There is something visceral about a veterans emotional and mental state. It’s an aura of character which radiates of a veteran. It does not matter if it they served four years or forty. You can literally smell it emanating from them. It’s an intoxicant. There’s something powerful there. Not all veterans have that kind of pull or attraction to them. Some you’d never know. But for those of us who have been told we have a strong distinctive character and we accept it, there are things we all eventually experience. For those who are a veteran trying to understand their feelings after their transition after the military I recommend picking up Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankel. It’s a short easy read by a former WWII concentration camp prisoner. He’s a psychologist and was able to put into word his and his fellow prisoners experiences. I think it will touch some of your souls and hearts. It might even give you a peace of mind or help you recognize what you are going through. The following will touch on a couple of points made in the book.

Let’s start with the initial experience of a military person. You are brought from your civilian life, many at a young age, into a new world. You are indoctrinated with the creed and beliefs of your service. You are told to follow the rules and obey orders. Your life is structured. You get used to being told what to do. In one sense you are a sheep. You follow. there is no real leadership executed. Rank is awarded not ability but to having prerequisite courses and boxes checked off. True leadership peeks through here and there. Think of the supervisor, sergeant, lieutenant, captain which took care of you. Think of the drill instructor which you wanted to emulate when you left boot camp or basic. It’s there, just not as wide spread as those who have not served believe. And it’s okay if you disagree with me. That’s how I’ve experienced, seen, listened, observed, analyzed, reevaluated and experienced the military. We get indoctrinated, we get institutionalized. We have a hard time leaving the relative “safety” of the military. There is housing, food, a paycheck and clothes provided for us. There are freedoms we give up for that “safety”. We have people tell us what to do, what to say, what to look like, what to think. Dostoevski said “Yes, a man can get used to anything, but do not ask us how.” We get used to compromising sometimes who we are for the benefits of the military.

Now let’s take separation. There is the initial anxiety of the big change in our life. There is uncertainty when there was none before. We lose the majority of those benefits we had before. When we make that leap there is a little bit of regression. We sometimes go from that motivated military person to a not so outgoing and reclusive person. Many people who were used to the identification of being a certain rank no longer have that recognition from their peers. Some are unable to cope with this loss of status. Some merely shrug and move on with their lives as if the military never happened. Most hold onto some sort of vestige of their military experience. It may a uniform collecting dust in the closet, a tattoo of service affiliation, or even a photo on the nightstand of themselves in uniform. Regardless of how the person deals with separation a change does take place. The person is removed from a society which was small and familiar. There were rules to count on and people knew what was going on (though not always a perception of most service members). When we came into the military there was a set process to being introduce to this new world. Now the struggle is reversing that course and getting used to the old one. Or is it an old world? Many of us joined right after high school. This trend is going down with older recruits signing up well after they graduated. Did the high school graduates even know what being a civilian meant before they joined? Most lived at home, didn’t pay for rent, their phone, car and other things in life. They may have had jobs and even kids. Then we join the military. It is almost just like being at home. Everything is provided for you. You even get trained in a job. You get paid for just showing up at work! All you really did was change who were your parents. Some may refute this but let us take the following points. Growing up if you did not do a chore did you lose the privilege of sleeping in your own room? Now how about the military, do they kick you out of the barracks if you don’t do your work for the day? What about your allowance growing up? Was it taken away when you misbehaved? How about in the military? If you did not get your allowance did you parents say you couldn’t eat until you earned it? Does the military take your food away if you don’t show up for work? What this shows is a unique set of societal values influencing our youth. It twists us until we can no longer think for ourselves or even decide what to wear for the day without society’s approval.

Now when the service member leaves the service, how are we supposed to know they have a plan for their future? How do we know they have confidence about where the fit in society? How are we supposed to know they can survive on their own? Frankly upon leaving the service, a veteran is now engaged on a new search for meaning in his or her life. They may struggle or succeed right away. There are no guarantees for them any more. There is no comfortable place for them to fit into.

This is not a post to give those souls answers or some type of relief. It’s a post for those who have not worn the uniform and don’t know the struggles we go through. This a post to all who have questions about that bearded guy next to them on the bus or the single mom with a motivational tattoo showing on her calf as she pushes her baby stroller. This what they contend with. They have the same fears and dreams as you. For some of them though, their fall into the reality of being a civilian is a little harsher than most. They are human and just like you they are still searching for the meaning in their life.

