My Summer Vacation at Parris Island

Thirty years ago today (May 10th, 1983) I arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.  I was unceremoniously greeted with a Drill Instructor’s boot to my hindquarters, which seemed to remain permanently affixed there for the next three months of my summer vacation.  I was not a Christian or a particularly religious young man when I arrived, but I did soon learn that the anti-Christ was alive and well and masquerading at the time under the name of one Sgt. Kirkland—USMC.

Sgt. Kirkland liked me, I think. At least he took a particular interest in me, which is a bad thing on the island.  He often said, as he was thrashing me about, that I was funny and entertaining.  His appreciation of my often ill-timed snarky comments and facial expressions faded quickly when he caught me one day mocking him and doing drill instructor imitations behind his back.  As fate would have it, he caught me when we were out at ICT (Individual Combat Training)—a two week stint in the marshes of Parris Island where we lived in our bivouac shelters and were constantly on the move, immersed in military combat training.  At least that was the official explanation of ICT.  In reality, ICT provided the seclusion necessary for the drill instructors to increase the torture and to field test their most fiendish schemes—the swampland swallowing up even the most robust recruit’s scream.

Well aware that my own death might very well lie before me, I braced for the sure beating that was coming my way.  Sgt. Kirkland surprised me, though, when he announced in front of the entire platoon and our company commander that if I could make him laugh, there would be no punishment.  Having nothing to lose, I gave it my best shot. I suppose with the crystal clarity of hindsight I should have picked any other drill instructor to mock that day. I had practiced them all and had plenty of material to pick from.  But with Sgt. Kirkland standing before me, I just couldn’t resist.  I had the opportunity to send this one belligerent jab his way.  So I took it.  I launched into a full Sgt. Kirkland rant—his voice, his mannerisms, and his quotes.

I was good, quite good if I do say so myself.  Sgt. Kirkland thought so too, as he laughed so hard I thought he would pass out.  For a fleeting moment I thought he might actually honor his promise.  But no such luck with the spawn of Satan.  As soon as the company commander left our camp, Sgt. Kirkland went nose-to-nose with me, his Smokey tapping on my forehead.  Doom crested the horizon.

You could usually tell the difference when the drill instructors were just faking mad or were really mad; that being said, Sgt. Kirkland was in a psychotic frenzy, frothing and all.  I had really stepped in it.  I did pushups, sit-ups, side-straddle-hops (jumping jacks), bends and thrust, and repeated the list until well after everyone else bedded down.  I was finally allowed to go to my tent near midnight.  In the unknown early morning hours, my tent was kicked down and me and my innocent tent mate were beaten and dragged around in circles in the dirt.  I was too exhausted to react.

“The ICT Monster strikes again!” the foul beast cried out in a voice remarkably similar to Sgt. Kirkland’s.  We had been warned that there was a monster in the swamp—the ICT monster—that would randomly attack without provocation.  As elusive as the Yeti, the creature would thump poor unsuspecting recruits and disappear into the night.

In the remaining days of ICT, Sgt. Kirkland (and the ICT monster) unleashed a reign of terror at every opportunity.  Whenever we would stop or take a break, I was exercising at the front of the platoon while they got to eat and drink water.  The ICT monster continued his night visitations.  On our last day of ICT, I was jogging in place with my rifle over my head and my backpack on.  My platoon was eating lunch and enjoying the show, each person just glad it wasn’t them.  Black dots clouded my vision and sweat stung my eyes.  The brutal summer heat bore down on me. The relentless pressure had broken me.  I staggered and the world turned up-side-down as I crashed headfirst into the dirt.  I awoke to my platoon mates pouring water from their canteens on my face.  Sgt. Kirkland stood just behind them, grinning.

“Yo, Mynheir!  You’re looking good, buddy.  Looking good!”

Victory was his.

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One in Custody–Boston PD

Job well done to all the cops–federal, state, and local–who relentlessly pursued
this animal until he was in custody.  The terrorists don’t seem to get some simple realities about Americans.  We have our political differences and some serious problems in our country right now, but when they attack, maim, and murder our innocent civilians–like on 9/11 and Boston–we don’t cower in fear, which is the goal of “terrorism.” We get pissed.  Then the spankings begin.  May God bless the victims of the
bombing, the officers killed and injured, and the many lives affected by this
tragedy.

