Have You Found Your Pilot Light?

There is just a few hours left before you can get my book for FREE!  I am not going to email you hundreds of extras you need to sign up for, or other projects you need to spend money on.   What I’m doing is giving you a gateway – a free gateway – to something I’ve developed, practiced, and have found results in.  I want you to be the best you possible and I think you can get there.

My book has a lot of material.  There are stories of successes you never thought possible. There are tidbits of information you will find that you may never have realized before.  What’s best????

My book is not long.  I have read books on this kind of material that have gone on for 400, 500, even 600 pages long.  Even after reading them, I say to myself, “The book could have been shortened to 150-200 pages and I would have stuck with the process.”

I want you to know that change is not difficult.  It’s actually quite simple.  It does, however, require discipline and hard work.

“How is that simple,” you ask.  Easy, really.  Hard work is inevitable.  We all work hard to get to a greater lever.  And you have to be disciplined to getting up every morning and applying discipline tactics to your daily routine.

“Huh?  What are discipline tactics?”

Discipline tactics are those tactics used to complete your goals.  You have to have a definitive plan in place to tackle these obstacles.  Without a plan, there can be no successful results.  You might get a couple, but the whole package will remain incomplete.

What are you doing to achieve your goals?  What do you want most of yourself?

Get my book now, Igniting Your Pilot Light  for FREE until May 5th at 11:59pm.  Time for you to get started and discover your pilot light!

The Best Of You

I bet when you started off this year, you had major goals – plans to make 2018 the best year possible.  You were probably going to lose weight, get in shape, change careers, go back to school, push for more pay and/or promotion, etc.

Here we are and it is May 2nd.  Where do you stand right this moment?  My guess is that you are no where near and have given up on the year already.

I’m here to tell you that you can’t think that way.  Only four months have gone, but there are still eight months that ARE NOT gone!

97% of people that have New Year’s resolutions quit by January 15th.

Where do you stand?

There is so much time left to achieve what you set out to do.  You just need to refocus, stand your ground, get some discipline, and go after it.

My new book, “Igniting Your Pilot Light,” is now available on Amazon Kindle – FOR FREE! And by clicking on the link below this sentence, you can be directed there and take advantage of this amazing offer.  I only ask that you leave feedback after you read.  That’s it!  Fair trade off, don’t you think?  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Igniting Your Pilot Light

I realize how amazing and rewarding it is to help people become the best they can be.  I love to see how they change, transform, and reinvent themselves all by discovering that they are capable of anything they want to do or want to become.  We tend to get stuck in our own heads for so long that we become stagnant.  We lose the ability to move out of our comfort zone because we develop fear.  We grow “concrete feet” meaning we’ve been standing for so long that our feet become part of the pavement, unable to move forward because we are stuck.

There are solutions and they are simple.  Read that again:  there are solutions and they are simple.  HOWEVER, they do require hard work and discipline.  In my book, you’ll learn why you get stuck, what keeps you from moving forward, how to rediscover your passion, ignite your pilot light and watch the results you’ve always desired.

I’m very proud of this work as I spent just over a year developing it and creating my own method of teaching.  Part of it has to do with the way we use words to define our actions, words such as want vs. need, reasons vs. excuses, doing vs. trying, etc.

Please download for free and leave me feedback where you download the book.  Thank you so much.  Also check out my website, The Power Three and visit and like my author page, J. Martin Turner and The Power Three Facebook  page.

Have an amazing day and as always, thank you for your support and for following!

Ignite Your Pilot Light

It is May 1st…what were your resolutions on January 1st? How much have you achieved? How many of your goals are being met? I’m willing to bet not much. Ready to stop hoping and start doing? Ready to stop using January 1st as a reason to change? Why not right now, at this very moment? Download my new book, “Igniting Your Pilot Light” – FOR FREE! Available until May 5th at 11:59 PM, take advantage of the opportunity to finally set out and do what you’ve always thought or dreamed of doing…without ever looking back! Your goals are important and change is inevitable. Your time is NOW! I only ask that you leave feedback on my Amazon site. Download here:

I’m pleased to share this release of my new motivational (or as I prefer it to be labeled, influential) book, “Igniting Your Pilot Light.”  This is the third motivational book I’ve written under my author name, J. Martin Turner.  I self-publish my works through Amazon.com and they are all available through Amazon Kindle, a free app available for download.

I realize how amazing and rewarding it is to help people become the best they can be.  I love to see how they change, transform, and reinvent themselves all by discovering that they are capable of anything they want to do or want to become.  We tend to get stuck in our own heads for so long that we become stagnant.  We lose the ability to move out of our comfort zone because we develop fear.  We grow “concrete feet” meaning we’ve been standing for so long that our feet become part of the pavement, unable to move forward because we are stuck.

There are solutions and they are simple.  Read that again:  there are solutions and they are simple.  HOWEVER, they do require hard work and discipline.  In my book, you’ll learn why you get stuck, what keeps you from moving forward, how to rediscover your passion, ignite your pilot light and watch the results you’ve always desired.

I’m very proud of this work as I spent just over a year developing it and creating my own method of teaching.  Part of it has to do with the way we use words to define our actions, words such as want vs. need, reasons vs. excuses, doing vs. trying, etc.

Please download for free and leave me feedback where you download the book.  Thank you so much.  Also check out my website, The Power Three and visit and like my author page, J. Martin Turner and The Power Three Facebook  page.  Have an amazing day and as always, thank you for your support and for following!

 

Social Media Morons: Our Published (and Public) Conscience

I was watching  the news the other day because, well, let’s be real…there was nothing else on and I wanted to see what the weather was going to be like.  That’s really the only reason I watch the news anymore…and they are right only half the time, or so I’ve heard.

A kid in Sarasota, FL, posts a picture of himself holding a “promposal” sign.

