Former Police Officer and Afghan Vet Shares the Testimony That Saved His Marriage and Life

Chad Robichaux knows adversity --- and how to overcome it. In a powerful testimony, Robichaux shared his story in studio with Glenn on Thursday, recounting how he shot and killed a man as a police officer, returned from the War on Terror in Afghanistan with PTSD, but most importantly, brought his marriage and life back from the brink. As a way to help other vets, Robichaux and his wife began Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs to help other vets and families suffering from PTSD.

"Mercury One just gave a $25,000 donation yesterday to Mighty Oaks Foundation, and I want you to be involved. If you care about our servicemen and this issue, this is a great way to get involved," Glenn said.

Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs serves the brokenhearted by providing intensive peer-based discipleship through a series of programs, outpost meetings and speaking events.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: I want to introduce you to a new friend of the program. Met yesterday. And I've heard your story before. And I was so excited that you would come in today and talk to -- we -- we spoke yesterday about the Mighty Oaks Program, which is we have got to work together to find a way to save our servicemen because the rate of suicide is just off the charts. And the government is not doing much.

PAT: There's a 22 a day. Isn't that the statistic we hear?

GLENN: Twenty-two a day.

CHAD: That's the statistic right now. Kind of varying reports. But that's the kind of industry -- if it was an industry, the industry word is 22 a day.

PAT: Man.

GLENN: It's probably more than that.

CHAD: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: But it's really bad. And you were there.

CHAD: Yes.

GLENN: And can we start with you being a policeman and the day you shot a man?

CHAD: Yeah, yeah. I had already did four years in the Marine Corps. And I shifted from active duty to reserves. I was going to go back in as an officer. And so my college job was a police officer in New Orleans, and I had a wife and kid. And I was only a police officer for a short period of time, and I was involved in a shooting. I was a -- I'm not sure how you want to go into the story.

GLENN: Domestic abuse.

CHAD: But, yeah, it was a domestic violence call. And I got to the house. It was kind of the typical scenario where husband and wife were fighting. There was a large crowd of people, about 30 people outside of the house. And we had separated the wife. Got her into this crowd. People were holding her back.

And the man had barricaded himself into the house with a gun. My partner went to the window of the room that he was in, to make sure he didn't shoot out the window. And I stood in the main doorway.

And I could see catercorner across the room. There was a mirror. And so I could see him barricaded against the wall. And he had the chamber -- he was messing with the chamber of the gun. So I knew he was trying to load it or checking it to make sure it was loaded. So I was yelling at him, you know, not to come out. To put down his gun. First to talk.

And he said he was coming out, telling us to leave.

And when he came around the corner, he actually had a gun in a very weird way. He didn't have it like this. He had it over his shoulder. And I think he was maybe taunting me or seeing how far he could push it.

And I always say, if I was asked that morning, what I would have done in that scenario, I would have made a decision, clearly shoot the guy.

But I'm in this guy's house. His kids are outside. His wife is screaming. His toys are on the floor for his children. And family pictures.

I just felt like I could still control the situation. So, you know, I was yelling at him, you know, put down the gun, I'm going to kill you. Like, I wasn't talking to him like a policeman. I'm like, I'm going to kill you. And he's telling me to put down my gun. And I'm a little small guy. He was 6-3, 260 pounds. And I felt like I could disarm him. So I -- as I walked towards him, I grabbed the barrel of the gun and pushed it away from him. And I kicked him -- I kicked him right in the nuts.

(laughter)

STU: That's probably the right way.

CHAD: I thought I could pull the gun out of his hand. And the first time I kicked him, he just held the gun so tight. And the second time I kicked him, my gun came away, and he grabbed my hand.

So we're fighting for two guns now. And I realize that it really had escalated and I was going to have kill him and -- or shoot him. So I just broke, like his grip and came over and shot. Pow! And then I shot five more times. I shot six times total. Pow, pow, pow. My partner was -- my parter was -- he had shot -- I didn't even realize my partner came behind me, but he shot six times as well right over my shoulder.

PAT: Hmm.

CHAD: We hit him 11 out of 12 times. And as we hit him, he turned around, and he fell on his knees and he just -- he looked back, and he said, "You killed me."

And I just tackled him and pulled the gun out from under him and handcuffed him. And I think his wrist must have been in front of him because all of the shots hit center mass, but his wrist was blown out. So I got like blood like -- I was covered in blood. His wife was screaming. And --

PAT: Jeez.

GLENN: So you were cleared of any wrongdoing in that.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: But you went home that night. And the amazing part of this story -- and I got to try to condense this as much as I can. But you said your wife said to you -- just, you told her, I killed somebody. You were a wreck.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: And she just rolled over in bed and went back to sleep.

CHAD: At the time, I was just really angry about that. I mean, my wife very naive to that kind of world. And so I think that's what equipped her to -- my eight deployments to Afghanistan. And being a police officer because she just thought that's what policemen did every night, just went to work and got in gunfights. And so she went back to sleep. And I was very angry at her for many years. I felt like very -- I couldn't talk to her about those types of things. And eventually in Afghanistan, I just really didn't talk much about --

GLENN: You left the police force. You went back. You became Special Forces.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: And one thing that I've heard you say is that there's real darkness over there and real bad guys over there. And you felt yourself becoming one of the bad guys.