Abortion’s Slippery Slope

I’ve posted a story about the trial of Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania. While we rightly label Adam Lanza a monster for butchering innocent children in a school room in Newtown, there’s barely a peep from the media or anyone else about this abortionist ghoul who ran a little shop of horrors in Philadelphia, killing at least five times as many helpless victims with his bare hands as Lanza did with a rifle.  Gosnell (I refuse to put the Dr. in front of his name) committed his atrocities for many years and the details are horrific and disturbing.  I hope most people are sickened and repulsed by the actions of a man who would perpetrate such unspeakable evil on babies.  But if we’re honest and recognize the pure evil of his actions against those children, why isn’t it just as evil when he did exactly the same thing to children in the womb?  After all, the babies he’s on trial for murdering were only a few minutes old.  Had he finished the job in the womb, it would have been perfectly moral–according to some–and even a constitutionally protected right to kill them prior to their birth.  And we really wonder why the value of life seems so cheap in our country anymore?   From Newtown to Philadelphia, our children’s lives are precious and deserving of respect and protection.    I do pray for the soul of our nation.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/04/10/media-Ignore-100-Born-Alive-Babies-NeckSnipped

My Interview on the Biography Channel

I’ve posted a link to an interview I did with the Biography Channel on a homicide case from several years ago.  The clip is just a few minutes of the production.  Evidently it’s an hour long program called My Evil Sister (nice). They were supposed to tell me when it was to air, but I guess that didn’t happen.  It was on last night and is on again tonight at 3:00 a.m., but I’m not staying up for it.  I can’t stand to listen to my own voice.  They did have some actors filling in some of the scenes for dramatic effect.  The guy playing me had a full head of hair.  I guess that’s what happens in show biz. No one likes a bald detective unless it’s Sipowicz from the old NYPD Blue.  Anyway, at some point I’ll watch the whole thing.  The clip is interesting. Hope you enjoy it.

The Empty Tomb

I borrowed this article from my friend Eric Mickley’s FB page.  It’s quite fitting since we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection tomorrow.  I like this article because it helps define what “faith” really means.  I was once accused by a friend of h…aving a “blind faith.” But as the article discusses and I explained to my friend, a true faith is a reasoned faith.  We don’t—or at least shouldn’t—blindly follow anyone or anything.  We should be as the Bereans and examine “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so (ESV).”  I’ve experienced true miracles (my son’s healing), and I’ve investigated many points of evidence, like that of the empty tomb and the disciples who willingly went to their deaths proclaiming they had seen the risen Christ. No one would do that for a lie.  There are a multitude of other confirmations that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind, but the empty tomb is one of the most powerful.  I pray that God blesses each of you during this Easter/Passover season.  Enjoy the link.

Gun Control 101: Part 1— If Men were Angels . . .

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections of human nature.  If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” ~ James Madison.

My cop friends and I also had an expression about human nature while we encountered the daily depravity of our fellow man—people stink (the sanitized version).  While certainly not as elegant and nowhere near as deep as James Madison’s quote, it ultimately conveyed the same sentiment.  Men are no angels, and there’s something inherently wrong with the human condition.

While we might desire to do what is right, good, and noble, there’s an epic struggle deep in the spirit of people, the constant draw toward evil, sinful, and utterly selfish behavior.  The Founders knew this and drew much of their understanding from Scripture: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) and “There are none righteous, no not even one” (Romans 3:10).  No one is immune from the fallen condition.  Mankind’s nature is depraved and unchangeable, at least until Jesus returns.

The modern view of society and human nature is in stark contrast to the traditional biblical understanding.  The prevailing belief today, especially of those on the political and social left, is that people are born basically good and will gravitate instinctively towards selfless and moral conduct.  When deviant behavior arises and someone commits a horrible act of violence or continuous anti-social behavior, it’s the result of flawed educational and societal structures, such as family, government, and the economic system (courtesy of Marx’s and Engels’s theories).  Evil does not exist, especially an evil inextricably embedded in the human heart.  Only good decisions and bad decisions, which can be cured if people are properly trained and society tweaked in the just right way—with massive government intervention and control of course.  All the flaws and foibles of men can be extinguished and the Utopian dream society of perfection and ultimate peace can be realized.  To the Utopian, human nature is malleable and fluid, evolving ever forward toward the ideal person.

