Patman Returns- Let’s Talk About Family

I’m back and have some things to get off my chest….

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines family as:

1fam·i·ly noun \ˈfam-lē, ˈfa-mə-\
: a group of people who are related to each other

: a person’s children

: a group of related people including people who lived in the past

Pretty basic, right? Unfortunately, in my opinion, too basic. To me, family doesn’t just need to be by blood, by way of marriage or adoption. Family can be your best friend(Donny). Family can be your neighbor. For some(this one included) it can be your pets.

Regardless of Miriam-Webster’s, my or even your definition of what family “is”, family should never be marginalized or trivialized. Family is not a matter of convenience, to be there only when you want or need something. Family is not something to be ignored, rejected or dismissed. Family is 24/7 365 days a year (366 during Leap Years). Family (at times) can be an awful lot of hard work. Family can make you happy, sad, angry, disappointed or jealous. Family can make you so pissed off that you want to punch them in the face and sometimes you do (sorry Mike!). At the end of the day though, as angry or disappointed as you make be, they are STILL your family and as such you love them warts and all. You don’t cut them off, just as you wouldn’t cut off an arm or a leg.

I have played the role of the “Prodigal Son” in the past. I’m not proud of it, but I do own up to it and more importantly I learned from it. I am very fortunate to have a family that loves me and accepts me for who I am, not what I have or how much money I make. They love me despite my imperfections (and there are a bunch). They look for the good in me. Why? Because that is what family does. That was a valuable lesson, one I think many people need to learn.

So to you MY family (and you ALL know who you are), understand that regardless of whatever momentary negative feelings may exist(and that’s really what they are unless you let them fester and consume you), I will ALWAYS love each and every one of you. I can only ask (and hope) that you do the same.

Until next time………..



Patman Rising

2 days ago I wrote about my anger and dismay in the wake of the 26 innocent people gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was (and still am) furious at the ignorant comments coming from both sides of the gun control argument. I don’t think I necessarily need to rehash what was said or why it infuriated me. Unfortunately the things I saw written online and spoken in the media paled in comparison to the statement given today by the National Rifle Associations top lobbyist Wayne LaPierre.

To say that LaPierre took fear-mongering to a new level might be a gross understatement. “The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?” Really? Really Mr. LaPierre? If you are so damn clairvoyant, why couldn’t you see what occurred a week ago ahead of time? Or Aurora? Or Wisconsin? Or Fort Hood? Give me a break! The fact is because there is a systematic failure in the purchase and possession of guns when it comes to psychiatric evaluations, we don’t know. But instead of stating the truth, LaPierre spouts off that line of BS to scare the American public. Sadly that was the mere tip of the iceberg. His entire statement goes on to blame everyone from the Federal government failing to keep a national database of the mentally ill(a legitimate argument) to blaming the decay of society on television, movies and video games(arguments that have been made since the late 70’s and studies have disproved). He blamed everything BUT firearms. LaPierre also said the “Gun Free Zones” are the cause for armed madmen showing up. Yep, I’m sure that’s exactly why the gunman decided to open fire at Ft. Hood….no guns there!

Perhaps what disturbed me more than anything else was he painted the NRA to be the saviors of our society. They have already begun planning the National School Shield Program, designed to redo security for every school in the country with the main idea of posting an armed guard/police office in every school. Apparently Mr. LaPierre thinks there is one entrance/exit to every school. I would suggest that he come back to reality. To cover every entrance or exit they would need a small militia at every school. It sounds to me that Mr. LaPierre wants a police state, which is precisely what the 2nd Amendment is supposed to help prevent.

I said on Wednesday that this is a complex issue that no one thing would solve. Something I failed to mention is that one item might not solve it, but one item can prevent it from being solved; one side being unwilling to discuss meaningful changes to the gun control laws in the United States. Sadly, that seems to be the case here with the NRA. They would rather point the finger everywhere else and try to scare the crap out of US citizens by painting a picture of a deranged person around every corner waiting to harm them and their loved ones. The only thing he didn’t mention(and I was waiting for him to) to try to scare people was that zombie hordes are also drawn to gun free zones. That would have capped it off for me.

