As the media heaves and oozes over root causes of terror, and candidates casually spout policy proposals to anyone in earshot, one gets the feeling the western response to terror is imploding into a tragic, hopeless, interminable brawl that makes a hockey fight look choreographed.
But for the purposes of this piece, it’s meaningless.
The only thing that matters now, is your personal security. Fact is, self-defense is not an option to choose among other hobbies – but a responsibility you must embrace for the preservation of your family, and society – the world, even.
Physical training, arming your abode (and yourself), adjusting your mentality – these actions are no different than taking a course in nutrition, getting a badge in first aid, or practicing disaster preparedness in a school classroom.
So for now, let’s leave the debates, arguments, and name-calling behind (although I reserve the right to return to that near the end of this essay). We’re already used to the lies – that concern for your safety is somehow indulging fear mongering. President Obama may have been an historical first, but now he may become the historical worst, through his abdication of responsibility in this once-in-a-lifetime war. Focusing on climate change during the era of radical Islam is like shaving your legs on a sinking ship.
The trick with O: he follows up his mockery for concern with reasonable statements like not giving into fear, or saying that the killers weren’t masterminds. We don’t dispute such platitudes. But he drapes it all in condescending ridicule. His distaste for our instincts for preservation will never allow a unity against a common evil. His assumptions feel lifted from movie scripts where such phony pronouncements of tolerance prevail under manufactured, safe, emotionalism. He reminds me of me, when I was seventeen (sorry, Janice Ian).
His mockery of concern is adolescent, and it would be great to see it repudiated by his own party. But at this point, for us – there’s no point in responding to that anymore. We’ve moved on. We are now onto the personal preparation – and the conversation begins now, if it hasn’t already – with yourself, and your family.
The biological make-up of this evil is pretty much immaterial, for this column. The terrorist could be a space alien or a demonic pigeon that shoots lasers from its rectum. To me, they’re an adaptation of James Cameron’s Terminator: robotic creatures programmed, in this case by ideology and numbed by phenethylline. It doesn’t matter: there is no them, just an “it” – and your defense against it. Accusations of islamophobia and hysterical bigotry fade away when faced with that conclusion. If you don’t see anything but an inhuman, artificially driven machine that must be stopped, then there is no bigotry. It’s no different than extinguishing a wildfire. Remember, they have no navy, or air force. It’s a human wildfire. That, at times – with the aid of our own naivety, weak-kneed avoidance, and callow leadership, can leap beyond its own borders, into our own world.
So, consider your responsibilities, which are not options.
– Self-defense classes and drills. Not overly complicated: just practical measures that might become useful in the case of an attack. We must prepare the youth. If liberals do this sort of thing with climate change, let’s do it with terror change. I reiterate my proposal for a “Flight 93 Day” – in the same manner we reenact the landing on Plymouth Rock, we should have kids commemorate the profound, inspirational actions of a group of travelers who saved thousands of lives by sacrificing their own. We need to train our next generation in heroism – and those folks are the perfect, iconic, example. That leads, hopefully, to…
– Changing the mentality. When faced with an attack: would you run toward, run away, or freeze and pray? I ask myself this daily, and perhaps I won’t know until the time comes. We need to make it an instinct, an innate response to act, not freeze. A pal told me the young are more likely to charge a threat because they have less to lose – they’re full of vim and vigor. Maybe, but a guy in his 50’s might charge sooner, knowing he’s already led a full life. But the worst response is the shrug: the ambivalent argument of pointlessness. No one ever says “what can you do” when faced with earthquakes or Ebola. The hyper peaceful seem all too ready to tweet hash-tags and impotent symbolism after terror… “what can you do” is not in their mindless lexicon. But when discussing necessary violence or deliberate self-defense, they meekly say, “They’re gunna shoot you anyway.” Well, then, make it impossible for them to shoot others. Why roll over and die?
Fact is – a trained group of people rushing one violent creep may result in injury and death for some in the group. But in the greater scheme of things, you will win. Ten can subdue one. Terrorists recoil from opportunities where it’s possible they may lose. That’s part of their strategy: they only attack if the percentage of victory is in their favor. Imagine if all their potential victories were vulnerable, because we are all trained to kill.
