Newsletter

On September 11th, 2017

On September 6th, 2017

On August 31st, 2017

On August 17th, 2017

On July 23rd, 2017

9/11

Fending for Myself

Firearm Ownership: 3 Things You Need To Know

#TBT

My First Post

Posted In:
Law Enforcement | Life | Military

Posted In:
Life

Posted In:
Gear | Law Enforcement | Life | Military

Posted In:
Law Enforcement | Life | Military

Posted In:
Life

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

It has been about 76 years since we, the United States, were attacked by enemy forces from Japan. Since then, it was approximately 60 years since we were attacked on our own soil.

I was born in September of 1990. When the attack on the Twin Towers and then the Pentagon happened on September 11th, 2001, I was 10 years old about to turn 11. I remember waking up that day to my mom shaking me. She told me what had happened. I found out after getting dressed for the day that a third plane had crashed into the pentagon. I remember my mom was trying to hold it together the best she could because my brothers and I were young and still needed her to be “mom”.

I still went to school. I was in 5th grade. That day there were quite a few kids missing from class. I believe there was only about half of us in class that day. We spent the day watching the news. Very little classwork was done. I was old enough to understand that what had happened was a tragedy. I was not old enough to understand the impact that it would have or how long it would last.

“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” – President George W. Bush, Remarks on the September 11th attacks.

My Uncle was still in the military at the time this happened. I had always wanted to join the military since I was a kid in 2nd grade. I wanted to be like him. I know this was a huge movement that had many of our young men and women enlist in our military to go fight our attackers. I wasn’t old enough at the time to do so. I wouldn’t be old enough for eight more years. In those eight years, my position never changed. However, the service that I wanted to join did. Eight years later, I still wanted to go over, kick ass, and take names. I wanted to go find Osama Bin Laden for my country.

Fast forward to May of 2011. I was in the Platoon Leadership Course (PLC) program in college. The semester was ending and it ended up being my last semester. Osama Bin Laden was located and killed by SEAL Team Six. It was all over the news. President Obama was accredited with the elimination of Osama Bin Laden as it happened in his term of office. I still wanted to enlist as, 10 years later, we were still at war. I wanted to be a part of it. So, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I signed my enlistment papers July 11th, 2011. I went to boot camp in January of 2012. I graduated boot camp April of 2012, and I was so motivated to be deployed that I couldn’t wait to get to my unit. I went through Marine Combat Training (MCT). There we learned the same tactics used while being deployed to fight in an urban environment. We learned many other things as well. That got me even more amped up. After MCT was Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) School. That is where I learned how to be a fueler. I got to my unit in Arizona in July of 2012.

Now, in 2017, I’m almost out of the Marine Corps. Looking back, the whole event seems surreal. Now the attacks on September 11th, are in history books. Kids now are learning about an event from a history book that I was alive in and helped secure my position on joining the military. It’s definitely been a long journey since then, and now look back on how it helped shape my path through life and the choices I’ve made.

This last weekend, for many, was a day spent relaxing over a three-day weekend thanks to Labor Day. I, however, spent my time mostly working through the weekend with getting a day off on Sunday. Throughout the month of August, I had a total of five days off, and two of those days off were spent on base doing my mandatory weekend for the military. This was my first day off in about two weeks so you can only imagine how excited I was to relax.

About a week and a half to two weeks before this last weekend, Oregon was the main topic of my girlfriend Breona’s discussion. She was super excited and couldn’t wait to spend time with her mom there as a small reward for doing well in school and her internship to be a Medical Assistant or MA. Come Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, she texted me saying you’re coming over on Thursday right? This is after she asked me to house sit for her so someone was there to watch her dog. I had totally spaced the fact that she was leaving on Thursday. I felt like a ditz, as I knew she was leaving but the synapses in my brain didn’t connect the two together.  I made sure to pack my bag Thursday night to stay for the four nights she was going to be gone. On Thursday, after work, I went over to her house to take care of Kota, the dog.

Upon arrival, I found two sheets of paper with instructions for taking care of her cat Riley (who is for the most part is self-sustaining) and her dog Kota (a rambunctious mix breed from a rescue). I also found a note on the fridge saying that I can eat anything in the freezer and fridge. I opened the freezer and found a note that said you can eat anything in here except her ice cream. I found that funny and laughed to myself about it. That night was a fairly easy night that I spent relaxing after work watching Prison Break and taking care of mostly Kota, as Riley was very easy. For him, all I had to do is make sure his food bowl had food and the water dispenser had water in it.

I went to bed and got up the next morning at my normal time. I made sure Kota had eaten and gone outside to potty. I put her in her kennel and went to work. When I came back after work, Kota had a major accident. I had taken a photo and sent it to Breona and then gave her a call. I had to rinse off the plastic liner and everything but could not get the stain out as the “accident” had soaked in. I won’t show the photo as it was pretty bad. I at least got the smell to go away. I relaxed a bit before heading to bed. I was pretty done with the day as I had not had a day off in two weeks and could not wait until Sunday, but I had a 12 hour day separating me from my much needed time off so I went to bed so as to be ready for it.

