Alton Sterling

There's a lot of talk about Alton Sterling being shot by the police. Was he murdered or was it justified? From what I've seen and I'm speaking from personal experience, this was justified.
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina Houston was flooded with New Orleans refugees. A lot of the criminal element came as well, turning some parts of Houston into a literal war zone.
I am a Commission Security Officer in the state of Texas and at the time I was working for Blue Moon Security, a company who thought they were a private police force. I, however, did not follow orders well, because I would have to remind my fellow officers that we are SECURITY and not police officers.
I was assigned to one of these war zones and on my second night there we had a bad encounter.
My supervisor, a former police officer who had been fired from his department, showed up to walk around with my partner and myself. We went straight to one of the "hot spots" and sure enough a local dealer was dealing.
The dealer knew that if he stood on the street then he wasn't on our property and legally we couldn't arrest him. This little detail escaped my partner and supervisor.
They stepped into the street and stood on both sides of him, with me staying on property, blocking him from coming onto our property.
Words were exchanged, tempers flared up by all three of them, and an audience was beginning to form.
"Sarge, he's not coming on property, let's just call the cops and report him so we can keep patrolling."
My request fell on deaf ears. The dealer shoulder checked my partner as he attempted to walk away and the fight was on.
My supervisor joined in, trying to take the dealer to the ground. I seen someone else start toward the three and I blocked him.
"Everyone stay back," I shouted as the three fell to the ground, rolling around in the street.
The rolled to the other side of the street and I walked over, watching like a wrestling referee, making sure no one else jumped in.
I was not going to get involved because these idiots over stepped their boundaries. But I also wasn't going to let something bad happened to them either.
I saw something that made me end the fight. I pulled my gun and put it to the dealer's head and shouted, "Don't fuckin move, drop it!"
Everyone froze and my supervisor said to put my gun away but I held it to his head and yelled, "I said drop it!"
At that point the dealer opened his hand and my partner's gun fell to the ground. During the struggle he was able to grab the handle and pulled the gun almost all the way out and my partner or supervisor didn't know it.
The point is he was pinned to the ground but his arm was still free enough to grab a gun. I'm thankful I didn't have to pull the trigger.
Just because someone is pinned to the ground on his back doesn't mean he is subdued. He was a threat and could have killed both officers. The same is true of Alton Sterling. It's easy to judge from the comfort of your cell phone but having been in this situation I can say it's not always so cut and dry.

Get In

That’s how it all started, I got in, no questions asked.  When you trust a friend with your life you tend not to ask questions until it’s too late.
I got into the passenger seat, laughing to myself, thinking this was a prank.  The tires screaming as they spun in place before throwing us forward told me otherwise.
“Hey man,” I shouted in protest and fear, yanking my foot completely in before the doors slammed itself shut.  “What’s going on?”
“No time to explain,” he said, staring at the road ahead of us.  He yanked the wheel quickly, not losing any speed, turning so hard I was thrown into my door with a hard thump.  “Seatbelt,” is all he said as he tried to correct the car, keeping us from rolling over.
I quickly yanked my seatbelt down and snapped it into place.  I braced myself as the next turn was coming. 
“You got your gun on you?”
“Of course,” I grunted through clenched teeth as he made the turn.
“Superman or Reba?”
“Superman,” I answered, bracing myself for the final turn out of the neighborhood.  Seeing the light for the main road was still red my heart began to beat faster.
“Slow down,” I shouted, “slow down!”
He made the turn, narrowly missing the two vehicles crisscrossing the intersection.  Horns were honked but we were gone.
“Sit back down,” he said, looking over at me.
I was bracing for an impact to the point I was half way standing up in my seat.
“You want to tell me what the fuck is going on,” I said, panic filling my voice.
He motioned to the back seat with a nod of his head.
“It’s play time.”
Looking in the back seat I seen an AK-47 and an AR-15.  There was a box with spare magazines and three boxes of ammunition for each.
“Load up,” he said as he honked his horn, letting other drivers know he was plowing through another red light.
“What happened,” I asked, more shocked than anything else.
“Just load up and don’t distract me.”
I seen the highway coming up and from the lane we were in it looked like we were able to head south.  Everything bad always happens south.
“Fine,” I said, reaching for the box and pulling it to the front, resting it on my lap.  “But I only have one spare mag for Superman.”
“Bug out bag,” is all he said.
I glanced to the backseat once again and all I saw was the two rifles.  I looked to the floorboards and found a small black duffle behind my seat.  Unbuckling my seatbelt I reached over my seat and pulled the bag over to the front.
Unzipping it I seen two fifty round boxes of ammunition for my pistol.  Anyone who truly knows me knows I only carry one size, a .45mm.
“I guess it is play time,” I said, dropping the bag on the floor at my feet.
I separated the spare magazines from the box and began loading the AK rounds first.  First rule of thumb, always make sure the other guy is ready first.  Since the AK is his signature rifle I made sure my friend was ready to go when we got to wherever it was we were going.
I loaded what I assumed would be my magazines and put the box on the floor board next to the bag.  I could feel the tension coming from my friend as we continued to barrow down the highway at ninety miles per hour, weaving in and out between cars.
“Are you going to tell me who we’re going to play with?”
“They shot the skinny bastard,” is all he said.  That was all he needed to say.  And that’s how I ended up in this jail cell.

