Author Robert Patrick Lewis on the Dr. Drew Podcast 3/8/13

Download the Dr. Drew podcast on iTunes or the Adam Carolla app to hear “Love Me When I’m Gone” author Robert Patrick Lewis talk about PTSD in troops.  This episode was recorded at Carolla 1 studios on February 22nd, but will air March 8, 2013.

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California exodus, welcome back to Texas

Those of you who know me and/or have read my memoir, “Love Me When I’m Gone,” know my story, how I ended up here in Los Angeles, and how unhappy this place makes me.  For those of you who don’t, here’s a quick refresher:

I was born in Florida, lived there for a few years until Air Florida went under and my dad got a job flying for Southwest Airlines.  I spent the next 20+ years of my life in the state that God blessed, Texas, and only left when it was required for my service in the Army (I left for Infantry Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA, a month after I graduated from Texas State University).

When it was time to leave the Army I was living in Colorado with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), with nothing really holding me there except the Army and my brothers, but Cindy had an entire acting career flourishing here in Los Angeles.  I moved here with some hesitation, but with most of the opportunities for us being here, it was the smart move….so I thought.

At this point in my life I’ve lived in Texas, France, Germany, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and California, and have spent significant time in Italy, Austria, Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq.  I’d say I have a pretty well-rounded view of the world at large, and have recently found that although I consider the United States of America the greatest nation our civilization has every known, I believe that California is determined to make itself the worst, veritably unlivable for any decent, hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens, and only welcoming criminals, welfare cases and politicians, catering to their every need and alienating the productive.

At first we had to live here because of my wife’s profession; you don’t have to know much about movies to know what Hollywood is.  But, the true fact of the matter is that the only real accomplishment that the inept California politicians can really put to their name is that they successfully ran Hollywood out of Hollywood.

You see, even though movie stars are the most liberal and avid supporters of President Obama and his ever-increasing taxes, when it comes time for them to put their money where their mouth is, they run immediately for the state that is giving them the highest tax breaks; because California actually practices the ultra-leftist policies which they publicly support, it cannot afford to give any of the tax breaks that other states and nations can.

Because of my wife’s profession we have a large number of very good friends who are movie and TV producers, stunt men, actors, writers, etc.  The majority of them have second homes or condos in places like Toronto, New Orleans or Puerto Rico now because they are only in Los Angeles for casting…once it’s time to film (and hire crew and pay taxes), they are off before the first check is drafted.

As a true conservative, this has infuriated me to no end; I heard a saying once that “Democrats are lawyers, Republicans are Businessmen.”  I never put much faith in that saying until I moved here, and found that California politicians make the absolute wrong business decision at every single chance, and now I whole heartedly believe it.

This has led to a domino-effect in the State, and it’s getting worse and worse.  As the movies began to leave and take hundreds of millions of dollars a year away from the state (not just the cost of the movie, but the hotels the actors and crew stay in, meals they eat, gas they pump, booze they drink, etc), the state started to feel the squeeze.  As I’ve learned, large, poorly-run organizations like California can’t stand the squeeze for very long, and have to find someone else to pass it along to.

So California decided to put the squeeze on every person who actually earned a paycheck…..which was already less than 50% of the state.  California has more unemployed/welfare recipients than workers, and so instead of changing this dynamic, they chose to just squeeze the workers and corporations which hire them.

As a knock-on effect, many corporations, smart enough to be truly forward-thinking and know what the outcome of this would be, left the state.  Smart states like Texas, rated the best state in the nation for business for several years running, have been actively courting these businesses, successfully landing most of them.

Governor Jerry Brown, an ultra-liberal, proven inept democrat who is helping to sink the California ship, was quoted last week as saying to Governor Rick Perry that “people will always go where things happened in the past” about their state woo-ing California businesses.  Is it no surprise that he doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between where things USED to happen and where they ARE happening today?

But, we stayed.  As the squeeze of taxes forced more businesses and people forming the tax base out of the state, the social services started to decline.  As the place with some of the highest taxes in the nation, we have arguably the worse police and fire departments that are constantly being de-funded and outsourced (a drunk driver ran into Adam Carolla’s house a few weeks ago and the LAPD wouldn’t even send a cruiser out….to a man who pays a huge amount of taxes every year and employs quite a few people, no service whatsoever).

The public school system has become virtually unusable, only acceptable to people who’s children don’t speak English, who are happy because it’s better than the 3rd world nation they immigrated from, and decide daily that rather than strive for excellence, the school system should be dumbed down and forced to accommodate their kids who aren’t used to education and who’s parents offer no assistance.

