Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Breathing: It's Not Just For Living Anymore

I was describing a few days of firefighting that I experienced to my kids and they asked, “Weren’t you scared? How did you keep going?” The answer to this is “I was scared beyond belief! But I was able to do my job because of oxygen. Air. I kept breathing.” I learned through helping my wife through all of our children’s births a good way to stay calm and focused. But how can you control adrenaline? You might ask. Easy. It’s called tactical breathing.
Special Forces, law enforcement, and UFC fighters use tactical breathing to keep a calm head in situations where adrenaline kicks in and tries to obscure their clarity.
You can learn how to run through your own tactical breathing exercises so that when you are in stressful situations at work, home, on the street, you are able to operate effectively.
Tactical breathing is a way to control adrenaline, stress, and anxiety caused by situations out of the norm. It could be when someone is injured, when you are in a fight, when someone breaks bad news, or when you are just having a horrible day at work. This type of meditative breathing is a quick one-minute trick to regain control of yourself.
More specifically, this combat breathing technique is used to control an adrenaline dump actually. It is something you have probably experienced several times in your own life. It is when a large dose of adrenaline is released throughout the body as a response to a stressful event.
That stressful event might be a car accident, a physical altercation, or a personal emotional occurrence where your ‘fight or flight’ mode has been triggered. So how do you control that stress response? Simple, you run your body through a short series of breathing exercises designed to calm the body and clear the head.
US Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman developed what has come to be referred to as ‘square breathing’ in his book “On Combat.” Basically it works like this:
• Breath in through your nose filling up your lungs and stomach for 4 seconds
• Hold for 4 seconds
• Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds
• Hold for 4 seconds
• Repeat x 4
It is called box breathing in his book because that’s an easy way to visualize this breathing technique. You are essentially breathing in a box shape by figuring each of the four seconds as one side of the box. After each round, you should have completed one box breath.

When the body enters a stressful scenario, the body becomes chemically aroused to the point where it can cloud your judgment and often automatically control some of its functions. To diffuse this, we can use breathing exercises such as box breathing to keep a clear, logical, head.
For instance, in a gunman attack, once we realize that we are involved in what could be deemed to be a lone gunman incident or terrorist attack our body undergoes several reactions. Before you even realize it, your body has transformed into a heightened state of alertness. As soon as you see something like this, subconsciously you are under stress. Your body has just released a heap of stored sugars, fats and your adrenaline levels are through the roof. Your breathing has increased rapidly, your pupils have just dilated and your sense of smell and hearing has just picked up. On top of that, your muscles have tensed to prepare for action. Your blood clotting mechanisms are activated and you are in survival mode.
So now what? The next thing you do decides whether you are stunned with fear, start running for your life, or you stay and assist victims or move to attack an aggressor. This is the fight or flight response and a very mental element of survival.
For military, law enforcement and emergency medicine professionals, this is where their training and the use of tactical breathing exercises becomes important to diffuse their own stress indicators before being able to assist in an emergency.
To overcome that automatically induced stress, you can go through your own stress management systems. This includes understanding the situation and what is happening around you by using skills in situational awareness and by automatically running through the primary and most important, being tactical/box breathing.
For you to practice tactical breathing, it allows you to approach a stressful situation with clear judgment and a logical thinking pattern.
And it’s not just for when things go wrong or whenever you feel stress. Try this technique. You will be surprised how well it works as a form of meditation and a way to relax the body, mind and heart rate.
Not only is this a hard-stress reliever for military and law enforcement, it is also a strong meditation method and covers the basics of what most breathing meditation exercises consist of.
The guys from the SEALFIT team use that same box breathing exercise they were taught in Navy SEAL training in meditation aspects.
When you work on your breathing techniques with meditation and breathing exercises, it can also have a direct effect on:
• Performance in exercise and concentration
• Thinking more clearly and quicker
• Making better decisions while under duress
• Practice more control over body and mind
This is a little thing but can make a world of difference. It also works well for handling pain. That’s why it was taught in La Maze training for easier birthing techniques.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Every Day Carry Basics

