Another Hit From The First Responder Reading List

You may have noticed my recent string of books. Yes, it’s been a busy summer in the studio. The latest dropped today on Audible. 

I met Rabbi Cary Friedman (the author) almost two years ago in  a training class for Navigating Adversity. We hit it off right away. His work is excellent, and I knew I had to do the audio book. 

Today that is a reality. SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT  is now live on Audible. If you know a cop, are a cop, or care about cops this book is a great read!



The noble “calling” that once meant everything to you—has it become the burdensome “job” you can’t wait to get free of?

Have you lost your idealism?  

Do you wish you could recharge your batteries but you don’t know how?  

Would the idealistic recruit you used to be recognize the bitter, angry veteran you’ve become?

The career of policing is the most demanding there is. Cops confront situations that challenge some of their most deeply cherished notions and beliefs. A cop faces incredibly daunting tasks every second s/he wears that heavy badge. Many lose faith. They forget the ideals that brought them to the career. They no longer believe in God, in people, and, most importantly, in themselves. These challenges and disappointments are almost always spiritual in nature. 

Policing is a spiritual vocation. It’s a common phenomenon that the same families produce cops and clergy in abundance. The two careers are expressions of the same basic instinct—a desire to live for something higher, to serve an ideal, to minister to humankind, and to refine one’s character through a career of service.

Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement provides a solid, substantive foundation for nourishing the soul of the cop and replenishing his or her reservoir of idealism and spirituality. Jam-packed with exercises, tools, and insights, this is your one-stop practical guide to restoring inner peace and clarity. This book will show you how to:

  • Become emotionally and spiritually resilient
  • Understand what you truly need to heal your inner wounds
  • Find new meaning in the career
  • Rekindle your warrior spirit
  • Replace anger with peace, resentment with satisfaction

A “must-have” for all new and seasoned law enforcement officers!

Another Book In The Audio Offerings!

So, no post last week. This is because I currently have 4 books in progress. Well, make that three: Keeping It All Together: Building Resilience at Home While Serving the Community  by Dr. Renee Thornton & Rodger Ruge just went live on Audible.

Designed for the families of first responders, it’s the companion to the course NAVIGATING ADVERSITY: TACTICAL SELF-CARE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS.  

So, that leaves me with three in progress. Back to the microphone. One is done, awaiting approval by Audible. One is about 2/3 complete. The final one is in the early stages.

Thanks for your patience. I promise to keep them coming!


I Don’t Object To Rerunning A Good Post

Consequently, here is my 2017 post for Independence Day. Enjoy again.

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We celebrate our independence from Great Britain on July 4th. Big deal, right? I mean, the Brits are pretty cool. They have better bands, better medical for the poor, etc. So what.

To put this in historical perspective, Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, and the others all stood up and said, “Get out. Go back to England and take your tyranny with you.” Each knew they might be dead at the end of a rope for saying this, and that all their property would be forfeit to the King. They would leave their families nothing and die as traitors.

But these men, all of whom shared a vision, banded together and threw out the most powerful nation on Earth. How? Well, a lot of them had guns. The kind of guns that the opponents of the Second Amendment won’t acknowledge: privately owned guns. You see, a “well organized militia” at that time just meant that you couldn’t claim the protection of the Constitution if you were a lone jerk with a rifle shooting tax collectors for fun. Nope. But when you, and your fellow subjects, decided to become citizens and not subjects, that’s what the guns were for. Not hunting. Not even home protection. But your right to keep an oppressive government off of your back.

Recently, a very liberal friend of mine said, “I wanted to ask your opinion on this because you’re pretty anti-government.” I laughed. Then I thought about it some more. I am pretty anti-government. I like not having some jerk in city hall, or the state capital, or Washington, decide how many eggs I can eat for breakfast. Laugh if you will, but the Nanny State is already deciding how many ounces of soda you can buy in one serving. More than being anti-government, I’m anti-stupid. It’s just that the Venn Diagram of Stupid and Government overlaps almost perfectly.

Government should be far smaller than what it is now. The founders figured it would be good for collecting tariffs and organizing our defense. Not much else. Too many things are overly regulated by, and subsidized by government. The feds are the worst: they think that if it happens inside of the borders, they ought to have a piece of the action. Shall we explain federalism?

But for the Fourth, let’s go back to where it all started: individual freedom granted by God. Last time I looked, Nancy Pelosi and Orrin Hatch had about as much right to tell me where my moral compass is out of skew as Charles Manson and Ted Bundy. The second pair are better, only one is still alive. We, the American people need to vote these fossilized remnants of another age out of office. Term limits on every office. Once again, citizen legislators to represent the people, not their retirement check. Right now, the ensemble in most legislative bodies, as well as city councils, does not have the average citizen in mind when they rule.

I love this country. I have served this country. I will defend it if called upon again. I advocate no violence against any politician, but I do advocate a damned good thrashing at the ballot box in every election for every incumbent.

I leave you with a song that never fails to move me. I can still tell you where I was the very first time I heard it: University Avenue in Saint Paul, Minnesota outside a car dealership where I was helping my mom shop for a car. Enjoy it today, along with the freedoms so many have given their all to provide.

God Bless America.

Neighbors, Friends, & A Visit From Elvis

I’ve been waiting for a while to work Elvis into this blog. He’s my neighbor. What a great neighbor.

So as not to ramble too much, let me do this:

Elvis backstory:  Elvis is my next-door-neighbor. He has the spot to my left as I face the street. He lives there with his lovely wife, teenage daughter, a bunch of chickens and turkeys, two dogs, and more trees than you can count. Literally: he’s constantly planting.

He’s a refugee from Cuba. He was a political prisoner there. I have finally met someone who hates commies more than me.

