put a price on freedom?

I’ve heard some say that this type of honor is dead. But that is not true.
Mutually pledging to each other lives, fortunes and sacred honor still happens today. I have several Brothers in arms that I can make that pledge to and they to me. We survived some bad things and they went on to be good people. I can count on them as the original signers of the Declaration could count on each other. Honor is not dead nor does it sleep.

This 4th of July as you spend time with your family and friends, pause to remember the sacrifice that was made, and is now being made, for us to enjoy what we enjoy. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

The OODA Loop: O=Observe (Part 1 of 4)

Many years ago in another life and another country I had this experience. I was with two guys transporting by hand as much 7.62 ammo we could carry to some other guys who desperately needed it. We were going through a series of high berms and walked almost right into an enemy patrol of 9 guys. If it was not for some situational awareness, I would not be writing this. My family is tired of me talking about situational awareness. They have heard it from me so much that they are really good at rolling their eyes. But because of my own harrowing experience, I’ve come to rely on situational awareness to save myself and others from their own harrowing experiences. It’s been said that wise people learn from their own experience, but Super-wise people learn from OTHERS experience. I’ve tried to teach others with my own harrowing experience.
I’ve written much about it and here I go again.
The OODA loop is the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel Joh Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level during military campaigns. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes.
The OODA loop works. We see that evidence every day when we take the same route to work, and don’t even have to think about it. We are barely awake, we’re thinking about everything else but driving, and we still make all the turns, and arrive to work in one piece. That’s the OODA loop having done its job. The Observation, orientation, and decision have been done long ago, as has the initial action (your first few drives to work). Now, the action can be taken without having to devote time or energy to any of those other steps. Another reason that I vary my routes to and from work. To not be so oriented so I will have to pay more attention.
The first “O” in the OODA Loop stands for “Observe”. This means you have to have your wits about to see what is happening. Otherwise the enemy will be in their “Act” of their OODA Loop putting you in danger.
. Effective observation is one of the most important aspects of keeping yourself safe, so it makes sense to find ways to be as observant as possible.
While not everyone can have amazing powers of observation, you can get a lot better and develop a talent for noticing what others don’t. Some key ways to improve your observational skills include:
Make mindfulness a habit. You should continually be alert to your surroundings, whether you are at work or otherwise. By training yourself to notice what is going on around you, you’ll become better at noticing when something is amiss. Practice makes perfect when it comes to spotting oddities and unusual occurrences, so the more you make it a point to pay attention, the more honed your observational skills will become.
Watch body language. As you talk with and interact with people, practice paying attention to their body language as well as the words they are saying to you. Doing this with people you know can be beneficial because you can start to see patterns in body language that can help you to assess people’s mood and intent.
The Israelis have learned to recognize that behavior profiling is the key to recognizing and identifying not only the potential of terrorist activity, but criminality and violence.
Unfortunately, in our country we have made the word “profiling” synonymous with stereotyping.
Due to political correctness, we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater in our efforts to avoid civil rights violations based on racial, ethnic, gender, age or religious stereotyping of individuals.
Yes, profiling if equated with stereotyping is wrong, illegal, and not useful, but behavioral assessment is a valuable tool.
What is valuable are behavioral clues that individuals display. These clues, if detected and further investigated, may lead to the probability of a future act of terrorism, criminality, or violence.
Increasing observation and critical thinking skills are the key and foundation to see and learn behaviors.
In other words, we need to rapidly observe and access the totality of circumstances as we study behaviors. When researching this area, it became apparent that there was little or no training available.
An important point that must be recognized: if you can’t see it… you can’t deal with it! Therefore, observation and cognitive skills are the most important assets we can possess.
It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of what we perceive comes to us through vision.
A long held false assumption is that individuals joining law enforcement or professional security have some innate capacity to observe unfolding situations faster and better than anyone else. In fact, the term “trained observer” has been bantered around these professions for years. Yet, where is the training?
Observation skills can be increased.
The ability to tell the difference between a cell phone, a wallet, a tool, and a handgun fast and with accuracy can make the difference in a wrongful shooting, saving your life or the lives of others.
Of course, increasing these skills is not the be all and end all to solve the complex problems of terrorism or violence. Nor is the ability to rapidly assess behaviors, but this is the ground work of critical and essential training that can and will make us more effective in protecting our own lives and the lives of the people around us.
Improving your observational skills pays off in making you safer because you can spot problems quickly and address them before they escalate.
Use Kim’s Game to improve your observational skills
The name Kim’s game comes from Rudyard Kipling’s book called “Kim” published in 1901. “Kim” is the story of an Irish orphan who grew up in India. Kim was being trained to be a spy by the government’s intelligence agency. This spy training involved many things but one was a way of improving his observational skills. To do this the trainers showed Kim a tray of gems and other stones and he was allowed to memorize them for one minute. After the minute had elapsed the covered the tray and asked Kim how many stones he saw and what kind of stones and gems they were.
This process has been adapted by military units and even the Boy Scouts as a way to train and improve your observational skills. According to Wikipedia World War I British Major Hesketh-Prichard developed many techniques in art of sniping, including the use of spotting scopes, working in pairs and using Kim’s Game to train observational skills, many of which are still used today by law enforcement counter-sniper teams.
The basic process is as follows:
It takes two or more people to play
Put twenty or more objects under a cloth or handkerchief
Allow the players up to one minute of time to memorize the objects
After the objects are covered again ask the players to list as many as they can remember
Change and vary the objects and repeat the process over and over to build memory skills
Advanced Variations
Remove or replace one object and have the players name what was removed or inserted.
Ask them to completely describe each object. For example in the photo above: What suit is the playing card? How long is the pencil? What does it say on the business card? What number is showing on the die? What color is the crayon? What is the brand name of the battery?
You can also use PowerPoint to show photos of objects or complex scenes from the real world to add realism to your training.
Use the game regularly to improve memory and your skills of observation.
The Observation part of the OODA loop is very important. It is the foundation of the Loop.