It’s a Sunday afternoon. I am relaxing in a local coffee shop ruminating on the past few days’ events. Let me give you a little background before I continue. I live in Reno, NV. I’m a 14 year veteran of the military. I’m active in most of the local groups in form or fashion. It means I have exposure to a lot of lessons learned and lost of the years. Not surprising Reno has a large veteran population since it’s the second largest population center in Nevada. Yup, Las Vegas is the other, but that’s just fun information. We have a lot of funerals and memorial services every month. I don’t attend most due to school, timing, meetings etc. The ones I do get to have got me thinking. I’m sure somewhere in a previous blog I’ve walked this point before but it’s been a while and I feel the urge to readdress it. 

On any given Sunday, not the movie with Jamie Foxx, most of us get up in the morning, shower, shave, get ready and attend a church service. We thank God or your favorite deity for good fortune and you pray for little things like the promotion, your kid hurrying up and being potty trained, or the neighbor’s dog to stop tearing up your garden. You say your amens, Hail Mary, or what ever your choice is. You might stick around after the service for a social hour if they have one. You laugh, fuss at the kids, remind your husband to mow the lawn before football or just sit and listen to the local gossip. 

We all live in the present. We thank God or Jesus Christ for their past sacrifices. But do we look back and see what is really behind us? Do we sit down on Sunday, or whatever holy day you have and talk with family about our heritage and ancestors? Do we go through what has brought the family happiness in the past? It may be a marriage, a birth, or even a divorce. Do we talk with our partners through our relationship and identify areas of improvement and see what has and has not worked? Do we sit down with our children and educate them on the history of the local community, it’s lore and legend? Do we take the time to study our city, county or state history and see how our jobs make the big wheels of economy go around? Do we sit down with Grandpa Joe or Grandma Flo and hear about how the grew up and made it through the second World War? 

Well you may think, that’s what school is for. Or how about you think time with the grandparents is saved for the family reunion? Why would those things be important? Why would anyone write or blog about them? For the simple reason and viewpoint of this author. We as Americans are losing what it means to be a citizen. We are losing what community really is. We don’t want history lessons, we want the new fashion now before anyone else has it. We want to grab the gossip from the latest dingbat celebrity off their horrible television show. We’ve become so distracted we have no idea what our kids are doing on a daily basis. We have forsaken our future by forgetting our past.

On a whole I feel this is true. Individuals vary and if the shoe fits wear it. But be aware of those around you. I attended the funeral of a World War II veteran last Thursday. Myself and 3 others from one of my veteran’s groups showed up. We didn’t know the veteran personally. We thought it was important though to let the family know that his sacrifices were not forgotten. There are those who remember, who honor and who strive for a better future. We aren’t any better than anyone else. We are just more conscious of what is being lost than others. It came as no surprise to me when the deceased’s grandson, near my age in his mid 30s, came up and thanked us for being there. A little while later during the service for his grandfather, he began to tell the stories of his grandfather’s service. He told of a man who was a hero, a Marine fighter pilot in the Pacific. He shared with those present how in the last few months of his grandfather’s life he was just beginning to hear the stories of life lived long ago. He said there were things his grandfather said which only made sense after he learned about his military service. The young man was proud, humbled and grateful to have such a strong person to point to in his lineage. He said because of his grandfather he found a new meaning in the word “family”. He concluded with “I found out more about life in the last three months with my grandfather, than any education I’ve ever had up till now.” I smiled, my comrades smiled and we nodded. We knew what he was saying, what the message was. 

Today, again, the same message was similar. I was the stand in Chaplain for a friend of mine wife’s memorial service. As the people gathered in and took their seats, I could see generations gathered. They were united by one person. There was no harshness or unfriendliness. All came to honor one of their fallen. As the service started and I began to read the biography of my friend’s wife, I glanced up and looked at my friend. He was smiling. His eyes were wet but he was smiling. Hearing the story of him and his deceased wife’s life together coming from someone else gave him time to reflect on all the good, the bad, the ugly and lessons and experiences gained along the way. You could feel a collective resonance from those gathered thinking about their fallen loved one. They were happy, though sad she had passed. They listened to the words of her life, the stories form others and they smiled. These were people who did not take anything for granted. They lived, loved and passed on what they could to those around them and their children. These were people like myself, my comrades who new to always remember and most importantly to always pass those experiences and lessons on. 

The point is too often we have a service, kick some dirt and move on with our life. We might have an annual memorial for our lost but we eventually forget. Maybe not completely but the deceased move further from our conscious thought. This is normal this how we cope. We saw we honor, we remember, we celebrate those who have sacrificed for us. But do we really? Do we take what they have taught us and pass it on? Do we apply it on our life? If we do and don’t pass the lessons on are we really honoring them? I think not. But that’s just me. Enjoy your day.

