April 27, 2007


(Update: 04/28/07 08:45 MDT fixed some hyperlinks)

There are a few tunes with the title "Hero" or some variant. Bonnie Tyler has one called "Holding out for a hero" (vid here). where she laments not having any exceptional men in her life but noting that nothing less will do. There's Mariah Carey's "Hero" (live vid here) which tells us that there's heroic potential within each of us. I have to make mention of a song by Rin featuring Lisa Loeb called "Anti-hero" (vid here). It's a cute tune about doing the right thing even though it gets you no recognition (or even acceptance). I've always found Loeb's voice enchanting, so much so that once I briefly dated a lady in no small part because she looked & sounded like Loeb. But I've always thought she was a bit under-rated in the music world. & I must not neglect Knopfler's "Local Hero" (live vid here). I'm not sure if the piece is entitled "Wild Theme" or "Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero" (I've seen it labeled both ways) as it's from the soundtrack of the movie Local Hero & it's been ages since I've seen it. In any case it's an instrumental & that's just as well. I'm not sure lyrics could convey things with any more clarity than Knopfler's playing does. For the helluvit here's the studio vid for the tune.

But perhaps the most recent & appropriate tune is the one from Chad Kroeger (of Nickelback) called "Hero". Here's a vid set to clips from Spiderman 2. But one of the best vids set to clips from a movie I've seen is the following - "Hero" set to scenes from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Any vid that starts off with the forging of a sword is a'ight by me. Plus the pseudo word painting (would that be video painting?) involved with the scenes of Gandalf riding the Eagles as the lyrics mention Eagles seemed too well synched to not appreciate.

Merriam-Webster defines hero thusly:

"1 a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage."

Courage is defined by Merriam-Webster as

”…:mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”

I always viewed it in a slightly more simple context: courage (&/or bravery) is merely acting not in the absence of, but in spite of fear (or what should be a fearful situation). Thus being a hero is acting in spite of fear & despite grave personal risk. This could cover a multitude of things, from wearing a new too-trendy outfit to giving a public speech while suffering form severe stage fright, but while in a sense both of those require a kind of courage I tend to limit the use of the word to situations where a mortal or equivalently permanent risk is involved. For example when speaking up would cost you a source of income that you desperately need or perhaps it could even cost you your life. That requires courage, but it does not quite a hero make.

In my estimation the threat of immediate grave harm to one’s person is a necessary component of heroism. While ‘speaking truth to the power” is not without risk it’s not in quite the same league of timely risk as charging a machine gun nest.

But there’s another component in my estimation of heroism – accomplishing some good for another. If someone charges into a burning building to save their record collection (those were those wide things like compact discs but not compact) it’s not very heroic. But if they do so to save a stranger’s kid then it qualifies as heroic. It would not matter if they emerged unscathed or died in the process, or even if they accomplished their goal; it’s the attempted act despite personal fear & mortal danger that earns the title, not the outcome of the efforts.

So if you’ll keep in mind my meaning of the words as I try to delve into my point, I’m hoping you’ll see the same problems & solutions that I think I do.

Kim du Toit has a post entitled No More Heroes where he laments the rarity of such individuals being noted by society. His ire is focused mainly (but not exclusively) on the press & its standards for a noteworthy subject, but I think the problem is not that the press chooses to ignore heroes (though I won’t argue that it does so too often to dismiss as coincidence) but that the press, as well as many in our society, are simple ignorant of a hero when they see one.

Pajamas Media has a post on Professor Liviu Librescu called A Hero is Laid to Rest. From that post I offer you this excerpt:

"Speaking at the funeral, Librescu’s son mused what his father, the world-renowned aeronautical engineer, would think of the scene. 'Dad, I think that at this moment you’re probably looking down on us from above and saying, ‘what’s the fuss all about? I only did what I had to do.’ From our childhood, you taught us to care for people, to work hard to succeed. But you never taught us to be heroes. That was more theoretical a lesson than aerodynamics,' he said. Then he added: 'The course in aerodynamics are over. On April 16th, you started a new career, teaching a new subject - heroism.”

Heroism is not something that can be taught by chart & graph. It cannot be quantified by dry statistics or recitations of dogmatic thought alone. It is no wonder that it is not easily recognized by those without the educational basis for becoming heroes themselves.

