National “Celebrate a Warrior” Day
By Ken Hanson Esq.
Edited by Jim Irvine and Dean Rieck
I worry about my children.
I am only 37 years old, yet I am already worrying about what kind of adults my kids’ generation will be. My generation, by and large, did not fight any wars, as there were no real conflicts when I was growing up. My first recollection of conflict was that some scraggly looking people took a group of American’s hostage for over a year and we did nothing about it. All I remember beyond that is some footage from a small island in the Caribbean that hosted a medical school. I vaguely remember the Falklands and Panama. Next thing I knew the Berlin wall came down and Saddam committed the Mother of All Mistakes. The Great Cold War we were raised to be ready for ended without a whimper.
Against this backdrop, I am raising children that are not allowed to play dodge ball in gym class, since that would be teaching them violence and aggression. My kids are forced to go to bullying workshops, and there is “zero tolerance” for them handling bullies in the time-honored fashion. Schools routinely agonize over whether it is okay to give grades to a student when you consider the emotional scarring it might cause to call someone a failure. I cannot understand my daughter’s report cards because all of the grades are like “meets expectations, exceeds expectations, progressing….” Um, so is she doing okay in school? Is this an A, a B…?
First graders are now taught conflict resolution. “Stop, we have a problem. When you take my toy, it makes me feel angry.” “I see that I have made you angry. I did not want to make you feel……” My wife just finished her Masters in Education and I typed most of her papers from her dictation. I remember thinking to myself, “If I had tried that insane type of stunt, I would not have eaten lunch my whole first grade year”. So my generation, which did not, by and large, engage in any mass conflicts is now forcing large amounts of milquetoast down the throats of our children.
If somehow a child is having problems, it is the system’s fault. We put together an intervention team and offer additional services to children. If that doesn’t work, the child is probably suffering from some mental disease that was only recently discovered, for which a pill may be given to make it all right. The default mindset is now “It is probably (extraneous source’s) fault. The government/school/police should fix that.”
When did self-reliance and responsibility for actions become a mindset that should be attacked by the intelligentsia? We have an entire generation of adults right now that first and foremost looks to other people to solve our problems. Divorce rates are sky high, personal bankruptcy is through the roof, our court systems are crippled, we pass laws as fast as they can print them, Katrina was so bad because FEMA didn’t get there to handout $2,000 ATM cards quick enough…. All of these things have one element in common: people are not taking total responsibility for their self.
Who is best situated to help you? To paraphrase Heinlein: Gasoline does not come from the gas station. Personal security does not come from the Government. News is not something that happens to other people. If Katrina hit your neighborhood tomorrow, would you be able to make it through the first 2 weeks by yourself, or would you be in front of a news camera blaming the government for not being there quick enough with replacement housing?
I worry very much about the mindset of our generation and the overwhelming passivity we are passing along to our children. Where have all the Warriors gone? You know, the ones who could strike out tomorrow under just about any circumstance and survive whatever was thrown at them, providing for their family and self as needed? The ones that, no matter what life throws at them, are going down swinging, not crouched down waiting for someone to come to the rescue?
Warriors are not male and are not female. They are not tall and athletic, they are not short and pudgy. They are not white, they are not Native American. They are not meek/passive yet they probably are not wearing an “I don’t dial 911” T-Shirt. They defy all physical descriptions and attempts to categorize them. You might be sitting next to one now. A Warrior can be a school teacher, an accountant, a dentist, unemployed, in a wheelchair, a poet, illiterate, urban, rural, an eleven year old little girl……..even, I suppose, a newscaster. A Warrior does not spend 24/7 developing a plan to kill everyone they meet, but doesn’t consider it strange to look for exit doors, fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
“Warrior” is a mindset, nothing more. I fear that mindset has been strongly diluted in my generation. As my meeker generation is now raising another, even more passive generation, Warrior is on the endangered species list for our children’s generation.
In the last 4 weeks, we have seen multiple examples pointing to our Warrior shortage. In Cleveland last month, Mr. Wells, a concealed handgun license holder, shot young Mr. Buford, a 15 year-old thug/probationer. The community’s initial reaction to this shooting was shocking: neighbors setting up a shrine to the 15 year-old repeat-armed robber, the shooter who defended himself received threats, his house was vandalized, the typical apologies for the thug….”he was a good kid” “wrong place at the wrong time” “guns aren’t the answer.” None of Mr. Wells’ neighbors were there for him in his time of need: A lone Warrior to face the wrath of a mis-programmed public.
The Virginia Tech shooting is even more problematic. Most details are not known at this time, and this might end up being an entirely inappropriate observation. I apologize in advance if so. However, one gunman fires nearly 300 shots over a period of time, and apparently not one student fought the attacker? A building full of 19-22 year old men and women in their physical prime. Was there not one Warrior present? Where was the rush of Warriors to stomp on the psychopath?
