Monday, July 16, 2018

My name is Rock and I was an Anarchist

Once upon a time, I was an anarchist. I thought that I was the king of my world, dependent on no one, and the master of my destiny. Eventually, the day came where my entire life fell apart and I found myself alone, weak, naked, broke, homeless, and totally unable to fend for myself or protect myself and I had to rely on the kindness of strangers.

They housed me, fed me, clothed me, and stayed with me until I had the ability to do those things for myself. Without them, I would have died. I had very little say in the decisions that they made about my life. Not where I lived, what I ate, how I dressed, or even which language I spoke! They had a lot of rules and I had to become an active part of their community. Sometimes this involved doing things I didn't want to or chipping in money for something the group needed. Despite all of this, I had no interest in returning to my old hermit life. I realized that I didn't have all of the answers and just because I trust someone doesn't mean they are out to screw me over.

It wasn't long before I became a Minarchist and wanted maximum freedom and minimal government. I got better jobs, saved money, and moved out of my parents' home. If you're an anarchist or even worse a full-blown socialist it's not too late for you to do the same!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Who You Are In Your Car

A pastor once said, "Who you are in your car is who you are." I got that. When we are driving we are under the delusion that we are the master of our own destiny and the world should go as we plan. Unfortunately, all of these other destiny masters have plans of their own and they tend to clutter up the roadways and throw monkey wrenches into the machinery of our plans.

We feel anonymous and autonomous when we're behind the wheel. We think life should be fair and everyone should follow the rules (except maybe us if we are in a hurry or just having too much fun!). We're not invisible though and our decisions and indecision affect those around us, sometimes much more than we realize.

I jokingly say that I don't get Road Rage, I just narrate the trip. I tell people where they came from, where they are going, things about their parents, and anatomically impossible things they can try since driving doesn't seem to be working out very well for them. Often this humor deescalates the situation with no harm done. That narration does tend to go way down when I have spectators inside the car because then I feel more accountable for my thoughts and words as well as actions. When driving alone it can easily become a dangerous norm.

Yesterday, I had a guy fly up on my rear end in the fast or passing lane when the entire right lane was clear. We were going eighty in a 65mph zone and that wasn't fast enough for him. He wanted to be first and not make the effort to go around me. I really let it aggravate me since his being a foot behind me on a declining, wavy mountain road seemed like a blatant act of aggression. I decided to take the high road and move over, but first I stuck my hand out the window and let him know he was number one! He responded by slowing down to pace me and to let me know that he thought I was number one and babbling incoherently instead of watching the road. I slowed down until he lost interest and resumed his quest instead of using him for target practice. Not my best day, but I don't tend to stay mad for long.
Sometimes having the heightened responsibility of having a CWP is the best form of anger management. It's a constant presence that reminds us that things can go sideways fast if we don't have complete control of ourselves even when we can't control others or our environment.

Today I was driving in the rain to visit my chiropractor and trying to get from the center lane across two lanes to a side street. A pickup truck decided it needed to get there before me and quickly changed lanes and sped up as I started to turn. I took in stride (not) and yelled out of my open window, "Go ahead then, Bitch!" knowing immediately after the words escaped my mouth that it would be my friendly neighborhood chiropractor. Ding! Ding! Ding! It was. I don't know if he heard me or not, but it wasn't my finest moment and I felt more than a little ashamed. Additionally, when I have to visit the chiropractor it is because I am in a lot of pain and not in good fighting form. That should give me pause before needlessly escalating conflicts with autonomous strangers.

Well, there you have it. Sometimes I am not the epitome of calm, cool, and collected and when I'm wondering why people are such dicks it turns out I'm the dick.

See Dick Drive. See Dick be a dick. See Dick die. Don't be a dick and drive.

Don't be a keyboard warrior behind the wheel.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

It Takes A Parent

I am deeply saddened by the recent shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. I am a sheepdog and a peacekeeper. I will always do my part to be prepared to prevent such an incident from ever happening in my presence. These "incidents" don't start at the site, but long before. Poor or inattentive parenting, lack of awareness and empathy on the part of teachers, coaches, and other school officials, and gun free zones all make these possible, likely, and eventually inevitable. They say that locks keep honest people honest. Gun control is the same way. It only factors in with mature, responsible, law-abiding citizens. Those who are immature, abandoned, desperate, fanatical, or unhinged will find a way to hurt and kill people.

Recent events have proven that you can kill large numbers of people with random motor vehicles and bad intent even quicker than with firearms. Every country that has enacted harsh gun control has had knife and other violent crime rise. Gun free zones don't protect anyone unless you can limit access one hundred percent.
Stop expecting the government to raise and protect your children. Teach them self-discipline, self-defense, empathy, and situational awareness. Be a real parent and limit their electronics and social media time. Engage them in the real world. Show them the things we did before the internet. Give back. Volunteer. There is scouting, the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society and No Kill Animal Shelters as well as breed rescues, Big Brother & Big Sister, VA Hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, The Council For Literacy, English as a Second Language, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), religious and youth sporting groups, as well as things as simple as playing catch with the neighbor's kid or reading to an elderly neighbor. If we don't teach compassion, love, kindness, and empathy by example our children will never learn and the tragedies will continue to mount. My daughter was raised with not only gun safety and respect for firearms but respect for people and the property of others. We paid attention to her and her moods, challenges, and needs and she didn't get in trouble for fighting, using drugs, stealing, or other anti-social behavior.
We cannot legislate away mental illness and loneliness. Responsible gun owners are not bloodthirsty, paranoid monsters. Quit representing them as the problem. With an estimated over three hundred million firearms and a trillion rounds of ammunition in America, if we were the problem, you would already know it. The cities and states with the strictest gun control have the highest violent crime rates. Criminals prefer their victims unarmed and passive. Hillary was partially right; it does take a village, but even more so, it takes involved parents who care about, love, mold, and engage their children. Participation awards don't teach children to deal with disappointment and life in the real world. Go outside and play with your family.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Don't Let Your Backup Be A Backup

Springfield XD Mod.2 Service, CZ P-10C, and Springfield XDs 4" 9mm pistols
Every Day Carry or EDC is becoming a common term. We used to just borrow the Boy Scouts of America's motto, "Be Prepared.", but marketing geniuses have made EDC the war cry of the retail world and the prepared person. In life, theater, and sports the saying, "The Show Must Go On!" is commonplace. It is the mindset that in a crisis we need to be prepared even if our main go-to gear, actor, or quarterback fails or is lost.