Professor Librescu placed his body against a door to stop a murdering punk armed with 2 pistols. The professor was defenseless. Or so most folks would believe. But he acted, presumably knowing full well the certainty of his demise at the hands of the punk he was trying to oppose – or stall.

According to the Wikipedia page on Prof. Librescu was a boy during the Holocaust & survived the concentration camp at Transnistria. After WW2 he was a scientist in Communist Romania. His refusal to joint the Communist Party resulted in his persecution by the state. It took direct intervention by the Israeli Prime Minister to convince Romania to let Librescu & his family leave.

Librescu was shot 5 times while holding the door to keep the murdering punk from harming his students as they escaped through windows. All but one of his students survived.

Mark Steyn penned a column entitled A Culture of Passivity: "Protecting" our "children" at Virginia Tech which included the following:

”It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act.

But that is precisely the point. The students (”children” according to some news articles) of Virginia Tech had not had the education that Prof. Librescu had. I’m not speaking of degrees, but of the very basic education that most folks had in some form or another until we became “civilized”.

Prof. Librescu saw Antonescu, the SS, The Romanian Communist Party & the Securitate in action. So of course when he saw the murdering punk coming down the hallway he knew what he was facing; it was not something he hadn’t seen before. He knew that appeasement was not a viable option & that fleeing would not slow down, let alone stop the monster in human form approaching his students. Action was necessary to protect what he valued, even if that action would cause his own death. Perhaps he had heard some of the old axioms that speak to this situation & took them to heart. ”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” was probably in his subconscious if not conscious mind at the end. But he came from a time when evil was not just defined as a sign of intellectual barbarism in academic thought; it was tangible & came in human form & could not be reasoned with, only fought against.

This yahoo new story says that the murdering punk at Virginia Tech shot his victims over 100 times. It goes on:

"Those victims apparently did not fight back against Cho's ambush. Massello said he did not recall any injuries suggesting a struggle. Many victims had defensive wounds, indicating they tried to shield themselves from Cho's gunfire, he said.
Massello said Cho hit many of his victims several times."
(emphasis mine)

His students (the ”children” to some) did not have Prof. Librescu’s insight. They didn’t know what they were facing or how to face it. I don’t think it was so much a lack of personal courage that caused 20+ year old males to flee out a window while an elderly man took on a murderer empty handed, but rather a conditioning (or lack of conditioning) that taught them to not even contemplate such situations, let alone what actions to take should they occur. If no one teaches you that’s it’s a good thing to be brave, then chances are you’ll never bother with learning on your own. Since no one seems to have taught them that bravery & heroism were virtues it’s also plausible that they had no idea why they should act in such a manner, let alone how to go about doing so.

But those who would do harm to others unjustifiably are not hindered in their education by the kindness & gentleness of the age. Mark Stein, in his article Let's Be Realistic About Reality relays the following story:

"I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world."

Those with harmful intent learn, either from experience or from others with harmful intent. Most learn something that many have seemed to forget in our rush to be civilized & cultured; something the late Col. Copper tried to tell us back in 1979:

An unarmed man can only free from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.".

What is so astounding about this lesson in its most basic form is that it’s damned near instinctive. Fight-or-Flight is a biologically routed response to external dangers in most animals. While some will try to hide (through camouflage or being extremely still) most either run or fight when faced with an imminent threat. But in a classroom with only a window 10+ feet from the ground the response in most instances I’ve read about was to either jump or hide behind their desks. In one case they relied on a septuagenarian to give them enough time to jump out of the window!

They were simply never taught that bravery &/or heroism were in some instances more important than their own lives. Or rather, they were taught that heroism was not a virtue but remaining alive was. Not through formal instruction, but through what had been implied & whispered & hinted at for all of their lives, through the MSM, the government, the schools & most other avenues of non-scholarly education.

