In the Service of the Inexplicable and the Paradoxical

by Keith Turner on July 20, 2017

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When I was 29, it was the year in my life when Bradley was conceived and born. It was also in the middle of my Saturn Return. This caused a lot of internal self-reflection. At some point in all this I was reading in the Book of Mormon in the book of Morni – “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.”

I remember clearly thinking that I wanted to be filled with this love, so I got on my knees and in one of those moments of sincere pleading I asked for this charity, this love, this pure love. In the middle of praying after speaking my request my soul said to me “Are you sure this is what you want? This will destroy your family and your life!” I paused for a moment and then in a very confident manner stated “Yes! I am sure.”

I was willing to pay the price at that time. As with many things that involve the soul the price is often greater than imagined. From that moment on I began having experiences that would crack the thick exterior around my inner world. On the 19th of January 2003, a few months before I turned 31 all of the walls that kept my life together crashed around me. The morning started with my coming out to my Navy psychologist. By the time the day ended I had told my commanding officer, my religious leaders and my extended family. The world as I knew it ceased to exist that day.

“The spirit of the depth took my understanding and all my knowledge and placed them at the service of the inexplicable and the paradoxical.” [The Red Book – Liber Primus fol.i(v) Carl Jung]

But the supreme meaning is the path, the way and the bridge to what is to come. That is the God yet to come. It is not the coming of God himself, but his image which appears in the supreme meaning. God is an image, and those who worship him must worship him in the image of the supreme meaning.

The supreme meaning is not a meaning and not an absurdity, it is image and force in one, magnificent and force together.

The supreme meaning is the beginning and the end. It is the bridge of going across and fulfillment.

The other Gods died of their temporality, yet the supreme meaning never dies, it turns into meaning and then absurdity, and out of the fire and blood of their collision the supreme meaning rises up rejuvenated anew.

The image of God has a shadow. The supreme meaning is real and cast a shadow. For what can be actual and corporeal and have no shadow?

The shadow is nonsense. It lacks force and has no continued existence through itself. But nonsense is the inseparable and undying brother of the supreme meaning.

Like plants, so men also grow, some in the light, others in the shadows. There are many who need the shadows and not the light.

The image of God throws a shadow that is just as great as itself.

The supreme meaning is great and small, it is as wide as the space of the starry Heaven and as narrow as the cell of the living body.”

January 19th, the day all of my panic attacks stopped occurring regular three or four times a week, I found myself in the shadow of God. The meaning of my life turned into absurdity and I got swept up into the blood and fire of their collision.  Here I am 16 years later finding that the absurdity is beginning to turn into meaning again and the glimpse of the supreme meaning is beginning to appear.



United States Navy – Veteran

by Keith Turner on November 11, 2016

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6e9513974d8623ddfad9f20668a8577aMay 9, 1995 I was visiting my paternal grandfather, Arlin Fell. He served in World War II in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee. For the first time in my life he talked to me about his experience in the Navy. He pulled out his photo album. There was a letter to his mother where he described being attacked by Japanese Kamikaze pilots. It was the first time we had a real conversation as adults. The last thing he said to me before I left was “NEVER JOIN THE NAVY!” Two weeks later on May 24 he passed away.

It should not surprise anyone that knows me, not only did I not listen to him but I did exactly the opposite of what he told me not to do. On February 6th 1996 I raised my right hand and said”

I Keith Allen Turner, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear truth faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”   

At that moment I was officially enlisted in the U.S. Navy and become Seaman Turner. I got on a plane and spent the next year and a half just outside of Chicago, nine weeks in boot camp and the rest of the time in training.

Boot Camp was nine weeks of hell. I found ways to survive and adjust to difficult circumstances successfully. That experience has played a big part in my life, giving me confidence I would not have had otherwise. After I graduated from boot camp my grandmother told me my grandfather would have been real proud of me. I am sure that she was right.

I went on to serve on both the U.S.S. Harry W. Hill and the U.S.S. Kinkaid. [Both ships were sunk on July 14, 2004 in the Pacific as part of military exercise.]

January 21, 2003 after a long series of events I broke the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule and told my commanding officer I was gay. In hind sight I was very lucky. My command at the time S.I.M.A San Diego made sure I was discharged in the best possible way. They called the military JAG office and made sure that my discharge was processed as an honorable discharge. During that time in the military there was a lot of dishonorable discharges for breaking the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Rule.

On March 7, 2003 I received an honorable discharge – reason for discharge: Homosexual Admission.

My seven years as a sailor was a pivotal time in my life. It was the beginning of a long exploration of me being me and discoveries about myself which has continued to this very day.