Admittedly, it’s an attractive and seductive theory.  This vision tempts us to believe we possess the ultimate power to cleanse humanity of all imperfections by the sheer might of the human will and usher in a heavenly realm on Earth.  We, as humans, can be the arbiters or our own destiny, the Chief Authority of all things. We, too, can “be like God.”

This Utopian ideal of human nature is also the driving force behind much of the extreme political left and helps to explain why they see an all-encompassing government as the answer to all of society’s woes. It also helps explain why at every shooting or tragic incident, politicians clamor to the microphones to promise new laws or edicts to keep it from ever happening again, as if that were really possible.

So what does human nature have to do with the gun control debate?  Everything.  If the modern Utopians are correct and the right form of government can propel society upward and forward toward a more perfect form of humanity, then a benevolent ruling class can be trusted with unfettered power to govern over the people with no controls or buffers in place. The peoples’ need to be armed to restrain the powers-that-be would be unnecessary.  But if the biblical understanding is true, as the Founders believed, then the last thing anyone would want to do is give an oligarchy absolute power and hegemony.

Philosophers through the ages have debated man’s true nature, but in the end, most all the theories tend to fall somewhere within these two competing worldviews.  So which concept is correct? Anyone who has spent more than ten minutes around children should be able to answer this in a second.  No one has to teach a child to lie, cheat, steal, be violent or self-absorbed; they come pre-packaged that way.  We spend the first eighteen years of their lives guiding and teaching them to resist their innate natures and become civilized adults, often to great frustration.  We’ve all seen what happens to the children who aren’t taught right from wrong, values and morals, self-control and self-respect.  They don’t gravitate towards virtue, morality, and decency; they populate the jails and prisons across the land and wreak havoc on society as a whole.

Even in the best circumstances, when the restraining influence of moral foundations and deep family bonds are instilled in a person, the internal tug-of-war of good versus evil is still a daily battle—a battle that’s never truly won in this lifetime.  The Apostle Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament who had been in the direct presence of Christ, couldn’t even tame his own rebellious spirit:  “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”  Five thousand years of recorded history serves as a gory testament to the true nature of mankind.  The human story is replete with men’s bloodlust to conquer and dominate other men and to descend to their very base natures.  The last century alone—with its world wars, civil wars, and genocide—is the bloodiest of all time.  The current conflicts and chaos around the globe serve as further affirmation that Utopia isn’t blossoming forth anytime soon.

The reality of the base nature of human beings grows even more grim when we witness a single, horrendous crime that shocks our collective conscious—as happened in Sandy Hook.  We’re appalled and sickened by the actions of one person who could perpetrate such evil on twenty six innocent, defenseless victims.  But the carnage inflicted by a single individual pales in comparison to the horrors that have been unleashed in the past by wicked men who have consolidated control in the form of all-powerful governments—especially when the citizens were as unarmed and helpless as the children in that classroom.  Tens of millions of innocent men, women, and children have been slaughtered at the hands of their leaders, and their memory should not be so easily forgotten or dismissed.  Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler just to name a few all seduced their citizens with lofty words and calls for a supreme State to take care of them, to protect them and rule without restriction.  Each implemented gun control with fanfare and promises of security and peace.  Their well-documented examples should serve as an omen for those who think the State will always observe the rights and human dignity of the people without checks and balances.  A National Center for Policy Analysis paper titled Murder by State by Gerald W. Scully estimates that “At least 170 million people — and perhaps as many as 360 million — have been murdered by their own governments in this century [20th]. This is more than four times the 42 million deaths from civil and international wars.”  These numbers don’t even include the multitude of victims who were imprisoned, tortured, or lived in absolute fear of their own maniacal leaders.  Tyranny and constant cruelty are the rule for unrestrained governments rather than the exception.