Saturday, was spent mainly at work. I had a 12-hour shift and the time seemed to stand still. The only benefit of working security is that sometimes to fill the void; you can throw on a video, movie, or show from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or any of the other streaming services. When you need to do a patrol or respond to something, just pause it and take care of it. By Saturday, I was missing Breona like crazy. Normally, we have a routine that allows us to not go more than two days without spending time together. It didn’t help that I was receiving photos and videos via text and iPhoto shared album. I really wish I could have gone, as I haven’t had a vacation in a really really long time. I left work at midnight and headed back to Breona’s. I fed Kota and let her go potty before going to bed.

Sunday was finally here!!! I could not wait for it all week, and now my day off had finally come. I mainly spent my time off watching Prison Break and movies from Breona’s collection. I was missing Breona more than ever, but I was able to relax and distracted myself. I played with Kota and decided I was going to have some pizza for dinner. I went to bed somewhat early as I was tired from the 12-hour shift the day before and I still had to be up early to work the morning shift on Monday.

Monday was an easy day. I got paid time and a half, which made working it that much easier to handle the day-to-day stuff. Due to it being a holiday, I really didn’t have much to do as hardly anybody came through my site compared to normal days. I was super excited that Breona was coming home that day too! After work, I went back to Breona’s and she was home! We had dinner and hung out watching movies on the couch. It was awesome!

I still didn’t eat a whole lot from her fridge as I didn’t help pay for the food, and that kind of ticked Breona off a bit as she doesn’t like me eating out when she has some food there. She didn’t want it to go bad and I get it, but I really only ate the stuff that would go bad and that I liked, like the strawberries.  I found it pretty funny as she made me promise before she left that I would eat her food, and I laughed as she didn’t specify how much or what things to eat.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.- 2nd Ammendment, U.S. Constitution

Whether you live in Arizona or not, some of the things I will go over today should help you as a gun owner. I just happen to live in Arizona where the topics below specifically apply. Some of the laws are the same if not similar in nature to other states; unless you live in California, New York, or Chicago.

First and foremost, the most important thing that EVERY gun owner should know is weapon safety. Whether you own a rifle, a handgun, or a rocket launcher; these weapon safety rules will apply. A good ditty or way to remember them by is Treat, Never, Keep, Keep.

  1. Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
  2. Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  4. Keep you weapon on safe until you intend to fire.
  5. Know your target and what lies behind it.

Those are the safety rules the Marine Corps specifically uses, although the 5th one is spoken and not written down. Every branch either uses those or has a similar version when teaching a firearms course. It is imperative to know and implement those rules as a gun owner.

It is important when owning a gun to be proficient at shooting. What would be the point in owning a gun if you couldn’t even hit the broad side of a barn when shooting it? Being a proficient shooter does take some athleticism. Not the same kind as for other sports like football or wrestling, but athleticism nonetheless. The ability to draw your weapon, align the sights, smooth but quick pull of the trigger, and accuracy are all things that a good shooter is proficient in. The only way to get better in those skills to practice, practice, practice. Even professionals in sports practice before games.

Keanu Reeves - Training for John Wick

There are many ways to practice getting better; you can go and pay for a class, research techniques and try them out, or go with friends that know the fundamentals and can teach you. You can also do just target practice, moving drills, speed reloading drills, scenario drills, etc.

This section is super important, however, not as important as the first two! The reason I say that is because weapon safety for gun owners is hands down the most important. If you own a gun in your house and you happen to live alone, the rules apply for your own safety. If there are others in the house, they should know the rules as well as they will be around the dangerous tool. If you have children, they also need to know the safety rules; however, it would also be a safe practice to keep your guns in a gun safe. The reason proficiency is more important than knowing gun laws is because you can have safe gun practices down and know the laws, but if you have an intruder in your home, that doesn’t matter if you miss when you do shoot. That goes back to the know your target and what lies behind it. If you miss, and you happen to live in an apartment, the bullet can go through the wall and into someone else.

There are some laws regarding guns that are pretty much universal. For example, it is illegal to walk into a bar with a gun. The reason for that law is that a loaded gun in the hands of an impaired individual is a bad mix. It is very similar to drinking and driving. You could end up in a bar fight and if you are impaired, your judgement might be to pull your gun and start shooting. Another scenario, for those who might be a designated driver, is that you may not pull the weapon but in the middle of the fight the gun is taken from you and is now in the hands of an impaired individual. That more than likely wouldn’t happen if they were stumbling around drunk, but it can happen, more so if the individual only had 2 or 3 shots, beers, whatever.

Arizona, specifically, no longer requires a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit. In Arizona, you are not able to register your firearm; “The State of Arizona does not require citizens to register their firearms with the State. It also prohibits local jurisdictions (i.e. Counties, Cities or Towns) from requiring licensing or registration of firearms or ammunition. See ARS 13-3108.”