Today on Veterans Day I am taking a moment to remember the importance my military service has been to my life and how it has helped shape me into the person I am today. Those seven years were the best of times and the worst of times. I fell in love with the sea and ultimately it lead me on a journey where I fell in love with myself.

In the end it was the one thing that finally created a connection between me and my grandfather Arlin.

Police Officers

by Keith Turner on November 4, 2016

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The unexpected side benefit of attending the Unified Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy is that it has opened a place for healing from old childhood wounds. I have not been able to write anything about the police academy since the active shooter scenario. My mind started processing, bringing down walls to an otherwise inaccessible part of my past, an emotional part of that past I had tried to put behind inaccessible walls. These hidden emotions did find ways to escape, though it was mostly through unconscious means.

I am 11 or 12 perhaps younger / older I do not know. My father has come home for lunch. He has parked his motorcycle directly behind my mother’s car. Having a dentist appointment, my mother and I get into the car. She either forgets or does not know that the motorcycle is parked directly behind her car. Backing into it she knocking over the motorcycle. Momentarily we both look at each other in horror as we realize what had just happened and knowing what is about to happen.

 My father running out of the house quickly makes his way the driver’s side door of the car. A scuffle ensues as my father tries to force the door open as my mother is trying to re-shut lock the car door.  Being stronger he soon forces the car door open and begins to drag her out of the car while hitting her. Amongst all the screaming I hear her yell ‘lock the doors and stay in the car’.

 Soon my father drags her around the car and onto the lawn. My mother curls up on the lawn with her hands wrapped around her head as my father continues hitting her and yelling.

I found myself sitting in a locked car watching helplessly as my mother was being beaten by my father. My mother eventually escapes, running off to a neighbor’s house. My father tied to get into the car but I am too scared and refused to unlock the doors. I was terrified.

Eventually my father picked up his motorcycle and drives off.

Within minutes a county sheriff  officer arrives, walks up to the car, knocks on the window and ask me if I am ok. 

He was a tall man as seen from the eyes of a child. I still see him clearly in my mind, all but the details of his face. Even that is probably stored somewhere in my memories.

Most if not all of my memories of police officers as a child involved them arriving to my house just after a moment of extreme violence. Their arrival was the indication that all was now momentarily safe. The violence had ended for the day.

For the last ten weeks I have spent every Wednesday night and one Saturday morning surrounded and interacting with police officers. At the end of each of these classes I have climbed into my car and started crying as I have drove myself home. I told Detective Bennett, one of the COP officers, a few weeks ago that my interaction with police officers as a child was as a result of them responding to domestic violence at my childhood home. This last Wednesday night, which also happened to be the last Citizen’s Police Academy class, one of the scenarios we did was responding to a domestic violence call. I  found myself acting in the role of a police officer responding to a domestic violence call. The actual scenario was non-violent just a lot of yelling, though it was enough to destroy any and all remaining walls I had encased around those childhood emotions. After running the scenario I mentioned to Detective Malm, who is in charge of the Citizen’s Police Academy, a similar thing that previously most of my interaction with police officers was through responding to domestic violence calls as a child.

Wednesday night I might have slept on and off for three hours and by Thursday morning the barriers to all those emotions were finally gone. I am now finally in a place with my life where little Keith feels safe enough to unlock the car doors and come out. I have a better understanding that some of the emotional, psychological and physiological reactions I experience when interacting with a police officer has been rooted in an emotional past that until now I had been unwilling to fully acknowledge and deal with.

What started out as an intent to better understand the life of a police officer has turned into a better understanding and integration of myself.


[note: My father is a good person with his own issues like everyone else. As adults we do have a good relationship. I am sure that I will have more to say on this in a later post.]

Metro Gang Unit

by Keith Turner on September 28, 2016

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The Metro Gang Unit is made up of a number of Federal and State agencies that work together to identify, reduce and prevent criminal gang activity. During the presentation we learned about gang culture and current gang activity in Salt Lake County.

It was really helpful to go over gang culture. There was a lot of information that I was not aware of. One thing I learned is that gang tags are full of information that can assist the police. In the future if my property is ever tagged I will take a picture of it first before painting over it.

Narcotics Unit

by Keith Turner on September 28, 2016

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There are two different narcotics units in the U.P.D. There is the Neighborhoods Narcotics Unit. They deal with local level drug dealers and supplies. There is also the Narcotic Diversion Unit. We had officers from the U.P.D. Narcotics Diversion Unit come talk to us. They spoke to us a little bit about what they do and then gave us a presentation on the common illegal drugs on the streets right now.

From the U.P.D. Website:

The Unified Police Department Narcotics Diversion Unit is a specialty group of very unique detectives. This unit is the law enforcement arm of the Salt Lake County Felony Drug Courts. …The detectives of the Narcotics Diversion Unit are on the front lines of the newest drug abuse trends and are instrumental in identifying the dangers posed by the ever changing illegal street drug market. These detectives communicate directly with the judges and legislators to assist in passing effective controlled substance laws that make our community a safer place to live and work.