I was in Walmart the other and I got accosted. Actually, I didn’t have to draw my weapon and it really was not an attack on me. It was an attack on my EDC. I was buying some ammo in the camping area when a fellow ammo buyer noticed my knife case. He said he could never carry that big of a knife case. I carry the brand Nite Ize Clip Pock-its XL Utility Holster. My story is that I was looking for a knife case. For just a knife. I was a Boy Scout Scoutmaster and I wanted to carry a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. I looked at the knife cases that were available and all I saw were cases that I had to put my belt through to use. I didn’t want that. I wanted a belt clip. Nite Ize had the case for me. The case came with a loop on the side of it for a flashlight. I thought I’d carry a Mini-mag which I did for years. As time went on I wanted to carry other things. Instead of a Swiss Army knife I wanted a Leatherman multi-tool. Eventually instead of a Mini-Mag flashlight I wanted a tactical light. So as time went on my EDC evolved.
So now I carry my “suitcase”, the XL case with a multi-tool, tac light, tac pen and other items I think are important. This is what I was being attacked for, what I call my “suitcase”.
Everyone has an EDC. You may not call it that, but it is essentially things you have found useful to always have with you. Everyone is different. That’s how it should be.
Most people carry a wallet, keys, a cell phone, and a purse if you are a woman. Not necessarily a purse. My wife hates purses. She carries a wallet with a zipper pocket. It’s about the same size as my wallet. She used to carry a purse. But I noticed those purses were getting smaller and smaller. As our kids got older and she didn’t need so much she stopped carrying a purse altogether.
When I was in high school I played a lot of basketball. I was always trying different shoes so I started to develop some blisters occasionally on my heel. So I started to carry a single Band-aid in my wallet. It served me well. As an adult I cannot tell you how often I have used that band-aid on myself and others. I started to carry two band-aids because I didn’t want to be without one if I used the one and forgot to replace it. That’s when I learned about 2 is 1 and 1 is none.
As I said, everyone has some type of EDC. The idea is to design it well and to be prepared.
For those new to EDC or even those seasoned carriers who want to re-evaluate their current carry, here are some basics to consider.
Wallets - A wallet is a core piece of EDC. The sort of piece that you'll be looking for should have great functionality, robustness and style. Every piece of EDC should serve a purpose and a wallet is to keep your valuables i.e. cash and cards protected from the wear and tear of daily use. There are also wallet or “credit card” tools, knives, and other things that you can consider for your wallet.
Phone - No one will typically leave the house without their phone in tow and that's why it forms another essential component of a EDC. Your choice of phone should be based on your requirements and personal taste and from a functionality point of view. Today's smartphones are difficult to top because they essentially put the likes of a camera, flashlight, compass and even a wallet what with Apple Pay, etc right there in your pocket. Consider apps that will assist you in your preparedness. Everything from weather to shot timers are available. There are also some cell phone cases that may take the place of your wallet if you lean toward that way. There are many options.
Keychain - Another essential part of your EDC is the keychain. The primary purpose of this accessory is to house your keys, many people look for a bit more functionality from their keychain. There are excellent multi-tool keychains which adds several types of tools to your EDC. I carried on my keychain a P-38 can opener and a knife for years. I just removed them because I seldom if ever have used them.
Knife - A versatile knife is another piece of EDC that a lot of people carry because it offers solutions to various issues that you can encounter on a daily basis. Obviously, you should be carrying a small, functional knife as a tool for things like opening boxes, cutting cords and various other daily tasks you may be faced with. But there is self-defense to consider also.
Pen - Despite the digital nature of today's world, a pen should still very much form a part of your EDC because you can’t always solve the problem with a cell phone. Inclement weather or other reasons (a gloved hand?) might create the desire to write. Invest in a good quality pen. It does not need to be a “tactical” pen although if you can get some training in using a tac pen then it would give you more options.
When you're serious about your EDC, you'll put some thought into the pieces that you desire to be a part of your day to day routine. There are a number of tangible benefits to streamlining your EDC such as:
• Convenience - There will be many occasions when the pieces of EDC that you have on you offer a certain level of convenience. For example, you won't waste time hunting through drawers and garages in search of a screwdriver if you've got a multi-tool sitting on your keychain.
• Be More Prepared - Let's face it, none of us know what life is going to throw at us each day so the more you have at your disposal to deal with it, the better. Your EDC should be as functional and versatile as possible to ensure that you're prepared for as many eventualities as possible. So multi-tools are a great addition to any EDC collection for this reason.
How you carry your EDC has just as many options. I carry some in my wallet, some on my key chain, and some in my knife case and then my holster. You have to decide how you want to be prepared and how you’ll carry it. This will be an evolving thing and it should be. I follow a guy on You Tube named “Nutnfancy” and he carries his EDC in a small fanny pack. I like the room but I’m not sure I could ever wear a fanny pack. But I’m also not foolish enough to think that I never would choose a fanny pack. I just don’t choose that now. There are many itdeas and options out there. Do some research.
Be flexible because new or different items come and go. I’ve changed flashlights because what I liked stopped being made. I had to find a replacement. Like my can opener on my keychain you may find you don’t have use for an item.
I also broke a multi-tool and wanted to replace it. The model I was carrying was no longer being made so I had to find another that met my needs.
One thing that has helped is seeing what others carry. Sometimes you can get ideas from others. You tube, websites, and even Pintrest can be good sources to see what others are doing.
EDC can be convenient or it may save your life one day.
Also remember that knowledge trumps gear. Having a good, functional EDC is good, but having a varied and solid education in many things is much more important.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