Semper Paratus
Check 6

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Legacy of Protecting Prophets

Yesterday was the 215th birthday of Orrin Porter Rockwell. There are many thing written about Port but I prefer the positive things.
How did Porter get so good with a gun? The guns of the time were not necessarily the most accurate, but porter managed to be deadly. In Missouri he found his young wife crying on the rubble that used to be their honeymoon cottage he vowed he would never get caught without a gun. Their cottage was burned to the ground by a mob.
Porter had integrity. After the Saints were expelled from Missouri, Porter was offered money and an early release from prison if he lured Joseph back into Missouri, but he declined. In return, Joseph blessed Porter that bullet and blade could not harm him, so long as Porter stayed true to his covenants and never cut his hair or his beard. Unfortunately, outlaws attempted to disprove the blessing by killing him; however, no one ever succeeded in gunning him down.
Porter never relished taking a man’s life. Despite unfounded rumors that he killed hundreds of men, his great-great-grandson points out that the true number is closer to 12. Porter enjoyed the blessing’s protection his entire life and eventually died of natural causes. He had a temple recommend in his possession when he passed, which leaves no doubt concerning how his ecclesiastical leaders felt about Porter.
Chancy Higbee again while in Nauvoo was being harassed by Rockwell and continually threatening his life. Nauvoo Sheriff Backenstos assured Higbee that he would be protected until it became apparent that Backenstos could not; whereupon Rockwell was arrested. When the militiamen disarmed Rockwell they found weapons enough in his stronghold to fire seventy-one rounds without reloading, plus an array of knives. The Sheriff finally convinced Higbee to leave town since Rockwell hadn’t actually committed any harm and had to be released.
Considering the autoloader did not yet exist, having many guns to be able to shoot 71 times tells me he was wise. He understood that 5 or 6 shots would not get you through a fight.
When the time came to go to California, Porter reached Sam Brannan's saloon in Sacramento to collect tithes, a great deal of which was gold which Brannan had levied against LDS miners for tithing. When Brannan flatly refused to surrender a single ounce of dust, Rockwell produced a hogleg as a persuader. "Sam, we come for the Lord's money." Upon hearing of Porter's success, one journal recorded, "When the fear of God has left a mans heart, that is when you send men like Porter Rockwell to drive the fear back in again."
As a body guard of two prophets Porter was a loyal member of the Church. At his funeral Joseph F. Smith, then an Apostle and future prophet, said this:
"They say he was a murderer; if he was he was the friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and he was faithful to them, and to his covenants, and he has gone to Heaven and apostates can go to Hell… Porter Rockwell was yesterday afternoon ushered into Heaven clothed with immortality and eternal life, and crowned with all glory which belongs to a departed saint. He has his little faults but Porter's life on earth, taken altogether, was one worthy of example, and reflected honor upon the church. Through all his trials he had never once forgotten his obligations to his brethren and his God."
I pay homage to a body guard of a prophet. There were several that deserve the distinction of offering their lives for the prophet. I am the Great (4) Grandson of one of these body guards and I am proud of this heritage. Remember Porter, defender of the faith.
(I’d like to include these body guard’s names with Porters. Allen Joseph Stout, Jerome Bonaparte Kempton, Oliver Huntington, Stephen Markham, Levi Hancock, William Somerville, Thomas Grover, Noah Thomas Guymon, Alpheus Cutler, Capt. John Snyder, Ira Ames, John Lowe Butler, Amos C. Hodge, Christian Kreymer, James Naylor Jones, James Allred, Lewis D. Wilson, James Emmet, Shadrach Roundy, John S. Butler, Samuel H. Smith, Edward Hunter, Return Jackson Redden, Larry Mullins and many others.)
Semper Paratus
Check 6