CHAD: Yeah, yeah. You know, when you go to a place like Afghanistan, you think you go with some patriotic sense of duty. I wanted to go after 9/11. But then you realize beyond America what the Afghan people endured from the Taliban people. The things that happened to these children. You start to learn about the culture and what had happened there. I lived in the community. And so it really just grabbed a hold of my heart in a bad way, where I just filled myself with anger and rage towards these people. And so really, it kind of -- you feel like you're going there to fight these evil people, and you kind of become that as well.

GLENN: You come home, you have all kinds of PTSD.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: You don't deal with it. You start to in a way protect your family by being a beast and pushing them away.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: At one point it's your daughter's birthday.

CHAD: Yeah. My -- I was just -- my home became a very like unhappy place or unsafe place for my children. I was like time bomb, angry, at the drop of a hat. One time I came home from Afghanistan, my daughter was just so excited I was going to be there for her birthday. But she's very opinionated and had a cake. And the icing was not the icing she wanted, and she said -- you know, she voiced that out. And I just got so enraged. I would lose control. And I grabbed her cake in front of all of her little friends and threw it against the wall and just destroyed my little girl's birthday. And that behavior was like very common. And I knew it was wrong, but I just felt like I had no control over it at that time.

GLENN: So I can imagine how this dog piles on you. And, you know, men know when they're -- everybody knows -- you know when you're wrong and out of control. And then it just starts to, "I'm a bad person." And you just spiraled out of control.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: How did you get out of the nose dive?

CHAD: Well, it was -- it wasn't until, unfortunately for me, rock bottom. I walked out of my marriage. We sold our home. We lived in two separate apartments, and I became one of those statistics that we talked about, the 22 a day. I decided I was going to take my life. And not because I wanted to escape my pain. Because I recognized I was the problem.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

CHAD: And so I thought my family would be better off -- maybe they'll be sad, but they'll be better off.

And I had decided I was going to take my life. And during this time of contemplating how I was going to do it -- I wanted to make it look like an accident -- my wife came to me --

GLENN: You sat in the closet for every day, trying to convince yourself.

CHAD: Yeah, for about two weeks. About two weeks.

I had heard a statistic that one in three children from a parent that commits suicide will as well. I didn't know where I heard that from. But I kept thinking of that.

My boys, you know, I've wrestled and did martial arts my whole life. My boys really followed me in that. So I knew they looked up to me, and I didn't want to leave that pattern in my family. So I was contemplating how I could make it look like an accident.

GLENN: An accident.

CHAD: And that's when my wife came to my apartment, and she asked me that question, the reason I'm sitting here in this chair. She asked me how I could be as successful as I was, as an athlete, as a (inaudible) marine. And she had seen the training I had done. We had been married for a long time. Seen all the workups to go to overseas and knowing the job I did.

She's like, "How could you do all of that, and when it comes to your family, you'll quit?" And that question for me, just -- it was like that time in my life just radically impacted me and challenged me. And, you know, she was right.

I quit on the most important things in my life. My role as a husband, my role as a father. That 17-year-old kid that raised his hand and said he wanted to do something important with his life, I quit on all the things that are the most important, including my health. And I made a decision that day that I was going to turn around and fight with the same work ethic and tenacity for the most important things in my life.

GLENN: Because you were not only a police officer, Special Forces, you were an MMA fighter. I mean, you have been at the top of the game on everything you do.

CHAD: I had 18 and 2 professional record. So I did really well. And so the whole time you imagine my wife is and my family is observing me being successful in the professional things, which I think many men are. And when it comes to the most important things, we don't put in the same effort.

GLENN: I know I've blown it for most of my life until really the last 15 years.

CHAD: Yeah.

GLENN: You know, we just don't see it until sometimes it's too late.

PAT: So did you save your family? You got it back together?

CHAD: Yes. We -- really -- I didn't know how to do it. I just knew I was going to. And so I was able to -- I had a lot of people following me because I was in MMA at the time. So I had 1,000 students. But I didn't have people that were holding me accountable to things. I had a lot of people enabling me. So I was able to align with this guy named Steve Tothe (phonetic), who became a mentor to me. And he really mentored me in a Biblical model of living. Manhood.

And at the end of that, I really -- like, I felt like I found -- like I was dying of Stage 4 terminal cancer and found the cure. Like I had to share it. And that's why I do it. I do it today.

I mean, I had went from having panic attacks still at night. Anger, anxiety, things that I felt were uncontrollable, to becoming back in control of my life by the choices I made every day.

It was really a realization of that, that regardless of what happened to me, whether it was heroic or destructive or a sad story, those things didn't put me in a situation I was in. The choices I was making was. And so when I realized that and realized I had control of my life, still, I was able to make different choices moving forward.

GLENN: Mercury One just gave a $25,000 donation yesterday to Mighty Oaks Foundation. And I want you to be involved. If you care about our servicemen and this issue, this is a great way to get involved.

