September 1991 – Michael’s Observations

By the time you read this, the Southern California Tactical Combat Program will have suffered a great loss. Sat Guru Singh Khalsa has quit his job teaching in Culver City High School and moved to New Mexico, to work for a security company. I understand his reasons, and I know that each of us must chart our path as best we see it. It is something he feels he must do, and I truly hope he finds happiness and contentment in his new surroundings, and that he achieves more recognition than the school administration ever gave him for the good job he was doing.

However, I do not have to like the fact he is moving. He has been a good and loyal friend to me, and a solid supporter and worker for the SCTC program over the years. Just as R.J. Dohrman did the work of three men in the 1970s for the old Equalizers (the core group of the SCTC program) Sat Guru Singh has carried on high that “work ethic” banner in the 1980s for the Southern California Tactical Combat Program.

We have a lot of good people, but there are demands on their time (work, family, other interests) that make it difficult for them to share the load of running the program. Sometimes it is difficult for them just to attend an event. Very seldom has Sat Guru Singh ever even missed an event, or not been able to help someone in putting on an event, or taking an event to fill in the schedule when others were tied up. If there was work to do, Sat Guru Singh usually was the one to volunteer first. He has taken up enough slack to keep me from burning out over the last couple of years — I don’t know how well I will get along without him.

Perhaps I will miss him a lot more than most because he was a big part of my extended family (Sat Guru Singh, R.J. Dohrman, and me and my wife Joyce, all lived in the same building) and all of us looked out for each other, which gave us all a sense of security and well-being. We went out to eat together, we cleaned rifles together, we talked often, traded and swapped things, played a lot of Monopoly together and, of much more critical importance, he was my wife’s Yoga teacher, which has helped her very much since the onset of her ill health — which, in turn, has helped me very much.

People have come and gone in our program over the years. To some (like the Craig Giffords of the world) it was good-bye and good riddance. But others have left a void that isn’t easy to fill. Chuck has gone, and is getting on with his life. Terence has bought a house in Illinois, and will be returning on shooting weekends, at least for the next year, although his days with us in the SCTC program are probably numbered as well.

I know that I take the loss of the companionship of my personal friends harder than most, but I have always felt that good friends were my most precious asset. I hate to have them removed for any reason. As I said, I wish my friends all the best, but I don’t have to like the fact that they are leaving and that my contact is reduced to phone calls or an occasional visit. It is hard to keep in touch, once someone moves away. If Chuck didn’t come down to the Gun Show every six months, I wouldn’t see him very much anymore.

I just returned from a two-day trip to the Monterey area to see Guru Bir Singh and his wife, whom I haven’t taken the time to visit much (only two overnight stopovers in the last seven or eight years) since he moved to that area. He runs a document service (a free plug; call me if you need his number) and is doing “living trusts” now, and my step-dad and I are having him do one for us (since I always feel much better dealing with friends) so we can avoid probate and that I, rather than the greedy state, or courts, or lawyers, will inherit his worldly goods intact instead of giving a cut to those guys, who don’t deserve it anyhow. So, I was able to manage a visit with a old friend, and a small two-day vacation for Joyce, all in the same trip.

Anyway, it will be a sad day for the Harries household when we see Sat Guru Singh drive off into the sunset. We counted on him for much, and he always delivered for us. I guess I’m writing this piece basically out of the fear that I didn’t tell Sat Guru Singh how much that my wife and I appreciate him, and just how much his friendship means to us. We love you, Brother, for all you have given to us.

Respect… I guess we all look for it in one way or another, or in some form we understand. Sat Guru Singh has come a long way since he first showed up at our pistol events with his 9mm Smith & Wesson Model 39, that wouldn’t knock down steel pigs. In spite of the fact he is “chubby” (I resemble that remark as well — we are both members of the “Thundering Herd”) he runs as much as he can, and he hits the deck and crawls while others fear getting their clothes dirty. He takes every event tactically, and has really developed his warrior skills in the years I have known him.

For my money’s worth, I respect Sat Guru Singh as a warrior and a healer, and he is one of the few people I would want on my side in a real fight, or to go into Hell to kill the Devil with, when I get that contract. If he ever has serious trouble to deal with, he can call me and I will come with the proper weapons… and some Irish whiskey to pour on the graves of his enemies.

Semper Fi, Brother.