What Is Your Major Malfunction? Drills To Help

It’s going to happen. There’s no way around it. No one or no gun is immune, and there’s no magic that can prevent it. At some point, your handgun, or another gun, will malfunction.
A semi-automatic handgun is a machine. It’s a simple one, but a machine just the same. It needs maintenance and requires you to do your part. But even when you do everything right, your handgun can still malfunction. The common and generally accepted malfunctions are referred to as follows: Type 1, a failure to feed or fire; Type 2, a stovepipe (failure to eject); and Type 3, a double feed. Type 1 is the least difficult to resolve, and Type 3 is the most difficult.
The goal of any training program should be simplicity and efficiency. In immediate action drills, the goal is to simply react to a stoppage or malfunction and clear it without stopping to look. Then you can think, assess and react. Time is not on your side when it comes to getting a handgun back up and running after a malfunction occurs. Therefore, we are going to cut out “look-think-assess” in our training and skip directly to “react.”
Type 1 mishaps
The Type 1 malfunction is commonly referred to as a failure to feed or a failure to fire. A key symptom is the dreaded click you hear after pressing the trigger. On the range, your immediate response would probably be to stop and wonder what went wrong. However, in the middle of a fight, a trigger press followed by a click would induce a response closer to that of getting kicked in the gut by a donkey. It’s that terrifying.
Common causes for a Type 1 malfunction are a failure to fully seat a magazine, which prevents a round from being stripped into the chamber; a bad round; or the operator’s failure to load the chamber. There are numerous other reasons why you would get a Type 1 malfunction, but these are by far the most common for a properly operating handgun.
To correct the Type 1, do the following drill: (1) Bring your shooting arm’s elbow back to your ribcage; (2) while keeping the muzzle target-oriented, rotate the ejection port clockwise toward the ground; (3) using the palm of your off-hand, with your fingers pointing up, sharply smack the base of the magazine to ensure it is fully seated; (4) using an overhand grip, rip-rack the slide like you are trying to rip it off of the frame; and (5) reestablish your grip and drive your sights back on target. This drill is often simply referred to as a slap-rack. This is all oriented to a right handed shooter. You will have to adjust if you shoot left handed.
Type 2 Blues
The Type 2 malfunction is often referred to as a stovepipe or a failure to eject. The key symptom of this malfunction is a dead trigger, meaning when you press the trigger, nothing happens. No click. No bang. Just mush. This malfunction gained the nickname “stovepipe” because, when a fired case fails to properly eject and becomes trapped in the pistol’s ejection port, it looks like a stove’s smoke pipe.
Common causes for a Type 2 malfunction are limp-wristing, or not providing solid enough resistance for the handgun during recoil; impeding the slide during recoil; underpowered ammunition; a broken or malfunctioning extractor or ejector; a malfunctioning magazine; or an overpowered recoil spring. By far the first two examples are the most common causes for a Type 2 malfunction, and they are basically due to operator error. This is a good thing because operator errors are easier to prevent and fix than mechanical failures.
The response to a Type 2 is identical to that of a Type 1: an aggressive slap-rack. The reason this works is that the next round to feed from the magazine helps push the stovepiped empty case out of the feed port. And with the feed/ejection port rotated toward the ground, gravity helps the case on its way. So, for the first two types of malfunctions, we only have to train in one response.
Type 3 Debacles
The Type 3 malfunction (commonly called a double feed) is the mother of all malfunctions, short of a stuck case or a catastrophic part failure that renders the handgun inoperable. In the latter two malfunctions, you need to start thinking Plan B. There is no drill to fix them without tools.
The key symptom of a Type 3 malfunction is identical to that of a Type 2: a dead trigger. In a handgun, a Type 3 is the result of a live round heading into the chamber when another live round is already there. This is fairly uncommon in handguns, but I have seen this happen more frequently with carbines like AR-15s, which feed from magazines that almost have a true double-presentation-style feeding system with dual feed ramps. Common causes of a Type 3 malfunction essentially involve either an extractor failure, a magazine failure or a stuck case. The Type 3 is difficult to deal with, so you definitely want to have a game plan to deal with it.
With a Type 3 you will start out with a dead trigger, and if your training kicks in, you will immediately perform a tap-rack as you would with a Type 2. But in doing so, you will then notice that the slide will stop short and you have what appears to be a train wreck in your feed port.
The drill for correcting a Type 3 malfunction is as follows: Without stopping to think or assess, (1) bring your shooting arm’s elbow back to your ribcage; (2) engage the slide stop with your shooting hand’s thumb and, using an overhand grip with your off-hand, rip-rack the slide like you are trying to rip it off of the frame; (3) using your off-hand, rip the magazine from the mag well and throw it to the ground; (4) while keeping the muzzle target-oriented, rotate the ejection port clockwise toward the ground; (5) using an overhand grip, rip-rack the slide three times like you are trying to rip it off of the frame; (6) perform an emergency reload; and (7) reestablish your grip and drive your sights back on target. Rip. Roll. Rack. Reload.
I have had this happen to me during a fire fight. My drive was to get another rifle. Thank goodness I was in a position to do this and there was a gun available. Normally there is not.
There are some things you can do to prevent this type of malfunction. First, keep your gun clean. Don’t forget to clean and maintain your magazines also. Second, use decent ammunition. Short of a mechanical breakage, these two things will help immensely in preventing any type of malfunction.
The goal of these drills is to train you to use the same motor response for each malfunction clearing. This means less thinking, more doing. The basic slap-rack should become a reflexive response when your handgun doesn’t respond to a trigger press. If that doesn’t fix the problem, immediately go to rip-roll-rack-reload. Remember, the goal is to skip over the process of look-think-assess and jump directly to react. With non-diagnostic malfunction-clearance drills incorporated into your regular training routine, you’ll be able to do this.
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Overwatch: Drill Of The Month For September