In this article about a pizza store owner shooting a robber (h/t Bitter) we see an example of this immoral lesson being expressed by an agent of the state (or in this case city):

”The pizza owner might have had a parade down Market Street in San Francisco. Instead, he’s scared. He won’t even say he’s glad he defended his family, and the cops are saying things like this from Officer Roland Holmgren, who said, ‘Who knows where the suspects were going to take the situation? But by no stretch of the imagination are we agreeing with or justifying what the owner did.’
The owner defended himself and his family against a gun-wielding thug. The thug was shot dead. This is the way things should work.
Instead we have an Oakland cop actually saying he wants the citizens he is supposed to protect let themselves be victimized rather than defend themselves. Holmgren said: ‘We’re not saying that we want citizens to go out there and arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. We want citizens to be good witnesses, to be good report-takers and to identify suspects.”
(emphasis mine)

I’m sure you’ve seen many examples of this over the years, from the “be a good witness” mantra to “passive compliance” policies in companies & even on our own airlines (the latter until just a few years back). The nation (& world for that matter) has been saturated with the flawed notion that “violence never solves anything” & passive compliance or reasoning or appeasement is the best way to defuse a volatile situation. Violence of any kind is seen as being bad, therefore it is shunned & even examples of the just use of violence (such as the pizza shop owner mentioned above) are vilified & occasionally slandered for their actions even though those very actions at times are part of the basis for a healthy & functioning society of free peoples.

Mark Steyn wrote about the response of the foreign press to the 82 year old former Miss America who stopped a thief with a firearm:

"Even a reflexively hostile foreign journalist can recognize in 'the plucky 82-year-old' a tribute to the human spirit. Why wouldn't you 'celebrate' such a story? Mr Massie talks about 'America's schizophrenia towards gun control', but the schizophrenia here is mostly his."

If you read Steyn’s article & the article he speaks of you’ll see how backward the thinking is in a modern ”civilized” society when protective violence is mentioned.

From the Castle Argghhh! there are some relevant thoughts:

"A bunch of my younger sons basketball friends were over the house last night and I asked them what they thought of the VT situation.
They all are college basketball players so they are aggressive JOCKS with NO military training however they all asked the same questions.
Why didn't the students at VT try to charge the crazy shooter once he had them trapped in the classroom?
They couldn't run anywhere and he couldn't shoot them all at once and they should have rushed him to get to him and try to disarm him rather than try to hide behind 'wooden' desk to stop the bullets. They all said they would rather die trying to fight than hiding behind desks."


"We became so concerned with over-aggressiveness and misuse of violence that we did something down right Shakespearian tragic in being so absolutist in condemnation. I really think we have collectively moved, whether from ignorance or wishful thinking, stupidly by simply declaring there being no place for violence or weapons in society. We took what looked to be an easy road, based more on hope than reason it would seem, in saying that violence and aggression has no place rather than doing the hard, hard work of teaching ourselves and our children the proper contexts for it."

The “lesson” has not been universally embraced, as evidenced by the basketball teams’ inability to understand why an ambush wasn’t undertaken by the students. But it’s been accepted enough that it has influenced our society in a most negative fashion.

In an article entitled American Psycho an excuse for the inaction of the victims is offered:

"Camille Paglia, professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and author of Sexual Personae..." said, "When someone opens the door of a classroom and begins firing with a semi-automatic weapon, there is no fighting back possible...All of this happened too fast for the young men or young women to rush the shooter and bring him down.”

But before you give her thoughts too much credence examine what she says afterwards about firearms:

"Paglia is a defender of the constitutional right to bear arms in America. She is troubled, however, by the ease with which Cho bought his weapons. 'The problem is not hunting guns but these semi-automatic weapons. He could not have cut down that many people so quickly or with such brutal efficiency without them. They have no use except for commandos, swat teams and paramilitary organisations.'

'This is part of the plague that has come with the drug culture in the inner cities,' she says. 'Cho’s use of semi-automatic weapons can ultimately be traced back to gangsta rap. It is a fabrication of urban life which is sold to teenagers trapped in the utterly sterile shopping-mall culture of the American suburbs.'

'Throughout most of human history men have been armed, but with swords not guns,' Paglia observes. As the weapons grow more deadly, even a solitary 'boy' can commit the worst massacre in American history. This is the 19th such scenario in the past decade. Unfortunately it is unlikely to be the last."

That misunderstanding about firearms & their capabilities is part of the problem. I would also submit that since swords have a 2,000 year jump on firearms that sword wielders are likely responsible for more deaths than firearms users have been & it will take some time to eclipse that record.