In the EDC world, we might find ourselves carrying a pen, a pocketknife, a camera, a lighter, a multitool, a pistol, or a multitude of other specialized gear depending on our needs and expectations. Many of us have seen the SHTF and the primary EDC tool unable to function as desired so we develop the habit of carrying a backup or spare or even two or more. This is where many folks sell themselves short. Let's think about this; if your main "fill in the blank" fails, you are definitely in a predicament where your backup is now at least as vital as the original was. Therefore you need it to function at least as well or even better than that which it now replaces.

It's far better to have two or three great tools than fifty mediocre ones.

If you have a knife that you place constant demand on then you want solid materials, quality steel, and superior design qualities and you want to take the best care possible of that knife. There aren't many things more dangerous than a dull knife. On a folder a cheap lock, handle, or pivot can cause catastrophic injury or even death. In the event, that knife fails or is lost then it is essential that the backup be able to complete the tasks at hand. Common sense says to buy the best primary gear possible, but it is far too common to see people who don't realize that they need the same mindset on their backups. Both quality and ability are crucial factors.

As the old adage goes, "Don't buy a five dollar knife unless you have five dollar fingers."

When it comes to Every Day Carry we pack what is essential. Despite for many of us a daily battle against perfectionism, when it comes to EDC, "good enough" really isn't good enough. Don't sell yourself short. Good tools will take care of you for life if you take care of them and backups should be no exception.

Go forth and be prepared!

AL MAR Applegate - Fairbane Knives

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gun Control Doesn't Work

Gun control has never worked out well for those being controlled. (See World History)

Things like gun free zones are pure insanity in my opinion. Our natural defensive tools like teeth, claws, intelligence, awareness, and speed all need to be amplified when we start forcing ourselves and our children like cattle into cages with limited exits (like offices, classrooms, etc). You are trying to override the fight or flight instinct.

There are over 300 million firearms in America that will not disappear due to any legislation. When you threaten to defang and declaw honest people denying them the right and ability to defend themselves, they will dig in and fight back ferociously.

Attempting to punish people for crimes committed by others or potential future crimes (while lacking any motive, even if opportunity and means are potentially there) creates further division. I could punch people in the head any day of the week, but just because I have hands that can be used as fists doesn't mean I want to keep them to hurt people.

Sunday, February 11, 2018


I joined the Navy when I was seventeen. A recruiter told me the two most important things were paying attention to detail and being where you were supposed to be when you were supposed to be there. We called it CYA - "Cover Your Ass". In life, as well as the military, it can be a costly lesson to learn. The Navy didn't teach me to be responsible. It taught me to be accountable.

A sense of responsibility comes from within when the things that you are accountable for become important when no one is watching and before they become consequences. It requires maturity, awareness, and self-honesty. Blaming others for your failures and lack of success only serves to continue the cycle.

Drama doesn't just walk into your life out of nowhere. You either create it, invite it, or associate with people who bring it. Choose wisely.

Today there is a phrase "Adulting". It's appearing to be adultlike when others are watching; paying attention to details and being where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be. It is not synonymous with being an adult. It is a fragile, crappy, dangerous illusion.

If you value rules and stability above all else then you have stopped living. Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing at all." We can have positive adventures when we take care of our needs and responsibilities first. Otherwise, our adventures will tend to be far less positive and have potentially dire, life-altering consequences.

Grace Slick said, "It's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask
for permission." Yes, sometimes you just have to go balls out and live a little, but if you live by that ask for forgiveness mentality you will alienate the people who would otherwise be there for you and make sacrifices for you because they value your well being and future.

Don't be a sheeple or a child. Be an adult. Take responsibility for your choices and actions. Take at least a passing glance before you leap. Remember that what you do has a ripple effect. The human brain keeps growing until we are twenty-five. After that, if you're not an adult yet, all you have are sorry excuses. Quit thinking you are entitled to things that you haven't earned yourself.

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Remember, a man (or woman) is only as good as his (or her) word. Let your word be your bond. Strive always to live a life of probity; integrity and uprightness.

Grow up. Be a real adult. Keep your word even when no one seems to be watching. Be Loyal. Be your own person.

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lessons In Law Enforcement

Once upon a time, I was a police officer.
Here are a few of the things that I learned.

Lessons in Law Enforcement 

1 • Beware of even the appearance of impropriety

2 • Ask them, tell them, make them

3 • People treat you the way you teach them to

4 • Give them the ticket or the lecture; not both 

5 • There are three sides to every story;
His side, her side, and the truth
which usually lies somewhere in between

6 • There is a gun at every call; yours 

7 • Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to
kill everybody you meet - James Mattis

8 • Stay fit 

9 • Train often

10 • Live your life as if everything you did
would someday be known

#police #thinblueline #lawenforcement #fiveoh #policing #RockCowles #Kowulz #GaffneyPoliceDepartment #WoodruffPoliceDepartment #ChesneePoliceDepartment

Twisted Faces - Caricature Art from Rock Cowles

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Caricatures by Rock Kowulz