The Contingent Mind

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by B Griffin, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    The latest piece for the Fiddleback Forge website, and another in the series on contingency anticipation and planning that the madness of the last 16 months have inspired. It contains a subtle lead in to more discussion that will follow on the subject of sidearms.

    https://fiddlebackforge.com/blogs/articles/the-contingent-mind
     
  2. Bmurray

    Bmurray Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    love reading your stuff Brian. thank you
     
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  3. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you Bob! I'm really glad you enjoy them!
     
  4. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    I enjoy them, too.

    However, I think that Mr. Griffin is secretly in the pay of Maxpedition, to promote pouches and backpacks!

    (If you believe that, please Google "foghorn leghorn that's a joke son").
     
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  5. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you sir! I'm really glad you enjoy them!

    And LOL, that's actually funnier than you know!

    There is a sort of a funny story about me and Maxpedition from 2009. Back when I was doing some covert work with local LEO friends. Our Mayor at the time refused to admit we had a gang problem. It was shortly after the housing bubble had burst in the autumn and winter of 2008, and more than 20K people had lost their jobs in this region in two months. I had gotten laid off four times and called back weeks later myself.

    So, in the spring of 2009 the Mayor was still afraid that admitting we had a growing gang problem would just run off the tourist we would be dependent on to survive the bubble busting. Meanwhile the gang was running off any tourists who came to the park. But every time my friends would arrest them, the charges would be dropped to little nothings, no admission of gang activity, and they'd be released and go right back to dealing drugs in the park and threatening tourists.

    My wife and two daughters and myself had been threatened by them ourselves. The only thing that stopped the confrontation was me placing myself between them and my family, and then their lead guy hearing the metallic clicks in the shoulder bag I had my hand in as they approached. They chose to change directions and not risk it.

    So, I went to my LEO friends to report it and complain. The response is that it would do no good to report it, they'd just be right back and then they'd seek retaliation any time they saw us in the park. And then we discussed it in depth, and we devised a plan to expose the gang in such a way that the Mayor could no longer deny their existence.

    As a civilian my hands weren't tied the way theirs were. As a freelance writer and photojournalist, and using that and my other graphic arts work as a cover, I spent the next several weeks documented the gangs activities. In the park, on the patios of local restaurants, and in parking lots of stores, and of them in the various areas they worked in. By the end I had pictures of their transactions taking place in public, their hierarchy and rank and file. I turned copies of all the images over to friends on the force, and then I wrote up the story on the gang and included it is a discussion on urban survival that could be seen all around the world by anyone with internet. The link was shared strategically, and with some redneck hillbilly having been able to gather all the information needed to act on the gang, enough pressure was finally put on our city leaders.... Mayor, City Council, Judges, etc. that they were finally able to do something about the gang and in 2019 we had a small celebration for ten years of no gang in our park.

    This is the thread it was done with
    Thoughts on Urban Survival

    You probably started wondering what this has to do with Maxped a few paragraphs ago. Well, at the beginning of the urban survival studies project I was working on when I posted that thread, I had gotten rid of all my old military equipment and traded my ruck in for a Maxped gearslinger pack and had bought several smaller Maxped pouches hoping to look less military and more civilian in my work, but still have tough canvas gear.

    At the time of documenting the gang, I was also doing field research and development for RMJ Tactical and a few other companies. And one day there were some special people from Bragg at the RMJ shop. We were talking about my current projects, and one friend spoke up and said "you really need to switch out that Maxped gear for something else from Wal Mart or REI or something, and look more like a student and less like some operator".

    The next day I was talking to a detective friend who also worked SWAT, who knew what I was doing, and he said "you should probably stop carrying the canvas and molle packs and get something from a department store. Maybe look more like a student or just regular person on the street and less like an operator or someone on the SWAT team"

    I still buy and use Maxped's smaller pouches that I can tuck away. For myself and gift them to friends and students as well, sometimes preloaded with some gear. I still have the edc case and a maxped water bottle carrier I bought in 2008, and a Janus pouch they sent me to put on the shoulder strap of my Sitka pack when they wanted me to be a brand ambassador for them in 2009. Like I have been for years with some other gear companies whose products I still use regularly. But my brand ambassador days for them were very short lived. Because I gave my Sitka pack to a friend that day in 2009 after discussions with friends and have never bought another Maxped pack since then. I just buy small packs from dept stores to this day.

    .
     
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  6. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    And to think that it all started with my smartass remark...
     
