All of the sudden every aspect of my life was under a microscope. Was it because I wrote for a military magazine? I had permission from my command to publish under my own name and they knew I was writing. Wouldn’t they have advised I not write if they thought it would be a conflict of interest or put me in danger? Maybe it had nothing to do with my writing. Maybe I had posted a picture somewhere of myself in uniform and the bad guys saw my name tape and that was all they needed. But did I really post that many uniform pictures? I looked like a dork in my blue camo so why would I want that out there for everyone to see? Or could it be one of the classes I went to while I was in the Navy. Maybe the roster for my TAPS GPS class had been released and we were all on it. Or maybe, just maybe, it was completely random and I would never know how I got on a watch list.

It didn’t really matter how I ended up on the list; I was on it. As a result I now have my very own NCIS agent on speed dial. In fact, I even have a contact for the FBI because they were kind enough to scare the crap out of my old roommates by showing up there and letting them know that I was on a list not only under my married name, but also my maiden name and my address from almost 10 years ago was listed as well. Isn’t that great news!? So not only was my security now being shaken, people I had lived with before I ever swore into the military were being shaken up as well.

I remember turning to my husband after I got the news and repeating what was going on as though it were happening to someone else. He was far calmer than me and his response to the issue was not exactly the same as mine. He looked at me and said, “I guess you’re ready to go get a gun now? And a dog too?” I knew he was trying to lighten the mood, but he wasn’t wrong. Being armed when I was out alone would not be a bad idea.

So I learned how to shoot a little better, I figured out what type of handgun I was most comfortable with, and I found an excuse to buy two new purses just because they had hidden holsters in them. I became far more aware of what was going on around me at all times and I started avoiding any large, crowded events. Especially ones that would have a heavy military presence.

I wasn’t hiding, but I wasn’t living either. It took a conversation with a family friend and former SEAL, as well as a long talk with my very own Gibbs to realize that I could not hide out just because something bad happened. I would be doing exactly what bad guys wanted. I would be giving up who I was because I was scared and that was not acceptable to me.

I love to travel. I love to dance barefoot at outdoor concerts. I love to go to events that support those that serve our country. I just love life and it was not right to let the potential threat hanging over my head make me forget how to live. Instead I now take precautions, but I still live life the best that I can. I mean, come on, I could be in a deadly car crash on the way to the movies just as easily as I could be harmed by these bad guys. And statistics have shown that as of now, not one person on any of those lists has had a personal attack happen so it’s far more likely that I will be done in by old age so I might as well live it up, right? Wouldn’t you?

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