Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Notes About The Author

I am a warrior at heart and above all else. I am a person of action much more than rhetoric. I tend not to talk too much about myself and my beliefs leaving my writings more open to the readers' interpretation and ability to extract any value from their own perspectives.

However, there comes a time when some amount of revelation seems appropriate. I do not seek to brag. I seek only to grant some minor piece of insight into the derivation of my points of view.

First of all, my philosophy is my own. Yes, it is heavily influenced by a number of things. Philosophy being grounded in the study of life must come from life experiences, studies, and influences. If it is not, then it worthless rhetoric and emotive verbiage. So, if you are seeking my philosophical or theological inspirations and influences, you must read all of my works, this entire article, and know my entire life to create anything close to resembling a full bibliographic enumeration of references. However, this article alone may give you just enough of a glimpse to garner some minor bit of acceptance of the value of my words. That value is dependent, however, on your perspectives and thoughts. I no more control yours than you can control mine.

I have an education. I have studied economics, marketing, literature, philosophy, psychology, and civics. In addition, I studied and achieved a certification in athletic training, sports fitness, and nutrition that allowed me to be a personal trainer as well as an aerobics instructor. So, I am quite well rounded, well-read, and educated. My education is far from complete and may see its completion only shortly after my moment of death. There is so much in the world worth experiencing, investigating, studying, and pondering that wasting a minute without all perceptions wide open is inconceivable.

I joined the military at a young age. I enlisted in the National Guard in an effort to defray the fact my academic scholarship, like most academic scholarships, was not a "full ride". I do find it reprehensible that academic institutions give full scholarships to athletes while not supporting the true purpose for an institute of higher learning. Despite having an education, I found regular employment elusive. I was able to get hired and do jobs easily enough. That was half of the problem:  they didn't challenge me. I was bored. So I'd either drop my performance while chasing more interesting pursuits or I would challenge my employers in some manner that ended with my termination. So, after five years as a reservist, I followed the one job that held my interest -- The Army.

In 1991, I applied to transfer to active military service. I did close to five years as an infantryman in the regular army. I began to find the job not as mentally challenging as I liked. So, I decided to give the Army another three years to convince me to stay for a full career. Part of that meant the Army had to find another job for me. I ended up in the intelligence field. Since then, I have spent the last 15 or so years deployed for at least 90 days in each calender year. So, I have traveled, studied, and experienced places and cultures most people would never imagine. I was able to do a little of the standard tourism bit here and there. Mostly, though, I was immersed at some level in the reality of those societies and cultures. For some examples of the people I have lived and worked with/among:  Cuban refugees in Panama as well as the Panamanian natives; I trained the Hungarian Army after they officially left the Warsaw Pact and joined NATO; I spent time training with the Jordanian forces; and, on my final tour to Iraq, I advised an Iraqi Federal Police special battalion -- living and working with the Iraqi Police as well as spending a lot of time in contact with local civilians. I am not some naive couch jockey whose views are limited only to the rhetoric and narrow views espoused by CNN or MSNBC. I have been there, witnessed, and lived what they report and, more importantly, what they didn't report or are not even privy to know.

I have a bit of perspective on psychology. First, I have what they misnomer as PTSD. I prefer the moniker "Post-Combat Stress Syndrome (PCSS)" to PTSD. While a soldier on patrol who witnesses his buddy blown to bits or was seriously injured himself may have actual PTSD, PCSS comes from the constant immersion into a hyper-vigilant sensory state combined with an prolonged necessity of the "flight or fight" response in a continuous environment of life threatening propensity. In other words, even those stuck on FOBs were forced to constantly look for real threats and be ready to respond to things such as rocket and mortar attacks or suicide bombers infiltrating the post. If you think it near impossible, I refer you to the suicide bomber that detonated in the dining facility on FOB Marez in 2004, as just one of many examples. In four tours, I saw quite a bit. In addition, my skill set made me invaluable out in sector instead of just remaining on a FOB as many believe intelligence personnel do. My first tour was the invasion in 2003. We didn't have FOBs or improved, secure bases. I slept across the front seats of a HMMWV when not doing my job, inspecting perimeter security, driving, or being shot at. As stated, my last tour was spent on a team advising a Federal Police unit. That meant I was daily a potential target for insurgents, organized criminals, street gangs, and terrorists. However, like conventional PTSD sufferers, I did also witness a few traumatic events. So, more than likely, I do have both PCSS and PTSD. 

I also studied a bit of psychology and have a subscription to Psychology Today's e-zine. I have taken numerous stress management courses during my military career. These were not command directed courses but were college classes intended on giving leaders and managers in military and business occupations tools to mitigate stress in the workplace. In other words, I have some amount of education is doing basic level counseling and advice on stress. I know enough to tell somebody they need a break or outlet. I also know enough to tell somebody that they do require professional help. Another way of looking at it is that I know enough to identify stress and stress levels but also know enough to know that I am not equipped to provide any form of treatment. I can just offer some small amounts of routine advice derived from experts. It also means I have a pretty good personal toolbox of coping skills.