The other day in Philosophy we had a class debate. The class was divided in half. One half had to defend why the continual attainment of  more and more wealth was the best thing someone could do with their life. The other half had to defend why the pursuit of wisdom and virtue was the best thing someone could do with their life. Obviously here when we look at the span of someone’s life we automatically think “Well you need some money to make wisdom and virtue easier to seek.” Okay Let’s disabuse this notion. The wealth we are talking about is above and beyond what people could ever hope to possibly use for themselves. We see this with old money. The Vanderbuilts, Kennedys and so forth. 

Let’s set the stage for the characters for this debate. My college is a private one. Annual tuition runs around 28 thousand per student. The majority of my classmates come from affluent families. I’m not one of those. My military service has earned me my place. The majority of the student body are liberal free thinkers trying to make something good with their lives and give back to those around them. So with this in mind we set off on our debate.

The wealth debate: “Monetary wealth is quintessential for the betterment of the person as a whole and a good life. Wealth buys a better education, a better home, better medicine, etc. With this wealth I’m able to pursue philanthropy and assist those less fortunate. I’ve got the ability to take trips across the world and enrich my mind. I don’t have the normal stress of bill collectors knocking at my door. My children will not have to deal with needless hardships. They can be raised with a piece of mind to pursue what their hearts desire. My wealth invested drives capitalism. It gives everyone a chance to earn their own and become as successful as I am. Yes monetary wealth is the key to life.”

The wisdom and virtue debate: “Virtue and wisdom are the essences of a good life. Living your life with virtue, as in honoring your family and taking care of the less fortunate, will fill you with happiness. The little things in life is what makes it worth while. Money is a distraction. It cannot buy walking the beach with my child’s hand in mine at sunset looking for seashells. Wisdom can enlighten me on the best ways to hunt and forage for food if I’m not living within the city realm of concrete jungles. Wisdom let sme know what plants can help sooth a toothache and I don’t have to pay scraps of useless papers to some doctor. Wasting my time waiting for medication I could be making while telling a story to my children. With regards to virtue, if I’m warm during the winter and come across someone struggling with the cold, why not give them my extra pair of gloves when I have pockets? Should he or she suffer because they weren’t as prosperous as I was. Why not help those around me? Does that not help us in the long run? Yes virtue makes good people and wisdom enriches their lives. That is the only way.”

My questions to my readers is this, what path do you walk and why?

This evening I had an interesting conversation with my mother. She called to talk to me about family events going on in her part of the world and our dialogue turned toward’s my grandfather’s service in the navy. Now I knew my grandfather was a little bit of a hell raiser in the service. What I did not know was he served in the Pacific theater during World War II. What was even more surprising than this was the fact he was “Sectioned 8″ out. Now this was a discharge due to mental instability. I had no clue. I only knew the one tale I had heard growing up. He was quiet and soft spoken. He had my grandmother, two children (including my mom), and two golden retrievers he loved. I never took him, in the 12 years I knew him, to be a veteran who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and possibly other  mental conditions. My mother said she woke up one night and my grandfather was hallucinating and choking my grandmother with his bare hands. He thought she was an enemy soldier. The old guy apparently was never able to fully cope with what he was going through.

I wish I had known this earlier when I came back from Iraq. 

My ex wife and I went through a period in which I was physical in my sleep. I was told I threw a couple punches but never connected. She worked nights. A couple times she honestly made me flip a switch. When she came home sometimes she would crawl into bed and try to curl up behind me. When she wrapped an arm around me and kissed my neck I instantly woke up with the intentions of hurting whoever was trying to choke me. Surprise! Just the wife being lovey. Talk about feeling ashamed. Luckily for us that was as far as my physical reactions went. Years later I have heard a multitude of stories from various friends, colleagues, acquaintances, coworkers, etc of similar symptoms. 

Currently there is a campaign by various veterans and supporting organizations to get the VA to be able to help those who’ve served over the last decade and a half. This includes physical and mental rehabilitative services. Unfortunately this is only a small portion of the American population. There have been for the last 40 years a movement by the Vietnam Veterans to also be included for treatment. This has been helped by my generation’s suffering but only on a small scale. In World War I through Desert Storm the popular statement was “shell shocked”. Only in the past decade has post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) been explored and researched on a wide spread basis.

