Wednesday, February 20, 2013


There has been a lot going on for the last couple of weeks. All of which have created a lot of turmoil. Between the truck breaking down numerous times, my wife dealing with health issues, needing to get to Washington State at least long enough to renew my driver's license, it has been stressful to say the least.

Then I take the time to read some of the news stories floating around and I feel like I am in the world I created for my Shade character. Sheriffs in Washington State are being given the charge to inspect the homes of legal gun owners once a year. Did Olympia pass a law that would violate citizen's rights under the Fourth Amendment? In the same bill the state legislature declared all guns illegal that use a removable magazine. Every handgun other than a revolver uses a removable magazine. So did they just outlaw all non-revolver handguns? Some big city police chiefs are standing up to say that we should deprive citizens of their Second Amendment Rights, while county sheriffs are defending the right to keep and bear arms.  In reacting to news stories about these subjects legislators said that they had not done their due diligence on the bills. What is that about? Are they passing bills without knowing what is in them? If this kind of gut reaction legislating without knowing exactly what is being passed keeps going, how long before we find ourselves in the future my story has depicted? That was in the state where I live.

Then Colorado the state I grew up in has a Representative saying that women aren't smart enough to own a gun, or capable of determining if a man might be intent on raping them. Topping that the University of Colorado Colorado Springs published a list of ideas for preventing rape that was ludicrous. All of these things may seem silly, but they are the stepping stones on the path to the worlds of Orwell's 1984 or the Stallone movie Demolition Man where everyone is dependent on a totalitarian Government. In a way my Shade character was influenced by both of these works.

The more I see these things happening the more fearful I am that the future will look like one of the dystopian worlds depicted in a science fiction novel.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What makes the difference?

As I sit here getting ready to watch the Superbowl there is one question that keeps nagging at my mind. Like many who follow the Special Operations world, I was stunned by the news that Navy SEAL and sniper extra ordinary Chris Kyle was killed. What shocked me even more was to find out that the person who killed him was a young man Kyle was trying to help deal with PTSD. Personally I have always been puzzled by this condition.

How is it that two people can go through the same hellish conditions and come out so different. Chris Kyle served numerous tours in Iraq and by all accounts he was involved in every major battle there. Among his awards and decorations are two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, numerous Purple Hearts and who knows what else, yet by all accounts he was a committed family man who gave much of himself back to the military community. I don't know the man other than his public persona, yet every time I saw him, he came across as the epitome of a humble man. In my own life I have known and served with men who spent years in some of the worst hell holes of their generation. Many of them were straight forward about their experiences while others were haunted by them. Is there some secret ingredient that gives one the strength to overcome almost any trial that is put in their path?

There is no doubt in my mind that PTSD is a very real problem, and that it affects many who have suffered through traumatic experiences of all kinds. What I struggle with is how do we find the key that allows some to deal with the trauma and rise above it, while others are destroyed by it. I don't have any answers, I can only give thanks for examples like Chris Kyle and mourn his loss. I also mourn for the tortured soul who took his life.