26 January 2013

New Blog - Not for the Faint of Heart

A Dive Bar and It's People

Everyone has been in a dive bar and seen these people. Everyone has looked at them, thinking, Jesus Christ, get your shit together...Suck it the fuck up and get on Son.

Sometimes? They can't. Or they won't. Either way, these are the people I knew and loved, or hated, or hated to love. Hypothetically of course. Because I don't want to get sued.

Read and enjoy. And count your blessing...but for the Grace of God and all that.

25 January 2013

Goddamn I Miss You

I didn’t want to go, but I couldn’t not go. While I had no desire to see my dear friend Terry lying in his coffin, I felt that I owed him at least one more visit. One last chance to say goodbye and to apologize for dropping the ball. I hadn’t seen him in six months or so, hadn’t even called him. That is the thought that dominates my drive to the funeral home. I’m so sorry Terry. I guess I dropped the fucking ball on this one.
The only comfort I can find from my own guilt is that Terry, of all people, would have understood my neglect. Of all of the people in my life, that old man knew me the best.
His daughter saw me come in and came to stand in front of the coffin with me. She rubbed my back, comforting me, when I should have been comforting her.
“You know, he loved you so much.” She told me, and all I could do was nod. As hard as I tried to hold them back, tears fell anyway. I looked at him in the coffin; so yellow, so much thinner than the last time I had seen him.
Of course, I don’t blame anyone but Terry for his death. The man drank Jack Daniel’s like it was water. He was the definition of an alcoholic, and we all knew it. I contributed to his alcoholism, going so far as to bring him pints of Jack when he was out of money. 
Why? Because Terry was in a stage of alcoholism that necessitated drinking. Plain and simple? If he had stopped, cold turkey, he would have died.  I have seen it happen.
I stared at the pictures of him in his youth and wondered, behind those smiles, was he as tortured as he was when I knew him? They had put a picture of him and I on the board, from my wedding. I remembered how he had agonized over what gift to buy us.  
I looked at the Purple Heart medal and the flag draping the coffin and I wondered if his family knew of his demons. I am wondering, right now, if I should send the letters that he wrote to me from jail to his family. Would he have wanted them to know about the things that he did, that he saw? In this day and age, his family surely knows that he suffered from PTSD. But do they know why?
People were all full of concern and advice when Art was in Iraq. Many of them kept assuring me that he was going to be okay, that he would be home soon. All that did was remind me that he was gone; that there was a fairly decent chance that he wasn’t going to be okay.
All Terry had to say was, “You hear from that Marine, Krissy?” I would answer, and that would be the end of the conversation. Terry knew that I had a hard time processing anything deeper. It helped me more than any amount of reassurance I received from anyone else.
When Art came home, Terry was in jail. We wrote to each other. I tried to remain upbeat, but there was a mountain of shit at home that I couldn’t deal with alone. I wrote to Terry about all of the problems; all of the doubts and anger between Art and I.
I couldn’t relate to Art, couldn’t understand where he was in his mind. And even though Art and Terry rarely spoke, Terry could.
Terry wrote of his own demons, the times that he withdrew. He warned me that this sort of depression may be seasonal and to pay attention to the time of year that Art withdrew from the world. He said that his own depression was at it’s worst during April and May. He told me that Art may need to seek professional help, or he may be okay on his own. He urged me to stay patient – to a point.
In one letter Terry explained to me:
 “I once killed a kid with an E-tool.(A kind of small shovel.) I see that kid’s face all of the time.”  He went on to explain that he pretended that it didn’t bother him for a long time, because he didn’t want to seem weak. In Vietnam, he explained, it happened all of the time. He never spoke of it, because while it was big deal, he felt that it shouldn’t have been.
There are more horrific scenes that filled his mind when all was quiet. He drank to still them. He drank to sleep. He drank to function. He made no attempt to deny the fact that he was an alcoholic.
Terry made it home from Vietnam, when so many of the Marines that he served with did not. His mind and his soul, however, never came all of the way home. More often than not, I suspect, his mind was still there. Replaying moments that he regretted, and also ones that he didn’t regret, but couldn’t forget.
Am I sorry that he is gone now? Not entirely. I will miss him and I love him. I find comfort in the fact that finally, all of him has made it home. In death, this man can find the peace that eluded him so often in life.
Silently, I take a moment to thank Terry for saving my marriage, for being my friend, and for knowing instinctively exactly what I needed to hear from him, all the time. I also apologize for not calling when I should have and for not making the time to come and see him. Before I leave, I wish him peace, and tell him I love him.
In the car, I find myself wishing that I had told him, while he was alive, just how much he meant to me, and how much he did for us. For that regret, there is no comfort.

16 January 2013

Firearms and Common Sense vs. Idiotic Gun Control Advocates

I do not debate gun control. It's pointless. It's comparable to debating abortion with a Catholic. You are not going to change anyone minds, and the fact that most people debating the issue have no fucking clue what they are talking about irritates me to the point of assault.

But...here goes.

First of all? Universal background checks? Fucking awesome. Let's do that. I mean, I can sell a gun to a guy right here in my home, write him a receipt and call it legal. I am not opposed to a law saying that I have to have the firearm transferred through an FFL dealer, who will run a NICS check. Super. Of course, if a felon wants to buy a gun from someone that doesn't give a shit about the law, I'm reasonably sure he could find such a person with little to no effort.
Common fucking sense.

Banning hi-cap mags?
Uh. We tried that remember? It didn't do a damn thing but raise the price of hi-cap mags exponentially, leaving most people feeling like jackasses for paying ridiculous prices for magazines after the ban expired and wasn't renewed...Because again, IT DIDN'T DO A DAMN THING in regards to lowering gun violence.
We'll stamp any new hi-cap mags with the words "law enforcement only" and simply ignore the thousands of hi-cap mags that are readily available right now. Surely someone hellbent on a mass shooting won't think to purchase a hi-cap mag that was manufactured before any ban. They probably won't think of carrying more than one firearm either.

Well, let's ban assault rifles then.
Define assault rifle? Military style weapons? 
Because the military doesn't carry handguns. 
They hardly ever utilize bolt action rifles.

While we're at it, we will require firearms registration... something a lot of states already do. 
Of course, if you don't want to register your firearm? 
Don't bother. 
Guns are traced forward. 
For example, if a firearm is used in a crime and it isn't registered to anyone, the factory is contacted and provided a serial number. The factory gives the distributor's information. The distributor gives the gun store's information and the gun store pulls the record of the original sale. That person is contacted and they say they sold the gun to Joe Blow, who later sold it to his cousin in Mississippi who pawned it in 1989 and so on and so on.
Does anyone really believe it would be possible to do that with EVERY SINGLE gun sold in the history of the US?
Good fucking luck. 

We will require mental health professionals to report anyone they think is a danger to themselves or others.
Which, they are already required to do.
Law enforcement will then be required to remove firearms from that person's possession. Provided that they, you know, registered the shit in the first place. And also provided that they have recognized the symptoms of a mental illness and sought help.
Well hell, that sounds like a foolproof plan.

Everyone wants to do something in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Instead of doing something, they are doing anything. 
Not to imply that the government has no clue what they are doing... but meeting with fucking video game programmers really doesn't help the "I know what I'm doing" image at all.