I still believe that overall, people are good but there are real problems that need to be addressed. I hope, and will continue to pray, for our leaders to have clarity when sitting down to address them. It is long overdue.

Patman Rising- Taking a stand


Today is December 19, 2012. It has been 5 days since the horrific events in Newtown, CT and I am still upset. I am sad about the 26 lives lost at the hands of a madman. Although I have never met any those who perished, or their families, I feel a loss. As a parent, what unfolded on Friday is my worst nightmare and I can’t even begin to comprehend what those families are going through. I can’t begin to comprehend the trauma suffered by the survivors. Having said all this, I am also very angry…..

In the time since the shootings, it seems everyone has an opinion on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately logging into Facebook or watching the news amplifies it. “Ban all guns!” on one side and “We need more guns, had there been armed teachers this would have been stopped!” on the other. In between is a whole lot of mudslinging, insults and grandstanding. Quite frankly, it infuriates me. That these “conversations” even need to happen is pathetic and speaks volumes about our society as a whole.

We are a self-centered society and get more so with each passing day. Facebook is a prime example. Many use it to stay in touch with family and long-lost friends, but just as many if not more use it for “hey look at me!” moments and silly grandstanding. We walk around in our own bubble, with smart phones in our hand or ear, completely oblivious to the world around us. Look at our kids, they don’t talk on the phone anymore, they text. When I was my oldest son’s age, I was always on the phone. I would spend hours on the phone with my girlfriend (infuriating my mom and siblings) and my friends, we cared about what we said. Phone conversations are a rarity. Texting and IM-ing are impersonal, there is zero feeling. It’s no wonder we don’t value anyone else’s opinion but our own as a society when we don’t personally interact with anyone.

I’ll be honest, I don’t share the same opinion regarding guns and the violence that took place last Friday. Quite frankly I was offended at the mere suggestion of arming teachers and some of the other pro-gun posts that went up. I’m also equally upset at those screaming to ban all guns. Both sides make it seem so simple, that doing one or the other will stop repeats of Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Littleton. It’s not that simple folks. This is a complex issue. The starting point, however is very simple. We need to respect one another and be open to discussion. We need to care about someone other than ourselves. Perhaps had someone cared about the shooter (I refuse to use their name) and seen the mental issues, help could have been provided and perhaps this never would have happened.

I have never been one to get overly religious(or force feed it down anyone’s throat), but I do believe in God. In John 13:34 Jesus said “I give you a new commandment ‘Love one another!'” I have friends from a multitude of faiths and some that do not prescribe to any particular belief, but whether you are Christian, Jewish, Pagan, Buddhist or even agnostic……I think that’s still pretty solid advice and I plan on doing everything I can to follow it. If more would just follow that one, we’d all be much better off.

Until next time…..


Patman Rising

With apologies to Ed and Glenn for shamelessly borrowing their idea to blog, I have decided to periodically write about things that are on my mind in a more organized fashion than a normal Facebook post.

I figured why not start at the inspiration for my blog title, and talk about the recovery for my latest surgery. On December 4, I had a partial medial meniscectomy. In layman’s terms I had the torn part of my medial meniscus removed. In addition, Dr. Axe (great name for an orthopedist) cleaned up a lot of leftover scar tissue and debris from my ACL replacement 15 years ago. This should prevent me from dealing with popping and clicking in the knee. Physical therapy began on 12/11, and I am determined to attack it with as much as ferocity as I can.

As many know, I completed my first triathlon in October. I fell in love with the training in addition to the event. So much so that I have planned to compete in 4 triathlons in 2013. I also intended to complete the Marine Corp 17k in March, to claim a spot in the October Marine Corp Marathon. After dealing with the knee surgery, you might think the plan has changed……. It hasn’t.

I’ve been knocked down by this injury, but like the title says, I will rise to compete again…. And very soon.