A Florida school district is investigating a student's "promposal" that many found racist and offensive.

While he apologized and said it was a joke, ask the black community how many of them found it funny.  I’m quite certain they would all agree it was anything but.

We live in a society of social media morons.  What do I mean by this?

Simple.

People are using social media, not only to express opinions, share recipes, or talk about their families and share pics.  They also use it as a way to publicly address their conscience.

Whether Twitter, Snapchat, IG, FB, or any other platform, social media has become a way for people to “think” they are using it unleash their inner demons.  They use it as a way to speak openly and aggressively by charging at people, groups, organizations, etc. without first thinking of the consequences of their words.  Social media has become a streaming device for everyone’s conscience, including those that use it in a moronic sense.

I can sit here and share hundreds…possibly thousands…of tweets that were put out there, then suddenly removed once the person that posted it realized it was detrimental, not only to the person they were targeting, but it is not part of the public domain.  It is now published for the world to see.  You can’t “unsee” it, so-to-speak.  And even if it was removed or their site was made private, you pretty much secure a fate you never thought possible.

Case in point, Laura Ingraham.  She posted a tweet calling David Hogg a whiner because he was rejected by four colleges.

Before I go any further, I have my own personal feelings about David Hogg.  I’ve done my research.  I watch this teenager and what he posts and his agenda.  Plus my daughter goes to school with him and she has her own ideas about him.  In the beginning, I praised his efforts along with a few other students.  Let’s just say I’m not an advocate of his for my own personal reasons, but if you want to discuss this privately, we can.   I was happy for his movement and what he’s trying to do, but I did further research and, well, we all have our own opinions.  I’ll leave it at that.

Ingraham didn’t need to post that.  And it hurt her with her advertisers.  She has since returned and claimed that ratings were sky high, obviously protecting her and the show.  But would she have had to worry about this had she left “whine” out of her tweet…or not tweet at all?  Probably not.

Her conscience became a social media tweet.  What she was thinking she felt the need to share.

I don’t get this.  And I do get this.

First, the I do.  Look, we have an arena where we can say whatever our hearts and minds feel.  We can share it and think maybe somebody might respond or feel the same way.  I’ve done it.  I’ve gone out, had a few drinks, had someone tip their hat in a way that lit a spark.  I would sit and realize what was said and my conscience would get the best of me.  Instead of doing like we did back in the days, opening up a composition book or a journal and writing down how we were feeling, privately and without anyone’s knowledge, we now use social media as a forum for the same…only once you put it out there, you can’t take it back.

I’ve retracted comments I’ve made for the same reason.  I’d write it, get it out of my system, publish it, and then remove it.  Getting it out of my system was great.  Sharing it was not.  Hence, an old-school style of journal and pen/pencil companionship would have best suited me.  Same goes for those that think posting whatever they want is just fine but will not suffer any consequences.

Second, I don’t.   A lot of tweets that have come back to haunt people, either political pundits, celebrities, or even our President.  This has cost them their jobs or early resignations.  This may have even cost them relationships, followers, fans, etc.  As a grown man that supports himself and is working toward some great goals, I don’t get why you’d want the world to know your thoughts, especially if they are not thought out.  I tend to think out everything I write now.  Not just because I don’t want anything to come and haunt me (also because I really don’t say anything that would…although you just never know these days).  But also because that’s why I have friends.  That’s why I have a family.  If I want to vent, I go to them.  Or I write it down.  By hand.  On paper.  Or I type it out on a Word document (I can write faster if I’m typing and thinking).  Twitter doesn’t need to know.  Instagram doesn’t need to know.  Facebook doesn’t need to know.

That conscience is causing these “social media morons” to lose out on many things that they once deemed successes.  Losing your job, losing faith and trust in people, sounding like a racist or bigot, appearing to be a misogynist…that is what is destroying people.  I call them morons because that’s exactly what they are.  They sacrifice so much of themselves and their lives and then make a statement they decide to share.  This may be their true character and if so, then they expose themselves for who they really are so in essence, it may be a good thing.   So that’s good for the general public or those that witness their true colors.  But as a grown man and an adult, if you are that dumb – that moronic – to go on social media and expose yourself, then be prepared for the consequences.

There is no excuse for it, really.  And I don’t feel sorry for them for putting their “conscience” on display for the world to see.  I get heated up about a lot of things.  But it is momentary.  Typically before I rant for people to see, I make sure I read it, re-read it, then I make an educated decision on whether it is worth the argument or just something that is not worth it.   Just recently I posted about the Southwest Airlines incident.  I knew I’d get backlash from my comments.  But I was prepared and I defended myself.  However, sometimes I’d rather walk into my room, shut the door and scream or sit down with a notebook and write out how I feel.

If you are a public figure with several hundreds, thousands, or even millions of followers and decide to publish your thoughts, your conscience, then you reap the benefits of the return.  And if you aren’t and people share it and you become a national news story, then I don’t feel for you, either.  I don’t know what you expect out of making comments like that, but you deserve everything that happens – whether democrat, republican, conservative, liberal, celebrity, author, or kid at school with stupid promposal sign – whatever you may be, you must suffer the consequences.  You are no better than anyone that posts a nude pic and later regrets it.  It was a knee-jerk reaction to post your feelings thinking it was a smart move and all you did was expose yourself to the world at who you really are…even if you are not and just reacted.

You are a social media moron.  And perhaps you should consider a journal and a fresh set of pens or pencils in your immediate future.

The Ways of the Peaceful Warriors

Just before I left Gainesville, FL to return home after failing miserably in college, a friend of mine at the time, Ryan, gave me a book called “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman.  I didn’t think much of the book and quite honestly I used it as a coaster or a dust-collector.  It never really dawned on me to read it and I really wasn’t much of a reader back then.