Help Me Please

I have joined a team with The Walk for Mental Health Awareness Houston. If I reach my goal of $500 I promise to walk the entire 3k distance, however long it takes me. I am trying to raise money to raise awareness for those who live with Mental Issues.
For the lack of a better term I am using “Mental Issue,” M.I. for short, as a blanket term to describe what we have and deal with on a daily basis. I want to use “Issue” because I don’t want to call it an “Illness.”
Illness, to me anyway, implies that it can be cured, it’s something that you caught and didn’t have before. It’s a part of us, it’s in our DNA, and it’s something we didn’t choose to have but something we live with on a daily basis.
When our M.I. kicks in it’s called “An Episode.” An Episode of what? Are we a sitcom or drama that people sit back and watch? While it may certainly feel this way for non M.I.s, for those of us going through said “episode” it feels more like a storm. Comes on with little to no warning. A lot of huffing and puffing, with loud crashes of thunder. For this reason I will refer to them as Storms and not “Episodes.”
By talking we can begin healing and understanding on both sides. Ask questions and listen to the answers, don’t judge, don’t speak, just listen.
Here you can see that you are not alone, there are others who can truly relate to what you are going through.
You do not have to live in Houston to donate. If you or someone you know has a mental issue please help with whatever you can.  Thank you for helping me support this worthy cause.

https://secure.qgiv.com/event/account/371499/

Discrimination

I don’t mind being profiled because of how I look.  I’m a big scary guy, I get profiled all the time and have been all my life. I’m used to it and it still amazes me the reaction people have when they realize they profiled me wrong.
What I do have a problem with is being discriminated against based on what I’m wearing.  I was raised to look neat and presentable.  “You’re not a homeless vagrant,” “tuck in your shirt,” “fix your hair,” “don’t slouch,” all things I’ve heard all my life.
Because of this, no matter what I’m wearing, I can’t stand to look sloppy.  It’s nothing vain, it’s about having respect for yourself and always looking presentable.  That is the main reason why I open carry my pistol.
I don’t care if you see it or not, I have no problem covering it up with a jacket if need be.  I don’t care what you think about concealing it or any other arguments over which is better.  I DON’T CARE!  What I do care about, however, is how I feel in whatever I’m wearing.
Like I said earlier, I’m a big scary looking guy.  I can not help that, I’m a medical freak of nature with an ugly mug that scares people, whether I smile or not.  No this is not a put down, this is what I’ve faced my entire life.
I can not change my face nor my large frame so I have learned to live with these reactions, making fun in hopes of causing laughter to ease whatever fear is felt.  It doesn’t happen all the time but it happens more times than not.
Being a big guy, I have to wear my clothes slightly different than those half my size.  But like guys half my size, I like to be comfortable.  Tucking anything down my waistline other than a shirt causes me great discomfort, so I prefer to carry my pistol on the outside of my pants.
If I’m not in my uniform at work I get to decide what I’m going to wear, based on the mood I’m in.  I pick out my underwear, regular or playful, despite that no one else will see it, but it’s how I’m feeling that day.  I pick a pair of socks.  I pick out a shirt, T-shirt, polo, or button up.  I pick out what’s going to sit on my legs, shorts, slacks, or jeans.  I pick one of two belts, a dress up or my Superman belt.
Finally, I pick which holster I feel like wearing, based on which pistol I wish to carry.  Is it my 1911 or my Taurus?  If it’s the 1911, which grips do I feel like wearing?  The point is, it’s all about the personal freedom to choose what I wish to wear that day.
If you do not want me to discriminate against you based on what you wear, because it’s not who you are, then please don’t discriminate against me for what I choose to wear.  You do not have to like it, you do not even have agree with it, you do, however, do not get to discriminate against me because of it. 
- Max M. Power