Yet in the midst of these troubling examples, we find solitary examples of Warriors who shine by example.
I have heard some glimmers of hope in the VT coverage, an Eagle Scout who would have died but for taking decisive, improvised action. A teacher who throws himself in front of the door so that others may escape. These are Warriors. When the worst presented itself in front of them on this day, they stood up to be counted.
On 9/11, 4 planes were hijacked, only 3 reached the target. On 9/11, there were Warriors present in the fourth plane, and on the ground as emergency workers looked up at the destruction in the twin towers and rushed in anyway to try and help others. Warriors in our midst.
The most encouragement I find is in coverage of the aftermath Mr. Wells shooting the thug in Cleveland. Regina Brett with the Plain Dealer brings us an excellent series of stories of how, in the weeks after the shooting, the silent masses have unanimously sided with the license holder and chastised those who mourned the thug. The Cleveland NAACP is willing to place the blame on the neighborhood that allowed the thug to reach the point he had reached. One of Ms. Brett’s most poignant pieces is the one where she talks to the license holder and his twin brother, and they reflect upon how they almost were lead down the path to thugdom due to their inner-city upbringing. They credit the kindness of a neighbor, a stranger, who took interest in the brothers staying off the path to thugdom.
In this Cleveland neighborhood, we see that perhaps the silent masses are not sheep, helplessly poisoned by a steady diet of pacifism. Overwhelmingly, the response, albeit delayed, was to close ranks behind Mr. Wells. I pray these silent masses take the next step and react more quickly and visibly after the next event. I also pray there are more special neighbors who will take interest in a young man’s life and see that they don’t slip down the path that swallowed Mr. Buford whole. Mentors are Warriors; they see a problem, they take action.
We all should take a page from the NAACP in this. A neighborhood is not powerless unless they choose to be. Human beings are not prey unless they choose to be. We should choose to be Warriors, not prey. This cannot happen overnight, and it is not as simple as flipping a light switch.
Numerous people interviewed by Ms. Brett conveyed a consistent message: We are tired of living in fear. If there was a 12-step program to becoming a Warrior, step one would be to admit you are tired of living in fear and realize that you HAVE THE POWER TO STOP IT.
Think what would happen if the next young thug, who is now only 9 or 10, meets a community where their behavior is not tolerated. If, instead of becoming entrenched in the thugocracy for the next three or four years until finally lost for good, the community starts kicking the young man in the behind. There is a neighbor that takes interest where the family would not. “Go down that path, young man, and this is what awaits you.” What if, when the teddy bears are being dropped off at the shrine for the gangbanger, the neighborhood is out there jeering those who glorify the thug with a simple message: He got what he had coming to him, any of us would have done the same thing.
You, young thug, might continue down this path towards becoming a predator, but you will find no prey in this neighborhood. You do not have a father, your mom is strung out on drugs or whatever social ill has befallen you: We lament the loss of the family and the ruined innocence of your childhood. We do not want to come back in 3 years and mourn the loss of your life. Because if it comes to that choice, it will be you, not me, they are mourning.
But what about society beyond the neighborhood? We see the same mentality. People bemoan random shootings and Virginia Tech-like “whack job” incidents. Until we as a society are prepared to live our lives in a condition where we are willing and able to immediately and overwhelmingly confront these attacks wherever and whenever they may occur, we will continue to have the police show up only after the shooting has stopped, to count bodies and document the crime scene. The ONLY way to stop these psychopaths on their one-way trips to infamy is to kill them, quickly, once they finally snap. No preventative measure is ever going to catch the deranged 100% of the time before they act. Making sure we can swiftly end their madness seems to be the strongest insurance to those of us still able to think rationally despite the years of pacifist programming.
You do not have to be a bloodthirsty “mall ninja” to be a Warrior. Accept responsibility for providing for your family and self wherever they may be. Be willing to act, immediately, without hesitation or restraint. Do whatever needs to be done to survive the encounter and sleep soundly that same night.
If you read the above and find yourself nodding in agreement, repeat after me: It is okay to think and act this way. You are normal; it is the Toledo Blade Editorial Board that is abnormal. We are not doing enough of this type of thinking and living, and all it gets us is Virginia Tech, gang-bangers, Jihad and absurd editorials.
That is why “Celebrate a Warrior” Day is such a powerful idea. Be willing to voice to your friends, neighbors and co-workers that you have accepted the burden, and talk to them about what they can do to live their life as a Warrior rather than as prey. As silly as it sounds, metaphorically, show up and say to your colleagues, “Hi, I am a Warrior.” Let them know in no uncertain terms: At the soccer game, at work, at the movie, at the mall, wherever, whenever, if the unthinkable happens, you can count on me, my family, and, after I am gone, my children. Can I count on you?
Maybe if the Warriors begin to live openly again, our children will learn by example that somewhere between submission and aggression is the desired path of self-reliance.
Ken Hanson is Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair and author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.
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