One afternoon, while trying to figure out what to do with my life and what direction I was going to take, I looked over at the book, grabbed a towel and my sunglasses and hit the pool.  I was immediately sucked into the book, not just because of the story, but because I was also into the spiritual mind-body practices, at least in theory (yes, it all sounded great in my mind, but I never actually practiced, even though I liked them and wanted to learn about my inner Chi).

The book was great, but I was a young guy, in my very early 20’s, and most of the book went into and out of my head.  A few weeks back, I was going through some old books and came across this book again.  It was dusty and the cover and several pages were bent.  I pulled it out and sat down to reread the book.  And it couldn’t have been more opportune that I should happen upon it.

Over the last several months, maybe even couple of years, I’ve learned to become a peaceful warrior.  In the past, I’ve reacted quickly, hastily to comments I feel passionate about, writing from the heart rather than allowing my head take over, listen to myself and my stance, and understand that in writing, there can be just as much screaming as there is in person.  I didn’t want to be that person.  I would go on a rant and later read it over and think, “What the hell was I just saying!”  I would then erase it and shake my head in embarrassment because it was gibberish.  There may have been a valid point somewhere, but it was hard to figure out with highly intensive slandering, bad language (sometimes) and sentences that went on without a single break while trying to make a point.  I was ashamed because I know that I don’t…nor should I…write like that.  It was time to be different.  It was time not to react, but to act.  It was time to make a point, to be a warrior yet maintain the peace.

I think I’ve achieved that result.  I can’t promise there won’t be a time when I may not write intensely and passionately, but for the most part, I want to try and maintain a level of intelligence, provide facts, and make sure the other person can discuss or argue back the same way.  I always tell my daughter, “Don’t stoop to stupidity.  Don’t get angry with anger.  Just hold your ground, stand firm, and know when to walk away.  But always be able to back up your argument.”

A 50 year-old ex-marine attacked my daughter on Facebook the other day, mostly because she was defending one of her fellow students, David Hogg.  The man called him a child, said he was stupid.  My daughter responded to defend him, saying he is actually quite intelligent as they had a couple of classes together.  The man then turned to belittle my daughter.  Doesn’t matter what he said, she got nasty back, calling him an “asshole” and then blocked him.  So I asked her, “you did a hit and run, huh?”

“What’s that?”
“That’s when you purposely slam someone, then cut them off so they can’t reply.  You hit him by calling him an asshole then blocked him, choosing to run away and not deal.  Did you get something out of it?”

“No.  He just made me really mad.”

“I understand that, but there is not resolve in slamming someone.  Name-calling and bashing is not a solution.  Be smarter than them, honey.  Make them want to tell you off so bad that they say that to you, not the other way around.  Most of the time, they will be pissed off and do the hit and run, but as long as you made your point and it was valid, intelligent, and merely a discussion on your end, you have nothing to worry about.  You will always be able to walk away on top.”

She is learning.  Trust me, I was furious and wanted to blast this jackass (there’s my name-calling), but chose to let her fight this battle.  She will have to learn to do so one day.  I will not be there all the time to fight her battles.  And she needs to learn to become just that – a peaceful warrior.

I feel awful that our society chooses to bash Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg…or I once did.  I don’t any longer.  Why?  Because I’m watching these children become strong adults.  I’m watching them become peaceful warriors.  I’m watching them take what is being thrown at them and instead of lashing out in response, they choose to be smarter.  Now it is possible that someone is guiding them and teaching them, showing them how to respond intelligently much like I’m doing with my daughter.  Or maybe not.  But if so, then I’m sure their parents are guiding them to support their movement.

I’m certain it can’t be easy to take on so much at such a young age.  Six weeks ago, they were students going to school, learning, being teenagers looking forward to prom and graduating soon.  In the blink of an eye, they were planted in front of an entire nation because for the first time in their young lives, they have a passion that they never realized.

There are many who could learn by becoming a peaceful warrior.  There many that NEED to learn to become a peaceful warrior.  I do my best to teach my daughter each day.  She is still learning.  So am I.

Stoneman-Douglas: Post Tragedy and the Steps Moving Forward

Today marks five weeks since the Stoneman-Douglas shooting.  It still makes me quiver inside, especially when I recall that day.  I also still feel remorse for those families that lost their children.  I haven’t dreamt much about it and really only one time in the last week.  There are still events that continue to plague the students, as my daughter had to experience two days ago.

First, there was Nik Cruz’ brother Zachary Cruz, who ended up on campus on Monday evening.  You can look it up and read about it as I won’t go into detail.  Somehow, he made it on campus after being told three times not to go near it.  He was immediately arrested, a bomb sweep was performed to make sure Cruz did not leave anything behind as a measure of protocol.

The next day, Tuesday morning, my daughter was having a bad anxiety attack at school because she was told there was a bomb threat.  I had to let her know that was false and it was only a bomb sweep to make sure there was nothing done by Zach Cruz while on campus which had been performed Monday evening.  Then, two students were arrested for bringing a knife to school and one was baker acted.

She began to panic and her mother had to pick her up from school Tuesday.  She was doing much better as of today, but was still having a tough time as of yesterday.  So naturally we allowed her to stay home the rest of the week with next week being spring break.

I called her last night and we spoke.  I gave her the most fatherly advice I knew how:

“I know this can’t be easy.  But the children that were arrested were done so immediately and any reason or excuse was not accepted for them having knives.  I don’t believe they were bringing knives to intentionally cause harm or inflict damage to other children.  Still, there is no reason or excuse and they were properly handled by the authorities.  As for Zachary Cruz, I can’t say how he entered campus, but he did so freely and was apprehended.  They did a bomb sweep for security purposes and to follow protocol.  There was no bomb threat but when they found him, he had only the clothes on his back and a skateboard with him.”