In Your Head

What do you do,
You can’t stay in bed.
How do you run from,
What is in your head?
 
My demons call to me,
I’ve heard what’s been said.
How do you run from,
What’s in your head?
 
The dark thoughts
They are easily fed.
How do you run from,
What’s in your head?
 
I’ve fought
And I’ve bled.
How do you run from,
What’s in your head?

I’m so tired,
Thin I’ve been spread.
How do you run from,
What’s in your head?
 
I don’t want to lose,
I’m afraid of my deathbed.
Answer me please,
How do you run from what’s in your head?

- Max M Power

My Second War Part 3

I always knew of gangs but I for the most part, they always left me alone because I was not worth having me in them.  That changed after word got around what I did to those three boys.  There were three small gangs that lived in the area and when one wanted me they all did.  When I turned them all down it was an insult and they wanted to fight me.
The first gang fight came the Monday after my fight in the hall.  I was introduced to weapons, a knife.  I liked this weapon.  Even though it was meant for me, the person holding it had no clue what they were doing and cut themselves.  From that day forward I carried my personal weapon of choice, a bo staff.
While I was in California, after reading the Code of Bushido, I took up the only weapon I could make myself, a bo staff.  I always had a bow and arrow set that I had to make myself so making my own weapon was not a stretch.  My mother would never allow me to have one otherwise.
I use to sweep the back yard driveway with a push broom once I discovered it unscrewed and doubles as a bo.  Every day when I stacked up my 2x4s I use to include the bo in my daily routine.  I would practice for hours and hours, hitting myself, dropping it, gaining cuts and bruises until I was able to command it with ease.
The walk from my house to the school was 1.3 miles.  There were many routes I could take once I left my home and I took them all, changing up whenever I could.  I carried a bo with me each way.  Even the police who patrolled the neighborhood regularly over time came to know me as the kid in all black who walked with a stick.
The other kids always tried to find where I hid my bo as I went into the school with it and walked out of the school with it.  They never found it.  The main reason was that I knew how to get into all of the janitor’s closets and would trade out a different bo each time.  I used the school’s push brooms.
I was a nerd who always read books and kept to myself but when I got angry I tried to control the monster within, when the darkness was unleashed it hungered for blood and would not stop until it got it.  My demons three loved it.
It only took two fights for the kids to learn to leave me alone.  I wielded the bo with ease and with no regret.  It became known that if you attacked me I would show you no mercy.  The rest of the school year passed with ease.