A college basketball team, roughly the same age range as the students at Virginia Tech, realized that while not an ideal situation they would not have been utterly helpless. It is possible that Paglia confused the dreaded & often mystified machine gun with semi-automatic weapons but in either case rushing the shooter en masse was a viable way to overtake him while being at no more risk than hiding behind their desks or jumping out of a window.

Big Lizards has a post called "Fighting Back Was Not an Option" - Correction about the British sailors who were captured by Iranians without a shot fired. It is argued that the reaction of the British sailors to the aggressive behavior of the Iranians is an anomaly in Western history. Historically it may very well be rare, but it seems to be increasingly common in the western world & it’s seemingly supported by the “violence is bad” doctrine we seem to have embraced over the last few decades.

The article used as a source in the Big Lizards post is this one from FoxNews.com:

"From the outset, it was very apparent that fighting back was not an option,’ Marine Captain Chris Air said of their capture in the Gulf on March 23.”


”Air said the crew faced an aggressive Iranian crew. ‘They rammed our boats, and trained their heavy machine guns, RPGs, and weapons on us. We realized that had we resisted there would have been a major fight, one we could not have won and with consequences major strategic impacts,’ Air said ‘We made a conscious decision not to engage the Iranians and do as they asked.’ The lone female captive, Faye Turney, was isolated in a cell away from the rest of the group. ‘She was under the impression for about four days that she was the only one there,’ Air said. ‘She coped admirably and has maintained a lot of dignity." (emphasis mine)

The culture I grew up in as well as the time would have made those last sentences an impossibility. Call it chauvinistic if you wish but the only way a woman would have been captured by a hostile force (foreign or domestic) would be to outfight every man in the surrounding area. By “outfight” I don’t mean look menacing while charging a belt fed machine gun, I mean by killing or otherwise incapacitating us.

I’m reminded of Chesty Puller:

Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldier will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!

I cannot help but think he’d be ashamed of the British sailors, as all Brits should be, but continuing from the FoxNews.com article it seems the opposite reaction is prevalent:

”While much of the country rallied behind the crew's return, others criticized them for offering apologies where none was required — namely for appearing in videos in which they admitted and offered regrets for entering Iranian waters.
But the head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that the crew had ‘acted with considerable dignity and a lot of courage. They appear to have played it by the rules, they don't appear to have put themselves into danger, others into danger, they don't appear to have given anything away,’ he said. ‘I think, in the end, they were a credit to us."
(emphasis mine; link omitted from original)

Courage? How much intestinal fortitude exactly does it take to surrender before a shot is even fired? From all I’ve read on the incident “courage” is not a way I’d choose to describe the actions of the British sailors. But if it is seen as such by the British military then the problem is compounded because of a misunderstanding of the word.

On the same incident & its implications Dean Barnett has a post called What ever happened to "Let's Roll". From that piece:

What a strange and dismal trip it has been for the Western world, going from ‘Let’s Roll’ to ‘Fighting Back Was Not An Option’ in scarcely more than five years. One can only hope that when the history of our era is written, the former will turn out to be the immortal quote, not the latter.”


“…I hope my response would be nothing like that of the British seamen. And I’d like to think my life experience has helped me arrive at this worldview. A half-decade of serious illness has forced me to accustom myself to looking death squarely in the eye on an ongoing basis. At some point, you come to a realization that death is inevitable. And you also come to appreciate that there are things worse than death. Just as there are things worth living for, there are things worth dying for. One’s own honor and especially the honor of one’s country must be among those things if you don the uniform of your country’s military.”

Barnett comes from a different generation with a different perspective on these matters than is being pushed upon the young men & women of today. In fact I would suppose that everyone under 30 who grew up within a 45 minute drive of a medium or large city has been taught that such virtues are archaic or unworthy of serious consideration by a civilized person.