Sep 2018

Trifection (pistol, 9 rounds) Pat McNamara
Load three magazines with three rounds each. BC steel in line at 10y, 15y and 20y (targets to rear are masked by targets up front). On signal, engage targets front to rear, alternating sides (shooting around left or right of first target). Reload, shoot rear to front, alternating sides. Reload, shoot front to rear, alternating sides. 9 shots total, 9 hits for “GO.” Miss = NO GO

From Pat McNamara
Founder of TMACS, Inc
http://www.tmacsinc.com/index.html


See “Overwatch: Drill of the Month” page for more drills

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Myth Of Firepower and Winning A Fight

I am a fan of Clint Smith. I’ve never met him nor have I ever taken a course from Thunder Ranch but I like the way Clint talks. He is what I would call “Plain spoken”. Some may not like him because he uses “colorful” language. I don’t speak that way, but Clint does and I can tell it is something he has done for some time. I focus on what he has to say, not so much on how he says it. He did a short video a year ago or so that I want to write about. He called it “Continuity of fire”. It is all about ammunition. Many years ago I was called upon to defend a position. I was with about 15 other guys and we had a difficult time, but we succeeded. To be honest, all we were trying to do was to survive. Ammunition and water was all we needed for those 3 days. We had food and med supplies, and a place to sleep, but truly those two items were all anyone was focused on. We were grateful that there were thousands of rounds in that location. I don’t know what we would have done if we ran out. We were ambushed and were not expecting any trouble.
When you go to Wal-mart are you expecting trouble? The people in Thornton, Colorado last November didn’t. Yet three of them died without so much as a fight. Mostly we do not expect having to fight for our life. But in light of the world we live in, we should be prepared.
Rudyard Kipling said, “A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.” I don’t know about the wine, but I agree with the last two! I’ve never heard anyone in combat complain about having too much ammunition. So how much should you carry? For the average soldier on an average mission it was 210 rounds for their primary weapon (M-16). After my first firefight, and having access to a lot of ammo, I went into a fight with the standard 210 (7 magazines) + 5 which = 360 rounds. I also grabbed 70 to 100 additional rounds in 10 round stripper clips. I seldom went to the stripper clips. But I do recall reloading a few magazines a few times. I also had a Beretta side arm with 5 extra mags for that. I drew the gun a few times but never actually had to use it. So does that answer the question? No. I don’t think it does.
Nowadays I carry a Taurus PT-111 G2. I love the 12 round magazines. I also carry a spare. That is 25 rounds. I like that option. “Some say if you can’t get it done with 7 don’t get in the fight.” When I hear this statement I immediately want to ask if that person has ever been in a real fire fight? I feel I’m a pretty good shot. But there are many aspects to a fire fight. I want the option of more ammo. That is only my experience. Someone else may have their different experience or ideas. That is fine. One thing the gun world is full of is ideas. That is a good thing.
Many who have been in a self-defense event have emptied their gun. Then when asked how many shots they fired, they usually remember about half. “The fog of war” can make you act without really knowing what you are doing. This is why training and practice are so important.
Staying in the fight because you prepared is what you want to do. Avoiding the fight is actually what you really want to do, but if the fight comes to you, you need to overwhelmingly finish it.
Keep Your Head Up
How many times have you heard “They came out of nowhere!” Situational awareness often is winning half the battle.
Learn to Identify What’s Significant
Turn on your “baloney” filter. Most of what we see and hear is baloney, or insignificant. We have to be able to sift through it quickly and assess the real situation. Don’t be overly suspicious but see things as they are and if the threat really is a threat.
Have a Plan
