A Concealed Carry open letter

I wrote this almost a year ago, and wasn’t sure how or when to send this. After recent events, including the guy who was tackled for legally carrying his firearm in Florida, I feel I need to put this out there.

Please understand. I mean you no harm. Please understand I carry my firearm for self defense. I do not carry it to boast. I do not carry it to stroke my ego. I carry to defend my spouse and my children. I do not carry to shove the 2nd amendment down your throat. I do not carry to be the crazy guy everyone is afraid of. I carry because someone tried to hurt me, rob me, possibly kill me…twice.
Please understand. You will see me shopping, you will see me taking my kids to/from school, and you will see me working at my job. you will see me tending my yard, fixing my car, and coaching sports. You will see me opening the door for those my senior, you will see me thank the cashier, and most of all, you will see me hold my children tight and laugh and play with them. You wont see me pick a fight, you won’t see me decide who is wrong and right, and you won’t see me stalk the neighborhood.
Please understand. I do not leave ammo and guns laying around my home. I teach my family to fear and respect the weapons that we own. I teach my kids that policemen are doing their job, and sometimes its very far to come to our aid. I let them know that daddy will do his best to always be there and not be afraid of what they hear in the news or in school.
Please understand. After carrying for 8 years, drawing my firearm twice, and never firing a single shot at a human being, I will not stop now. i’ve lived this long, and have many years to go. The good Sheriff has signed my card every 5 years, and i have never given him a reason otherwise. Please understand. I don’t think everyone should have a firearm, but i don’t think taking them away will solve anything either. If mine or my family’s lives are in danger, I will draw my weapon. If i absolutely have to, I will pull the trigger. I pray the day never comes.
I do not think that Hollywood can teach you anything regarding guns, and I wish more people would understand. If someone does argue with me on the subject of firearms, I will not shoot, shout, or scream. I will explain the facts that I know, and will answer any question they have. I hope they are satisfied. I have been trained, I have practiced, and I continue to re-educate myself with the latest in firearm safety.
Please understand that I am a responsible gun owner. I am not a monster. I am not a fear monger. I am your neighbor, your volunteer, your fellow parent, and just another man. i
I am educated, I have traveled far and wide, and I know there is so much more to see. Turn off the TV, get off the partisan politic discussions, and just go outside and talk face to face. you will be surprised what you can learn.

With respect,

A responsible LCF card holder, always armed but never threatening.

So I met a blogger I didn’t know IRL

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Obligatory computer and coffee photo

I’m sure some of you have used one of the ubiquitous “rummage sale” sites on Facebook. As a papa of three, you bet your ass I do. Funny thing is, I have pretty decent luck selling on said pages locally here. I’d say I’ve got a 75% success rate, even. So The Wife found a screaming deal on a toy that a friend of ours was desperately searching for to give to her eager daughter. Turns out its from a blogger that The Wife follows for in-store deals all the time. Somehow I get roped into doing the meet. So I head down, and meet up with her. Now, most meets for rummage sales are a 10 minute at most transaction. “Here’s your widget. Here’s your money, $15 right? Yep! Great, Nancy is gonna love this! Thanks so much! Take care!” Well we start talking a bit and suddenly an hour has passed. She could really talk! And it was cool. We had very similar views on how businesses in our area do not take advantage of blogging and social media. What amazed me was how in-tune she really was to the Marketing industry as a whole. Most people in our area unfortunately have blinders on and only focused on immediate, short term needs. They often look at you in wonder and amazement if you have a grip on things like socioeconomic trends, world news, and common sense solutions to every day problems. Yet here’s this blogger on a rummage meet with me and she’s got it together. No wonder her and The Wife chat it up all the time. I think it’s great!

The depressing thing about our area is it’s almost as if people have no interest in the impact things have on their lives until it happens, and then all they do is complain. After they complain, they crawl back in their Hobbit Hole and avoid any excitement or involvement in life beyond The Shire. The trickle-down effect has began to affect their children. I see it, and I worry. Their kids are not getting enriched at home. Instead, they are spoon fed entertainment news as if it’s actually important to their lives. They can tell you Kim Kardashian went commando the other day and the paparazzi caught it, but they can’t tell you where Syria is on a map, or that though gas prices are low, the US oil industry has taken a $35 billion hit, or even that we very well may be paying tax on our internet service soon and the FCC might now have their paws into how we view the internet soon due to ‘net neutrality’. The current school system is partly to blame, but all education starts at home. I would like to think The Wife and I continue to enrich and expose our children to things larger than the latest cat video on YouTube. My son was so excited to have me do Career Day recently at his school, you would think it was his Birthday. I gotta say, it was humbling that he was so proud to have me come in. The teachers were thrilled that these kids could talk to someone who worked their way into a 11 year career and speak to someone who has learned so much and continues to learn more about Civil Engineering.

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Small group of the kids that attended career day, holding onto some anchor parts and construction gear.

All is not lost, and I hope these bright young minds eschew the blinders that many wear and look for something greater. This all started for me when I took a chance with a job offer over 11 years ago with a company I knew nothing about but promised to teach me everything. And I, above everything, have a son who takes pride in his dad and what he does.

