What is your name and where are you from?
Thanks a lot for the opportunity to introduce myself, and I hope I do your space proud. So here goes.
When I was a child, I asked one thing of God. I asked that I never live a boring life. I just know the minute I made that prayer that God leaned back, smiled, and said: “Okay, buckle up Mr. Adventure!”I guess you really need to be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. My name is William Ablan (not my real name, of course). I write under a pen name for one reason. About seventy-five percent of what I write about happened, and doing so under a pen name gives me the chance to put some distance between me and it. More on that later.
Okay Mr. Adventure, what was your childhood dream?
I was raised a cowboy, and I can do all the cowboy stuff to include riding, roping, branding, and so on. I’m the son of a rancher but realized at an early age that wasn’t the life I wanted. My eyes were fixed on the stars, and I wanted to ride a rocket into space (still might someday). I took my degree in the second most useless thing in the world and then couldn’t find a job.
Aww. That sucks. What then?
Two months later they called, and I spent the next twenty years being a police officer. As I said, I wanted adventure, and I got it. I worked not only the streets but undercover narcotics, plainclothes investigations, protected VIPs, been an Undersheriff and a Chief of Police. I can’t say I regretted my time working in Law Enforcement. During that time I’ve been assaulted several times, stabbed twice, and shot at a few times. It opened my eyes to the dark side of the human race.
It also showed me that there’s good in everyone. Sometimes, you have to dig to find it, but it’s there. Sometimes the last person on Earth you’d think would be at your side are the ones trying desperately to save the life of a stranger, or going into a dangerous situation and doing something heroic. Or something as simple as being vulnerable to try to talk to someone. The good is there, and when people let it out, it’s dazzling.
With, you being a former law enforcement officer, I have to ask. What do you think of police brutality in the black community? How would you solve this problem?
Any brutality isn’t good. I think I’m ill-equipped to answer that question. The towns and counties I was a police officer in had no black community. That said, it still happened, maybe not to blacks, but certainly other races. I knew Hispanic cops that got themselves in a bind being racist against whites, and the reverse is also true. But I also knew Hispanic cops who brutalized their own and the same concerning whites. The first time I was around a lot of blacks was when I was in the military. I never had any problems and count a huge number of blacks among my best friends.
What’s the answer? I wish I knew. Part of me says better training and better screening of potential police officers. I suspect the truth is simply being a better human being. I only know one way to get that, and that involves God.
William, what are your thoughts on race in general?
The genealogy stuff factors in with my views on race. I don’t get it. From what I’ve been able to learn, my ancestors got ran out of almost every decent country around, got here, and ran into more of my ancestors who did their best to scalp them. Somehow they managed to get along long enough to produce me. I’ve got blood connections to almost every people who have ever walked the Earth with the possible exceptions of China, Japan, and India (and it wouldn’t surprise me too much to find out it’s folded in there someplace).
Now an admission I wish I didn’t have to make. My parents were rather racist, especially against whites (and here I am, half white) I found their views disgusting. They openly expressed hate, and I thought that’s not logical. By their thinking, I’m having to hate part of me. I guess I’ve extended that thinking to all people since I have a pretty good idea of what became me.
Let’s talk about writing a bit. Why did you start writing?
I started writing because I’m into genealogy. I always heard stories about some of my ancestors, and with very few exceptions, none of them left more than the barest records of what they’d done and who they were. In some cases, the stories I heard weren’t true.
I can understand that for sure…
An example is my great, great grandfather. The story I heard was he was in the Confederate army, had been captured, and spent the war in the Union POW camp in Allentown. Now, granted, the POW system back then was a mess, but if you spent four years someplace, you would think your name would turn up. I could never find anything from the Confederate Army reference him either. Then one day, I got an unexpected break. Turns out he was never in the Confederacy, but in the Union Army. And he was an officer to boot. Where did the other story come from? Near as I can figure that since he was from North Carolina, they made it up so he wouldn’t get beat up! Later, he and his family came out west with the Mormon’s, and he was a General in their militia. I’d love to have known his stories and heard what he had to say.
What a story.
So, that’s why I started writing. I’ve not only been in places where history was being made but in some cases, helped shape it. I didn’t want my great, great grandchildren trying to figure out who I was. I’d leave a record for them.
But writing it down involved taking a step away from myself. Some of the events were still pretty raw and I had to report the best I could. I invented a character and inflicted my adventures on him. And a really funny thing began to happen. I discovered writing was healing.
I take it you are religious William…
Yes. I’m a Christian. Now why I’m a Christian involves what I could know I’m capable of being. In the Bible, we read the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee stood in the temple telling God how cool he was, and that he did this and that. Basically, he was telling God that God was lucky to have him on his side. The Tax Collector didn’t do that. The Bible tells us he stood there, admitting again and again that he a sinner. The Bible tells us it was the Tax collector who went away justified before God because he was being honest with God.
Well, I was the Pharisee. As a Police Officer, I saw it my duty to protect the world, and while I never abused anyone, took bribes, or such, I was viewing myself as the perfect person. It’s easy to do. What I didn’t realize is there was a monster in me.