Big Lizards has another post called Fighting Back was Not An Option Part 2. From that piece:

"...When a soldier, by inaction, renders himself helpless, we call it cowardice; but civilians do not seem to be under the same duty as a member of the military, one who has voluntarily assumed responsibility for protecting and preserving his society.
Surely, however, adult civilians are not completely bereft of any such responsibility; in fact, assuming personal responsibility for the lives and freedoms of others is, by my reckoning, exactly what separates the child from the adult. When a boy or a girl freely accepts that he has a certain duty towards his fellows, even when nobody will ever know whether he fulfilled it or not, that is when boy becomes man and girl becomes woman.
The epiphany is usually a series of small revelations that mount up over time, but it can also strike like the fangs of a diamondback in the dark night of the soul. Either way, dawn can begin at any age past puberty and can take a number of years, or a few short days... or else a lifetime can pass without the change completing.
The epiphany is this: Each one of us is a foot soldier for civilization; when evil threatens, we must do our utmost to thwart it."
(emphasis in original)

That epiphany is not being fostered. In fact it’s in the opposite direction of the non-violence/passivity doctrine that’s been the preferred dogma among those who value the collective over the individual.

Funny isn’t it? Those of us who value the individual as the most important part of society are the ones who treat as a virtue the choice to sacrifice one’s own life for the sake of others, while those that value the collective seem to espouse passive compliance & shun bravery & heroism in order to spare one’s own life. Again it’s not a lack of courage, but a lack of understanding not only why courageous & even heroic action is sometimes necessary, but that it’s even possible.

Dean Barnett wonders (in another post) if "fighting back was not an option" will be enshrined on the tombstone of the western world.. It is very possible as it seems to be the source of a very significant problem with our culture. Not so much the words themselves, but the attitudes that make the words seem less than disgusting in their context.

The Swiss, whose militia system has been in place for several hundred years, are considering banning the storage of firearms in the home. (h/t Kim du Toit). They'll decide in May of '07 if they'll have an initiative on the subject, with one politician saying that she'd be happy with banning ammo in the home as a "first step in the right direction". There is some disagreement:

"But the head of Switzerland's armed forces, Christophe Keckeis, told the SonntagsBlick newspaper: "A soldier without his weapon is not a soldier."
Defence Minister Samuel Schmid argues that Switzerland's militia army needs to be able to mobilise rapidly."

Another article goes deeper into the source of the calls for disarmament:

"Zurich's Tages-Anzeiger newspaper says the ballot box challenge mounted by pacifists and the centre-left is a way out of an obvious impasse in a parliament.
Arms fetishists
'Arms fetishists dominate parliament. Their decision had to be expected in a country which celebrates its readiness to fight off an outside threat by letting citizens keep their automatic rifles and pistols at home,' the paper said.
Der Bund from Bern says understanding for Switzerland's gun tradition is dwindling in society, particularly among women."
(emphasis in original)

The Swiss Armed Forces as they exists today can trace their beginnings to the cantonal forces of the Old Swiss Confederacy which began in 1291. Riflery is still an openly popular sport in Switzerland & even encouraged by the government. With a population of roughly 7 million people there are estimated to be between 1.5 million & 3 million firearms in private hands. I’ve seen 300 tossed around as the number of firearm related deaths per year in Switzerland & most of those are attributed to suicides & domestic disputes. Switzerland has perhaps the most liberal gun laws of any developed country outside the u.S. but as seen by the articles quoted above some are not happy with that. The availability of firearms is seen as being an availability of violence & violence as we all have been taught is always a bad thing. So for the sake of ridding the potential for violence some in Switzerland wish to rid homes of firearms despite any national security risks this may impose (the Swiss Armed Forces as much as the policy of Swiss Neutrality is argued to have kept the country from being invaded during numerous wars in Europe for the last few centuries). While I always thought the halberd was an interesting & effective weapon in its day, I’d hate to see the Swiss having to raid their museums to put them into front line service again as the British did during WW2 when they feared an invasion.

But that is the direction they (& we) are heading since violence for any reason is seen as something regrettable at best.

All is not lost however.USC students tackled a person waving a gun around at a party (h/t Of Arms & the Law):

"Students wrested a gun away from a University of Southern California student who had been asked to leave an off-campus party after threatening a young woman, police said Tuesday."

In California of all places students realized resistance to an armed person was not futile.

In 1940 & 1941 England was very concerned about an invasion by Nazi Germany. But because of recent losses of equipment & arms at Dunkirk they were woefully ill prepared to fend off an attacker. Never the less they were determined to resist despite being inadequately armed. Two sentences strike me from that period & both can be found in the “Other Defensive Measures” section on the Wikipedia page about British anti-invasion measures during ww2. The first was in a publication by the Ministry of Information informing the citizenry of what was expected of it should an invasion come.


