04-15-2009, 11:54 AM #571
Re: Hot milk for breakfast
I will, I promise.
Originally Posted by 4VR4CY
I don't think MrsPhaedrus would tolerate it if I didn't...
04-16-2009, 01:00 PM #572
Situational awareness and you
Two things motivated me to write this post. First, in the bicycles on road post, I related something about tapping the subconscious to improve situational awareness. And was promptly lightly teased about it. I get it. It sounds weird. I was ready to just slough it off, like I usually do. The second thing, though, made me a bit more motivated to go ahead and take a chance, and write more about it.
My lovely bride, MrsPhaedrus, contacted me, and asked me why I hadn't written today. Well, I said, I will write, but I need you to cosign on what I say, because if I don't, very few people will believe me.
The thing is, whatever separates peoples' conscious from their subconscious, just isn't as present in me as in most folks I know. While I often stink at putting a long chain of events together in a logical and orderly fashion, I have these insanely improbable leaps of intuition, that later often turn out to be true. And not the Jeanne Dixon 1 or 2 in 10, either. More like a 7 or 8 in 10 kind of accuracy.
I kid you not, when I was really young, my Grandpa wanted to put me to work in a circus sideshow, and would entertain visitors when I was there, by having me do tricks, where I would tell people about themselves after having observed them for just a short time. (Gramps was just a littlle off, mentally and secretly told me that I was the second coming of ******, because of my gift, as well as the whole "birthday on Christmas thing", but Gramps was, well, weird). I also had perfect recall up to the age of 8 or so, and would come home from church and give a word for word recitation of the sermon...
Unfortunately, these kinds of "gifts" are often accompanied by other behavioral and mental problems, the majority of which I blissfully grew out of. But one thing I didn't grow out of was the tenuous dividing line between conscious and subconscious that is both a gift and a curse.
It's a gift, in that I can often "truth detect" and "jist" what someone is saying pretty quickly. It's a curse, in that most conversations happen too slowly for me, so I have to work hard to appear like I'm paying attention. I AM interested in what someone has to say, it's just that I'm very rarely surprised by what someone actually says.
It's a gift in that my chosen field of endeavour, military operations, where others see chaos, I see a web of interesting possibilities. And it is relatively easy to make even the worst decisiions turn into positives, if you just stay ahead of them.
It is something I can, and do normally turn off. Which is easier to do the older I get. But I often scare the living crap out of my wife. Usually, the first warning I get, is that I can feel my adrenal glands dump a load into my bloodstream. Of course, I have no idea, consciously, what's going on, but my heart starts to pound, my vision sharpens, but gets restricted in scope, and my muscles start to cycle through this tense and relax thing. Plus, it appears as if time slows to a crawl. And, oh yeah, I have heightened testosterone levels, so I begin to stink. Almost like a mink or a skunk. MrsPhaedrus knows me so well, that she usually alerts to this and asks me what is wrong, in a very worried tone.
I, of course, lots of times have no conscious idea, so it's kind of like a "Spidey Sense." Sometimes I'm able to figure it out. Other times, it passes, and I'm left wondering why my body just put me through that. Of course, this leaves MrsPhaedrus thrilled, and she gets to wonder when the next shoe will drop. I mean, three blocks down, two people might have stepped back into an unlit doorway and we might walk by them and they're muggers, or they just wanted a little privacy. But I'd put money they were up to something no good, just based on my subconscious reaction.
Where this relates to this thread, is that a bit over a month ago, my "spidey sense" twigged, and hard. We were setting in a certain spot, and were observing operations, and WHAM! my adrenal glands kicked in. Which kind of ticked me off, because there was absolutely nothing outwardly dangerous going on. Just a bunch of annoyed looking Afghans, watching us kill their poppy. I was cussing myself, because my fine motor skills had gone to pot, so it took a grab or two to get my radio mike out and call over a security team, for no reason I could explain. Even though I had no reason to have them come up, they came anyway.
It was then when my driver kind of froze and said to me without turning his head: "There's a man, over there, with something in his hands THAT HAS AN ANTENNA!!!!