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Don't Raise Offensensitive Kids

In all the fluff of school safety debates I’ve read some disturbing things. Some parents, teachers, or faculty start talking about active shooter drills scaring kids or adults. My reaction to this is mixed.
My initial reaction is our family saying, “Suck it up cupcake!” Then I think about it a minute and realize not everyone is my family. I’ve spent my entire adult life working on military installations. I spent a decade in the military. I have several kids and half of them were born on a military base. They grew up with base-wide exercises being played. Not only that, my wife and I have been into preparedness our entire over 30 years of marriage. We’ve done family fire and bug-out drills. Also being a weapons instructor I taught my kids from the age of 8 how to handle and shoot guns safely. They know what gun shots sound like. We’ve also taught them other self-defense techniques and weapons most of their lives. We also talk to them clearly about scenarios and what to do in them. So they have had a different upbringing. I forget that.
We live in the United States of America. The strongest, safest country on the earth. We can walk most streets without worry about being bothered. But there are some individuals who want to change that. They want to do as they please or to disrupt this way of life with crime and terrorism. So because of these few, we must live a certain way. We must be prepared and vigilant.
Sometimes I’m not very nice. Sometimes I forget to be Christ-like. I have a problem with people who are scared by everything. I know that is an exaggeration. But I just think we need to have a little thicker skins if we’re going to live in this world. Understand that the whole world does not believe the way we believe and the whole world does not think the way we think. I do feel that, generally speaking, most humans are kind. We understand when we see a fellow human in distress because we’ve been there ourselves. There are many things to be aware of and to try to defend against. Learning the reality of that is not a bad thing, because I believe God wants us to defend ourselves against evil in every way. Spiritually, physically, and socially. To do this we must become more than a quivering ball of Jell-o hiding in a corner. One of the problems of the left, or liberal, thinker is that they generally, honestly want to change the world for the better. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. But it can make you care so much that you’re useless against evil. I believe reality dictates that we reserve the right to judge a little before accepting someone at face value. Usually you can see what a person intends within a few minutes, but until then, have a plan to kill them. This is the advice of retired General, and our Secretary of Defense James Mattis:
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
He did not say “Kill every person that you meet.” But have a plan… In other words, don’t open up and be vulnerable or show your vulnerability until you have a better idea if they can be trusted. This is where “progressives” miss the mark. In the process they teach their children the same. I’m not advocating scaring the living daylights out of your children, but help them to see that evil is out there, and you must defend against evil. If they have a small understanding of this, they won’t cry because of a loud noise. They will understand why active shooter drills are important. Just as fire drills are important. Fires can kill like an active shooter and are much more common. Yet we may not see a child upset by a fire drill. As adults we must educate, comfort, and prepare our children to be safe through whatever problem that may arise that may bring them harm. I’ve had people tell me that this kind of thinking is sad. Yes, it is sad. But it is the reality that we live in. I work on a federal installation. Security is high and only gets higher. Yet I understand the environment I am working in and that there are real threats to this nation. I’ve come to grips with this and know that we must be prepared and must safeguard this country. So I go along with the security protocols that accompany working on a federal installation. Kids should not be coddled. Being straight with them (maybe not blunt) is a truth they deserve. Shielding them is not the best if they can have some understanding. Most kids understand more than we give them credit for.
