Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm At a Loss

If you would have asked me two months ago what I thought the most important personality trait was to be an effective police officer, I probably would have told you the ability to understand; to understand people, problems and understand how to resolve conflict. But recently since I've been on the street, I've been beating my head against the wall because I don't UNDERSTAND! I don't understand how a large part of our society will glamorize the basest elements of our culture, and then expect anything other than anarchy and unrest. Since when has it become a bragging point that you have been signed by "Ex-Con" records? (Unfortunatly, I am not making this up). Video games promote a lifestyle that if you were to emulate their characters in real life (which many do), you would be pushing up dasies faster than you can say "Snoop-Dog". But it's the lifestyle that I cannot comprehend. You put nothing but garbage in, and expect a rose garden to blossom. Your house gets shot up and you can't seem to understand why. I don't know...could it possibly be because your angel of a son is dealing crack from your house and owes his boy down the block some money? No? Well, maybe it's because he's gotten himself in the middle of a turf war with the dudes from across town? Of course you have no idea how it came to this. I mean, look at the wonderful example that you've set for him. Father? What is that? Work ethic? Sure you you can buy your liquor and crack. Discipline? He gets a time-out...some time out of the house where he furthers his criminal enterprise which leads to your house getting blasted by gunfire. I'm not the crispiest fry in the happy meal, but I see a pattern forming here.
I've been told by many seasoned police officers that this is a mental battle that I would be best to not fight. But I cannot help it. I have to understand. I feel useless to help if I cannot understand. They tell me, "Tim, you'll run yourself stone-cold crazy trying to understand why it is that we have jobs." But shouldn't it be easy to understand how the sounds of gunfire in your backyard should be considered abnormal? If you can't walk down the street without expecting to get "capped" (I had a guy tell me this just the other day), is it such a hard thing to realize that a lifestyle change is in order? I suppose my lifestyle seems just as abnormal to them as theirs does to me but at least I know with a fair degree of certainty that my house is not going to be riddled with bullet holes and I am not going to get "capped" walking down the street.
It's not hard to pinpoint the's really just a lack of leadership in the home. But what I can't fathom is why a parent would not have the courage to fight and not subject their children to this lifestyle, and also why a young adult would not become a transitional person and turn their back on a lifestyle that perpetuates violence, ignorance, and their ultimate demise.
I'm sorry Fred, I just can't let it go. I may never understand it, but I have to try.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"I Just Came Back From War"

I saw this video and heard this song the other day and I broke down. If you want to know what our heroes are eperiencing not only in the theater of operations, but upon their homecoming as well, watch this video. I don't think that I've heard the feelings of a warrior upon his homecoming better expressed. For those of you who have been follwing my blog, first let me apologize for your agony, and second I want you to watch this video and then read an excerpt of one of my entries that I wrote after I returned. After you do, I think you will understand how close to home this song hit. It is called "I Just Came Back From War", and it can be viewed here.

"We are warriors and have a warrior’s bond which no nine-to-five could ever begin to offer. I will miss the life of a warrior. To be able to place my life in the hands of another, and have his place his in mine. To fight side by side; our only fear being that we may see one of our own fall. We all have seen one of us fall, and none of will ever feel the same.We, in our own ways, are all scared. Husbands and fathers are afraid of being strangers to their wives and children. The single Marines are afraid of returning to an atmosphere of normalcy and relative serenity. We are all different men than we were six months ago. The thought of adaptation has become a collective, unspoken sore spot. The return will undoubtedly be easier for some than it will be for others but one thing is certain; we all long to return despite our fears. We all long for the lives that we left. Personally, I am apprehensive of the changes that my family has underwent since I left. My daughters know “Daddy” as a name and a voice that lives in the cell phone. My wife remembers me the way I used to be before war took a hold of so much of my mind. Yes, it’s ominous, but I long for it so much; we all do. I am still very much compressed. Crowds make me extremely uncomfortable. Eccentric colors give me a headache. Driving down the street is a completely different experience that it has been for the past thirteen years. I am sure that this will all wear off in the near future, but until it does, it will be an interesting time. I have found that I prefer to either be alone, or with the other Marines. People just seem to annoy me since I returned. Of course California being the most rude and intrusive state that I have ever visited (sorry Californians) doesn’t help matters any. I have had to literally ignore a few people simply because I wanted to yank them up.I've left one dream and entered another. It's hard to concieve how the life that I've lived for twenty-nine years could now seem abnormal. It's so different; I almost feel out of place, yet it feels so good to be that much closer to home. It feels akward writing in a barracks room as opposed to a bombed out building. It will defintely take some time. I've begun to notice how much my time in Iraq has affected me. I find myself still scanning roadsides, finding a corner in a crowded area and staring at people a bit more than I should. And as I expected, I can't bring myself to watch the news and see the Marines, my brothers, still fighting over there. I am just taking it all in right now and hoping that the sense of normalcy returns soon."