Storytelling has taken me to some unexpected places.
Most recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I’ll be doing some work with the FBI in the coming months, pertaining specifically to storytelling and communication, which afforded me the chance to visit the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, with my family and some friends a couple of weeks ago.
We were given a lengthy tour of the facility, which was incredibly interesting. We visited Hogan’s Alley, a mock town where agents learn how to safely and effectively navigate an unending series of dangerous and complex situations they may face while on duty. Every building – homes, apartments, a bank, and stores of every kind – looked real but was built to test the agent’s tactical planning and precision.
Oddly enough, amid all of these mock buildings is a functioning Subway restaurant.
We saw rifle ranges, where snipers learn to hit targets up to 2,000 yards away.
We saw a track where agents learn to drive cars, armored vehicles, and more under every possible situation.
We saw tactical vehicles of every kind, and Charlie had a chance to sit inside a helicopter being readied for flight. The pilot took the time to chat with him, and given Charlie’s love for aviation, he was able to correctly identify many of the controls of the helicopter.
But best of all, we learned about the history of the FBI and what life is like for an agent on any given day.
I came away from my visit with a profound respect for the men and women who choose to work for an organization whose mission is to save lives while putting their own at risk every day. These people work harder than most other human beings to train and prepare for any situation, and they often have little say – at least initially – over the job they are assigned or the location they are sent to.
As an American, I left the Academy feeling deeply grateful for the work these people have done and continue to do on behalf of our country and the American people.
Lately, politicians have chosen to attack the FBI and similar law enforcement institutions almost exclusively for personal and political gain. When politicians call for the defunding of the FBI because their allies are being investigated and prosecuted or question the dedication and bravery of its agents, or when they imply that the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 was anything less than a violent, brutal, and deadly assault on our most hallowed hall of government and the brave men and women charged with protecting it, they do not deserve to hold a leadership position ever again.
They are the living, breathing definition of un-American.
They disgust me.
I can’t wait to do my tiny part in helping these men and women do their job a teeny-tiny bit better.