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  7. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    LOL, well that thread is twelve years old now. I never got to talk about what was really going on back then with anyone. And have only discussed it with a few friends since then. It was nice to finally actually get to talk about it openly now that all of the people involved have retired and moved on and won't get in any trouble. Plus I don't even remember last names, just first names and nick names. My now ex wife didn't even know all of what was really happening those days, or the times I'd have difficulty with exfil and get stuck out longer than I meant to be. She just got the same story, that the images of the gang were just targets of opportunity taken while working. She never knew the time and effort that went into collecting some of the data I was documenting, or how much risk I was taking to get that damn gang out of our park. Luckily I never had to lie though. I was doing R&D for multiple tool and weapon companies, and working on material to submit to magazines at the time as well. That's about the time I started writing for Tactical Knives and Tactical Weapons magazines. So I'd always take the time to snag an image or two that would work in whatever articles I was working on, or conduct some of my R&D of tools and take images of that while I was out. So I was always actually working at the same time.
     
  8. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    All kidding aside, you're to be commended for your work. Glad you survived.
     
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  9. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you. It's actually part of a very long story I'm writing up a little at a time. I'll try to write the nutshell version of here...

    It actually started in 1974. My dad, who was a Marine who had fought in Korea and who was a single dad like me, decided to start my formal training early. I had grown up in a family of combat vets on my dad's side and it was presupposed I would go in the military at age 18.

    My grandfather had seen and understood the threat the Chinese Communist posed in the late 40s after his time in WWII. Dad had fought them in Korea, and my uncles had fought them in Vietnam. All assumed they would some day bring the war here, so dad started my training at age 10. Pretty intense sub-tropic and coastal maneuvers, waterborne landings in swamps sub tropic and coastal survival, shooting and weapons maintenance in salt water environments and inclement weather training etc. every weekend we could. And that went on from 1974 to 1978.

    Then dad had an accident at work while I was gone to visit other family and I soon found myself stuck back with the same alcoholic and drug addicted mother he had taken me from and her new husband. I was too young to understand the effects of drug use at the age of 13. Their penchant for eating amphetamines like Black Beauties and Yellow Jackets like candy, and staying up for days at a time drinking created an environment that was like going through Lewis Carroll's looking glass. They got angry, a lot, about things that were either nonexistent or made no sense to me. So most of the time I'd come home and do my chores and homework and run before they came in from work. Then sneak back in through my bedroom window later and pretend to be asleep when they'd check in before going to bed. I wouldn't go to sleep until they did. Probably the beginning of the somniphobia that would cause me issues later.

    Being alone on the streets of Dallas at 13 was where I got my first glimpses of gang mentality and activities. I got good a recognizing them so I could be good at avoiding them.

    In 1980, their drug use reached its crescendo. They separated for a while, and I thought things would improve. Mom wasn't so angry anymore. But then one night I woke up to what sounded like wood popping in our wood heater and thought she had left the flu open again when I saw the lights flare on the other side of the curtain that was my bedroom door. Only to realize the popping was gun fire and the light was muzzle flash and my stepfather was shooting at me through the curtain. It's still blurry, but I remember us fighting over my 16ga shotgun and it going off under his chin. And mom was already gone. He had shot her twice in the face through the glass on our back door on his way in. I was the only one who survived standing in a house with blood covered walls. I was 15

    For the next 4 years i spent most of my time on the streets, hiding from the juvenile authorities and trying to look after some other peoples' discarded and runway kids, and dealing with gang issues until I was old enough to go in the army.

    I can still remember the first day at the barracks, after going through culture shock, and wondering why I couldn't sleep. I assumed I was just too wound up, I might have slept the last hour maybe, it felt like i barely closed my eyes. The next night was the same, and the pattern continued. I would only sleep every second or third day all the way through Basic, Advanced Individual Training, and through Advanced Infantry Training. I could sleep in a latrine stall where no-one could sneak up on me, and I could sleep in the woods where people couldn't walk quietly I guess, but I could never really sleep in the barracks unless I was exhausted. I went the entire first cycle only sleeping every second or third day in the barracks, and taking short naps in latrines.