Each of these offending regimes had two traits in common—they were governed by people and they all claimed gun control was for the good of everyone before disarming them.  Since we, too, are ruled by flawed, fallen humans, what makes us think it couldn’t happen here?  Gun control doesn’t mean the absence of guns in society; it only means that one side of the equation has all the guns—and, thus, all the power.  As the saying goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Human nature is too frail, corrupt, and bent towards violence and domination to allow a ruling elite to have absolute control over the people.  That’s how citizens can quickly become serfs and slaves, and, ultimately, victims.

While not all governments that have enacted gun control have descended into these Hell-on-Earths, Australia and England come to mind, ignoring this lesson from the past is perilous and foolhardy.  (I’ll address this in another post.)  I could cite example after example of governments abusing their authority and the horrific aftermaths, but I’ve yet to see a single instance of the Utopian vision actually working anywhere.  No matter, though.  Bad ideas seem to have long shelf lives and die hard deaths.

Men are no angels.  And our Founders were no dummies. They didn’t come up with the Second Amendment willy-nilly.  They’d studied, debated, and deliberated and were well aware of weaknesses and proclivities of mankind.  They instituted checks and balances at every level of government precisely because our nature is broken and cannot be trusted with too much power in the hands of too few people.  The final and most important check, an armed populace, keeps a delicate yet necessary balance between citizens’ rights and leaders’ responsibilities, like equal weights teetering on scales.  Mutually dependant, mutually respectful.  Neither one will do anything rash because it would be disastrous for both.  But tip that balance even a little, and someone comes crashing down hard—and it’s almost always the citizens and whatever rights and freedoms happen to be left over.

While we grieve for the twenty six innocent victims at Sandy Hook, we shouldn’t allow anyone—regardless of good intentions or emotional pleas—to remove the only tangible safeguard citizens have against the most powerful government that has ever existed on the planet.  With the right to bear arms firmly in place, our leaders, I believe, will continue to respect the rights of the citizens and remain a stable force for democracy and freedom in the world.  Without it, who knows?  I fear the immense power and global reach of this government is way too tempting a prize for men of ill will, intoxicated with the desire to exploit that power for their own devices.

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” ~ Thomas Jefferson.

Remembering the Reason for the Season

Luke Chapter 2:

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

The account of Jesus’, the Messiah’s, birth is every bit as miraculous and relevant today as it was over two thousand years ago.  I pray that everyone will have a very happy and blessed Christmas this year, and that we not forget the real reason for the season. God bless!

Gay Marriage and the Looming Culture Clash

Who would have ever imagined that a fast-food restaurant with a playful spotted bovine mascot would turn out to be a harbinger for the fast-approaching collision between government and the faith culture at large? As reported recently, several mayors and local government officials have declared Chick-fil-A persona non grata in their respective cities in response to statements by Dan Cathy, the president and CEO of Chick-fil-A. Mr. Cathy, it seems, had the audacity to openly affirm his Christian faith and the company’s support of traditional marriage during an interview.

The heresy had barely been uttered before Boston Mayor Thomas Menino hammered out a scathing letter to Cathy, declaring it would be “an insult” to have Chick-fil-A in Boston, and in a subsequent interview declared Chick-fil-A “Doesn’t belong in Boston.”

Not to be outdone, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city Aldermen Joe Moreno and William Banks have not only declared Chick-fil-A not welcome in the Windy City, but openly bragged about using the full force of the zoning laws to stop Chick-fil-A from opening a new location there. They’ve now been joined by officials in San Francisco and Washington D.C.

If these men were private citizens or political groups expressing their first amendment rights, that would be one thing. Boycotts and protests have a rich heritage in our country and are a sign of a truly free society. Apologists for gay marriage and the homosexual lifestyle have been cheerleading their cause in the public arena for many years now. But these recent events represent a more troubling trend and should serve as an omen of the larger, more serious conflict looming on the horizon. We’re talking about government officials using laws, regulations, and the coercive power of government against a business and a private citizen based solely on a religious viewpoint. So egregious was this overreach, even the ACLU—certainly no friend of anything conservative, traditional, or Christian—has condemned the actions as a clear case of viewpoint discrimination.