I am not saying don’t teach your children your beliefs. I am a conservative but not a Republican. And most of my kids have gone in that direction, but not all. The adults are influenced by what all of us are influenced by. They know how I feel, but they also know that I will not fight with them or cut them off from the family just because I may not agree with them. They have read and learned and made a choice for themselves. If you are a Democrat I may call you names. But in reality, I respect anyone who stands up for their convictions. I would also expect reciprocal treatment. You may call me names too because I won’t be offended and cower in the corner. But if you want your children to learn to give and be charitable, then please do so. If you want them to embrace progressive values then teach them. But whatever you do, don’t teach them to be a wimp. Kids are resilient and they can handle it. Do them, and yourself, a favor and teach them what they need to know to be safer than they are.
In the 1980’s there was a comic strip that was my favorite. It was Bloom County by Berkley Breathead. I love his humor with a political edge.
The star of the comic is Opus, a penguin. He is sitting at a bus stop with several people. One of them says to him, “Ya know…you penguin types offend me.” Then another guy reading a newspaper says, “Hey…I’ll tell ya what offends me…dirty words, that’s what.” The next panels have others telling each other what offends them. Then they all say at once, “My gosh…LIFE is offensive!!” and all run off screaming. The last panel has Opus looking at you and saying, “Offensensitivity.” This is a humorous way of saying all of us can be overly sensitive and offended. One of my favorite quotes applies to offensensitivity. It’s from Elenor Roosevelt and she said, “No one can offend you without your permission.”
There are some that live day to day being offended. Their view seems to be that everyone is out to offend them and so they are offended. Don’t be that sensitive. Don’t think that every statement made is about race. I’ve gotten to the point where when I talk to liberals I can be assured of being labeled a “racist”. I’ve finally decided that I will just tell them, “I am whatever you think I am.” I won’t be able to change their minds so I just “Embrace the suck.” I learn to live with the label. I will continue to believe as I do and I will try my best to be Christ-like. If that is perceived to be a racist or a homo-phobe or xenophobe so be it. You will probably not change my mind in a minute as I won’t change yours. So I say, I won’t be offended or defensive. I will do my best to not call you a yellow commie weenie. To be honest, I wish somebody would just tell me what they feel and not be so darn politically correct.
Having honest discourse would be a refreshing thing. I have an old missionary companion who seems to be quite liberal. I say he seems to be because my only real exposure to him is Facebook. I know Facebook is not always reality. But because I don’t want to damage what relationship we do have I have to hide his posts. I’ve tried to have some real conversation and dialogue but it’s Facebook. Internet arguments are a waste of time. But some real debate would be good.
The problem with being a snowflake is that they’re too delicate. If it were me and I were left leaning and someone called me a snowflake, I would just smile and show them I am not delicate. Being offended distracts from my point. It moves us away from my beliefs. I won’t let it so I am not offended. Can’t we all just get along? No, I believe we can be civil, but we don’t have to “get along”.
The whole point of this long rant is that I would hope that we can get away from this idea of not being tough. I said tough, not rude and idiotic. We should teach our kids that being prepared for this world and life is not being afraid. And can we stop having offensensitivity?
Semper Paratus
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