One day, I ran into it. We were in Saudi Arabia, a few short days from invading Iraq. We had a Platoon Sgt who was horrible at best, incompetent at worse. He thought you pushed combat troops the same way you push recruits (you don’t, in case you’re wondering). He went down with us saying he wanted to get the purple heart. By day two, we were all willing to help him.
So, we’re breaking down and getting ready to move up to the border when he comes up and starts screaming at me about something. To this day I can’t tell you what he said. All I know what something in me said, “Screw him!” as he turned and started walking away, I suddenly felt a hand on top of mine. A friend of mine was whispering in my ear, “Will, he’s not worth it.” My pistol was halfway out of its holster. My friend had stopped me from doing something incredibly stupid. Had he not been there, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.
You got some stories in you William!
I got a glimpse of the monster in us, and it terrified me. I realized I was no better than some of the people I’d sent to prison for murder. It was a very humbling encounter. That night, I prayed, maybe for the first time in ages. I asked God that if he got me out of this intact, and my mind sane, I’d serve him. And I thanked him for putting someone in my life for stopping me from killing that man.
It was six months before I started trying to keep that promise. Today, I can’t imagine ever having been the guy who almost killed a man.
Enough heavy stuff.
Okay. Let’s switch it up a bit. Tell us more about you, what foods do you like? Music? That stuff.
I’m a huge fan of hamburgers.
Lol! Yes to hamburgers!
While I love County-Western music, and Rock, I spend most of my time listening to Classical music, especially when I’m writing. I’m into some of the newer stuff that has a classical sound to it (think the soundtrack to Tron by Daft Punk).
Umm.. no idea who that is but carry on.
And if there was a single artist I could shadow, it would be the country artist Charles Russell. I’d enjoyed spending an afternoon with him riding across the open plains. He wrote about and painted the land he loved. I guess it’s his passion I’d want to tap into.
What genre do you write in?
I write what can best be called Police Adventure. I published my first book last year. It’s called the Cross and the Badge, and to a large degree is about learning to live with the pains of the past. My next book is a direct sequel called “Dead Friends.” I’m aiming for a release date of 1 Sep.
Congratulations on the new release! I don’t think we discussed what you are doing now.
My wife and I live in a not so little town anymore called Greeley, Colorado. Some of my fondest memories is time spent with her. Like when we’d be coming back late at night from a gig she’d played (she played in a Country-Western band), stop under a star-filled sky, and talk until dawn.
I’ve children and grandchildren and could acquire great grandchildren here real soon. I’ve threatened my grand kids with death if they do that to me anytime soon. I’m too young to be a Great Grandfather.
And I like to introduce myself as a Writer who moonlights as a Systems Administrator. I’ve been working in Information Technology for over twenty years now. People consider me an expert (definition of an Expert – Someone who knows nothing about everything…)
…in Virtualization, Information Security, and Disaster Recovery. I must know something about it. I also teach it.
If you had a superpower that could chance the world, what would it be?
It’s odd that one of your questions would be about having a superpower and using it to change the world. I think I discovered I had a superpower while I was a police officer. It was the ability to change lives, often times for the good. Granted, there are people I sent to prison. I thank God we have prisons to put some of those people in (some of them were a lot dangerous or crazy or whatever. Suffice it to say, they killed people and enjoyed it). But often times I was able to intervene in things and get people the help they needed to get them off the path that led to those places. I guess if the superpower had a name it would be called “caring.” I found myself being a mentor, a counselor, and an encourager. As I see it, I’d been placed in a unique position, and I’d be a fool not to try to help people out.
While I hung up my guns over twenty years ago, I still find myself helping people. As part of my church, I find myself working closely with veterans, gang members, and people life has beat up. And I suppose in some crazy way, that answers one of your questions about what love is. I know there’s the love I have for my wife, children, and grandchildren, but this is the kind of love Jesus has I suppose. The kind of love that tells someone that they’re important and not something to be feared or cast aside. I always remember that one of the miracles he performed was with a leper. A leper was someone who should never be touched. Before Jesus healed him, he touched him. He acknowledged that person as important. To me, that was a true miracle.
So, you don’t need to be able to fly, or have knives come out of your wrist to change the world. Sometimes you just need to stand up and try.
Thank you William for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
William R. Ablan is a graduate of Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado where he majored in Astronomy and Physics. Because of the tough job market, he spent the next twenty years in Law Enforcement where he’s worked as a Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff. He’s also held several important positions to include Undersheriff, Chief of Police, and Regional Emergency Manager for the San Luis Valley. He’s also an eight-year U.S. Army combat veteran where he served as a Military Policeman where he worked undercover narcotics and investigations. He’s been decorated several times for heroism and performance in both Law Enforcement and the Military.
He’s currently the author of “The Cross and the Badge.” His second book, “Dead Friends” will be released September 1, 2019. It’s what he calls, Autobiographical fiction in that the majority of the cases happened, but he’s taken some literary license with the facts to turn them into a work of fiction.
Will hung up his guns in the 90s, and has work in the Information Technology field since. He’s considered an expert in Network Security, Cloud Technologies, and Virtualization.
He resides in Greeley, Colorado with his wife Julie and works with veterans through his local church. He has children and grandchildren, and currently lives in dread of possibly becoming a great grandfather.