At the heart of the issue, Dan Cathy, like millions of Americans, doesn’t believe and will not submit to the idea of same sex marriage—the latest sacrament of the far Left orthodoxy. In the age of tolerance, this cannot be tolerated. It seems to matter little that the classic definition of marriage being between a man and a woman has been the only understanding of marriage for five thousand years of recorded history. In the few states gay marriage has been legalized, it was accomplished by judicial fiat, not the will of the people. No debate. No examination of history, culture, or science. No justifications. Obedience is demanded. Opposition must be crushed.

In spite of the court rulings, gay marriage is hardly a settled issue and is not the law of the land yet. If these officials can wield their power and attack a fellow citizen with such vitriol now, what can we expect when and if gay marriage becomes established U.S. law? Will our benevolent government respect the first amendment rights of its citizens to believe and teach the dictates of their faith as they see fit? What of that pesky right of free speech? The recent Obama administration HHS ruling forcing religious institutions to provide contraception to their employees in clear violation of their consciences and tenants serves as a good indicator. Once enshrined into law, gay rights will be used as a club to bludgeon people of faith and political opponents into silence. That’s not wild speculation. Europe and Canada have already provided the template, using hate crimes laws and human rights tribunals to prosecute pastors and politicians who dare voice opposition to same sex unions or preach against homosexual behavior.

The inescapable truth of this debate is that gay marriage laws offer nothing for homosexual couples legally that can’t be accomplished right now. Civil law remedies—such as Health Care Surrogates, Wills, and Power of Attorneys—already exist for inheritance, joint property, hospital visits, and all the other phony arguments put forward. The gay marriage push, at its core, is not about rights; it’s about altering the society in a way that has never been done before. The intent is to transform opinions and the cultural norms through the compelling power of legislation, all in an attempt to normalize and legitimize the sexual appetites of roughly two percent of the population. This can only be accomplished, though, if opposition is silenced. Thus, the frenzied attack on Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A.

This latest skirmish illustrates that this issue is much more than just debate about marriage rights. It’s a clash of two diametrically opposed cultural philosophies: one of transcendent and fixed moral laws given by the Creator for civil and just societies, the other of shifting morals from the minds of men seeking pleasure, power, and preeminence. A vibrant people of faith rooted in the Judeo-Christian morals cannot co-exist with a government legislating laws and enforcing edicts designed to subjugate that faith. Only one worldview can reign.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dan Cathy took his stand by merely affirming his beliefs and faith. What say you?

When Morty Comes Calling

“You’ve got blood clots in your lungs—a lot of them,” the doctor said as Lori sat beside me in the Emergency Room.

Fortunately, Lori didn’t understand exactly what that meant at the time. Unfortunately, I did. As a detective, I’d investigated numerous deaths where people never even made it to the ER to get that diagnosis. Pulmonary Embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) are often fast killers. I was in trouble and knew it.

The medical team began a precession of needles, tubes, and monitors (which always seemed to be taped to the hairiest parts of my chest, but I digress), and they whisked me off to ICU. Swell. After twenty-four-years in law enforcement, I expected I might get bullets in the lungs someday, but blood clots were never on the radar. That’s when Morty showed up.

My own mortality—better known to me now as “Morty”—forced his way into my hospital room and my head that night. Between the Marines, police work, and my own reckless youth, I’ve had an overabundance of opportunities to be dispatched into the netherworld and find it rather miraculous that I hadn’t been before this. I’d survived each incident and laughed off as no big deal. I’d treated Morty in the past like the crazy relative you only see every couple of years at family reunions. You can be cordial, say “hello”, then move on to the finger foods. No deep chats or understanding of who he is or what he wants. No reconciling or acknowledging his place in your life. But Morty will only be ignored for so long.

Lying on the gurney wondering if or when one of the blood clots might break loose, I couldn’t just blow off Morty any longer. I couldn’t remain in blissful denial of the reality of all mankind—we each have a timestamp on our lives with a firm expiration date.

Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people.” We can’t dodge destiny or cheat death.