The normalcy bias may say to you that what is really happening is not happening. We must be open to the fact that evil exists and sometimes it touches our lives. Training will help a lot. You view the world through a filter that’s composed of your collective life experiences. The more diverse your experiences, the more sophisticated you’re likely to be in analyzing and reacting to what you see.
Extensive and varied scenario training, like real-life time on the street, adds to that diversity. The more exposure you have, the more likely you are to recognize a potential threat situation and relate it to something you’ve already confronted and controlled in the past. You’ll have a greater sense for what will work and what won’t, based on previous results.
You can’t lock in to a detailed plan from start to finish. Also, you should not expect that whatever you do will be perfect. Aggressive action is far more important than perfection. But you should have in mind at least the beginning of what you will do, a starting point, when things go bad with any contact. Rehearse potential responses in your actual training and in your imagination.
Having ‘When/Then’ options in mind is critical. Your worst enemy is freezing, not knowing what to do because you haven’t thought about it. Don’t depend on making up a blueprint as things are going bad. The action may unfold so fast you can’t keep up with it. The creative part of your brain will shut down under the sudden stress load, and you’ll be forced to rely on what you’ve already practiced and muscle memory.
It doesn’t take much for most of us to become overwhelmed. During World War II, many soldiers froze up or didn’t shoot at all in combat. Or they fired into the air with “comfort shots”, making themselves feel “comfortable” by making their gun go off.
Scenario exercises that are progressively more difficult can help you learn to flow through your plan, moving smoothly from whatever you’re doing to what you need to do next to stay ahead of a developing situation.
Keep breathing! Hard believe you have to say that and practice that! It’s another important discipline you can develop through repeated scenario training. Holding your breath is a part of panic. When you don’t keep oxygen flowing to your brain, you can’t think very well. You want to be as clear as you can.
Don’t stop! Stopping and standing still (freezing) is a frequent reaction to scenario attacks. That is just the opposite of what you should be doing. To maximize the chances of a successful attack, a predator needs to get you stopped in a particular place. The longer you stay in one spot, the more likely his plan will progress to completion. The Army teaches “Shoot, Move, Communicate” for a reason.
Get off the X. When you sense danger, move laterally to the threat. When you move forward or backward in a straight line, your relative positioning doesn’t really change.
Keep moving until you’re behind cover, when it’s available. Your moving will cause your attacker to continually reset his plan (see articles on the OODA loop) and make you harder to hit.
If you’re driving when attacked, stay in motion. Don’t stop. Bullet penetration is much less likely when a vehicle is moving.
Use cover. Often those in a fight stand right next to cover and fire from there without ever moving behind it and getting actual protection. Standing beside a tree is common. Get behind it.
Always be aware of your nearest cover. That means something that’s big enough to allow most of you to get behind it and thick enough to stop bullets. Especially lower-caliber handgun bullets, which you’re most likely to encounter. Be careful and do some research. An empty filing cabinet won’t stop a bullet, but one full of paper may. Be very careful about what you fix in your mind that will stop a bullet.
Concealment. When nothing better is available, getting behind even something that probably wouldn’t impede most ammunition may be superior to standing in the open. Attackers usually will try to shoot around any obstacle rather than through it. Most bad guys haven’t really researched what cover is. If the bad guy hesitates to shoot because he thinks you’re behind cover, then it is cover in his mind.
Your goal is always to be as hard target as you can without compromising your ability to defend yourself.