The second was from Churchill himself.

”He also later recorded how he intended to use the slogan ‘You can always take one with you.”

That attitude of resistance at all costs marks a time different from the one we live in now, when things ethereal were sometimes valued more than things material. I won’t glamorize previous generations as it was not a universal mindset & just a few years prior Churchill’s predecessor had thought he gained through appeasement of a tyrant “peace in [his] time”. But it seems to me the exceptions to the passivity that appears to be a pervasive if not prevalent feature of our society are fewer than would seem healthy. When armed resistance is undertaken it is viewed as neutral at best & decried as barbarism at worst. At the same time when confronted with violence those who are unarmed & ill prepared are viewed as heroes for their suffering (often posthumously).

I may be (& hopefully am very much) mistaken but it seems you’ll get more press today if you can be presented as a victim rather than a hero. This is not entirely the fault of the MSM (though their part in it is damnable) but rather ours. We have let the values we mourn the expression of fall into disuse. Through our timidity in allowing “gun free schools” & other imaginary places to become spots on real maps we have helped reinforce the idea that all violence is bad. By accepting (albeit begrudgingly) that both students who are caught fighting (as opposed to the kid who started it) deserve punishment we have taught by example to our children that self defense or defense of ideas from force by force are ill valued actions. For the most part our sin is that we simply didn’t see this anti-protective violence mentality emerging & creeping into our kids. We were not vigilant enough.

I have advocated on this website (& in many other formats) liberalization (actually a virtual elimination) of the weapons laws in this country & in the states within. But a firearm is merely a force multiplier. It cannot dictate behavior for good or evil. Without the force of mind & the moral knowledge to implement it a firearm is not an asset.

Say Uncle once commented about a situation in a New England state that his earlier remarks about sending guns to those affected were hyperbolic in nature & that even if he was serious it’d do no good as he might have been able to send guns but he couldn’t send courage. (I’m paraphrasing because a quick search couldn’t produce a link to the post in question).

What is most urgent is not just equipping students & teachers with arms adequate for their own defense but teaching them why it’s sometimes necessary to resist with force even if there’s limited chance of success. With the mindset that protective violence is not only acceptable but laudable then a firearm will be effective in the hands of a teacher or a student in preventing the next murdering punk from achieving a new record kill in one of our schools. Or in a worse case it may be the difference between thwarting a terrorist group’s attempt at a mass killing in a “gun free zone” & watching helpless as hours later the S.W.A.T. team goes in to find all dead.

If we keep “re-assigning” teachers who try to teach our kids how & why to fight back then I’d say we’re a bit closer to the state that Chesty Puller warned us of being in some decades ago. Another famous quote comes to mind:

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves."

If Churchill’s words are still recited in schools today I wonder if they will be able to take hold without any reinforcement of the spirit behind them; that at times fighting is not the only option, but the best one. The reinforcement cannot come from textbooks alone, but must come from all of us; sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big & mostly by example but earnestly through society.

Being without a firearm is not a desirable state, especially when you need a firearm, but it is not a state of complete disarmament either. Only when your mind ceases to recognize that resistance, even futile resistance measured by saving your life, is a valid option do you become defenseless in the truest sense of the word. At that point all the arms in the world will be of no avail.

So if I am correct then I’d urge everyone to teach their kids that resistance, even through force, is at times the most proper course of action. & just as importantly that while saving one’s own hide is an approved action it is more praiseworthy to save that of another, even if the use of force is required & even if it is undertaken at grave risk to one’s self.

The actions of the British sailors & the students at Virginia Tech do not fill me with confidence, but the students from USC make me think that all is not lost. Courage is acting despite one’s fears & heroes are those who do so in light of imminent risk to their self in order to further a goal they see as more important than their own safety. If the people, especially the younger ones, can grasp that ordinary people such as themselves can & should be heroes when the occasion calls for it; that sometimes force is necessary to do what's proper (& laudable) & hero is an honorific with current value (& attendant high standards) then we have hope. If they can’t then I fear Prof. Librescu sacrificed himself in vain for a people whose demise cannot be long behind him.

Posted by Publicola at April 27, 2007 01:35 PM | TrackBack