A bill was proposed in California last year that would have made it easier for immigrants here on student visas who graduated from California Universities to be granted easier access to visa’s and green cards if they received high-science degrees like medicine, engineering, physics, etc.  It was struck down by the ultra-leftists who said it would be too much of an advantage over others who would come here exclusively for welfare and free benefits.  Seriously, the wrong choice at every turn.

In spite of all this, in spite of crime and unemployment spiking, the home prices staying at a median prices around $500,000 even though unemployment is above 20% and median income is below $50,000, we stayed.  But the California Leftist politicians have outdone themselves, and if they pass the most recent bill proposed, this camels back is about to break.

California has proposed some the most draconian, leftist, un-American gun legislation that our nation has ever seen.  It seems as if they completely forgot that The Second Amendment grants American citizens the right to bear arms, even though it is clearly stated that right “shall not be infringed.”

I don’t have time to explain it without getting extremely angry and possibly turning into the Hulk; don’t take my word for how far off the beaten path these lunatics have gone, read it here:

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/California-lawmakers-propose-tough-gun-laws-4261890.php

Sorry California, but that’s the final straw.  Governor Rick Perry, if this legislation passes, you’ve got another family of Texans coming back home to the promised land.  I am a man of quotes, and one of my favorites is that “anyone who forgets history is doomed to repeat it.”

If you look into the not-so-distant history, look into the timeline of what has happened every single time a populace has been disarmed.  Shortly after Turkey disarmed its citizens, the Armenians were massacred in an act of genocide.  The same happened in China, Cambodia, Nazi Germany, Africa, and every known instance of a populace being disarmed.  The left can call me crazy and say i’m overreacting, but all I’m doing is pointing to history.  As a fan of statistical analysis, I love the idea that on a long enough timeline, you can find the trends in anything…….

This is the final straw California, and I know my family won’t be alone.  I know that you won’t be going through South Central Los Angeles, Oakland or Fresno taking guns away from the gang bangers and criminals.  You’ll come to take them from the law-abiding citizens who you don’t think will put up a fight, while at the same time you leave the criminals armed and reduce your Police force to the point where we can’t expect any assistance, even at a lengthy response time (it took 5 days after our house was robbed to get a detective out here).

You will soon reap what you sow, and the hole you are digging is getting extremely deep.  If you pass this law, it will be the sign that there is no saving you, and with an ROI (return on investment) so low for what we pay in the highest tax rates in the nation, you’ve been pushing it for a long time.

Even Joe Biden has been caught on camera admitting that these gun laws WILL NOT prevent another Sandy Hook, WILL NOT reduce violent crimes, and WILL NOT reduce gun-associated homicides or violent crimes.  If you are trying to get the citizens who pay your tax base and keep this state running to leave, there are much easier ways to do it.

Don’t believe me, listen to good old Joe here:

http://youtu.be/TTyoppK_aDM

The ball’s in your court; since the entire political class and most of the lunatics in this state are Dems and Leftists, I’m pretty sure I know what will happen if it comes up for a vote.  Thankfully I have a great friend in Austin who has a house ready for my family and I to move in.  Your move California.

 

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Gays in the military, Don’t Ask, Don’t tell

There are a lot of people in our society today who love to get up in arms about various military subjects, regardless of whether they know any of the boots-on-the-ground, battle-tested truth or not.  Politicians who have never spent a day in combat boots but think they know how to control military spending or combat operations, journalists who think they have the truth about women in combat, and sideliners who think they have the answer on one of the biggest hot-button topic of our time, gays in the military.

From a man who’s served as a Green Beret on all of the fronts in which we’re currently engaged, I can tell you that, to my brothers and I from my ODA, we couldn’t care less.  When it comes down to bullets on target, carrying your rucksack up that mountain, accomplishing the mission and watching my six, there are a lot of things that can mean the difference between life-or death for your entire team, but there are a few others that have no place in that equation: race, color, creed, and yes, sexual orientation.

I would consider myself very conservative on 99% of issues, but my belief that government has no part in telling Americans how to live their life applies here over my support for the RNC.  I have many straight friends who chose not to join the military, and harbor no ill-will or doubts about them, but when I hear that people want to serve this country, put their lives on the line for my flag and swear the oath to defend the constitution and are denied because of who they love it really bothers me.