CHAD: Yeah, Mighty Oaks wasn't an idea that started as a non-profit. It was me wanting to pay for it with the challenge my wife gave me, the second chance God gave me, and the mentorship Steve gave me. I felt like I had found the solution and I had an obligation to share it.

And so today, it's grown into this very large organization that runs -- we're running 30 programs a year. And those programs are -- is a week-long intensive to take guys through the same transitional process I went through and then equip them to pass it on to someone else. So it's taking a leader who fell on his face and raising him back town a leader again and a warrior again.

GLENN: How much of the 12-step program have you used? Or have you looked at any of the 12-step program?

CHAD: Yeah, we have. I would say some components of it are put into our methodology. But our methodology is simply contrast your life to the life you were created to live. Coming to the point to where you accept responsibility, that regardless of what happened to you, you're responsible for moving forward, the choices you make. And then coming alongside guys that could hold you accountable to that. All of our instructors are combat vets. So it's non-clinical. So they're able to share their story of what worked for them. And whether a psychologist is more qualified than one of our instructors is irrelevant because the combat veteran typically will only listen to someone that's been there before them. So the power of testimony.

GLENN: What's the website? Mighty --

CHAD: The website is MightyOaksPrograms.org.

GLENN: MightyOaksPrograms.org. Can't recommend it highly enough. If you care about making a difference and helping these guys who so desperately need our help, this is the way for you to get involved.

CHAD: And the US military sends guys to us on active duty orders, which we fund. So no veteran, no active duty military pays to come.

GLENN: And what is it? Like $2500 a person.

CHAD: So it's underwritten because we have so much great support. So $1,000 in scholarship, one guy into the program.

GLENN: That's amazing. So you want to change one guy's life, it's $1,000.

CHAD: Yes.

GLENN: And it really does change lives.

CHAD: I try.

GLENN: Thank you, Jeff. Appreciate it.

CHAD: Thank you so much, Glenn. Thank you guys. God bless you guys.

STU: Thank you.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.

The social power of 'Reddit' is helping teens of anti-vaxxers get vaccinated

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Reddit certainly earns its motto as "the front page of the internet," with roughly 540 million visitors monthly, the third most-visited website in the U.S., sixth worldwide. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Reddit is a largely anonymous platform. People's faces are masked, their names are disguised. Which makes their hidden humanity all the more impactful.

On Reddit, both news and serious information are threaded in among gifs of cats and posts about Call of Duty, but that doesn't make it any less important. For many people, Reddit signifies the town hall where news is passed along or stomped into obscurity.

It gives you a healthy read of our society as a whole.

RELATED: Forget Rabies, 'Woke' Hipsters in Brooklyn Skipping Vaccines to Prevent 'Dogtism'

A recent Pew Poll found that Reddit leans left politically at a rate higher than the general public. Most users are young men, whose extensive internet use gives them a gatekeeping authority over what information should be considered important. From there, it spreads through the rest of the internet and helps shape public opinion.

So, it makes a lot of sense that Reddit has become a sort of makeshift safe place for children who grew up with parents who refused to give them vaccinations. Of course, Reddit also vehemently mocks the anti-vaccination folks, for better or for worse, often the latter, but that's a subject for another day.

The Daily Dot recently published an article on this strange intersection of ideology and nerd culture. "Desperate teens of anti-vaxxers are turning to Reddit for vaccination advice."

The article follows Ethan, whose parents are staunchly against vaccinations:

But Ethan is not his parents. When he turned 18, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He wasn't sure where else to begin, so he turned to Reddit.

Where do I go to get vaccinated? Can I get vaccinated at my age?" Ethan asked his fellow redditors in December. Ethan's post flooded with over 1,000 comments from users offering their encouragement and support, along with practical advice. "Good on you for getting your vaccinations," one user responded. "It's never too late and you're not only protecting yourself but those around you who truly can't get vaccinated.

Ethan told the Daily Dot that some redditors even offered to give him money via GoFundMe or PayPal if insurance didn't cover the shots. "People were really supportive, and that was really cool," he said. "I had the blessing of Reddit. They were supporting me on a decision my mom freaked out about." Ethan is not alone. "More and more teens are turning to places like Reddit to seek out information on where and how to get vaccinated, and if it's too late."

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful. Proof that, in an increasingly caustic world, people can turn to one another in times of need.

Whatever your opinion on vaccinations, there's a positive message to all of this. A human message. Hopeful.

Now more than ever, that is crucial.

Given the social power of Reddit, it is often characterized as a tool for politicians or political movements. Throughout the forum, various political ideologies gather and organize like factions in some ideological war. A political thread on Reddit is like a Facebook comment section at its most hostile, arrogant or confident, but with no identities attached to the attacks, rants or opinions. When you find yourself riled into a debate, it's easy to wonder who's behind the replies, especially the more vicious ones.

People often characterize it as a hive-mind message board full of circlejerk memes and jokes about SpongeBob. This description isn't entirely wrong, but it is shallow and incomplete. At its core, Reddit is humane. Its users, for the most part, are compassionate. If it were an experiment on human nature, the results would be gratifying.