    Then Drill Sgt Lazano, who had said he suspected problems to arise from my previous trauma during the interview, finally caught me asleep in a latrine after seeing how I was always awake as soon as he walked through the barracks door every morning. He had known something was up that I probably wouldn't beat in such a short period of time, but I had aced the ASVAB and I had scored high marks all the way through. Including expert marksman even switching from left hand shooting to right due to the brass flying in front of my face, and targets that had been shrunken by 10% anticipating another conflict with China and Korea. Because I had been waiting on and training for the day I'd join the army since i was a kid. So he hoped it would sort itself out. But he had other guys watching me at night, and he knew I wasn't sleeping properly and then had finally caught me going awol to nap in a latrine due to exhaustion in the field.

    So I got sent through counseling, and learned that I had somniphobia, and that it was likely brought on by my stepfather attacking in my sleep, and then other street predators attacking me in my sleep. Because of that trauma to this day I can still see better in the dark than anyone else I know, and I can still smell someone's body odor from several meters away unless I am upwind of them. They kept me on all through the the down cycle to give me a place to rest up, and I found I could sleep in the empty barracks, but I'd still wake up every time CQ came through to inspect. They let me work on the company area, painting etc. for like 3 months to let me have a break and earn more money before I was discharged, honorably thank goodness. That was in 1985.

    Fast forward to the spring of 2009. When my family, my two little girls collectively the most valuable thing in my world, were threatened with physical violence by members of a drug dealing gang, and then the cops hands were tied by our Mayor. All that had been destroyed in my life by the actions of drug addicts played through my head. And all the times I had been forced to flee with other kids to protect them from gangs, or fight to protect them, played out in my head. Then all the training my dad had given me, and all the infantry training from two cycles of Infantry basic and advanced training. I knew I was qualified to take on the threat. And that left me with feeling an obligation to do so since no-one else was. And i had LEO friends who would help.

    I had always said that if we want to see a better world then we have to be willing to be the change we want to see in our world, and willing to fight for it. In the spring of 2009, I found myself being challenged to put my money where my mouth was. So I went home loaded magazines, packed my equipment, and set out on a mission to scour our shire.

    The beer I drank on the evening of April 26th 2019, to quietly celebrate not only ten years of a gang free park and all the years I and my daughter and others have safely played there since then, but to also celebrate the time I realized that all I had been taught as a child by my dad, all I had learned in the years of madness and insanity on the streets, and all I had learned in two cycles of infantry training, all of what I had thought for years had all just been for nothing, had finally paid off in some amazing dividends I had never seen coming. And April 26th has been a day I celebrate every year since 2019. I'm looking forward to the twelfth anniversary beer, and hoping that wasn't just the warm up for the new threats we face currently.
     
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  10. Aardvark

    Aardvark Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Sir, your post caused an emotional roller-coaster.

    Admiration: tons
    Sorrow/sympathy: much
    Wishing that I were young enough to learn from you: also way up there
    Disbelief: not a bit

    You are obviously one of Orwell's "rough men", though it's doubtful that he actually said that quote.

    If "thank you for your service" is hackneyed or offensive, please accept the sentiment, if not the wording.

    I realize that there are thousands out there who have similar stories, but you have the gift (or curse) of being able to present your experiences in a highly approachable manner.

    Joe
     
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  11. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you Joe, I really appreciate that very much!

    Living it was a roller coaster for me for years. This is actually the first time I've written parts of it out in a public venue. But I was forced to confront my own reality and come to terms with myself and my whole life almost five years ago after a divorce. I was trying to analyze all my parts in damaging the marriage, so I could confront them before going on to have any more relationships, and spare any future lovers that baggage. And discussing parts of it with a very close friend who has become very dear to me was very therapeutic. She just listened and advised without ever passing judgement and I could just be myself.

    The PTS has so many facets to it that it has been very difficult to overcome. It's odd how we can martyr people when they pass and make saints of them whether they deserve it or not. It took years for me to swallow the pill of remembering all the times that mom had selfishly put my life, our lives, in jeopardy repeatedly over her habits before I would get a handle on the survivors guilt. And accept that I was not the one who put her life at risk, she was.

    Consciously I have always been okay with my part in my stepfather's death. I know I was in the right to defend myself. But it's still an odd feeling...a sort of cognitive dissonance to know you took part in the death of a person you had sat across the table from and talked over dinner with on the good days. And you don't get to just forget afterward it with a clear and sober mind.