There are many laws regarding gun ownership and use. I highly recommend anyone who wants to get a gun, take a CCW course. A good course should be 16 hours. I have seen some on Groupon ™ that say $29 for a four-hour CCW course. That should only be for a renewal or re-familiarization or for anyone moving to Arizona and want to get an Arizona CCW that had one from another state. The CCW course should go over some laws, maybe a few scenarios, and a firearms qualification. Hint: If you go through an Armed Security Training course in Arizona, download the CCW packet and fill it out. Your instructor should be able to sign off on the 16 hour Armed Security course for the CCW application and mail it to DPS with the appropriate documentation i.e. fingerprints and money order. Kill two birds with one stone.

Lastly, if you want to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state, google (your state) revised statutes. For my fellow Arizonians, check out our ARS Title 13, Chapter 4. You can also check out this PDF from the Phoenix website that has a brief FAQ.

Credits and References

So 2 years ago around this time, I started working armed security for my current contract. I had a small idea of what to expect as I heard about the contract through my supervisor on a different contract. I was told about how there are sites on this contract that you get to see some action and you actually get to do stuff instead of being a glorified receptionist like that contract was. I was excited and a little nervous to start this new endeavor, as I had never dealt with people in that capacity before.

First Month…

When I first started, I worked at the courts. I met some awesome co-workers as well as met some of the city staff who were really nice. I was super excited to get to wear my duty belt, which had most of the things Police carry. I had my gun with extra rounds, handcuffs, pepper spray and a Police radio. Now to preface this story, I only had military experience and no experience whatsoever in Law Enforcement or Department of Corrections. All previous contracts I had worked all said that if I left my post for any reason I would be fired. So the courts were almost at closing time, and I received a call from a courtroom from a Judge saying that a man, insert description, was leaving the court house and I needed to stop him. While getting off the phone, I saw the man already halfway out the courthouse. I panicked and looked at my co-worker who didn’t really know what was going on, as he hadn’t heard the phone call. I quickly tell him the situation and the guy was already out the door. I quickly get on the radio and request Dispatch to send units to assist and provide the description. There was another site on the contract that is right next door to the courthouse and the Security Officer at that site heard the call and started searching the transit center. We could not locate this guy.

Perspective…

A few months down the road, I am now working at a community center. This site has more of the homeless population than most of the other sites. I actually tried to help some of the ones I could and provided all the information I could to help them out and possibly get them into some housing. I probably spoke to about 35-40 separate individuals.  I heard a lot of their stories of how they became homeless, some of the stuff they do for money, what some of their goals were. Some people would say it is a humbling experience.

Change in Perspective…

I honestly can’t believe how much this contract has changed me. It has changed my outlook on people, life, and has given me valuable experiences that I have used to build some good habits.

Have you ever heard that over time cops become sociopathic and the difference between cops and criminals is that cops don’t act on their urges? Working in this line of work, I can relate to that and understand why and how Police Officers can become desensitized to various aspects of the job. I myself, whether it’s good or bad, have become more desensitized to aspects of the job. Out of the 35-40 people I spoke with, only 2 actually took my help and got themselves into housing. I have very little empathy for a lot of the homeless population after having spoken to many more since then and can tell when the person is just smiling and nodding and when they are actually looking for help. My high school coach once taught me, if it hurts more to suffer than to change, you’ll change. In many of these cases, it seems to be true.

Change in experience…

I have been on this contract for two years now. I can say that I have learned a ton of information and picked up many good habits. I have learned how to have a tactical mindset as my contract allows me to work closely with the Police. That mindset helped me develop those good habits like watching hands when dealing with someone, if someone is sleeping and I have to wake them up approach from their feet so I would possibly get kicked instead of stabbed if they are hiding knives or scissors, positioning myself to where it is more difficult to be approached from behind and if I have to leave my back exposed I will have to rely more on my situational awareness. I have become more proficient in my communication as well as more articulate in my justifications to my decision making. I have developed my decision-making skills to be better than when I first started.

If I were in the same situation now as I was in my story of my first month, I would have done things differently. I would have ran after him and tackled him to the ground. If I was unable to catch him, I would have been able to relay to Dispatch that I was in pursuit of a person a judge ordered to detain and articulate why I left my post (because there was at least one Security Officer there). Then I would have been able to better provide direction of travel as well.

Overall Experience…

I am so thankful that I have been able to work on the contract I am on now. I have gained so much more good than I have bad. I have used this experience to better myself on my military side as well as implemented things from the military onto this job and overall have become a better person for it. When I train new Security Officers, I do my best to instill in them the need to develop their situational awareness as well as their tactical mindsets because it will help them do this job better as well as help them in their future endeavors.

So a while back I had a blast going to Chino Valley, AZ with my girlfriend Breona. We left somewhat early for being up until 2 a.m. and got there around 10ish. Kota came with us and she had a blast! We went to visit her friend Miranda and her husband Josh as well. After that we went to a winery and from there to eat at a place called Left-T’s Bar and Grill. I met more of Breona’s family. It was so much fun!!! Then out on the town in down town Prescott. We were out pretty late but I haven’t done that in so long!!! Well that’s it for now!!