Sunday, July 17, 2016

What We Can Do for Them.

Greta Van Susteren's "Off The Record" this evening (7/17/16) was spot on. She asked the question (I paraphrase): For these men and women of law enforcement who go out every day to protect us, what are WE doing to protect them? 

Well I'll tell ya what we should be doing - First and foremost, we should be keeping these men and women of law enforcement, in fact all of our emergency responders, in our thoughts and prayers daily.  But here are some specific and tangible things we can do to support them:

1) You fellow sheepdogs out there - keep an eye on them, watch their backs, and if they get into trouble be willing to step in and help.  But be darn sure you know what you're doing and be SAFE! Don't compound an already bad situation.

2)  Keep your first aid and medical skills up to speed. Carry first aid kits and tourniquets with you as part of your every day carry. Again - be darn sure you know what you're doing and be SAFE! Don't compound an already bad situation.

3) Everyone else: Keep your phones handy and be ready to report suspicious activities. If you see a cop getting into trouble, call 911 right away and look for people who can help.  You don't know how long it might take an officer to call in for help.  Your call to 911 might just mean all the difference to the life or safety of that officer. Even if you can't offer armed or physical response, you too can keep your first aid skills up to speed and be willing to render aid when it's SAFE for you to do so. 

4) If you see something or witness an incident, be a good witness and be willing to step up and provide as much information to help an investigation as possible. don't fabricate. Be accurate. Use your phone and cameras for something else besides looking for Pokemons.

5) When you see a story on the news or hear a pundit give an opinion, be willing to give the cops the benefit of the doubt.  They deserve the same presumption of innocence until proven guilty that we all expect in all matters.  This includes police involved shootings, altercations, citizen complaints, etc.  Wait until you have the facts before you broadcast misleading information on social media.

6) Write letters to the editor and let these folks know publicly that they and their chosen profession are appreciated and respected.  Likewise, use social media to Tweet or give a public status update to show your support.

7)  Write a note or email to your local police department or Sheriff's Office.  Let them know that they are appreciated and respected, and that we have their backs.

8)  Attend a "Citizen's Academy" through your local police department or Sheriff's Office to find out exactly what our law enforcement people do for us every day.

9)  Elect politicians at the local, state, and federal level who support the US Constitution, support the rule of law, and support providing law enforcement with the tools they need to get the job done.

Law enforcement and community protection are no longer matters where we let "someone else" do it, and take no responsibility as citizens. It's a different environment altogether now. We rely on the men and women of law enforcement, but they rely on us to be good citizens.  Unfortunately, most of their interaction isn't with the good citizens of our communities.  It is with the criminal element.  A criminal element that has no regard for human life, laws, or any of the other things that we hold valuable as decent human beings.

Stand up.  Support our men and women of law enforcement.  We can indeed do a few simple things to help.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Terrorism and Violent Attacks: What YOU Can Do!

In my “other life” outside of my job as a cyber-security operations supervisor, I am involved in a number of activities that revolve around community emergency response, institutional safety, and preparing for such things as what happened in Orlando and other previous attacks in places of worship.  Having previously performed physical (armed) security duties at my church and in the military, I still keep in touch with security efforts, and still attend constant training in this area.  My background in this area comes from being a firearms instructor, a member of the Fort Collins Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL) in Denver, as well as serving as an emergency communications HAM radio operator.
 Recently, I had the privilege of attending an Institutional Safety Conference (often referred to as a “Sheepdog Seminar”) presented by LtCol Dave Grossman, Carl Chinn (one of the responders at the December 2007 New Life Church shooting), Jimmy Meeks, and Northern Colorado’s own former Navy SEAL Mark Hotaling.  Less than a day after that seminar, we all learned that the Orlando massacre happened.  Little did I know that LtCol Grossman's words would turn out to be extremely prophetic.  In that seminar, Grossman, Meeks, Chinn, and Hotaling all told us that horrible attacks like this one would begin in America on a larger scale, and very soon.  Grossman took us through the Beslan Massacre as an example of what kinds of terrorist attacks could happen here.  In fact many in the extremist circles have stated that the Beslan Massacre was their dress rehearsal for what they had planned for America.

I need to be very blunt here:  As was stated several times in the presentation, and as I firmly believe, many people are still in denial and have their heads in the sand on the issues of violence and terrorism in America.  September 11, 2001 woke us up to the fact that terrorism on a large scale can happen in America.  But then, we went back to sleep.  We have been living the “it can’t happen here” lie for quite a while now.  This has only been worsened by the endless bombardment of political correctness in our society.  Well you know what?  It’s high time we start calling these threats for what they are, face them head on, and declare that we as Americans will not put up with the tactics of fear and terrorism in our land.
Protecting my family, friends, community, and co-workers is a responsibility that I don't take lightly.  LtCol Grossman was emphatic in his belief that more attacks would happen soon.  No sooner does he say that, and then one happens less than 24 hours after making his remarks.  I firmly believe in being prepared, and will accept nothing less from my fellow citizens.  By all of us being prepared, we send a strong message to the bad guys, and present a formidable deterrence against their actions.