Elvis took me under his wing from day one. We’ve shared a lot of time together, driven around together, and planted a lot of trees together. The first few he jumped in and grabbed a shovel. He showed me how to do it in sandy soil so that the trees would thrive. He almost never calls me a moron to my face, but I’m sure he’s thought it. Those few times I employed my internet study to arborculture, I’ve killed about 1/3 of what I did. He just told me how to fix it. No criticism, just a smile. 

I now have over 20 trees growing on the lot portion between my house and his. It will go to 26 in the next week, as it’s time to split out the plantains that have grown so well under his tutelage.

So, that’s Elvis.

Now, the other neighbor of the day: Gabbie. Gabbie lives “katty-korner” from my house. She’s a lovely young woman married to a fine guy named Alex. They have two dogs as well. 

Gabbie and I share a love: cooking. She’s way better than I am, and of Italian descent. That’s important because she blows me away with goodies on a regular basis. I’m top of my game with banana bread. I did, however, teach her deep water bath canning. We made a serious batch of grapefruit marmalade a while ago when my friend Carol was visiting. 

Gee, now you know about my neighbors. But the reason for the background is this: Both Elvis and Gabbie showed up at my door with multiple prepared meals when Kip got home from the hospital. 

Not the “hotdish” of my youth, but top-shelf cuisine. Dainerys, Elvis’ wife, prepared three amazing Cuban dishes for us. You can’t buy this stuff in a restaurant. It was out of a photo shoot in a foodie magazine. Delicious. Filled with love. 

Not to be outdone, Gabbie had three dishes as well. I was able to skate by with only cooking one day last week. It was a gigantic relief. The stuff Gabbie made could have come right out of Sicily and the mom-and-pop places I loved when I traveled in the Navy. Mouth-watering and wonderful. I froze the pea soup to savor this week: I was overcome with food and didn’t want to waste it.

This is why I love Florida and my neighborhood. These people look out for each other. There is a sense of family that I truly hope they sense in return.

I am richly blessed. And, to my other neighbors, I need to say that this isn’t an appeal for more food. I know you are all praying and that’s enough. If you bring food, I’ll have to throw out the stuff I bought at Winn Dixie before Gabbie and Dainerys cooked up a storm. 

Save it for the next time. The next neighbor. Maybe even me. But I know your love is all around us. I truly feel it.

Now, go bake a loaf of banana bread for your mom and drop by to visit her: that’s another story for another day.

72 Hours Have Passed: Uvalde. Some Thoughts.

For those of you new to this blog, welcome. For the people who have been around a while, I think it’s fair to say that I’m very much “back the blue” in my viewpoint. Hell, I’m an ex-cop who trains cops and other first responders.

I have held my tongue since the shooting because I was sure that additional facts would emerge. Let’s get the big ones out of the way (usual objections to my worldview) before we start:

I support the Second Amendment. Unlike the clown in the White House, all amendments are inviolable until you follow the process to change them. No on-the-fly-modifications are allowed. So, keep your hands off my freedom. AR style weapons are quite literally no more dangerous than your great-great-grandfather’s semi-automatic deer rifle he bought through the mail from Sears in 1908. They are “scary” looking, but not any different than form, and the function is unchanged. The fact that the period between 1900 and 1990 is remarkably free of mass shootings points to cultural changes, not “evil assault rifles” being in the wrong hands. 

Do a mass shooting and get executed. It’s that simple. Did you realize most “mass shootings” according to the current definition take place in large cities between criminals? The number of Lutheran versus Missionary Baptist rumbles is phenomenally low. It’s criminals doing this. Very few “good citizens” blow a cog and pick up a gun without some kind of warning signs. 

Red flag laws are an obscenity that will be used to “SWAT” innocent people who have created an enemy without scruples. 

The doors to the school were not secure. That’s the starting point. Increasing school security will have an impact on this kind of event. I work with people who are taking defense of schools into their own hands, and not waiting for the government. Wise people. But government schools require the government to step up and fortify the buildings. There’s more security at an ABBA cover band concert than most schools have throughout the country. That should be flipped on its head and changed. 

So, you’re probably wondering the point of this rant? At the expense of absolutely nobody, I hereby declare that any mass-shooter response that does not begin by taking out the shooter with available resources is a failure. The first cops on the scene, or an armed janitor or security person, should find and kill the shooter as quickly as possible. Don’t stop to render first aid, don’t establish a containment zone, don’t delay for even a second. Find the killer and kill them. 

That’s the policy of the best agencies. Speaking as someone who has worked in an armed capacity, or carried a concealed weapon since 1980, I hereby declare that if I’m on the scene, that’s my goal: take out the shooter. 

Yes, I might be killed. But if all my experience pays any dividend, it is that I have brains enough to do it the best way possible. People who are current in Law Enforcement are younger, better trained, and have better equipment than a fat old man with a handgun. But they’d better step up and do it as well. Failure to engage immediately practically ensures additional death. 

Will we have some cops shot as a result of this policy? Probably. But we know that victims will definitely die if we stand around for an hour and muster resources. “But they didn’t have a key!” Hey, let me tell you, they had a hooligan tool available – that’s a giant door opener of a tool. They could have bashed out windows in adjacent rooms and surrounded the guy and taken him out. They could have… well, the list goes on. Standing in the hallway does nothing.

The Uvalde force (I’m including all of the responding agencies) failed due to leadership and training. Individual officers, as evidenced by the radio traffic now released, were ready to go in. But they were awaiting the man in charge and his decision.

Chief, this is on your head. You did not train or command your force to protect the citizens. You proved that with your statement a day later that you were very pleased that none of your officers was killed. 

Bubba, that’s part of the paycheck. I always understood that part of the bargain. Every cop I know gets it. Why didn’t you and your force?