Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Way of The Gun


So, shot competitive pistol match on Saturday, trained ten hours with SWAT on Sunday, and hit a house on a dope warrant yesterday.

That's as good as it gets for me.


I've been thinking a lot lately about this side of me, this thing that is not about police work, it's not about the law, not about shooting well, being fast and's something deeper, more primitive. It is the urge toward violence and the seeking out of danger. It is the predatory, aggressive, hard-bark tough guy thing.

You feel it when you're in that group of other hard men, suiting up in the dark in some parking lot somewhere a few miles from your target, gear checking, weapons check, that roll of the head to get the kinks out of your neck, the clean bite of adrenaline and epinephrine, norepinephrine, just a little bump of it that makes the world come alive and makes you feel all switched on.

There's this feeling of competency, of mastery, that is very powerful. A feeling of brotherhood and camaraderie that is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful and noble things a man can feel. I love looking around at the others with me and knowing that these kind and smart and funny and wonderful guys will turn on this thing inside them if it should go wrong and they will become implacable machines bent on the destruction of what would harm me, or any one of us, or some innocent.

That they would kill to protect me. That they would do what is asked or die in the effort.

And in my world these men are unremarkable. I marvel and rejoice at it. It is one of the very best things about this calling, to keep company with them.

It is an honor and a blessing.

Perhaps I am unworthy of it. Perhaps I am only a pretender, working through some deep-seated issues of insecurity and inferiority that only seeks to play at warrior to soothe my fragile ego and bolster a weak sense of self.

But I don't believe that to be true.

I think, instead, that I merely sought out a place and a role where this ancient and powerful urge could find an outlet, an integration with the rest of my being, so that I could feel whole and alive. I am a big hearted man. I love art and beauty and good food and all of the comforts and indulgences of the sweet and soft life. I really do. But that alone would not suffice. That alone would leave me only half of a man, perhaps less than half.

Yin and yang. Soft and hard. Black and white, hot and cold. "The duality of man", as Private Joker said.


I relish it.

I really do.





Blogger Ms. Moon said...

I believe I may have written the exact opposite post to yours tonight.
Namaste, indeed.

6:30 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

What an astounding thing. I wish we could post them together somehow. What a strange serendipity - we must have a real connection.



6:57 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I find you fascinating -- and I mean that in the best way. I also think you and your beautiful wife would enjoy my friend Nancy's art. Here's a link to her website -- actually a specific link to her "Bullet Blossoms" --

7:19 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth said...

I'm grateful for your efforts here to describe something that most of us shy away from, the propensity to violence and aggression.

I suspect men might experience it more clearly than women but the yin and yang of it all exists in everyone everywhere. And both are necessary.

And both need tempering.

Thanks, Dishwasher.

8:24 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Goosebumps. You are so in the zone.
Stay safe, live on. Just the way you are.


10:10 PM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...

You are one of the few that I believe really experience life's duality to it's fullest. I think most men that engage as fully as you do in the (let's call it arts of war) always strike me as imbalanced and overly macho... the ones I've met (marshal artists not withstanding) have been more the red necky sort.

You, on the other hand go just as far the other direction in your yearning for artful expression and yin part of yourself with your words, art and cooking... I think this is highly unusual.

It seems that there is some kind of rush walking that line right down the middle like a tight rope. Most of us fall to either one side or the other. For this and many other reasons, I wish you would write a book and or publish your art or both. This push that lives within you is potent stuff, and has a lot to teach. And boy are those lessons ever needed in a time where the scales of humanity are are tipping far in the wrong direction.
peace to you,

6:38 AM  
Blogger 37paddington said...

dear tearful, you have helped me understand something essential about my son, and why he wants to run into burning buildings, onto battlefields, yearning to taste the danger, the full commitment it takes to save lives, shoulder to shoulder with other men.

i think you and mary moon should indeed publish your two pieces together. reading them one after the other, i have chills.

9:20 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Thank you so much for pointing us to Nancy's work-
I love it! Bullet holes and flowers, the perfect visual expression of the whole duality thang. Beautiful.



5:30 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


I think you hit on an important point, that need for tempering. Because I know guys in my line of work, not a lot of them, but they aren't rare either, who do not have a balanced approach. They are all rage and violence, or waiting for it. And just as bad in my mind are the men who are all on the love and peace side without acknowledging the role of force and violence in a balanced life.

We are animals first, and our beautiful brains cannot subvert the entire limbic system without a dire cost.

Ms. Moon's post on women and love hits on it, too. It's just as dangerous and wrong for a woman to shut off that side of her as it is for a man to shut off the need for appropriate violence, violence in the service of love.

Thank you, Elisabeth.



5:35 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Thanks. I am in the zone. I know it.

Grateful, as always, for your presence here.



5:37 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


You are so generous!

I would love to publish a book that somehow included the art and the writing and the struggles and wonder I see in this life. But I'm afraid this blog is as close as it will ever get.

My hope is that the people who would get anything out of what I have to say and the art I make will find their way here.

So far, it seems some have.

Thank you for your kind words and your always generous and insightful comments.



5:41 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


I wouldn't dare put words in your son's mouth, but if what I wrote casts a little light on what he yearns for then all the better.

You know, my mom is a hard-core feminist, non-violent, peacenik, artist/historian, and from the time I was three years old she looked at me like I had three heads and she did her damnedest to keep me from playing with toy guns and pretending to kill everything in sight.

She failed utterly.

But she DID instill in me all the other software, the appreciation of all that is feminine, all that is beautiful, all that is written or sung or painted or woven....

Your best service to him is to be who you are, advice I hardly need to give to you, you who are yourself so utterly that dozens and dozens of strangers across the globe thrill to call themselves your friend, myself included.

You are something to behold.

I am honored to share your company.



5:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home