“That makes me feel a little better,” she said.

“Look, your school is under a microscope right now.  Anything that occurs there is going to be amplified one-hundred fold.  It’ll look much bigger than it seems because that is the way it will be portrayed by everyone.  I can only tell you this:  You have to continue to move forward.  There is an equal amount of fear you can have by driving in a car, going to a mall or grocery store, or going off to college.  People carry knives.  People have guns. I can only hope and pray that you are vigilant of your surroundings.  You need to pay attention, but you should not live your life in fear.  I pray everyday that you remain safe and you must do the same.  I’d like to say it’ll be OK.  But hope is all I can really do that it does remain OK and that you are always fine.  If anything, learn from this.  I can’t tell you not to be afraid.  But should you have fear, do not let it keep you from moving forward.  Share with and teach others.  And remember that you have only seven weeks left after you return from spring break.  You’ll have prom, then finals, then graduation and a new chapter begins.  Keep that in mind if/when you worry.  And if need be, mommy and I will be there for you.”

That was the best I had for her.  I can’t sugar coat anything because I don’t believe in it.  Truth is hard to swallow, but as long as truth contains some semblance of faith and hope and it isn’t all just hard truth, then there should be light – in her heart and in her eyes.

I continue to pray for those families.  I love what Florida has done to enact knew legislation concerning the several issues that we have dealt with.  And the student movement has been remarkable.

My belief?  This is more than just a gun issue.  I have said that from the beginning and now there has been confirmation and here’s how…

There have been several bombings going on in Austin, Texas.  Two people lost their lives.  Several have been injured.  Seven bombs went off, including the one that killed the serial bomber, Mark Conditt.  He was 23 years-old, only four years older than Nik Cruz.  He didn’t have much of a social media presence, other than a few blogs he wrote on topics he discussed…and that was back in 2012.  As of now, there is no motive.  He was home schooled, graduated, and was attending a community college.  He was in computer repair and a purchasing agent.

Mental health issues are rampant.  Until more comes out about this case, we will not know why he did these acts or what other knowledge there is of his mental health.  Nik Cruz and his brother have had several very well documented acts of violence and disturbances.  However, there was no knowledge of this young man having any issues…as of yet.  While Cruz may have been prevented, we just don’t know who is going to cause damage…or when or where.  He used bombs, not a gun.  This is still tragic because people were killed and injured.

We need to go back to giving a shit about people.  We need to go back to being nosy-neighbors.  We need to spend more time with our kids and less time with computers and technology.  We need to teach manners and instill a taste of fear in our children to elicit their respect to us as adults.  Not abuse.  We need kids to get involved with each other and learn to leave no one out.

Fixing what I see many are calling our “broken society” is not a difficult task.  Our society is not broken, it just needs to be readjusted.  This is not one person’s problem.  The President didn’t do this to us.  Politicians didn’t do this to us.  Religious groups didn’t do this to us.  A particular race didn’t do this to us.

WE DID! Technology has made us weaker.  We care less.  We act less.  We don’t instill the values that were once taught.  We allow mediocrity.  We are accepting of average work.  I read an article the other day by a “respectable news source” (if there is such a thing anymore) and I was appalled by the grammatical errors and misspelling.  I found five in just the first four paragraphs and stopped reading because it was written by the editor of the news source.  All this technology and they couldn’t get spellcheck right.

When my mother was involved in politics several years ago, we went door-to-door promoting the candidate she supported.  We passed out fliers.  We spoke to homes.  We shook hands.  And my brother and I went along for the ride.  I’m not saying that in support of the politics; I’m saying that in support of our involvement.  We knew what was going on.  We were learning.  We weren’t glued to a computer or a video game.  We weren’t stuck on our phones or laptops or iPads lost in a screen.  We were involved.  If we did play video games, we did so for about an hour and then we were back outside, riding bikes, playing make-believe, creating fake scenarios, using our imaginations.

I don’t think we are broken.  But we are certainly way off track.  We just have to re-route the track and find our way back to the course.  We have to do so as community, as a family of Americans.  We have to revive what was been lost like having dinner together with our families without TV, talking and having conversations, knowing what’s going on in our children’s lives and in their minds, involved in their school and with their schoolwork.  We need to be more diligent with their functions, as children learning to grow.  We have to be impressionable by sharing stories and knowledge and experience, but also allowing them to make decisions so they can grow.

I don’t have all the answers.  But I will never stray away from offering solutions I believe may work.

For now, hope is all I can really do that it will once again – someday – be OK.

Be Positive.  Be Passionate.  Be Proud.  #msdstrong

 

 

 

Banned In the USA

Pitbulls.  Several will claim they are happy, loving dogs.  Many will claim they are a breed that is destined to wreak havoc and cause pain because they are a killing machine.  Cocaine in the early 1900’s was considered safe.  Over time, people realized it had addictive personalities and it was thus banned, as a primary ingredient in Coca Cola.  AR-15’s, a gun that is being widely accused of several mass shootings, is the topic of discussion for being banned because of its ease of purchase for such a tirade, especially in the last several mass shootings.

Lets be clear before I continue:  my daughter was in school the day of the Stoneman-Douglas shooting.  I was there.  If you read my last two blogs, you are well aware that this plays big in my mind and heart as I held my breath until I found my daughter safe and she was returned to me.  And while I’m an advocate and support the second amendment, many people feel the AR-15 should be banned.  I don’t.  And here’s why.

First, let’s be honest about all of this:  this is more than just a gun.  Yes, he did get it legally. Yes, he did kill 17 people.  And yes, he was mentally diagnosed with autism at 11 years old.  And yes, he used an AR-15.

“But AR-15’s are responsible for the last several school shootings, including this one.”

I hear you.  I do.  But did you know that there was a tri-county wide ban that was put into effect to ban pitbulls for the same fear?

