I’m so honored to have Robert Rangel joining us today. Robert and I have been friends since he was a guest on the Deadly Reads Podcast, so I figured it was time to let him share with us here on my blog what makes him tick as an author, and what made him decide to enter the world of writing.
First, here’s a little background:
Robert resides in Los Angeles, California. He has lived an interesting life before becoming an author. He’s a retired Detective of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a retired bodyguard for Royal families from three different countries, and is currently a background investigator for police hires. As you can see, we will have lots of fun stuff to chat with Robert about.
Robert has written an important book that needs to be read by the public. The Red Dot Club is the first-hand account of Law Enforcement Officers who faced death at the hands of criminals and lived to tell their stories. Having read his book myself, I must say it provides a rollercoaster of emotions for the reader. With each word and knowing the stories are true as told by those who lived it, I found myself filled with a wide range of wrenching emotions. From tears to anger, The Red Dot Club is a MUST read to fully understand what our Law Enforcement Officers face every day they put on that badge, and that they are people just like you and me. They have families who pray every day they will come home after their shift. Unfortunately, some don’t, and others are forced to overcome life-changing injuries. Robert has written a book that takes you into the minds of those who have faced the unthinkable, and he did it in a way to pay respect for those who lived the nightmare of joining The Red Dot Club.
Hi Robert, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to drop by and allow us to get to know you better.
Thanks. It is my pleasure to share some of my experiences with you all.
You have quite an interesting resume. Would you mind sharing with us why you decided to go into Law Enforcement?
I started my own business as a young man when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 24 years old I was making great money. But I was bored. I wanted to be outside and I wanted to help people. I also wanted a pension and yearly paid vacations, and I wanted to do something exciting. Hmmm…I thought and thought and it hit me. I could be a gunslinger, a racecar driver and still help people all in one job… I could be a peace officer! When I was hired I took a 50% pay decrease to be a peace officer, but to me, it was worth it.
One of the things on your resume that I find interesting is your time as a Royal bodyguard. Would you share with us what that entails and why you decided to take on such a job?
Wow, what a loaded question! I worked for the Royal Family of Brunei, the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and the Royal Family of Malaysia. I had just retired as a peace officer as a result of numerous injuries. I had broken my knee, (a right tibial plateau fracture, you can look it up). I had and still have a bullet in my right humerous from a shootout. So…I was looking for something to do. They say that in life it’s not what you know but who you know. In this case, it’s true, as one of my ex-partners hooked me up with the Director of Security for the Royal Family of Brunei and the rest is history. My first book, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey details what working for that royal family is like. To paint a picture, if you will, of a very highly paid slave, but he is still a slave. A slave is someone who is expected to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thus, I was this man, a highly paid slave. I’ve actually had comments from several people that said they enjoyed reading this book more than The Red Dot Club but I disagree. However, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey is a fascinating and fun read full of twists and turns, backstabbing, power grabs, laughs, unbelievable scenarios, and it’s all true.
I’m sure most of us would like to know what The Red Dot Club is. Can you explain how you came up with that title and why?
When I was a patrol deputy, we, of course, handled every type of situation imaginable. Some of our calls were extremely HOT situations. When I say HOT, I mean dangerous. To give an example, in my first week on patrol we had six murders in my area. That is not counting the people who were shot, stabbed, or beaten who did not die. One of my partners and I would say either before or after handling those situations that we could have made the suspect a member of The Red Dot Club. This, of course, meant that we could have shot them. The red dot is the mark a bullet makes at its entry site. I never forgot the saying and I thought it was an appropriate title for my book about officers who were shot in the line of duty.
When you asked me to read your book, I must confess that I had no idea what I would find in those pages. Can you please tell us a little about what it was like to research and write The Red Dot Club?
I approached officers who were shot and asked them to be in my book. They were hesitant until they read the chapter detailing my own shooting. After that, they readily agreed to tell their story for the book. I think it is because they knew I understood what they went through. So many tears were shed in getting their stories and I am eternally thankful for their openness and bravery in sharing such an intimate event. It is an extremely private thing to share, sharing your feelings about a time when someone trying to kill you.