– A personal arsenal. If you live in a state where it comes easy, I envy you. Me? To obtain what you get easily, I must jump through more hoops than a skittish bear in a Russian circus tent. I’m trying to solve this problem.
We must stop wasting time on time wasters. We need to think like a terrorist – eliminating mildly entertaining distractions (you don’t need to binge watch “Scandal” anymore than you need to shovel buckets of mashed potatoes onto your crotch). Terrorists eliminate activities and replace them with a devotion to cause. We must do the same. Our cause is Apocalyptic Prevention. If terrorists work 24 hours a day on our demise, we can at least devote a few hours a day on them. Sadly, right now we only devote an hour or so of fleeting thoughts a week on this stuff. Time to go mad, in a professional, deliberate manner.
And so, everyone should have this discussion. And as always, I must add, that this defensive prescription is no commentary on the behaviors of previous victims of attacks. I’m only writing this for myself – to help me assess my next move – cowardly or not – to improve my behavior in order to contribute to the survival of those I love. See something, say something – that two-stepper is not enough. It needs a third part: do something.
Finally, when someone recasts concern as fear, remind him that you are not living in fear, but putting your own fear in a chokehold, so you can act. But the fear is real, and must be acknowledged. Our President cannot do that.
The nature of radical islam is to play for the big win. Things like Paris, or even 9/11, are now small potatoes. The bigger spectacle will be biological and produce mass death that, at the minimum, will number in many thousands of fatalities, if not tens or hundreds of thousands. It’s simpler than you think, and the actors are already here.
A man, a drone, anthrax. That’s not a palindrome. That’s reality.
This explains why terrorists pull back after one attack – and put distance between their acts. They do not want full-blown annihilation from the vengeful world right now, because there is still greater mayhem for them to accomplish. Right now they’re just poking the bear; as their likeminded cohorts are planning to blow up the whole fucking zoo.
Sadly, for us, the current mindset is accepting the inevitability of the situation – our government, media, and academia have plainly advertised an unwillingness to consider this a worthwhile fight. To them, a campus sit-in ranks higher. And so their reaction of shock to the next devastating spectacular will be an exaggerated repeat of their past surprise – like a forgetful child who keeps being horrified by the touch of a hot stove. This is the Joy of Deliberate Amnesia – the horror is too big to digest, so best to pretend it doesn’t exist. On the Five, recently, I compared Obama to an ostrich with its head in the sand – but even ostriches don’t do that.
Think about this: our government can’t even tell us what to do. Instead, Obama can only lecture – telling us NOT what to do. “Please, guys, don’t be mean to Muslims” – that’s his sorry message. His response after terror is an explicit insult to Americans – he expects the worst from us, not from those who attack us. It’s infuriating… but only if you still care about his response.
I don’t. His meek reminders not to inflict islamophobic attacks on innocent Muslims should roll off our collective backs, because we weren’t ever going to do that sort of shit, to begin with. His casual insults must inevitably be dismissed. By us.
We are adults – we can police our emotions. We need a leader – not a disapproving shrink in giant house secretly smoking Camels to assuage his own nerves. Save your fake hard truths for the consulting gig you’ll get working with Clooney or Sorkin in 2016. It’s braver to admit the threat and marshal a nation – which apparently is above our President’s current pay grade.
They call it the White House, but no one is home. Have you seen anyone express a modicum of spinal fluid? Our administration’s anger reveals itself only in safe spaces – hence the strident climate change rhetoric. Because, there, we’re the villains. Conservatives are skeptical of the exaggerations of the bitter climate changers – which makes them easy targets for Obama and his media minions.
By forfeiting responsibility, our leaders are steering us toward choices we could have avoided. Now the loudest, most bellicose voices make sense. The eloquent and forceful are obliterated by the primal scream. As bulk phone data collection ends – and our guard comes down due to an ambivalent leisure class – it’s not about making America great again. It’s about its actual survival.
It turns out, the only people we can rely on for that, is you and me.