Morty’s visitation that night forced me to examine if I really believe what I say I believe. Are the promises of God true, or just a comforting myth? (If they be myth, there’s no real comfort in them.) Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” and “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” A flood of other scriptures poured into my mind. I recounted God’s miracles in the Bible and in my own life, how He’s shown himself good and faithful in so many ways to me and my family—well beyond anything I deserved. After some wrestling with Morty and my own weaknesses and fears, I concluded that regardless of what would happen that night—if Morty and I held hands and skipped into Eternity together or if I recovered and got well—I was going to rest in God’s hands and take His promises at face value. The peace that followed was nothing short of amazing and sustained me through the rest of the hospital stay and into my recovery.

To be fair, in the time since the hospital stay, I’ve really come to appreciate Morty and what he can teach us. His ever-looming presence and occasional visits can help reorient our lives. Knowing that our days on Earth are numbered and short keeps us focused on what’s important—God, family, and relationships. The work I’ve done, cases I’ve investigated, books I’ve written will all soon be forgotten and account for little in the end. Not that we don’t live our lives and strive to do our best at our job and in life. We should honor God with everything we do and do it with excellence (Colossians 3:23). It’s simply about perspective. What is lasting and what isn’t. What will matter ten thousand years from now and what won’t, and prioritizing life accordingly. Morty has helped provide some clarity for me on that.

James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

My hope and prayer is that the vapor trail of my life amounts to much more than just a noxious mix of gases, but might rather serve as a finger pointing to the One who holds all life in His hands. Thank you, Morty.

Sheepdogs and New Blogs

In September of 2010, with twenty-three years of police work tucked under my gun belt, I retired from my department and headed into a new chapter of my life, or so I thought. I’d spent thirteen years in the Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit and was mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. Like all serious decisions, I did not enter into it lightly. Lori and I put much prayer and consideration into it. I’d carefully plotted out the myriad of job opportunities available. Topping the list was writing full-time, both books and articles. I hoped to focus on my fiction line and develop my craft. I had several potential book contracts on the table, some freelance writing possibilities, and various teaching and speaking engagements lined up. I was also scheduled to work part-time, maybe fifteen hours a week, in a newly developed Cold Case Unit, reviewing Cold Case Homicides at my leisure. I had some teaching prospects out of the country with the State Department. It all seemed so right. I truly felt I was ready to walk away from fulltime law enforcement and transition into a new phase of my life.

A few months into my new gig, though, I got the sense that MY plan for where I was going and God’s might not be the same thing. One by one every item on my list was systematically wiped away, and I was left wondering what in the world God was doing. Both Lori and I felt the clear call for me to retire and head in this direction, but my plan was crumbling. Proverbs 19:21 became a reality to me. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

As the emotional and financial realities were setting in, I also realized another small glitch in my master blueprint—I was still a cop at heart and not inclined to sit at home all day writing. The warrior nature instilled in the Marines and nurtured on the streets wasn’t quite ready to take a holiday. One night I found myself doing an extra lap around a pharmacy parking lot when I saw a suspicious person. I’d always slow down and rubberneck as I passed traffic stops to make sure the officer was safe, ready to pounce if he wasn’t. I was constantly scanning crowds for any potential threats. My cop alarms wouldn’t and couldn’t shut off. I’ve concluded that I’m a ruined soul, a Sheepdog as author Dave Grossman so accurately labeled it. His essay Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs explains in an interesting way the mindset and attitudes of police officers and soldiers, people who feel it’s their duty and calling to protect others. I had to accept the fact that being a cop (Sheepdog) is exactly how God made me and is His primary calling for my life.

So, several months ago I started a full-time position with a smaller agency in our county. Now, with the crystal clarity of hindsight, I can see that God placed me exactly where He wanted me, even though I went there kicking and screaming. I love my job, and a whole new world of law enforcement has opened up to me. I’ve met many new brothers and sisters, and God has blessed me with countless opportunities to serve Him in my new role.

Writing and speaking are still important to me, and I seek to be faithful in that area as well. I’m working on several books and articles now, and I just started this blog, so we’ll see where all this goes. But first and foremost, I’m an old Sheepdog, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. I hope you enjoy my new blog.