Now this is where we take a unexpected turn. Some veterans from all ages are unable to receive medical care. Why? It’s all due to their discharge. Its also due to the backlog with the VA. In a May 2013 article of the LA Times online, author Alan Zarembo quotes their are over 856,000 claims currently at the VA. Now with the first condition, their type of discharge, it seems to be a relatively easy thing to take care of. There is a review process to be followed to upgrade your discharge if you did not receive a Honorable Discharge. Unfortunately with the backlog on claims, this makes the entire system slow down. Veterans who have severe medical problems or have families to support are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Now the backlog is due to inefficient bureaucracy.

I am a disabled veteran. When I relocated to Nevada, I took several labor jobs to make sure I had enough money to eat and keep a roof over my head. During this time I ran into veterans of my generation who had this problem. One was an Army veteran, married, three kids, and living with his wife’s parents. He and his wife made roughly 1600 a month between the two of them. He had some physical ailments which he didn’t have the medical insurance to deal with. He told me he was denied coverage at the VA due to his discharge. Sounded strange to me. Well until I heard about Vietnam Veterans going through the same thing. 

It made me wonder, between my grandfather and those who are in a similar position, how can we as a Nation expect to heal if we only treat those who have a high enough discharge to qualify for medical assistance. Now I don’t know the statistics, all the regulations and policies, but I do see an alarming amount of fellow veterans suffering because of this. Being a disabled veteran frustrated with inadequate mental health care, I sympathize. What can we do for them? Will the stories be a driving force for us to stand up and do what we can to help each other? Will they turn into background noise and we fall by the wayside? What can we do as veterans to help each other?

I’m not sure but l won’t stop listening. I won’t stop lending a shoulder to lean on. I will never leave a brother or sister behind. 

 

There’s nothing more distressing to a veteran than realizing he’s been serving a government which supports no cause and cares not for what he sacrifices. Why would a veteran think that? Why would he feel so deeply unsettled about his sacrificed time? What does his life mean now?
If you’ve ever served your country wearing a military uniform, you know the feeling of belonging you get by wearing something distinctive not everyone can wear. You also know the sense of entitlement or feeling special. Why did you join? Does it matter? You did something good by swearing an oath, going to work every day, and getting out to continue other pursuits. Or did you? Have you deployed in defense of your nation?
Think about that last question. Have you deployed in defense of your nation? The military went to war in Afghanistan as a preemptive measure to kill or capture those who would do us harm. A pretty broad directive. Then we went into Iraq (theater I served in 2004-2005) for……actually I believe it was over falsified intelligence reports and a war mongering White House. Of course I could be wrong but no one has presented me any information to the contrary. This raises serious questions about the usefulness and use of today’s military. Don’t get your panties in a bunch yet.
Now if you’ve served you know your branch was created by a congressional decree, blah blah blah. Think about the history, tradition and lineage of your service branch. Think you know the truth? I won’t go into detail but offer you this link

http://www.fpri.org/footnotes/1210.200704.maslowski.creationusarmedforces.html

No, FPRI does not endorse this. I stumbled across this doing some research but it brought to mind things I’ve noticed within the military, my own branch of the Marine Corps.
First the MC birthday is odd. There were Continental Marines and then US Marines. I was a US Marine. The official establishment of the USMC was on 10 Nov 1775. The Continental Marines were disbanded in April 1783. The US Marine Corps was established on 11 July 1798. Wait what? You mean for over a decade I was celebrating a lie? Yes and no. Yes the official United States Marine Corps was not established on 10 Nov 1775. No if you look at it as a celebration of the first unit of Marines to establish the traditions the Marine Corps holds today. Now being to a number of Marine Corps Balls, around a half dozen or so, there is no mention of these details. In the Marine Corps initial schooling at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island or San Diego, there is no mention of this. Why? Why would a military service so hell bent on declaring its exclusivity and almost angelic service leave out that important part of its lineage? For the simple reason that the truth is not good enough.
Marines I know have served for 20+ years don’t even know that tidbit of information about the Marine Corps. What they and most past or current Marines believe is there is an unending line of warriors ready to lay down their lives in order to protect this country. Eh, sorry guys, but our warrior line took a little hiatus back in the day.
I realize most veterans who’ve read this far into the post will have a higher interest level to see where I’m going. Most will have signed off before then because I’ve questioned their reason for serving or the reason for their sacrifices. And also for the reason the truth is not good enough.
Why isn’t the truth good enough? Well what is the truth? I don’t have an answer for you. I only know what I think and feel. A) I served a government and not the people of the United States. B) The service (by service I mean those above me in the military) lied or misled me about certain things which could have kept me safer, made my life better, and helped my brothers and sisters in arms with more care. I had very few mentors who actively sat me down and said “Look, this is what the regulations say but this is how we do it here.” C) I don’t feel the military is the establishment we believe it to be anymore. It’s been this way since after the Revolution.
Nothing I can and will write will be full of pomp and cheer and extolling the virtues of those who chose to put on the military uniform. Do I believe this country owes veterans something? No. I think this country is so messed up it doesn’t know what it wants or needs anymore. I do know it is up to us Veterans to take care of ourselves and each other as best as we can. I realize there will always be sense of loss and sense of belonging with those who serve. Unfortunately the questions provoke more questions than answers for what those as veterans would like to hear.
As an old crusty Staff Sergeant friend of mine would say “At the end of the day, no one cares more about you than you. No one gives a damn after you’re gone. You’re just another cog in the wheel. Look out for number one. Oh, and try not to screw over number two, three or four. They might be the ones to make sure you don’t get your ass plugged by some commie. Just make it home so you can make sweet love to momma and have puppies. Outside of that what could you give a damn about that makes sense?”

    The world is racist? Seriously? I’m a white male writing a blog with this as the title. This seems so wrong…or does it? Let’s get past the stereotypes shall we? Or can we? We in America have unique problem. Now I say unique but this applies to other places in the world. I say unique because we like to think we are special. We like to put our society above others. So knowing we are a bunch of self centered narcissistic personalities let’s ask the question again: Is the world racist? 

    I believe it is. Let’s take a look at where we live. Asians in Asia, Middle Easterners in the Middle East, Europeans in Europe, Africans in Africa and Americans in the Americas. This is where our cultures grew up out of the history of the world. I know there are different theories about the spread of man across the globe but wait. We migrated to certain areas long enough for us to get different skin tones and other physical features. The groups had different access to natural resources. We segregated ourselves to start with at the beginning of evolution. The reasons are moot but we did. So does this make the world racist? For geographical reasons yes. For years the groups lived segregated. Anywhere they met after their development there was some sort of conflict. Is this because of how they differ in appearance? Partly yes. More has to do with communication. Wait…communication? Sound familiar? How about this phrase: “Don’t judge someone else unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” This means not to judge until you understand. How do we understand someone so different from ourselves? Communications. 

   Now people in the US blame slavery and religion and narrow minded people for racism. True they play a huge part. But are they the root problems? Now racism or xenophobia helped create in the world’s mind stereotypes. Evolution also helped. The Europeans (predominately white or caucasian) colonized most of the world. They had a good mix of natural resources and were able to jump ahead of other societies in their evolution. They became the standard of learning and standard of living to emulate. Always emulate the victor of colonization in some way and you will reach the top. I mean why else did they populate most of the known world? So now we have a standard to hold ourselves too, caucasian persons. So does that make white people bad? Ask someone in the US and you might very well get a yes. Whites were responsible for slavery and this huge religion called Christianity. Actually false. Slavery has always been around and is not endemic to just the Europeans. But here’s a catch. The victory or dominate society seems to write the history books. So Europeans wrote the history books until they came to the US and we had that little revolution. Guess what skin type the founding fathers were? Caucasian. So America’s history has been dominated by white persons. Is this bad? Well no. Okay now you’re thinking, this cracker writing this blog is totally racist. No. I’m not. I’m just putting out thoughts for you to ponder. Keep reading we will get there.

    The world created stereotypes. Over the years people have defined themselves by being different than another group. I define myself by being different than the rest of my family. How do I define myself? By being different than others. I also define myself by sharing traits with others. I love the academic world, I’m a heavy reader. I love the gym, I’m a gym rat. I love my motorcycle, I’m a biker. I am a military veteran. I define myself by different groups in different arenas of my life. This all makes up the whole of me, what I am and what I am not. I am stereotyped by certain people as a biker. An outlaw on the road. I’m no criminal, but that’s how some people see me. I fall into a stereotype in someone’s mind. I ride with people of all nationalities and ethnic make ups. Why? We share a common interest and I could care less what your ethnic background or color of your skin is. I find joy in enjoying my favorite activities with others. 