The biggest issue in Utah right now is opiods and synthetic opiods. This is followed by methamphetamine and marijuana. [I will not  jump into the marijuana debate in this post.] This is a change from a decade ago where methamphetamine was the biggest drug issue in Utah. Currently synthetic opiods are causing a big problem. They are easy to order though the mail or obtain on the streets. With any opiods you may be getting a different type then you think you are purchasing. Overdoes is a problem. Opiods are also highly addictive.

Drugs and drug use is a extremely complicated social issue. I was not aware how big the problem opiods currently are until the Narcotic Diversion Unit’s presentation. These are complicated issues within a complicated multi-cultural society.

Narcotics Diversion Unit Detectives may be contacted regarding questions about drug abuse and the prevention of dangerous street drugs in your neighborhood. If you have a family member, friend or loved one who is struggling with drug abuse help is available. Narcotics Diversion Office Number: 385.468.9800.

Desert Journey

by Keith Turner on September 26, 2016

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In the desert the landscape
is stark. Vastness swallows
my soul into great nothingness.

Did I make the right decision?
Another voice pleads,
“Please do not give up on me yet!”

I feel the wind rush around me. It chills
me, whispering of frailty
and life. Or death. My soul
enveloped in dark.

I desire to lie down in the sagebrush
and die in the pungent scent.

I hear the mantra: I am fearless
in the face of any
and all challenges.

It floats into the fog. My brain grasps the words
as the cloak begins
to fall. as if for the first time,
I see the start beauty.

My soul begins to sing
the song of courage.

[originally published in Peculiar a queer literary journal
volume two issue two]


Fall Equinox 2016

by Keith Turner on September 22, 2016

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I find the  Bonneville Salt Flats a magical place of transformation. It was decided this year that it was a perfect place for the fall equinox. Leaving Salt Lake City late afternoon I arrived at the Salt Flats just after 5 p.m. A storm hit just before leaving the city. When I arrived the area was covered in about a foot of water. I spent some time out in the water on the Salt Flats. It was the prefect place for me splash around and have fun. The place was radically changed temporarily into a lake. Moving into this new astronomical season will be one of metamorphosis in my own personal life. [a special thanks to Natalie Henry for the pictures and permission to use them]

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Police Scenario Training

by Keith Turner on September 22, 2016

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The training for this week was about basic police scenarios.

Building Clearing

Building clearing is done for anything as simple as a building/home is found with a door open to an active shooter scenario. In an active shooter scenario they would eliminate that threat before clearing the building, as was the case in the Trolley Square shooting in 2007. Most of the time they are just dealing with simple building clearings to insure that no one is in the building.

Cuffing Techniques

I just always assumed the when someone was cuffed they were being arrested. That is  not always the case. There is a difference between being detained and being arrested. In some circumstances the civilian is demonstrating behavior that could be a danger to the police officer or themselves. In those cases it is often better to put them in handcuffs for everyone’s safety. If the handcuffs are not attached to both hands they could become a weapon and put the police officer in more danger.

Case Scenarios

The police are called out for a wide variety of reasons. Depending on the situation it is either a civil matter and they cannot get involved or it may result in someone being arrested and taken to the jail. It is up to the jail to determine if they will be accepted into the jail or not. We went through a number of them and how each situation would be handled by the police.

Action v.s. Reaction

Someone doing an action is always faster then someone reacting to the action. A police officer is usually reacting to someone else’s action and are therefore always a few second behind. One way to protect themselves is to always stay 21 feet away or more from the person they are dealing with. Where they are behind on time they have the distance to help over compensate for that.

The officers doing this training were the same officers that did the routine traffic stop scenarios for the EVO class. I always enjoy their training. Each of us were given the opportunity in a practice scenario to go out on a call. In my case I was dealing with a person in the park who was sword practicing. In situations like this you do not know if there could be violence or not. The main thing they wanted us to experience was the stress response that is typical in situations like this. Your ability to hear changes under these acute stressful situations. A color would be spoken out loud on the side. The person participating in the scenario did not hear the color that was spoken outloud.

My Thought About Tonight

Each class I am learning something new about the dangers the police officers face every day they go to work. Often it is little things that I would not have considered before. If we want a good policing in our communities we have to be engaged with the police. As with all jobs there are sometimes “bad apples” but for the most part people do try to do their best. If the community is engaged with the police officers it strengthens those relationships and helps to weed out the “bad apples”. Also a lot of the people that police officers deal with on a day to day basis are criminals and the bad elements of society. A little bit of kindness will go a long way.

