Independence, Defiance, And Being Ready To Rock

Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. I’d had another post planned for today, but bumped it because, well, I didn’t realize that Wednesday was July 4th. It’s an important day for any true-blooded American. It needs to be addressed.

Thinking about Independence Day, I couldn’t help but think about so many of those who fought to break free of the oppression they saw coming from the British Crown. Men who stood against aggression from not just hostile natives but a malevolent government.

There’s a lot to respect there.

Now, let me get started by saying that if you start with the whole “they stole land from those natives” crap and decide to bash those men, don’t expect your comments to see the light of day. While that’s a topic that gets debated regularly, I’m not interested in debating it here. Understood?

Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at what those men were like and what we can learn from them. Continue reading “Independence, Defiance, And Being Ready To Rock”

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The Collapse Of Decency And The Real World Warriors

As I write this, I’m keeping a close eye on most news websites. You see, I’m in a tough spot. While I have committed to writing here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I also have commitments to Bearing Arms.

Right now, I’m keeping that one eye on news sites looking for news on a mass shooting at a Maryland newsroom. This follows a serious string of events that has me more convinced than ever that unless something serious happens, the citizen warriors, or “real world warriors” as I’ve taken to calling us, are going to be more needed than ever.

First, let’s touch on mass shootings. Regardless of whether the media is inflating them and making them feel like they’re happening more often now than they did before or not is irrelevant. They’re happening. These are manufactured crises, for crying out loud. These are real things.

Couple that with the broader unrest we’ve seen over the last couple of years, stuff like Antifa wrecking anywhere they go and even a sitting United States Congresswoman calling for supporters to actively harass members of the president’s administration, and we see something deeper taking place.

Quite frankly, I can’t help but wonder if the crazy is going to get worse. Continue reading “The Collapse Of Decency And The Real World Warriors”

Why The World Needs Citizen Warriors

The world needs citizen warriors.

I’m talking about the average, ordinary, everyday folks you see on your way to work, at the grocery store, or wherever they might be, but who are more than capable of taking bad people down a peg or two.

We need more folks like that. Desperately.

Over the last few months, our news cycle has seemingly been dominated by one topic other than Donald Trump. That topic? School shootings.

Many have postulated that the prevalence of guns in this country is somehow responsible for a perceived increase in mass shootings and that we need to ban certain kinds of guns because some mass shooters need them.

However, the problem isn’t guns. Bad people can use any number of tools to create havoc in our streets and in our hearts. Oklahoma City used fertilizer and fuel oil. A terrorist in New York used a Home Depot rental truck. Some tosser in Toronto used a van to kill people because he couldn’t get laid.

In other words, bad people will use whatever they can to do bad things. Banning guns isn’t an answer.

Pro-gun proponents will often say that what we need are more guns. The sentiment is right but expressed poorly. After all, we now have enough guns in civilian hands to arm every man, woman, and child in this country. If there was a certain saturation point of guns that would stop these kinds of things, we’d have already hit that point.

The answer isn’t more or fewer guns–though I am not about to advocate a violation of our Second Amendment rights because we supposedly have “enough” guns. There’s no such thing–but that we need more people with the willingness, training, and warrior mindset to go along with those tools.

In other words, we need citizens with the means, skill, and opportunity to intervene in many of these situations and put down these rabid animals.

However, everywhere we turn, we see people opposing this idea. Why? Well, they’d tell you that they don’t like guns and don’t think “weapons of war” belong on our streets, but they’re lying to you.

Hell, they’re probably lying to themselves too, so don’t feel too bad about it.

You see, for most people, the warrior is terrifying. These are people who have the tools, training, and psychological makeup that closely mimic the people the warriors are protecting the masses against.

In the old metaphor of the sheepdog–you know the one. Where the people are “sheep,” and the bad guys are “wolves” and the only way people can be protected are the “sheepdogs?” That one–there a comment I’ve read along with it about how the sheep fear the sheepdog because the sheepdog looks uncomfortably close to the wolf.

It’s true.

People are often uncomfortable with those who have embraced any aspect of the warrior life. They accept it in military and law enforcement personnel, in part because these are trappings they understand. They see the uniform and can feel an expectation that these warriors won’t turn against them. At least to some extent, anyway.

But for the regular folks, they get uncomfortable. They get afraid.