As summer came I was given more freedom, to an extent.  I was allowed to go to AstroWorld, the Six Flags amusement park in Houston, on my own.  My mother would drop me and my brother off or just me and off we would go, to be picked up later.  I was also allowed to take the city bus downtown to the main library downtown.  Sadly neither one of these allowed me to carry my bo.
I had to adapt.  I start carrying my favorite weapon of all, a knife.  Living in Texas, no one gave it a second thought to see anyone carrying around a pocket knife of any kind.  A crazy monkey like myself, I never let my knife show.  It’s called a pocket knife for a reason right, it stayed in my pocket.
I butted heads with my brother from time to time but that’s what siblings did.  Fortunately for me the summer went by without incident.  I was either in church, at the library, or in some type of game room, playing arcade games.  On days I couldn’t go out for one reason or another I stayed home and play Nintendo.
Soon I became a freshman.  Being the oldest in the house I was once again on my own.  A new grade in a new school, with no one to look to for advice on how to survive.  I was thrown in the deep end and had to learn how to stay afloat quickly.
My new school was big.  My middle school was tall, three floors, but nothing like this, big.  The school was only two floors, but it was spread out.  The halls were much more crowded and sometimes I would have to run to get from class, to locker, to class.
Everyone at this school was supposed to be smart because you had to take a test to get in, no one was zoned to this school because of the uniqueness of it.  It was a magnet school where you could learn a professional trade before you graduated.
My demons three had been silent and I was beginning to think that they had gone away.  I had been afraid to allow myself to like someone else, after what had happened on my birthday in California, and being a loner made that easy.  High school was about to change all of that.
The other new in my life were new kids.  Up until this point I had went to school with the same kids since the first grade.  We all lived close to each other so we saw each other all the time.  This school bussed in kids from all over the city so I was able to start over.
None of my old bullies were at this new school.  I was able to truly enjoy school for the first time in my life.  I was allowed to work in the library during my lunch.  I was happy.  I also let my guard down.  That’s when she came into my life.
Over the course of the Fall Semester I fell in love.  Really, truly, head over heels in love. Farm boy, fetch me that pitch, as you wish in love.  I was a dork kid who had no experience with girls and what I thought was love was one sided and crushed me.  My demons three returned, roaring with laughter.
After we got back from Christmas vacation it had been over a year since I had a single fight, but with the return of my demons three, that changed.  I was wrong about only smart people attending this school and I was paired up with one of these dumb people.  I refused to do all the work and we both got an F.  Her boyfriend didn’t like that.
In the middle of this huge school was a wide balcony.  There had been rumors that when the school was first built a student was thrown off of the second floor balcony.  It was a myth that the staff kept alive and would never confirm to keep the students from trying anything.  Her boyfriend and his three friends decided that I should make this myth true.
I had left the cafeteria and was on my way to the library.  As I got to the top of the stairs the attack happened.  Her boyfriend grabbed me and started lifting me up off my feet.  I began kicking and yelling to put me down and his friends tried to grab my feet, all the while this bitch watching with a smile on her face.  That’s when the darkness took over.
I pulled my knife out and stabbed his hand.  He dropped me, screaming out in pain.  I hit the edge of the balcony and fell on the floor.  My knife found his leg and as I pulled out I twisted.  His friends ran down the stairs and out the front door.  As I stood up he was now on the floor.
By this point both librarians had come out to see who was screaming and then called over the radio for the police officer to come quickly.  The boy was arrested, he and his friends didn’t even attend that school, and I was given detention for defending myself.
The rest of the Spring Semester was long and dark.  I didn’t care about anything anymore and my grades suffered for it.  My music, my clothes, my attitude reflected my darkness.  I failed the 9th grade but I wasn’t kicked out of the school, I had just barely passed the test to say in.
The summer started and it was more of the same as the one before.  The only difference is my demons three were not silent.  They were not going to let me forget what started this war.  I had gone to visit my little angel a lot, sitting for hours on end at her tombstone, just crying in my solitude.
I had decided that seppuku has the only way to end this pain.  I had thought about where and how I was going to do it.  A few yards away from her tombstone was a small man made brook with a stone bridge over it.  On the other side looked like a Japanese stone garden and this, in my mind, was the perfect place.
The morning I had picked to perform my seppuku my mother told me that I had to go with my little brother and his friend to AstroWorld because they had no one to watch over them.  I was mad, and it showed everywhere we went.  I spent most of the morning in the arcade, ignoring their pleas to go on rides.  I was winning my game and I was not about to just abandon it just for them.  Then I heard it.
The Dance by Garth Brooks.
Up until this point in my life I could not stand country music so I had never even heard of Garth Brooks.  The words didn’t just hit my ears, it hit my soul.  The darkness slammed into a brick wall of light and stopped everything around me.  I let go of my controls and lost my game instantly.
I walked over to the jukebox and just had a blank look on my face.  The song was ending and I put in quarter after quarter so I could play the song again and again.  My soul turned upside down on itself, darkness gave way to the light.  In that single moment I had won my second war.  My demons three were thrust out by the clarity of the words of The Dance.