Often we needlessly turn solvable problems into mountains. Running out of ammunition, stoppages, being wounded, they’re all just speed bumps. Get over or around them quickly and move on. Don’t count yourself out of the fight until you really are. Don’t spend time looking for excuses to lose. Get out of self-defeating thinking and focus on ways to win! Outcomes are often determined by who gives up first.
To win, you have to overwhelm the attacker with so much precise force that he can’t deal with it and he is defeated. You eliminate his options until he has none left but surrender, or running away.
Often this can be done without a shot being fired. That’s the ideal. Establish control early on. Don’t hesitate in applying your best justifiable force option to shut down resistance fast. Have more than lethal force in your bag of tricks. A less than lethal weapon can often stop a fight. Once you seize the offensive, don’t give it up. Stay in control and carry through to completion. The longer the fight goes on, the likelier you are to get injured. Don’t drop your guard if the threat stops being a threat. A strong finish is as important as a strong start. A threat can just as easy become a threat again.
Practice and training is so very important. A lot of people feel they don’t have the time or money. If you take the responsibility of carrying a gun, take the full responsibility of training with it.
There is a way to win a fight, you must find it!
Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn

Remembering 9-11-2001 and 9-11-2012

I was working the morning of 9-11-2001. I watched the first plane, Flight 11, go into the north tower. We thought it was an accident until Flight 175 flew into the South tower.
Shortly after the 2nd plane hits the United States airspace is shut down. The military was in Force Protection Delta. I’d never been in delta other than an exercise. Our country was being attacked. In the aftermath of all this Americans came together. People were kind and thoughtful toward each other. They wanted to help. Since that day and about a year after that people in this country cared about this country. The flag meant something. I believe 8 years of liberal attitudes have basically “trashed” this country.
President Reagan said on January 11, 1989:
“…The resurgence of national pride…won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge.”
I think that many Americans need a better knowledge of the Muslim religion and the people. Not all Muslim’s hate America. Some choose other things. I may be wrong but I believe there are things in the Muslim doctrine that are rooted in hate, but many Muslims do not abide them. Part of the problem is a Muslim extremist looks pretty much like everyone else. So how do law enforcement do their job? It’s hard but they do. Many Muslim people, or even some people who are perceived as Muslim, have been abused, terrorized, and treated quite poorly. Some were even murdered. That is sad and wrong. But the understanding should be there. I don’t understand anyone killing someone over nothing, but I do understand the paranoia. After the attack on Pearl Harbor many American citizens, who did nothing except look, or have a name, that was Japanese were treated similarly. It is horrible to think that could happen in this country but it has and does happen. It is unfortunate but I do understand. It is inexcusable, but I do understand.
My father joined the Navy in 1942. He was in the Navy throughout most of the war. While on his ship he had the opportunity to go into Sasebo, Japan as the U.S. occupied Japan. His ship was lead into the harbor by a Japanese officer to get into the harbor safely. He has pictures of this Japanese soldier on his ship. On the back of the picture it says “Nip Officer”. “Nip” is an ethnic slur. My Dad was as far from a racist as you can get. He taught us kids that people are created equal and that no one is better than anyone else. When I asked about the picture he said, “It’s what you have to do to kill another human being.” The Japanese were the enemy. To kill them it’s hard to do unless you consider them less than what they are. My Dad told me that if you considered the enemy as Fathers and brothers with kids and wives and a life in Japan you would have a hard time killing them. So they were reduced down to “Nips”. So the Japanese/Americans were mistreated, put in camps, and regarded deplorably. It was a sad time in our history.
Killing the enemy is not easy, even if you are justified by defending your country. The same goes for “rag heads” or “hajis”. That’s what they are reduced to.
Treating Muslim Americans badly is never good but it is an understandable response given the circumstances of 9 11. It does not make it right.
Neither is trampling everyone’s rights and passing a horrible law as the Patriot Act. We said “Screw the Constitution, we need to feel safe!” But as we know, we’re really not safer because of this suspending of God-given rights.
But the right to trample the flag and to call my country less than it is can enrage those who fought for those rights. I fought and killed the enemy under the flag that some so easily burn. It’s hard to watch others “get away” with downing this country that gives them the freedom to do those horrible things. Freedom is very expensive and we should act like it is. I know some don’t see it that way and I guess I can accept that. I’ll tell you what my opinion of those who do not respect our flag or country. I call it treason. That is harsh I know. But the flame of this country is the idea of freedom and a republic. That idea has lit the world for more than 2 centuries. Treason against this country and what it represents is not just a crime against us the living. Lincoln said that the ground of this country holds the graves of those who gave “the last full measure of devotion.” This is not just a crime against us the living, but a crime against the laws of nature!
I was twelve inches away from the trajectory of a 7.62 X 39 bullet that could have just as easily killed me rather than my friend. He gave what was called the last full measure of devotion.