Lazyass

Yeah, another huge gap in between posts. I’ll get better.

Quick recap:

I stopped coaching baseball after this summer. The stark realization hit me: I was focusing on something really good, in helping other kids learn and enjoy a team sport, but it began to take away from my own children as there was always work to do for the organization outside of just coaching. It was also very difficult given I work full time and my hours can vary greatly, yet many of the parents who do not work (for whatever reason) seem to just not have the time to help. It’s pretty endemic across the board. I’ll do a follow up post to that.

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Opening day parade with my lil guys

Speaking of work, late this year another company in my industry actively recruited and attempted to hire me. They offered a very nice package that anyone would be a fool to turn down. I sat down with The Wife and discussed it and we agreed that I would talk to my current employers and see if there was anything they could do. They countered way better than expected and suddenly I found myself in something like a bidding war. In the end, I chose to keep my current job. The time they do afford me with my family is too precious to pass up and the deal I got was top notch. Guess what, kids? Hard work and dedication does pay off.

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Jobsite in NYC

Been working on the house, laying new flooring. The carpet was shot and neded to go. With the floating laminate wood flooring, it’s almost like a new house. Come springtime, I’m tackling the yard. Lots of fun stuff to do out there.

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Living room looks pretty good (and clean, haha)

I’ve lost two friends recently; one to a heart attack at the age of 43 (not very much older than I) and another from an overdose on Fentanyl (he was in his 30s and a recovered addict). Both were devastating (not that any death is easy). It just reminds me of how precious our time is here. Part of the reason I kept my current job. I can stay close to my family and occasionally travel when needed. As much $$$ as was offered to me, at this stage I can’t go back to being on the road 2-3 weeks a month. It was hard for 7 years. Easy when I was single, but with my wife and minions, definitely not easy. Hold those you love a little more…you do not know what tomorrow is going to bring. See you guys in a few hours. The coffee pot will be ready.

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Squishy melts my heart.

my second favorite coffee cup on a rainy Sunday

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my second favorite cup that I got at an industry event years ago

So the weather is crap today. My son never held up his end of the contract yesterday, so the prize is gone and he now has to clean his room top to bottom without any reward. So the weather kind of works out in my favor. Anytime there’s nice weather, The Wife and I push the kids outside to play, ride their bikes, play with their friends next door, etc. Not today it seems. 

The weather in the northeast was especially brutal this year. Our kids don’t mind the cold and they love the snow. But sub zero temperatures and crazy negative wind chills are NOT good for them to play in. I’m sure you all can sympathize with cabin fever. On top of that, school was cancelled so many days because of the brutal cold or the bad storms we got nailed with. 6″ of snow is not a blizzard nor a bad storm, that’s a nice snowfall. 12+” with ice in the mix, not the fun stuff you would want to play in. So they were stuck home, can’t go outside, and the inside of the house routinely ended up looking like the movie Twister. A winter like this really tests your parental patience. We made the best of it, though. Bring on the spring!

Not my morning cup and a messy 10 year old

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So quick recap, I shaved with the razor again and it worked just fine. So I got 4 solid shaves out of the DSC first cartridge. Woot! Next, a little about the munchkins. I cut a deal with Stinky, my 10 yr old son. Like any, he hates cleaning his room. So, in the spirit of him taking everything so LITERAL, I wrote a contract. He was to spend his Saturday fixing the disaster that is his room in exchange for a reward since punishing him didnt work. He’s got that defiant streak down to a science, and my patience is thin, working 12 hour days currently. I figured, what the heck, give him some positive motivation. We drew up a very uncomplicated contract that we both signed. If his room was cleaned today (Saturday) he would earn this particular reward. $10. And he could spend it on anything (not the usual ‘save your money’ we instill on our kids). It was money for him to burn and he was genuinely excited. Yet…here we are, dinner time, and he hasn’t started. He wasted the day. But you know what? I didn’t fail as a parent. He will learn. Now he doesn’t have the reward he was seeking. Come tomorrow, it’s back to regulation. Cleaning his room is his responsibility. I gave him a shot to prove he is willing to work towards something he wanted, even though it was part of his regular chores. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t slave my kids. He helps set the table every night, feed the fish, bring his dirty laundry downstairs so The Wife and I can wash it, he puts his clean clothes away, and does his homework. Cleaning his room is regular upkeep. I was testing him to see if he really wanted this. It started because he wants a friend over to play. I’m sorry, but I was raised that if your room (or house for that matter) was a mess, you didn’t have company over. It’s embarrassing. I want to instill these values in him to help him stay organized and not live a life of chaos. So he failed the test. That’s alright. When tomorrow comes, it will be back to normal and he will face the consequences. And he knows it. I havent been on his six about doing it today but I casually reminded him of the contract. He keeps procrastinating and deflecting. Well, all part of it. Another page in a chapter of parenthood! We will see what tomorrow brings.
Makes me laugh, too, because squishy, my 17 month old, is on a pick up everything off the floor and give to daddy kick. She’s doing her part to clean up. It’s adorable. And kinda cool. For once it’s the young teaching the not so young how it’s done, haha.