Politically I will remain a bit of an enigma to those with myopic views of history. I read the US Constitution regularly. As a Soldier sworn to uphold and defend that document, I find it irresponsible to not know what I am sworn to defend. So, I read it, often -- at least once a week. It is only 26 pages long. I am pro-choice. I am pro-gay-rights (as far as they deserve equal treatment under the law, but no special treatment). I am pro-military. I despise the seeming political belief that "freedom of religion" means repression of ALL religion in public venue. The Second Amendment does not state that any government: state, local, or federal; has the authority to restrict firearm ownership by law-abiding adult citizens. In fact, I believe that cit. amendment implies concealed carry authority without requiring a permit. I support the Tenth Amendment which states that there are no implied powers in the federal government. I believe that the US Constitution was established as protections for the citizens of our country to succeed or FAIL on their own merits, actions, or inactivity. That means that you are entitled only to what you earn, nothing more, and nothing less. So, I am opposed to welfare. On the flip side, I strongly support charity, as long as it is freely given and not stolen at gunpoint by some federal or state agency. Am I a conservative? some would argue that I am while others would say I am not.

I do oppose socialism. I am a veteran of the Cold War. I have witnessed, first hand, the oppression socialism creates and the evils it proliferates under the fraudulent banner of "public good and general welfare". The Ba'ath Party that Saddam Hussayn established as the controlling governance in Iraq was a socialist regime. Economically, I am a capitalist. If you call that evil then you call the discoveries and inventions of electricity, light bulbs, penicillin, Viagra, aspirin, television, radio, the internet, cinema (that means movies), the electric guitar, computers, automobiles, hybrid technology, solar energy, and refrigeration "evil".  I consider them great attestations to the capitalist system. As such, I believe that those in these industries who produce and improve and produce again earned every cent coming to them. That includes the CEOs and CFOs who manage the companies and insure that they do produce. Without them, the nugs on the factory lines wouldn't have jobs or paychecks. Unions are forms of socialism. I would prefer many factories got rid of hourly wages and paid by the unit produced that passed QC/QA. That would provide for better built products and reward workers for actually working. So, yes I am an evil capitalist such as the "liberal progressives" in Hollywood love to vilify. Don't let them fool you. They want you to redistribute the wealth of the upper and middle classes as long as it isn't THEIR money that is being redistributed.

I am also a martial artist. I am not some MMA fighter in some venue of sport competition fighting. I walk a way and a path. I am a knight-protector. I am a defender. I also do whatever I can to avoid physical conflict and to resolve conflicts. I fight first with my mind and spirit long before taking physical actions. I walk away from conflicts that do not threaten life, limb, eyesight, property or livelihood. Even the threat to property is questionable as some property is less important than life and well-being. Other property IS security and livelihood. I am mostly peaceful and laisez-faire.  I do not like conflict as it does tick on my "fight or flight" response. As a warrior, that usually equates to a fight response. My biochemical reactions to that inclination are not healthy. So, I do my best to walk away in most cases. I am developing my own system, my own art. I have had some bit of opportunity to test the basics of it on some kids and parents. I have no aspirations of opening a dojo and teaching for money. So I am not a certified instructor. I do not think I ever will be. However, for a select few students that find themselves ready, I will present myself and offer what I am comfortable in teaching. I am also a constant student and always looking for mentoring and instruction. I know I am far from knowing all I am capable of learning and refuse to consider myself an expert in anything other than my own art and style. And those are constantly evolving.

I love kids. I have wonderful nieces and nephews who I adore. I have a little girl in my life that is also amazing and a great living miracle. Though, like all kids, she can be frustrating at times, I mostly find her a joy to be around and treasure the moments with her. She is not my daughter nor do I have any illusion that she is. My fiancee is a wonderful mother who I love and adore. Family is very important to me. many believe that physical proximity to family is important. From the way my life has been, I can say that concept is false. I am close to my father and my siblings, though we do not live near each other. I know each of them would give everything they have, to include some organs, if they received word I was in need. They know I would do the same for them without hesitation.

I am a very private person. If you think I have opened myself up in this article and revealed all of who I am, you are greatly deluded. I am not an open person. those closest to me know I am not. Through all of this rhetoric, I have not told you much, at all, about who I am. Who I am is ever-changing; always seeking to grow and improve. The person I am at the moment I publish this will cease to be when the sun rises on the next day. I challenge all who read this to seek to do the same. Stagnation is death. I refuse to stagnate.

I am a warrior, philosopher, humanitarian, poet, author, dream-weaver, son, brother, patriot, leader, follower, teacher and student. I am me -- nothing more and nothing less. Who are you?