On this day that we call Patriot Day let us remember how we got these freedoms. Let’s remember how many last full measures of devotion were given in those twin towers. How many have fought for freedom and did not get to enjoy that freedom very long. The legacy that they left us was one that we should appreciate. Those innocent men, women, and children whose lives were taken only because of hate. I don’t know what we’ve done as a people or a country to breed such hate. I don’t know why a religion would target anyone! But I guess it has happened even under the name of Christianity. Terrorism is a 100% failure. Not only do terrorists always fail at what they're after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they're against. They are never frustrated with their failure rate. Someone once asked, “Well, what do you call a society that has to just live everyday with the idea that the pizza place you're eating in can just blow up without any warning?” My answer to that is “Israel”. This is what they live with every day. The blessing of the U.S. is that we seldom feel like Israel. Sometimes I think we should act like Israel and be more security minded.

Let us remember those of 9-11, of wars, law enforcement, 1st responders, and so many others who have given this country their “last full measure of devotion.”


P.S.
A few days ago former President Obama gave a speech. I thought the fact that he was out of office meant we didn’t have to listen to another speech from him, but obviously I’m wrong. And so my ears are bleeding again.
He said this about Congress concerning Benghazi:

“Congress…Embraced wild conspiracy theories, like those surrounding Benghazi.”

There were many investigations of Benghazi. As usual they were a sham. I know personally how this works. There was an investigation of the Iran-Contra affair by the Tower commission, like Benghazi investigations, came up with a solution that was far from truth. Within that particular investigation aid to the Contras was stopped by Congress. That is a lie. I was at a small American Army made landing strip in Panama well after the aid was supposed to be stopped, and it was not. So, as a powerless ex-President who believes investigations ran by Congress or any other government entity would reveal truth, I know that they do not. Because of those impotent investigations the U.S. military was at a base in Panama and lost 4 good men to an attack. We should not have been there, just as help should have been given to the brave souls who did not survive in Benghazi. And our ex-President, who needs to just shut his pie-hole, thinks there was nothing he or his staff did wrong. He has his right to free speech, but should he have used that speech to bash his successor? A better person would have not. And then to bring up a sore spot on his “scandal-less” administration, shows me he is still the classless idiot he was while in office. If you want to know what happened at Benghazi, ask someone who was there. Not someone who supposedly is investigating it. Kris Paronto was there. He says these investigations are wrong, but we should believe those politicians over an honorable veteran. The politicians won. The President and the Secretary of State still have lives and incomes. Clinton even ran for President. Had they been honorable, they would have taken responsibility. Good men died because of their politics. And then the ex-President has the gall to talk about “conspiracy theories” surrounding the debacle. What a horse’s patoot. No wonder Kris Paronto said he wanted to choke the ex-President. I have the same feeling.
Remembering 9-11 is important because of the attacks on our country. But also remember 9-11-2012 where we lost more good people to terrorists. Remember regardless of nasty politicians who are only about themselves and their politics. Please excuse the rant.

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn