Posted in My Views On The Real World

It is over.

Being a Parole Agents is one of the strangest jobs in Law Enforcement,  you are tasked with getting to know convicted criminals, sometimes dealing with them for years.  We know a lot about them, what they do, who they live with, where they work and all kinds of other details.  These are details Police Officers do not have to know, Investigators might know superficially and Jailers know about only when those details  directly effect their  secure environment.   Meanwhile Parole Agents walk into these people’s home, talk to their mothers, paramours, grandparents and children.  We know full well what they are capable of after reading their criminal history, we might even have read their mental health evaluation, drug use history  and are familiar with their intelligence.  Furthermore it is not just one convicted criminal, it is a dozen or so over the course of day, ranging from serial DUIs, thieves, sex offenders, drug dealers and even a few murders.

This strange job is over for me, my time in Law Enforcement is at an end.  Parole Agent for 13 and half years, before that at a maximum security prison for 18 months (more than enough for me); before that I was in private security for 7 years, and after college the Army, doing three different jobs there, Infantry, Military Intelligence and finally Criminal Investigator.

That adds up to roughly about 28 years in jobs doing unnatural things.  You see taking away people’s freedom,  practicing to use deadly force on people, or being in on the planning of attacking other people is unnatural.

I fully agree with Lt. Col. Grossman’s book “On Killing”  where he makes the point that very few people are born killers.  Most people have to overcome psychological barriers to be able to kill.  I believe in that same vein that we go against our basic nature taking people into custody and locking them up.

 I am not saying arresting someone is wrong, I have never taken a person into custody illegally (well there was that one time in West Philly but he did come into our office and we let him go right away).  Arresting people is not wrong, in fact in many cases it is the right, it is very justified, and  a good thing to do.   But taking away another person’s freedom is an unnatural act.  We as human beings are free creatures, not built, intended, designed or created to be locked away, and taking away another persons freedom is an unnatural act.

So to my brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement know that these unnatural acts are taking a toll on you.  It is not as serious as taking a life, but it weighs on your soul/psyche.  Even the easiest arrest I have ever been on;  Art  Rothwell and I went out to declare a guy delinquent  at his approved residence, and guess who answers the door, the Parolee who immediately without a word exchanged between us turn around and places his hands behind his back and say ‘okay’ I am ready to go.  Even this is an unnatural act because no matter how easy it was I was still taking away another human beings freedom.

So know the damage these unnatural acts are doing to you.  Take precautions, examine the job you are doing, look at the big picture and how you fit into it.  Know both your importance and lack of importance in the world (it is sort of a duality of man thing).

I enjoyed (mostly) my time being a Parole Agent, I took great pride in attempting to keep the citizens of the Commonwealth safe, I also liked (sometimes) my interactions with the Parolee’s.   If you are a Parole Agent and did not believe in rehabilitation in some shape or form then you are in the wrong job and probably incredibly unhappy and should probably leave before you waste any more of your life.  I am not naive in believing that I changed any lives but occasionally I could give a few nuggets of wisdom that would set off a light bulb in their eyes, give a few words of praise when a convicted felon did something right or teach them a life skill that they somehow missed growing up.

The basic nature of the job did not change over the years, the circumstances of our employment did I can only attribute this to Pournelle’s  Iron Law of Bureaucracy, and as Forest Gump says “And that is all I got to say about that.”

So stay safe comrades, time for me to write my next chapter.   Be fair, be competent and realize there the only thing that is left at the end of this long slog is the people you love and if you can manage it they might love you back.


Sidebar:   One of the stories I told male parolees over the years was about the importance of fathers.

“I grew up with my father, he was home and a big part of my life.  Now my father was born deaf in one ear, so when he really wanted to hear something, or listen to someone he would cock his head a certain way and lean towards you.   When I was in my thirties I noticed I was cocking my head and leaning in towards  people the in the exact same way.  I do not need to do this, my hearing is very good in both ears, but I learned from watching him that if you really wanted to pay attention to someone that is how you listened. 

Then I would ask my parole’s about their fathers, what lessons they learned from them, and what lesson they were teaching their children not only with their actions but how they lived their lives.”


 

Posted in My Views On The Real World

A Roundup of 2017

Well 2017 is closing and my life progresses.

Accomplishments for the year:

53,519 words written and sent out into the world.

43,114 of those words were strung together to create some fiction.

2907 of the fictional variety expanded my Outfitters Universe

8,605 were of a personal nature  and insights into my day dreams.

1,800 words were paid for and are now owned by a periodical publishing company.

I like to think I strung some words together in a coherent and entertaining manner.  The biggest falsehood I created was Tending the Stones for the Lock, which was  an almost weekly urban fantasy story.   It is truly a first draft with not that much editing, and my plans are to eventually lengthen it (and hopefully improve it) into a full length book.   The most personal piece was probably My Personal Heaven about what I hope for after death.

On the book front, Primary Collision my next science fiction book in The Outfitters Universe.  I scrapped whole sections of it and started over again in some aspects which is working better, I had hoped to have the book completed by now but that just has not happened.  The book about my grandfather and his time in uniform continued on the research phase.

That is on the writing front, on the amorous faction of my life I am still single and unencumbered (Also un-Cucumbered , never liked them).  I have had some dates (with women!), had some laughs and good conversations, but nothing has stuck.  Early in 2017 I had seven (7) women approach me on Plenty of Fish, a dating app, I thought an old friend who is a hacker was pranking me but that turned out not to be true and it was just 7 lonely women who were interested in me at the same time.  (Very Weird).  The prognosis, the forecast, the prediction for my romantic life is still hopeful.

I still have the day job but hopefully in a couple of months I will be retiring from the field of law enforcement,  optimistically I will be moving to a southern state with a theme park and working in security and if that does not work out then maybe a bus driver or some other non-stress job.

What have I learned this year?   I have leaned that stripping away stuff that does not matter is a great way to live.   That my brain wants to create stories  and if I cannot see a fulfilling ending to that story then I don’t really see the point of continuing with the story.   Fulfilling does not necessarily mean happy, but at least interesting and meaningful.

I learned that I really enjoy whiskey and scotch and am developing a taste for the hard liquors, straight no ice.

A good year I am not walking away with tears in my eyes or a heaviness in my heart, just more knowledge, hopefully slightly more wisdom and patience and most of all a greater respect for kindness and that fear (fear of failure, fear of being insignificant…) is a killer of joy.

 

 

Just something that makes me smile.

Posted in Ameica's Big Game, My Views On The Real World, Outrageous Lies and Tales

The Genie and the Libertarian

 

Max looked over the dingy dented copper kettle, he noted the strange writing on it, he wondered how it got in the junk pile of  this old dilapidated cabin on this abandoned strip mine.  He shrugged and wondered if it was worth cleaning up or just throwing in the scrap pile.  Copper was going for about $2.93 a pound, not that this piece weighed more than a pound but every little bit helped in the scrap business.  He took his bandanna out of his pocket and rubbed it, maybe he could clean it up.

As soon as the cloth was swiped across the kettle a loud boom came from no where and everywhere smoke began to spew from the kettle’s spout.  Max dropped it and took a few steps back and promptly fell on his butt, that is when  a voice came from the smoke. “Who summons the genie of the lamp?” the smoke formed a cloud which then coalesced into a torso and head of a man.   The figure’s features got more and more sharp until Max could see he was  bare-chested, earrings in both of his ears with a very noble but unsmiling face.  The face began to look around and his eyes fell on Max.   “Are you the Master of the Lamp.”

Max shook his head blinked really hard and looked back up at the smoke and floating top half of the man.  “I am having a acid flashback.”  Max said out loud then shook his head again.  “That is not right, I grew up in the 80s and I have never done acid or any other hard drugs for that matter.”

The figure leaned over and looked at Max’s digital watch. “I see the age of science and reason still prevails, but have you heard the story of the genie of the lamp?”

Max raised an eyebrow quizzically.  “You mean Aladdin and the wizard with the booby trapped cavern?”

The top half of the man laughed, a big belly laugh. “I am in the presence of a an educated man.”

“Not really I barely graduated high school but I did read One Thousand and One Nights.”

“Good then you understand the basic principles of this, you are the Master of the Lamp, I am your slave to command, you have three wishes so choose wisely.”

Max raised his hand like he had been taught in class and Sunday school.

“No need to raise your hand Master, I take it you have a question well let me answer the most frequent asked questions and save us time.  No you cannot wish for more wishes.  No I cannot change the world or the past, I can only effect you, for example I can make you irresistible to women or rich or both.”  The genie smiled and winked at him.  ”Or like the last guy, he asked to be rich and famous, to say whatever he wanted and to be President of the United States.”

Max grimaced, so that is how the Oompa Loompa had done it.  Not with a deal with the devil but three wishes, he shook his head.  “Not my question but thanks for the information.”

The genie interrupted.  “Oh, you want to know if I can raise the dead, or make someone fall in love with you or perhaps kill your enemies.  Sorry but no on all three but I can make you a great undefeatable warrior so you can kill your own enemies.”  The genie said nodding enthusiastically.

Max shook his head no again.

The genie looked confused now. “Then master what is your question?”

“You say that since I found the lamp I am the master and you are my  slave.”

“Yes until I complete the three wishes then the lamp will vanish from sight along with your memory of me, the lamp will be cast to the winds of chance to another  location for someone else to find.”  The genie said as if this was common knowledge.  “So what is your command Master and please use the phrase ‘I wish’ that way I know you mean it.”

Max nodded understanding, then shook his head.  “I am sorry genie but I do not believe another person should be the slave to anyone else so I cannot make a wish that would be wrong.”

The genie raised his eyebrow.  “Excuse me?”

“I do not believe anyone should be forced to do anything against their will and I believe in a free exchange of goods and services between free and willing persons.  If you  are a slave that negates your freedom, I will not participate in the enslavement of anyone.”

The genie lowered himself down to Max’s eye level on the ground. “I do not understand you, this is your right, you own the lamp, therefore I am yours to command.”

“I may own the lamp, but that does not give me the right to take your freedom.  I will not participate in your forced servitude.

The genie scratched his head.  “So no wishes huh?

Max crossed his arms.  “Nope.”

The two stared at each other for a while.

“Anything I can do to change your mind?”

Max shook his head. “Nothing comes to mind.”

The genie put his hands on the cloud where his hips would be. “I cannot return home till I have granted your wishes.  So you must make three wishes so I can find a new master.”  Max must have had a confused look on his face so the genie spoke again.  “I cannot return home till I serve a hundred masters, you are my twenty-third master.”  The genie said matter or factly.  “You must make your wishes.”

“I will not.”  Max said standing up so he was even with the genie.

“We have a problem then Master.”  The genie said growing in size and his voice got deeper and louder and the smoke that made up the lower portion of his body got darker.

Max shook his head.

“You must.” The genie said towering over Max trying to intimidate him.

Max crossed his arms glaring back. “Nope.”

The two of them stared at each other, after a few minutes the two stopped and Max walked over to his nearby  ATV and drank from his canteen, he offered it to the genie who was watching him all this time.  The genie shrugged and floated over to him and Max extended the canteen to him, with that gesture Max had and idea.  “Can I make a wish for you?”

The genie looked at Max.  “No one has ever asked that question before.”  The genie said confused. “You would do that  for me Master?”

“Yes and please stop calling me Master, my name is Max, I am just a simple duck farmer out gathering a little copper for some cash.

“You are a duck farmer, I used to be a shepherd.”

Max nodded then continued. “Can I wish for you to be free?”

“I don’t see why not.”  The genie answered quickly grinning ear to ear.

Max stepped back and looked the genie in the eye.  “I wish

 

Just another piece in my ongoing efforts to examine my own libertarian/voluntarist/pacifistic anarchist world view point.

We Need a Monster

America’s Big Game

 

Posted in My Views On The Real World

Life, Training and Reactions

 

Waiting for the Parolee to come home and  a neighbor on the other side of the shrubs lights a large firework and the noise echo’s off the brick house and comes back at me.

I am twenty in Ft. Benning with Drill Sergeants Bailey, Carter and Smalls; all are yelling at us to get our butts down if we want to live.

My stomach tightens up and I focus on the conversation with the Parolee’s mother and he pulls into the driveway.  I do a breathalyzer, he passes and I drive away with heightened senses.

I am near the end of Infantry training running the grenade qualification with my Battle Buddy Josh Walton, we both score high enough to get the Expert Badge.

Next Parolee’s house, a trailer in a mobile home park, getting out of the car I hear fireworks a few trailers away.

I am still in basic training on the night infiltration course crawling underneath barbed wire an M60 is firing over head and artillery simulators are blowing up in sand bag enclosures. 

The Parolee is waiting outside of his trailer, his neighbor is firing off those fireworks that whistle then go bang. 

I  am twenty-six out running with Sergeant First Class Pavlov near the American Embassy getting close to the MASH Unit when mortars start dropping. Dmitri and I grab a Malaysian soldier who is standing in the middle of the road confused and we throw him in the nearest ditch with us on top of him. 

Talking to the Parolee he tells me about his new job and I am trying not to pay attention to the fireworks but I look down towards the tire of my vehicle wishing I was laying in the dirt smelling the black Firestone rubber. 

I am still in Mogadishu but out with Major Ellerbe the S-3.  I am riding in the gunner position of a unarmored no door Hummv leading the ambulances towards a few wounded members of the 2/14th Infantry on Operation Thor and Odin.  Cobras are strafing the other side of the open area, I fire a couple rounds towards a flash in a window with my M-16.  Our Hummv gets in a misunderstanding with a Malaysian Armored Personnel Carrier which flattens our rear driver side tire and hangs us up on a big rock.  The wounded are in the ambulances and we head back inside the compound.  We relax once inside the walls, then someone lets loose with a Rocket Propelled Grenade at the compound.

My insides are tight, my mind tells my body they are only fireworks and I am perfectly safe.  My body wants to get behind some cover and draw my weapon and check for threats.  I conclude the interview with my Parolee and drive away.   

 

I can only tell my story and this is not for sympathy, what I go thru with a few simple small bangs is nothing compared to what some of my brothers and sisters go thru all the time and not just around the 4th of July.   Please remember those that walk around all the time looking for a safe place.