Go look it up!  I challenge you.  In the 70’s it was German Shepards.  In the 80’s it was Doberman Pinchers.  In the 90’s it was Rotweilers.  Now it is Pitbulls and has been for the last several years.

“This is a ridiculous argument.  You are comparing an animal to an animal shooting up a live environment?”

Is it really all that different?  Maybe in the sense of the amount of lives taken, but is a pitbull no more or less dangerous…in the minds of those that experienced it?

Maybe to some extent.  But here is the comment from one person’s experience with an pitbull:

“People are frightened,” Michele Lazarow, HallandaleBeach city commissioner, said. “And they’re angry. They’re seeing what has happened in Miami-Dade County, and they’re frightened that it could happen here.”

That was a comment by someone who feels pitbull attacks could happen with those they love around them and want them banned so they never have to experience it.  They fear that pitbulls could cause the same damage and are scared.

So what makes pitbulls attack any different from a gun?  There was a county-wide push to have this breed banned based on the reaction of the breed’s potential to lash out without knowledge.  How is that any different than a person that is mentally disabled lashing out without knowledge?

“That’s just ignorant.  You can’t compare an animals breed lashing out to someone who is firing against several students.”

Really?  Why not?  If I own the breed and they go after one or several people and cause damage or harm, how different is that breed than someone who has a gun, pistol (Columbine) or rifle (Douglas) lashing out on a group of people?  How is that really different?  The amount of people they kill?  Really?  I hope that’s not your basis for reasoning.  If it is, then I guess the Boston Marathon bombing isn’t included because it only caused three deaths but 16 people lost limbs.  And the World Trade Center Bombings killed six people and injured a thousand.

People will cause harm regardless of laws.  People will figure out a way to do harm no matter what they need to do to do it.  9/11 was a result of planes and buildings, no guns involved.

“That was a terrorist act.”

So that’s OK?  Nobody used guns.  But several thousands of people were killed and lost their lives.

“That was premeditated!”

So was Douglas!!!  But we are going to blame the AR-15.   Let’s not blame the several (the number varies between 32 and 39) calls that resulted from this sickened individual.  Let’s not recall the FBI calls that were given to him claiming to be a “professional school shooter” one day or the fact that he may “explode and one day kill several.”  Let’s not talk about so much more that I am ill talking about because we know now what it is.

There is no doubt that it was too easy for him to purchase this gun.  There is no doubt that he was able to pass a background check even though he was declared autistic at age 11.

Before you go ape-shit on me about this, here’s my take:

I believe you should be 23 before you get a gun.  I believe when you turn 21, you should be have to take a course (if you want to own a gun) that allows you the opportunity to have a pre-liminary license.  I feel that over the next 2 years, you should have a set amount of time spent in a gun range and you should have to take two courses – one on gun-firing and recoil and one on gun-knowledge.  The gun-firing course should include a certain number of rounds that you fire for practice, to understand the impact and power behind it; you  that should have the required amount of rounds shooting (like community service hours) in order to obtain the shooting license.  Then there should be a test, a course you take that requires you to learn about guns, ammo, and all things that are involved with guns that make you educated and pass a test that will allow you to have a knowledge based license. Combined, you would receive a SAF-T Ownership License that will allow you the ability to carry legally.  The money charged, part of that goes to the licensing company, the rest to education to help safely protect children.

AR-15’s won’t go away.  They won’t.  Banning them is like banning a pitbull because they are a dangerous animal and you never know if/when they are going to act out.  You can argue with me all day long.

At the end of the day, there are several out there that feel a Pit Bull is a dangerous breed and if they had a child or family member that were attacked by one, could you convince them they were wrong any more than you could convince someone who was shot and killed by an AR-15?  Probably not.  A hard argument from both sides.

“But a pitbull doesn’t cause 17 people to lose their lives, including the lives at SandyHook, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Pulse, etc.  What now?”

I can’t argue that.  Fear is fear.  And this fear is just as great and has been as greatly expressed in the sense of banning Pitbulls as a breed because they feel passionately about it and fearful of the breed.  Why should it be any different?  A Pit Bull can cause death just as much as an AR-15…maybe not in the same capacity, but in the same sense of destruction and death.

I’m not an advocate of the NRA nor am I a member.  I have shot an AR-15.  I don’t feel one way or the other about them, whether they should be banned or not.  The NRA apparently does not want to help with the stand and they aren’t willing to change their stance on age or making new laws because they feel age is not a consideration on the matter.  I don’t know why.  Many would argue it’s a money issue and would take away the position of the NRA.  I’m not sure why they don’t feel the need to stand up and make changes.  It’s disheartening nonetheless.

However, so many people have bowed out of their efforts to support the NRA or give discounts to them or completely move away from supporting them.  Sad that they can’t seem to move in favor of such, that a person of 18 years of age can possess a firearm, yet can’t drink a beer.  So maybe there needs to be a new association that moves in favor of better, safer laws.

We need to make change.  Change needs to happen immediately.  There is no discussion, but we need to do it the right way.  Governor Scott proposed several different actions and I respect and appreciate his efforts and actions.  We’ll see what happens.  To be continued…

 

 

 

Stoneman Douglas: Moving Forward

What is there to say, really?  So much is being said, so many are upset, angry, hurt, sad, brokenhearted, and scared.  I know because my daughter and I are two of them.

We (my daughter, her mother and I) attended funerals and viewings this week.  We saw these families say goodbye to their loved ones.  My daughter, her mother and I cried as she said goodbye to her friends.  We listened and witnessed the broken hearts, the parents, family, friends, and classmates speak about these young lives, taken way too soon.

We watched the news, the CNN Town Hall discussion, students speaking out, the rally in Tally, the trip to Washington, student walkouts to support MSD, MSD students speaking out and the donations for the upcoming March for Our Lives on March 24th.