So here are some things that YOU can do, and will hopefully find helpful in your own preparations:

  • Attend a “Sheepdog Seminar.”  This is some of the best information you will ever receive on this topic of preparing for, and responding to, violent attacks.  If you can’t attend, they offer the seminars on DVD. 
  • Meet with your family, neighbors, and friends.  Form a group.   Discuss preparedness, neighborhood watch activities and crime prevention strategies.  Your local law enforcement will have some great resources for you to use.
  • The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL) in Denver – has some great information on recognizing the signs of terrorism.  See if your community offers a similar program.
  • Attend a law enforcement Citizen’s Academy or similar program in your area.  Not only do these sessions give you great insights into the inner workings of law enforcement, but they can give you some great information on community specific threats and disaster preparedness initiatives.
  • Attend training presentations in your local community on general emergency and disaster planning.  Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a great place to start.  You can take online CERT training at the FEMA Independent Study Institute here:
  • As part of the “See Something, Say Something” program, you can install the “SeeSend” app on your smart phones to help facilitate video, pictures, and alerts to the appropriate authorities. Here, for example, anything we send goes to our Fusion Center (Colorado Information Analysis Center – CIAC) in Denver.  I’m sure you have something similar where you live.
  • Other SmartPhone apps that you may find useful for receiving emergency notifications from emergency response organizations, family, neighborhood watch groups, etc:
  • CodeRed
  • Emergency Alert
  • FEMA Mobile App
  • ICE Blackbox
  • NOAA Weather International
  • PulsePoint
  • PulsePoint AED
  • Silent Beacon Emergency Alert

Oh, and by the way:  This is NOT a gun control issue.  I do not want to hear the argument that “if the Orlando killer didn’t have an AR-15, he wouldn’t have been able to do this!”  Bull!  The semi-automatic rifle did not kill all those people.  A dark and evil heart killed all those people.  The rifle was a tool.  He wanted to kill people.  He would have found a way.  Most killers do!

I’m not trying to insult you, frighten you, or be overly dramatic.  I just care about my loved ones, community, and co-workers, and I need you all with me on this.  We “Sheepdogs” are the new “Civil Defense” in a dangerous new era.  I just want everyone to be prepared, be aware of their surroundings, and be able to WIN in an emergency situation rather than become a victim.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Views From a 2016 Colorado State GOP Assembly Delegate

Excuse my candor in this matter, but I am sick and tired of all the whining about how the Colorado state assembly was “rigged” just because all (or most) of the national delegates voted in at the Colorado State Assembly were Cruz bound delegates. I have seen memes accusing us of being everything from communists to political elites, to being bought and paid for. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I sure don’t feel like one of the political elite. And if I was paid, can I assume, then, that the check is in the mail?!

Now then, I won’t presume to speak for the 3,900+ other state assembly delegates and who were there, but here is how it went down in my little corner of Colorado:

When my spouse and I attended our precinct caucus, we met with our neighbors, and we discussed the issues and candidates. In those discussions, our neighbors in our precinct stated overwhelmingly that they wanted Cruz for President. Before the delegates were selected, we stated our views on the candidates, and stated emphatically that we wanted Ted Cruz as our President. With that information on the table, my precinct selected me to be one of their two state assembly delegates.

By my voting for Cruz bound delegates to be sent to the GOP National Convention, it sure sounds to me like I voted the wishes of my neighbors in my precinct. I was not contacted by any party officials who tried to threaten me, coerce me, or influence my vote in any way. The wishes of my neighbors, and my informed diligent research were my only influences in this process.
People outside our state – Please do your homework. That's all we ask. We in Colorado are doing the best we can to work within the rules that are in place. And we are tired of being called communists, party slaves, and being treated like bastard children by people who don't live in this state (or even in this state, but don’t participate in the process) and don't know the whole story.

Being a delegate is hard work. We gave up our lives for a time to research issues and candidates, and drive many miles to participate in these assemblies so that we can represent our neighbors. I drove from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and back two days in a row because I was also an alternate delegate to the Congressional District assembly. This also cost me a day of my personal vacation time from work to do this.
At our state assembly, not only were we voting for the delegates who would go to the national convention on our behalf, but we also had to research 14 or so candidates for US Senate, a candidate for CU Regent, our National GOP Committeeman, and our National GOP Committeewoman. Plus, we voted on several party resolutions. I spent many hours late at night and early in the morning before work doing all this research. I combed through hundreds of emails from candidates and surrogates to become informed on who I was voting for. My 3,900+ fellow state assembly delegates and alternates most likely did the same.

We are just normal people. We are neighbors. We have jobs. Many have families. Many go to church. Some are stay-at-home moms. Some are single parents. And the one thing we all have in common is that we love our state and our country enough to take on this responsibility to try to make a difference. In fact the number of hands that went up when asked who was a first time delegate was astounding! This tells me that people new to this process are getting involved and being responsible citizens. And we don’t have time to try to become the party elite to exercise an iron fist over our other fellow delegates.

Is our system perfect? No. But it's what we have, so we work within it the best that we can. If the people of Colorado want it changed, all they have to do is get off of the sofa to participate and show up at the caucuses to introduce party resolutions to change it.

We The People of Colorado, who are engaged in our political processes as responsible citizens, are not the enemy. Please quit treating us like we are. We love our country, but we fear for her, and just want to make a difference.