Years ago, a group that my wife and I socialized with asked me to no longer attend. I wasn’t an asshole to anyone. I didn’t get drunk and wreck the place. I didn’t do any of that.

No, I was asked to not stick around because I scared them.

I scared them because I was a shooter. I enjoyed taking my gun to the range and testing myself. I shot some matches with the local shooting club and I really enjoyed it. Because these were supposed to be my friends, I shared my excitement over my pastime.

It was not appreciated.

When I was told I was making people uncomfortable with my beloved topic, I stopped bringing it up. I wouldn’t talk about guns or anything of the sort unless someone else brought it up first. I figured that at that point, it was fair game.

Since that day, I’ve reconnected with most of that group, and it seems that most liked me, but a handful of folks didn’t. I made them uncomfortable.

To revisit the metaphor, I reminded them far too much of the wolf.

But that is one reason why we need more citizen warriors, my own term for those private citizens not engaged in the trade of protecting their fellow citizens. We need more of them as a form of social exposure therapy for those so terrified of every shadow.

As things stand, many are trying to stigmatize gun owners to the point where they will never admit to being gun owners. They’re trying to “gun shame” us into remaining quiet, thus allowing them to dominate the gun debate.

Yet, if we can expand the number of citizen warriors to the point where everyone knows these people, where there’s one in every place of employment (if not several dozen), one in every church, one in every restaurant or movie theater.

We need them out there and we need them to be vocal. We need them to acknowledge that yes, they have the training and tools to do very bad things, but they are proud of their society and have no interest in acting against society’s laws. Instead, they will lay down their lives for their fellow man if need be.

A proliferation of these men and women–there is zero reason in this day and age that it simply has to be men–will make it harder to pretend that the citizen warrior is some kind of fringe group.

Unfortunately, such a thing will be difficult to do.

For better or worse, the stigmatization of warriors was long ago. It started with parents being told that games like “war” and “cops and robbers” wasn’t fitting for children. They were encouraged to engage in other forms of play. They were told that such things weren’t appropriate and that such play would invariably lead to more violence on our streets.

Some parents listened. Some didn’t.

However, schools carried the effort on. Whereas a schoolyard fight might have landed the kids some mild punishment in times gone by, today it is the cause of dreadful concern. Meanwhile, no effort is made to determine who initiated the fight or why it took place. Both parties are punished the same, thereby teaching that meekness is the only appropriate response to naked aggression.

Children’s entertainment has been constantly under assault by busybody parents who fear little Jimmy seeing a gun on television might damage his precious psyche and thus, such think should be purged from all entertainment.

In other words, a series of efforts through the year have successfully wussified the American public.

Through it all, though, there have always been the rebels. Those are the people who feel compelled to embrace the nature of the warrior no matter what. They can’t help themselves. They simply feel a compulsion to learn and train to protect their fellow man.

Many gravitate toward the military or law enforcement. However, sometimes they succumb to pressure to do other things for whatever reason. Maybe family obligations present themselves. Maybe an old injury makes pursuing a warrior’s vocation an impossibility. Who knows.

Still others did their time and came home from military service. The reasons are plentiful, but often they had nothing to do with needing an end to putting it all on the line for someone else. That is rarely given as a cause.

Now, these people are among us. They’re like a divine insurance policy against evil.

The problem is, these people are often few and far between. We need more of them. We need to undo the damage of decades of busybody mothers terrified that little Jimmy might see something unpleasant. We need to undo decades of parents terrified that violent play leads to actual violence, despite the legions who engaged in such play and have never harmed a soul.

We need to undo it all.

In the process, we need more citizen warriors so they can be everywhere they need to be. They can be on the New York subway car. They can be on the airplane. They can be in the movie theater or office building. They can be there the very moment they’re needed.

Maybe it’s a mass shooter, some jackass who thinks he needs to take vengeance for some imagined slight. Maybe it’s a terrorist who thinks his 72 virgins await. Maybe it’s some loser who thinks this will make some kind of a point.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the moment that evil rears its head, someone is there to meet it and put an end to it. Permanently, if needed.

The only way that happens is if the warriors are there when they’re needed, and for that, we need more of them.

Training To Be A Badass Can’t Be Your Whole Life

Yesterday, over at Bearing Arms where most supposedly self-defense focus training falls down, I laid out my thoughts on. Admittedly, I have to go on anecdotal information about training since it’s not humanly possible for me to train with everyone.