   Can we fight stereotypes? Yes and no. When you try to get out of one you ultimately fall into another. Let’s look at the “Black Bruins of UCLA.” I saw their video a few days ago saying how the “African-American” population is only recruited for their physical skills in sports. This may or may not be true. I’m not on their recruiting staff there. I will say they pointed out a few interested statistics supporting their view. Good on them for speaking up. But wait, didn’t they just stereotype themselves? Yes. In this case it is to help raise the level of “equality” of different ethnic makeup across campus. I applaud this and stand by them for this. This country has flaunted it is built on diversity of all ethnicities and a good mix of different “stereotypes” of people helps us be more empathetic to others and work towards a better goal for our collective self. This means everyone has different needs in how they achieve their goals or become better people. This thought or way of thinking has brought up Affirmative Action. Okay this is a dicey subject. Please clear your mind as best you can before you continue reading.

    The idea of Affirmative Action is a good idea, in my opinion. The methods of Affirmative Action irks me to no end. This is where things get blurred, stay with me. Now societies have developed different social classes. This helps enforce stereotypes. If you are rich you have different views on the rest of society and you have different privileges. The material world is a little easier for you. If you are poor you may constantly be trying to catch up materialistically or just to live from day to day. There are different stereotypes within each of these “social classes”. 

Notice I concentrated on the material world and social classes. How do you separate those from race in this country? You can’t. It’s what America thrives on, materialism. Look around you. Tell me it isn’t true? We distract ourselves from the larger problems around us with new cars, jewelry, video games, etc. That’s another topic for a different post.
Seriously though. If you were a black male or female growing up ion a impoverished area think about how people thought about themselves. Did they really care about family and making a better life or did they hide behind excuses about the “Man” holding them down. If you a white male of female growing up in an upper class area did you have the world handed to you? Did you feel like everything was yours and people who were different weren’t as good as you? Yes these are two huge stereotypes which immediately draw strong emotions from people. There’s a reason for this. Most people get emotional and forget logical reasons behind all this tension. Think about it. As soon as we have some sort of race issues we draw back into our self stereotypes and seek splice from those who are similar to us in some regard. If we naturally turn to stereotypes can we ever move past the “race card”?
This post is just to provoke thought. If feel I’ve crossed the line anywhere I could care less. BUT look in the mirror. See how you could help restructure our society to turn a blind eye to race and social class. If you don’t think you can then I have this green pasture for you to join the rest of the sheep. ;)

Yesterday we had a middle school shooting in Sparks, Nevada. Facts I am aware of is a student age kid came to school with a gun. He killed a teacher, wounded at least one other kid and then committed suicide. Today I walked into my Psych 101 class already emotionally charged from listening to the morning radio talk show discussing a man’s right to hit a woman (totally different discussion).  I will not speculate on the school shooter or the rest of that situation. What my Psych class talked about was of fundamental importance about our society as a whole. Every month we have a school shooting. Every month some kid takes out his frustrations the only way he sees he can cope with his life. Yes, a majority of these “child shooters” have some sort of mental disorder or cognitive disability which predisposes them not to judge things in the same way we do. Some of them don’t. Sometimes these mental “problems” are products of their DNA and sometimes from their environment as they were raised. Is there a simple solution to stopping this sudden trend in American society, which is quickly becoming a normal expected behavior? Everyone jumps to gun rights immediately why? Owning a gun doesn’t mean much. Having kids and owning a guns doesn’t mean much. So what’s the real problem?

Here’s my theory. As American’s we tend to blame others for our own short fallings. Usually it takes something life threatening or changing for us to own up. We have to lose something or someone we love. Me, I’ve lost a few opportunities with loved ones and things I’ve loved or amazing opportunities. Yet my former step kids still talk to me like I’m there dad. As a general rule toward our young ones we aren’t being parents like we should be. It’s not just providing a roof over their head, putting food on the table, and making sure they have tv, internet, etc. It’s the amount of time you spend with them its the quality of time you spend with them. Kids need structure, routine, and someone they can open up to. This doesn’t need they need to open up about everything. They are kids. They can’t properly express their feelings. Sometimes kids just need to feel that no matter what you are their rock. A study showed a baby monkey would rather go to warm fake monkey than the fake monkey with the milk the baby monkey needed. Think about it. What do your kids really need? When was the last time they told you about their latest crush or just sat down and watch the football game with you just to sit next to you? As America we, including me, we need to look out for our youth. We don’t need metal detectors and fences and extra security. We need more family time. That’s all. Just quality family time. Sound simple? Maybe so, maybe not. Chew it over, think about it. I could be wrong but every jerk reaction from the media and government hasn’t helped out youth yet. In fact its made it worse. Eh, what do I know…

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