    Not being successful in joining the Army was another very hard pill to swallow. I felt like a failure. I felt lost with no purpose in life. When I left Fort Benning I lived off grid in the woods on the east side of the Chattahoochee River just north of Columbus, north of the Goatrock Dam, for about a year just trying to process it all. My counselor in the Army said I should have waited a few more years to join, but I don't think that would have helped. All through my 25 year construction career I never could share a hotel room with people I didn't know on the road and I would always just rent my own room, which always annoyed my work mates because then they had to spend more money. I never told them why, but with my sleep issues, and trust issues, and always sleeping with a weapon of some sort, I felt it was as much for their good as mine.

    My grandmother always told me there was a reason things happen the way they do, that we wouldn't always like them, but there was still a reason. For years I told her she was wrong, that there was no reason that could make my life make any sense at all. It was all just absurd chaotic madness and violence. But if the reason I went through all the things I went through, and the reason I learned all the insane lessons I learned, was so that I could have what it took to do what no-one else was willing to do. And do everything that needed to be done to help my LEO friends rid our park of that gang back then then. And do all I have done in journaling all the curious events I've seen in Tennessee and Georgia over the last ten months, with no fears and no doubts, just soldiering on the way my Dad and SFC Stan Lazano taught me to do in the face of adversity in my youth, then actually it all finally makes sense to me now. And I found peace, comfort, and encourgaement in that thought when it finally hit me in the winter of 2019-20 after a conversation with my pastor the day he retired.

    And yes, we all have a story and, I believe, we all have purpose. I think sometimes it just takes a while for us to be properly prepared to take them on.

    Cheers
    Brian
     
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  12. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    We're never too old to learn from anyone. I learn things from my friends and other members in this sub-forum all the time. It's one of the reasons I have been hanging out here for almost 12 years :)
     
  13. JRTufts

    JRTufts Gold Member Gold Member

    217
    Jan 11, 2020
    I always enjoy reading your work Brian. With all you’ve experienced and your skill with written word you could definitely write a book. :thumbsup:
     
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  14. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you JR, I'm glad you enjoy it! And thanks for the vote of confidence!

    I've been involved in a couple of books I collaborated on with other authors. In 2010 to aid in surviving a "post-fall" scenario. We wrote everything in forum style, as it was essentially just a hidden invitation only forum, and then published the works in 2012. I wish I still had my hardbacks of that, there were only a few and those sold at pretty high prices later when I needed money to help fund a divorce and beginning single parenthood with a broken leg in 2017.

    I have a lot of material I have been working on for a few books, a including documenting as much of what has happened here in the south east since last march as I can to write a book on this story later. Which makes just getting starting on something difficult when there is so much to consider and choose from. So I have been thinking about writing up the story of the war with the street gang back in 2009 since that story has already reached it's conclusion, and all I have to do now is write it out.

    I find it interesting that while I sat here at my desk, quietly typing out this reply saying none of this out loud, I got this text

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We are living in a very interesting time period.

    .
     
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  15. JRTufts

    JRTufts Gold Member Gold Member

    217
    Jan 11, 2020
    That’s great you’ve been involved in some projects already. The book about the happenings since last March would definitely be an interesting read as well as the one about the war against the street gang.

    Targeted advertising, it also takes what you say in conversation. Privacy is a thing of the past.
     
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  16. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thanks. Today makes the 367th day since the Coronavirus Task Force was created, and then things started moving at breakneck speeds in what seemed to essentially be a DDOS attack on the minds of the viewers taking it all in. The goal seemed to be to make it impossible to remember and keep up with it all. So rather than even attempt to take notes at the time, where I'd most likely overthink it or make the wrong notes anyway, I just gathered screen shots and images from the net, quotes of the important players, videos of important pressers, and took several thousand images and several videos of my own in my travels, in place of writing notes. The thought being that an image is worth a thousand words, and seen in hindsight can say so much more about the situation than any hurriedly written note could say.

    I know about the marketing. I grew up in an advertising agency, and understand how their thinking works. I get it, and I get their greed. That was a sort of unintentional test of Google, or Chrome anyway, the only common factor. My devices are not synced, something my phone "complains" about regularly. And the phone about 40 meters away from myself and my computer. In my silent and dark bedroom in an adjoining building with all apps closed. The only tab open on my computer was the Blade Forums tab using chrome, and I'm hardwired, not using wi-fi. Then I got the text sent to my phone advertising a publisher as I typed about writing the books. I texted back two text. One explaining I prefer to do my own writing thank you, and the other was simply "STOP", and there have been no more text.
     
  17. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger

    651
    Jul 14, 2012
    Good article! Thank you!
     
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  18. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you sir! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
     
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