There is a quote that I feel applies greatly here, from the great William Shakespeare and quoted again in a rather famous movie: “We few, we lucky few, we band of brothers; for he who sheds his blood with me today, he shall then be my brother.”  If you are enough of an American Patriot to sign up and put your life on the line to defend her, I don’t see how anything else matters, and I will consider you my brother.

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Women in Combat

Before the ladies start sharpening their knives and sending hate-mail, let me preface this; my wife is a better shot than me with a pistol (but I’ve got her with a rifle hands-down).  After two kids, it’s an easy bet that she’s tougher than me.  I can say without hesitation that she’s smarter than me.  But, I can also say that I would go back to war 1,000 times so that she never had to see it for a second.

The word has just come out about allowing women into combat, and it seems as if the wrong questions and people are being asked their opinions in the media, and a lot of people have been asking mine, so here it goes if you want it.

Firstly, I don’t deny the fact that there are women out there who want to be on the front lines, or that there are many women who could do a great job there (see above).  My main problems with this idea are the operational environments in which we are currently operating, and the effect this will have on general morale (keep reading….for different reasons than one would think).

From an operational environment standpoint, you have to realize where we are currently engaged in combat, and ostensibly will be in the near future.  I’ve been to Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa, and these battles and environments are much different than those you see in the typical wars from years past.

Namely, that all of these countries are Muslim-dominated and put women below cattle on their “respect” list.  I’m not saying that all Muslims do or think like this, as you may very well have an American Muslim neighbor who is just as horrified by this as you, but from a guy who’s been on the ground in all of the places that we are engaged in combat, please trust me that this is the norm there.

In our current operational environment, our “hearts and minds” campaigns are fought on the streets and in the villages, where Infantry squad leaders and Special Forces ODA’s are routinely in Shura’s (meetings) with village elders, and much of our valuable on-the-ground intel comes from walking through villages and talking to locals.

If the “hearts and minds” COIN strategy is still our mission, how well do you think it’s going to go when we force a Muslim village elder in the mountains of Afghanistan to do business and negotiate with someone he sees as inferior and not worthy of talking to a man?  How about when she says something he doesn’t like, and does what he’s done his entire life and reaches out to give her the back of his hand?

You see, Americans love to look at the world in terms of America, and many of those who have never traveled outside of this country and “smelled the dirt” in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa, have no idea what the mentality is like there, yet love to make assumptions of what’s the best way to operate.  Most of our current politicians can fall into this category, because landing at Bagram for an hour photo-op doesn’t count as “combat credit.”

It doesn’t matter how “progressive,” “PC” or “forward-thinking” we are; our enemy is not, and even our friends and allies over there are not.  When you are a guest in a house, you follow the rules of that house, and if we are not there as occupiers then we are breaking the rules of the house.  The locals became very upset when they were forced to speak with clean-faced American soldiers, and considered it an insult (we had a rather large loss of rapport ourselves in Afghanistan when our command forced us to shave our beards), and I can only imagine their reaction to this.

My second point has not to do with the toughness of women, but the hard-wiring of men.  Unless we are going to make a 100% switch overnight to all-women in combat, I can tell you that this will end badly on the battlefield.

As a Combat Medic, one of your highest priorities when soldiers are wounded in combat is triage.  It’s rare that only one person is hit, but not so rare that there is only one medic.  If you’re in a situation with 5 casualties, just one medic and at least a half-hour until the MEDEVAC arrives, your priority is triage; save those you can, pray for those you can’t.

Israel has seen this before, yet we’re choosing not to learn from their lessons.  They found that time and time again, in the situation I mentioned above, if there were both women and men injured in combat, the men (medics and Infantry alike) would spend all of their time focusing on the women, even when they were long gone.  Time and time again the “savable” men would die because the others would try to save the woman even after she was far gone.

Again, it doesn’t matter how much you brow-beat the PC and progressive ideas into us, we are hard-wired as men to protect women….if you’re any sort of decent man, that is.  We will focus all of our efforts on saving and protecting women, even to the dire consequences of losing others, sacrificing security, or neglecting other men that are injured with the “suck it up bro” mentality.

In closing, I just want to re-iterate that I’m far from anti-female, not saying that they can’t hack it, or are inferior in any way.  I’m just saying from my experience, and the experience of other combat-tested troops, that this will not end well.

We have too many politicians focusing on polling data and progressive ideals, forgetting to ask the people who will be affected and who have played these games before.  Open your eyes and ears, ask questions of soldiers on the battlefield, not those in the Pentagon focusing more on political gain that what’s going on downrange.

 

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