First, I will say that what these students are doing is valiant, strong, and revolutionary.  I praise their efforts and hope they are loud and strong enough to make a stand and create change.  I hope this doesn’t tinker off in a couple days or a few months like the Sandy Hook and Aurora shootings did.  They are brave, strong, and smart and need their voices to be heard.  And they want to feel safe and be protected as this will forever be etched in their hearts and minds.

I opened up last night for the first time since this began.  I don’t like to get into political debates because it turns heated, hated, and causes friction without any resolve.  So I don’t see the point.  But watching the CNN event, I had to speak out.

The truth is debates don’t solve anything.  People’s opinions are unlikely to change.  And last night was no exception because I was angry and heated over what was happening at the BB&T Center, so I opened up about it.  And of course, it was a back-and-forth battle of what we agree, or respectfully disagree, to discuss and debate but in the same right, it was great to see the students speak up and speak out.

I’m here to say one final thing, my last stance on the topic, at least verbally.  Going forward I will be silently protesting  with my actions to speak, rather than my words.

I was in the middle of this when it happened.  The facts have been presented to the public.  This kid was mentally ill and there were several indicators that lead to this.  Would we have known the date or day it happened?  No.  Were there things that could have been done to prevent?  Yes, I do believe there could have been.  But could’ves should’ves and what if’s do not exist and matter not.

But here’s what I do know:  We need solutions and we need them quickly.  This isn’t one particular group or organization’s fault.  This is bigger much bigger.  This event was a combination of several factors.  This is about mental health with violent tendencies as shown on social media sites.  This is about troubled people who lash out and use guns, bombs, knives…anything they can to inflict harm.

“But this isn’t about bombs or knives, this is about guns that have killed students time and time again.”

That’s right.  It is.  But terror is terror, no matter how you look at it.  We can blame guns.  Definitely.  That was the weapon of choice.  But there have been mass stabbings and bombings that have hurt and taken several lives.  Yes, students and schools are a target because they are defenseless.  But weren’t the runners in the Boston Marathon easily a target and defenseless when the Tsnaraev brothers bombed them, killing three and causing 16 to lose their limbs?  Or how about the World Trade Center bombings in 1993 that killed 6 and injured 1,000?

I’m not trying to make it seem any worse or better.  I just want people to be aware that terror is terror and people that want to cause pain and hurt will find a way, regardless of laws, organizations, or whomever or whatever it is and their attempts to prevent them.

I’m not saying we not do anything.  Definitely not.  What I’m saying is we can’t lay blame in one particular area.  There are several areas that this affects and here’s what I believe we need to do:

  1.  The age should be increased to buy/purchase a fire arm.  I think 21 for handguns and 25 if they want to buy a rifle.  It’s not about age, but about maturity and I believe that maturity is part and parcel to age and 25 is a good time.
  2. I think background checks should be put forth on ANYONE who buys a firearm, regardless of the type and style.  I also feel that anyone who buys a firearm should also be required to take a class…not only to purchase but to learn the intricacies of guns, how they fire, recoil, caliber, etc.  When you learn to drive a car, you have to take a test, take a class, pass a driving test, etc.  Guns are weapons and should come with the same safety and knowledge that driving a car comes with.  Perhaps even going to a range and completing a certain number of shooting rounds to understand the strength and power that come with guns – hand or rifle – as part of the learning process, the same way that you can drive a car at 15, only with a parent.
  3. Create a mental health database and anyone that is found by a licensed doctor to be mentally unstable or diagnosed with a mental disorder should be entered into this database.  If they try to buy a gun, the background check will be linked to the mental health database and redirected to the proper authorities to be immediately investigated.  This will keep their mental health protected by HIPAA laws but also will make sure they are accounted for if there is an attempt at creating terror.
  4. Increase security in schools.  A friend of mine posted that they can’t take a bottle of water on an airplane, but they can walk onto a school campus easily and freely.  Use the retired vets or police officers.  Build the schools stronger and safer with only specific entrances and exits that are monitored; the same way you have to check in at the gate of a gated community should be the same with anyone who wants to enter onto a school campus.  They should also be directly linked to their child with either a picture or an ID prior to the start of school.
  5. Create a tab on ALL social media sites, directly ON the site, that should anyone witness something so severe, such as someone posting themselves with hatred, pictures of killings (like Cruz had), bad or evil messages, etc., they should be able to click on the tab, TAG the person’s site (anonymously) and make it known to the sites coordinators and moderators to be a red flag.  This will allow people on social media sites to actively watch when on them and be able to report if they feel someone is threatening or they feel someone is planning to cause harm and pain to others.

These are my solutions.  They may not be the right solutions, but they are a start, from me alone.

I don’t have all the answers.  Talk is cheap when it comes to matters like this.  Actions are the only answers at this point.  As my grandfather use to say, “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do, show me what you’ve done.”

I posted a link below to an article by ABC News back in December of 2012 after the Newtown shootings.  Interesting read with some facts that stand out.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/newtown-connecticut-shootings-assault-weapons-ban-work/story?id=18000724

My heart still hurts, but it’s time to begin the healing process and take action.  It was a tough week for my daughter, her mother and myself – and of course everyone affected by this tragedy.  But we need to start moving forward, healing, and working toward protecting our children, and taking action to make safety THE top priority for all our children, sick and not sick, mentally healthy and mentally unstable.

We are holding a fundraiser on March 6th, from 7pm-9pm at Bonefish Mac’s in Coral Springs to raise money for Aaron Feis’ wife Melissa and daughter Arielle.  We will have silent auctions, raffle off  a bunch of amazing gifts, have a 50/50, and we will have a donation table for those that just want to donate to help them out as they will require all the help they can get.