Gun Range

by Keith Turner on September 15, 2016

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VirTra Simulator

This evening was spent at the gun range with Range Master Nick Roberts. He has a very impressive knowledge about guns that he has accumulated over many years. I hope to have the opportunity of take his concealed gun course someday.

The first thing I did was to do a couple of scenarios in the VirTra simulator.  Basically is simulates actual scenarios in a 360 degree environment to give you an idea what a real situation might be like. In both scenarios I was involved in the scene escalated to a shooting and if it has been real life I would have been dead. The simulation is real enough that the body responds as if you were in an acute stress environment. It is a great way to train for those kind of situations.

When I was in the U.S. Navy, on watch I would sometimes have to carry a gun. Once a year I would go to the gun range to shoot and as long as I hit the target a few times I would pass. Being in an actual acutely stressful environment where guns are being fired was something I had no training for. I had wrong assumptions about how I would react in such a situation, which I learned after doing 2 different scenarios in the VirTra simulator. In the 2nd  simulation I was so focused on one area that I never saw the person who appeared on the side and fired shots.

Things can happen so fast and get out of hand in a few seconds. Sometimes the only thing that police officers have between them and death is a few seconds to make the right decision. The officer sometimes has to make split second decisions in an almost impossible to manage situation. In an high stress situation things can go wrong really quickly and mistakes can be made.

  Gun Vault

The second part of my night was a tour of the gun vault. All I can say is wow they have some pretty awesome guns in their vault. They had two different Thompson Machine Guns one from the 1920’s and one from the 1940’s in the vault. I got to hold both of them. All of the guns owned by police officers in the U.P.D are maintained and fixed in a shop in the vault. That is also an impressive operation. They have a lot of different varieties of guns that they maintain and fix.

Live Fire Range

I was able to shoot a machine gun in semi-automatic and in automatic mode. That was an awesome experience. There is just something about holding all that power in your hands and then pulling the trigger. It has been a long time since I shot a gun. I had forgotten how much I enjoy shooting a gun on occasion.



Emergency Vehicle Operations

by Keith Turner on September 11, 2016

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EVO – High Speeds

Officers go out to the Emergency Vehicle Operations course to learn and practice safe vehicle maneuvering. The course itself is operated by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Division under the Utah Department of Public Safety. This year for the first time they gave permission to the U.P.D. to use the course as part of the Citizen’s Police Academy.

Each of us were able to sit in the passenger seat of one of the U.P.D. police vehicles while they simulated a high speed chase. For safety we were required to wear helmets while in the vehicle. The new Ford Interceptor, because of all the current technology, is an extremely stable vehicles. The older Ford Crown Victoria does not have the same technology so the stability of the vehicle has a lot to do the the skill of the driver. Two of the vehicles driven around the track were Interceptors and one was a Crown Victoria. I rode in the Crown Victoria. It was so much fun to ride around in the police car at high speeds. Inside I was doing my fan girl screaming while on the outside I maintained some sort of decorum.

The second time in the vehicle was a demonstration of the exercises the officers to do learn safe maneuvering techniques. This time I was in an Interceptor. The vehicle felt like it was moving parallel when the driver was maneuvering around obstacles. The other exercise that was simulated was to stop the vehicle in a box from a high speed.  Again I maintained my outward decorum while my inner fan girl was screaming.

Tire Spike Deployment

We simulated deploying tire spikes. They are not so easy to deploy. It can be very dangerous.

Traffic Stops

Part of the training that day was simulating routine traffic stops and high risk traffic stops. Of all the job related activities police officers do, routine traffic stops are the most stressful. This is something that I never considered before. The reason for this is that this situation inherently  had many unknowns. Dealing with unknown situations is always the most stressful. This year Officer Douglas Barney from the U.P.D. was fatally shot responding to a traffic accident.

I found for myself that it was more stressful during the routine traffic stop scenario. I could feel my heart rate increase and my breathing become shallow. I had to stop and take a second to start breathing again.

I am not sure I actually have the words yet to express how this experience has changed my understand of police officers. With all of the rhetoric that is going around facebook and the news it feels like everyone wants to distil the current issues around police officers to either police brutality or 100%  support for all police actions around the country. The situations and politics around all this are certainly more complex than I was open to see before I started the citizen’s police academy.

The LGBTQ community has often had a difficult relationship with police officers in general. The entire modern American gay culture came into its own and out of hiding partly because of the Stonewall Riots, which was basically a confrontation of a community against the police. I am beginning to see that I had a lot of unconscious views and beliefs about police officers. I am becoming aware of many of them. My heart is opening and my understanding is growing. That is the foundation of healing from conflict. I am sure that I will have more to say on this topic as I attend move of the citizen’s police academy classes.