I immediately forgot the radio mike, and the rifle just found it's way up to my shoulder, and the front site post planted itself on this dude's chest. The safety came off and I was ready to go. But the guy saw this, and put the box with the antenna down and just stood there, with his hands away from his body. This incredibly animal thing came from somewhere inside me and screamed SHOOT!!!! and my brain just barely controlled it. I mean, I wanted, more than anything right then to feel the rifle recoil, and see the bullet hit his chest, and him to fall dead. This animal thing inside me wanted to see him fall and revel in killing.
But, I exerted control over that urge, and continued to hold my rifle on him, as my security team moved up and took control of the situation. They confronted the man, and questioned him. They also recovered the box with the antenna, and upon examination, determined that it was a regular handheld transistor radio. FM only, and it was tuned to the local radio station.
When told of this, I was initially sickened. I wanted to throw up. The doctor who was with us had also come up and engaged the men, and looked at a couple of their kids, and then came to me, and praised me for my restraint. This made me feel a bit better, and I thanked him for it. I realized that it didn't matter how I "felt", it was that I had control over my own body. My own instincts and by controlling them, I had prevented this from becoming my own personal Haditha or My Lai. In fact, I wrote out a paper that night on it, and had planned on posting it to this forum the next morning, as soon as we set up our satellite dish.
But that's where the story kind of comes apart.
We returned to the same basic area, but set up on the other side of the hill from where we set up the day before, when we heard this huge explosion and so this pillar of smoke rise from the location we were in the day before. Rushing over the hill, we see another one of our trucks laying upside down and in pieces, beside and in a huge crater, which was exactly where we parked our truck the day before. We take fire from the surrounding buildings, but end up securing the site. One of our men died as a result of the initial explosion, one died later, and three will be maimed for life.
Upon searching the surrounding buildings, we find opium, poppy seeds and weapons. And a small collection of FM radio parts, some of which are also later recovered from the blast crater.
I take no consolation for having instincts that proved to be accurate. I would be charged with murder for shooting someone who I couldn't demonstrate deserved it, even though my gut knew they were up to no good. In a conflict like this, you have to wear the white hat. If you don't, you lose. This kind of warfare has complexities and inequities that require a kind of restraint that is hard for the Hollywood conception of war to comprehend.
So, I did do the right thing. It's just that doing the right thing sucks, sometimes. Do I regret it the way it worked out? Yeah. Do I feel guilty? Yes, and I expect to take this to my grave. But I stand behind both my instincts and my decision.
I've spent the last month or so needing to tell this story. Just didn't find the right time or place, and certain details needed to be changed or glossed over for security reasons.
Last edited by Phaedrus; 04-16-2009 at 01:06 PM.
04-16-2009, 01:59 PM #573
Re: Powerful pictures from Afghanistan
I second that.
Originally Posted by CYKXBUT
Frontline had a great documentary the other night called "Children of the Taliban". Basically it was an undercover women reporter going to villages in Pakistan where the Taliban were or trying to infiltrate. Sad, one of the first things they do is destroy the schools for girls.
Another sad story was two friends in their teens, one wanted to join the Taliban and one wanted to join the Pakistani Army. Both said they would kill the other in battle without hesitation.
This got me thinking that I wish we could have done more for Afghanistan after we helped kick out the Russians in the 80's. Letting the Taliban take control is kicking the world in the balls right now. Especially the nations with troops over there.
"The Constituiton...is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please."- - -Thomas Jefferson, Sept. 6, 1819.
04-16-2009, 02:03 PM #574
Re: Situational awareness and you
All I can say is you hit the nail on the head with this statement
And the fact that I doubt I could have restrained myself from finding the people you saw the day before and torturing them.
Originally Posted by Phaedrus
04-16-2009, 04:21 PM #575
Re: Hot milk for breakfast
Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know that this thread is going to be turned into a social group. If you want to be a part of it, please PM a mod, and they can get you added to the list.
"What a horrible night to have a curse."
"Please bury me with all my stuff, because you know it's mine..."
"Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood."
04-16-2009, 04:33 PM #576
Re: Hot milk for breakfast
The link is here:
Originally Posted by jdewaard
Anyone who has currently posted in this thread two or more times received an invite. Anyone else can feel free to PM a mod.