Please feel free to share this post.  Here is a link to a great song I found by a band called Blessed Union of Souls called “Healing.”

I am no longer going to debate this topic or discuss it as we all know what needs to be done – as a group, as a community, as a family – to protect and safeguard our loved ones and those around us, especially our defenseless children, from any future tragedies.  God bless.  God speed.  And may all the hurting hearts begin the healing process.

 

#msdstrong#foreverinourhearts#neveragain#flyhigh#eaglepride#bethechange

 

 

Valentine’s Day Horror: A Heartless Tragedy

I’m never one to shy away from sharing a bad or awful dating story.  Unfortunately, this post is not about that.  This is much worse, far tragic, and something no one should ever have to face.  This is about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting…the school my daughter attends.

So I am doing what helps me cope, as I sit and toss and turn in my bed, weary-eyed, unable to catch any ZZZZ’s as I play the day over and over in my head, and tell the story of what happened from a parent’s point of view.  This is hard to tell, but better that I see it on paper than playing like recorder on loop-play or repeat.

As a beautiful warm day began, I drove to my daughter’s school, usually arriving around 2ish to sit in the parking lot and write or listen to podcasts until her release at 2:40pm. That way I beat the car line and we get to drive off without facing any traffic.  Today was no different – or so I thought.

Around 2:25pm, several students on either side of me were exiting the building when out of nowhere the security man came by on his golf cart at top speed.

“GET BACK INSIDE!  NOW!  GO! GO! GO,” he shouted.  I looked around thinking this was a drill.

At 2:29pm I texted her, “What the heck is going on?”

“CODE RED…PLEASE GET OUT.  I’M SCARED!”

Within two minutes, there were cops everywhere.  S.W.A.T. teams showed up, armored cars, and just about every police department arrived at the school.  They were pulling up in droves, getting out of their squad cars quickly, throwing on vests and pulling out fully-armed artillery.  They moved quickly up to the building, guns and rifles drawn, circling inside and outside.  Several kids were seen running, smoke was in the air and none of us parents sitting in the parking lot had any idea what was happening.

“Dad, is this a drill?  I’m shaking,” my daughter text me.

“Not a drill honey.  Cops everywhere.  I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m scared.”

“Take a deep breath.  Relax.  Daddy’s here.”

Just after I said that, gun shots were fired.  Several cops came into the parking lot and we had to abandon our vehicles as the shooter was still on the loose.  We were being forced to leave and go across the street and down a few blocks to the park.

“Gun shots are fired.  Shooter is in the parking lot.”

“omg.  please be safe.”

“I’m fine.  It’ll be over soon.  Just relax.  Be safe.  I’m not going anywhere.”

My stomach had crawled into my throat as I had no idea what was happening, nor was I about to go away from the school.  So I crossed the street, walked up the hill, passed through the shrubbery separating the neighborhood of homes from the school and stood on the other side, watching, waiting, and worrying.

There were a few people near me that lived in the neighborhood, but they were merely there to find out what was going on.  Finally a couple other parents arrived, standing with me, waiting.

“I am still shaking.  We are in a closet.  I’m scared.”

“Just stay safe, keep hidden.  I promise I’m not going anywhere.”

This was the first time in my life I felt completely helpless, like if my daughter was drowning in a pool and I could see it a mile away but would never make it in time to save her.  That’s exactly how I felt.  Several parents were standing around, feeling the same way, I’m sure.

Cops kept arriving, guns drawn, running to the school.  Helicopters were flying all around.  More armored vehicles arrived.  Ambulance vehicles, firetrucks arrived.  Finally, a group of kids were running out, single-file, with their hands in the air.  They had to drop off their backpack in the street, were instructed to sit on the hill, and then were asked the following three questions:

“Is anyone injured and need assistance?  Does anyone have any knowledge of this happening or witness the shooting?  Did anyone capture the shooting on your phone?”

They would then allow the children to retrieve their backpacks, head single-file to the north end of the street, and from there, I believe they were bused to a safe location.

With each group of children, I hoped to see my daughter.  I was on the phone with my mother as she was trying to get details about the incident from the news and keep me patient while I was waiting to get word on my daughter and her safety.

Suddenly, the gentleman standing next to me screamed out, “OH THANK GOD!  THERE’S MY BOY,” as he pointed diagonally from where we were standing on the hill.  I screamed it out in support of him as you could see the look on his face suddenly relaxed in relief to know his son was across the street and safely out of the school.

My phone would ring and this time it was my ex-wife.  She was in hysterics just under the overpass to the south of the school, unable to get by as police had secured the location to keep everyone away and safe.  I kept trying to reassure her that she would be fine, all while still feeling a knot in my stomach and an equally large knot in my throat.

Suddenly, the mother standing behind me began crying as she saw her son coming from the next group of children crossing the street.

I smiled at her and we hugged.

“Any word on your daughter?”

“Nothing yet.”

I was doing everything to keep calm, pray, and hope for the best as there was still no word on if the suspect had been apprehended or if he was still on the loose.

Standing at the top of the hill, I watched closely and carefully, waiting to hear from my daughter.

I then received a text and she told me she was out.  They were all against the wall directly across from where I was standing, about 300 yards away.  I text her that I was waving my arm, but she was seated and couldn’t see me.  It still wasn’t enough even though there was a group of officers standing guard while they sat in the grass, in the shade, against the school wall.

Finally, she was standing.  I saw her wave.  They were then escorted across the street and were seated on the hill just below where I was standing.  Several of the students were crying.  Teachers were hugging.  Parents stood with open arms as their children came running.  She was given the nod to go and it was at that moment I was able to hold my child in my arms.

I shed a few tears, but was mostly relieved to have her near me.  I walked her to the other side of the overpass where her mother stood and then we all began to cry tears of joy.