As a member of The Red Dot Club yourself, can you tell us how it affected you to write this book?
I am a pretty healthy guy. Writing this book almost killed me. I had stomachaches, I had headaches, I had sleepless nights and I could not eat. I found I had to sprint to write the book because I could not stay in the horror of the stories for too long. To write the book, and to tell these brave heroes stories, I had to live the shootings as I interviewed the officers, and then I had to live them again when I wrote them. I had to live their experience. I had to feel their horror, their loneliness, and their terror. It was an absolutely horrifying, terrifying and debilitating experience for me to have to do this over and over again. I still have nightmares.
I know the stories in this book are difficult to read. Can you tell us what you hoped this book would do to those who read it?
I wanted to bring awareness to the public of what and who cops are. I want the public to understand that the little video of an officer involved shooting is so much more than the five seconds of the shooting you see on your television screen. I want the press to understand that they do not understand what they are saying when they report on a shooting and give their opinion as to whether is was a good shooting or not. No one but the officer who went through getting shot understands what it is like to not know if you will live or die. The Red Dot Club tells it like it really is. No selective editing. The stories are in their purest and raw form.
Can you share with us what kind of response you’ve received from others in Law Enforcement pertaining to this book?
I have had overwhelming thanks from everyone for finally telling the truth. Some of the officers in the book have thanked me for telling their account because they could not tell it themselves.
After reading this book, I found myself wanting to hug our daughter and keep her safe. She is also a Law Enforcement officer. Can you tell us as family members the best way to help those who have faced the situations spoken of in your book?
Let them talk. Let them vent. I think it’s impossible to understand what it’s like to be forced to shoot someone else. We are peace officers for a large part because we view life as precious and we promise to protect it. Then sometimes to save a life we have to take a life. This is more difficult for most officers than people realize. Officers who shoot others probably think about the event almost every day…forever. I have no problem talking about my shootings. Other officers might. I think it’s good to talk about it in a safe environment. Encourage them to do so. And if they cuss while doing it, understand that there is a lot of anger about being forced to do the unthinkable. It is just coming out as a forceful voice. Don’t judge, let it be.
I understand that you are now working on the second book of this series. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The title is The Red Dot Club: Victim’s Voices. It’s a phenomenal book. Again, we have officers who fight for their lives in real life shootings, but I have included other officers who lived through horrifying on the job experiences. The point is that most officers are victims also.
When do you expect its release?
It’s done. I’m waiting to see if a major motion picture/television studio I met with is going to do a television series. If so, then I’ll release the book and market it with the, ‘Soon to be a television series’ slant to it.
Where do you see these books going in the future?
I think every American should read this book. One of my reviewers on Amazon said this and I agree. To quote, “Our society needs to read these stories and learn from these heroes that we civilians do not understand what we ask of those who volunteer to protect the rest of us. Democrat, or Republican, liberal or conservative, every citizen should read this book.”
I’m sure everyone would enjoy reading some short snippets from your book. Would you mind sharing a few with us?
Here are three excerpts:
“The pain in my stomach then hit me hard…I felt wetness on my stomach…I put my hand there and then pulled it away looking at my fingers. I was horrified. It should have been blood…It was a clear gooey fluid with flecks of red in it. Oh my God, what is that?”
“It’s just like I’m standing here talking to you…Fudge, I see the bullet leave the gun and fly at me. I could see the copper tip of the bullet with the muzzle flash of the gun behind it, and it was spinning straight toward me.”
“I was thinking I was going to die. I was thinking Puppet was going to die. I was scared and sad. It was going to happen. I was going to die.”
Okay, last question. What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
I would like to raise awareness by telling truths, the experiences that people live through. I would like to do this in a variety of areas and situations. Would it not be so cool to be able to understand others and what they have gone through?
I’d like to thank you for spending this time and allowing us to get to know you better. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
My books will make you laugh. They will make you cry, and rip your hearts out. They will be the unfiltered truth. If I ever fail to do this I will no longer write. God bless each and every one of you!
As you can see Robert is not only a talented author but is an all-around nice person. I hope you will not only check out his book, The Red Dot Club but also follow him on social media.