This continued on throughout the evening.  My eyes are still glossy as I write this.  The news was full of information – video of the event inside the classroom, students that were hospitalized that my daughter had as friends, text messages that a student sent to her mother saying “if I don’t make it out alive, thank you for everything you’ve done for me and know I love you.”  It was heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, pain.  I had to watch my daughter cry several times.  She watched as her mother and I broke down.

While we were happy to have her home safe, the loss of so much – those poor children, their families, the teachers, the coaches and security – I can’t begin to fathom the pain they will endure.  The three of us were a mixed bag of emotions, sitting together, watching the news; happy that our daughter was home safe with us; sad that this tragedy happened; sad and hurt that it happened in our daughter’s school and so many wonderful people lost their lives; and angry that this coward caused so many so much pain.

Never in this world do you ever imagine an event like this happening that involves you.  The acts of Columbine, Va. Tech, Sandy Hook, and so many others were tragic.  I felt for those parents, but never understood the state of shock and fear they experienced…until yesterday.  Even writing this, as therapeutic as it has been, my stomach is still in a partial knot and I’m still saddened by this tragic occurrence.

I wish I had an answer.  I don’t.  Stricter gun laws?  Red flags on social media the way they do when pornography or nudity is posted?  Less violent video games?  Maybe we need to be more observant, or nosy or curious, like the nosy next door neighbor?  I don’t have the answer.  However,  I did research on the past several mass shootings and there is a hugely shared identifier – all of them had clues that lead up to the event that were either disregarded (Columbine) or not reported (as in the case of the Sutherland Springs church shooting…but much more intricate with details that involved Kelley’s military career).

Again, I don’t have the answers.  I pray for those that lost family yesterday.  I cry tears of joy that my daughter is home safe with me.  My heart breaks all around because I can’t imagine how the students must have felt.

I do know that this was the scariest day of my life…by and large!  I never wish it on anyone.  I hope no one ever has to go through this.  And I hope and pray this never happens again.  You never fully understand the magnitude of a situation until you are knee-deep in it.

I praise and thank all Broward County LEO, SWAT, FBI, ATF, EMS, and Firefighters. I thank all those who supported me and my ex with phone calls, text messages, FB messages, and FB posts to check on us as we moved patiently and anxiously through this harrowing event.  I pray for the entire Stoneman Douglas family as we all go through this trying time, to heal quickly and begin moving forward.  I love all my family and friends and am happy to start moving ahead and being available to help out in this time of need wherever possible.  God Bless!  Eagle Pride!

 

She Was Just 17…

And you may, or may not know what I mean.  But I can tell you that it was a toughie to realize and I got a funny feeling it’s going to be a rather emotional year.

First, sorry I’ve been away for so long.  I had to redirect and refocus again.  Things are changing.  It was time to set new goals and not look back.  I had much to do within me and for me before I could open up where I am, what I’m doing, and making a stride to better myself and share stories so those that read can learn, laugh, or better themselves as well.

I’ll be doing my daddydoright blog every Tuesday going forward.  Thursdays, I’ll be writing a separate blog which I’ll share next Tuesday to help you find and become a better you.

So how’s the new year working out for you so far?

We are almost six weeks into the new year.  Last Wednesday, my daughter turned 17.  I didn’t think much about it until Tuesday night.  I got home from work and sat at my computer.  I began looking through photos and thinking about how quickly the last 17 years have flown.  I then went to Facebook and posted a few pics of her throughout the years, wishing her a happy birthday.

Then it was waterworks – for two days!

I’ve been a single father, fighting and struggling to do the best I can, to be the best dad, to guide, love, care for, and offer any life lessons, advice, or be an ear to listen whenever she needed me.  I moved within a mile and a half of her mother’s home to be as close to her as possible.  I never wanted her to feel I wasn’t far at all.

I didn’t sleep that night, tossing and turning, crying on and off.  Finally at 6:30am on her birthday I decided to get up because there was no sense in trying to sleep and watch the news.  I planned to pick her up at noon from school and take her to lunch as there really wasn’t anything she wanted for her birthday except a good place to eat.

My eyes were swollen so I didn’t remove my sunglasses as we sat outside to eat.  We talked, laughed, and all I could do was look at just how marvelous a young lady she has become.  It was happiness and sadness all wrapped into on big ball of emotional mess.  I took her back to school and dropped her off, realizing that the waterworks would soon come again (and it didn’t help that I had been up for 30 straight hours).

After coming home and passing out on my coach for five hours, I woke up and felt…amazing.  I walked to my “2018 Goals” board and looked it over, carefully scrutinizing what I had written down five short weeks prior.  I then walked to my “2018 Vision Board” carefully examining my future travel destinations and living quarters (it’s called Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch and one of the most beautiful neighborhoods I have ever been and will live one day).

I sat at the computer, working on finishing up my third motivational book to be released in a few short weeks via Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

This feeling of greatness came over me.  I had goosebumps and my eyes welled up with pure happiness.

I realized that I successfully helped to raise a wonderful individual.  She would be graduating high school in a few short months then off to college in August 2018.

It was then that everything was OK.  I can now focus on myself.  I now have the ability and right to do all the things I wanted to do but chose not to do to make sure I was as available as I could be for my daughter.

Am I where I want to be in my life as far as career and success?

No!

But I’m heading that way, quickly.  I have some wonderful strides I’ve been making in the last 5 weeks to hit those goals on my board.  I’ve dedicated myself to doing so and I haven’t let up since.

Everything is great!  I look at the accomplishments and achievements and I smile.  I had a big hand in contributing.  I’m a proud dad.  And now it’ll be just fine to be selfish.  It’s time to work on becoming the best I can be for me…and for my daughter.  I owe it to her.  I owe it to myself.  I have just begun walking that road to greatness.  The future looks very bright…for Daddy and Daddy’s (Always) Little Girl!