Now, I might well be judging those trainers too hard. Most are providing a service and all that and they’re providing exactly what their customers want. The problem is with we, the consumers of said training.

What I laid out in that post, however, covers a whole lot of ground. There’s a lot of things to learn and train in. After all, between firearms training, hand-to-hand training, and physical training, you’re looking at hours upon hours per day potentially, all geared toward making you an uber-badass.

The thing is, you have a life. You may have a family. You probably should have either a job, school, or both. You have a whole lot going on. Continue reading “Training To Be A Badass Can’t Be Your Whole Life”

Two Experts On Situational Awareness

Tim Kennedy is a U.S. Army special forces sniper and a fighter in the UFC. Mike Simpson is an emergency medicine doctor are former special forces soldier. Both appeared on the History Channel’s “Hunting Hitler” and both know what they’re talking about on a lot of things.

Well, a while back they spoke on their podcast about situational awareness, and there’s some awesome stuff to think about. Continue reading “Two Experts On Situational Awareness”

Beware The Snake Oil Part 2

Please check out Part One of this diatribe before continuing. 

There are people in the world of fitness and personal defense that seem to enjoy notoriety more than anything else. They seem to advance ideas and take a tone that makes them seem gruff, no-nonsense kind of guys. Manly men.

What these guys often do is create cults of personality surrounding them, filled with adoring sycophants who want nothing more than to emulate their beloved leader.

These are what I refer to as Fanboys.

Fanboys are people who embrace the snake oil so completely, any and all skepticism or criticism of the snake oil is perceived–and not entirely unjustly so–as an attack on them and their decision-making abilities. After all, they reached a different decision than you did, thus you not accepting their decision as the right one means you think they’re a moron.

Of course, in many cases, it’s because they’re morons.

Anyway, the Fanboys will brook no criticism of their beloved icon, but what is it their beloved icon is selling them? In some cases, it’s nothing particularly new. Instead, it’s usually some older snake oil with a slight twist. Occasionally, it’s something legitimate with a snake oil twist that the huckster will claim makes the whole thing work.

Either way, those who buy into the snake oil become convinced by their Alpha-Male leader that this works so well that they can’t even listen to outside criticism without finding a way to dismiss it.

I’m not talking about all rival approaches to fitness. I’m not claiming there’s a One True Way, either. While I do think there’s an optimal “way” to achieve any goal, that way is probably different for each goal and each person. I’m also not arrogant enough to think I’ve discovered it. Not yet, anyway.

Mark Rippetoe proposes gaining strength by lifting barbells with certain lifts at certain times. Louie Simmons has a much different approach to gaining strength.

Who is right? Damned if I know.

What I do know is that both have proponents primarily because both have shown their systems work. Yes, Rippetoe thinks his system is best. I’m pretty sure Simmons does too.

Where they diverge from the Snake Oil Hucksters is in the fact that they can defend their programs with real-world results. I’ve seen many proponents of each comment that the other system does indeed increase strength. In other words, neither man has really gone about putting together Fanboys.

In short, they sell something that clearly works. Further, they don’t attack skepticism as if their lives depend on it. They respond with a measured approach with a factual defense of their system.

Not only that, but neither man presents his program as the greatest thing since sliced bread. At least, not that I’ve seen.

Instead, they present it as a proven system to get stronger. Both can show you the proof.

BAM!

The difference is that most hucksters know they can’t present evidence. They don’t have a long track record of proven results.

Further, most hucksters have had to create something so radical, something so very different from the norm, all so they can be the One True Way. That makes it virtually impossible for them to show results except for the tainted, manipulated results we’ve come to expect from the fitness industry.

 

Then, if that’s not enough, the huckster will further try and manipulate things to make them look like the One True Way. Take the guy who triggered this whole, two-day rant. Blowing up at someone who admitted skepticism but was still open-minded to his approach wasn’t enough.

No, yesterday he started offering a giveaway to those who reviewed his book. In other words, he’s bribing people to leave a review of his book…but we all know it’s only for a good one.

I may be cynical, but it’s a cynicism born from experience.

Unfortunately, it becomes very difficult to differentiate between the huckster and the guy with a devote following if he’s just that different. Take Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. He takes a very radical approach to fitness and health, very different than what most experts are saying. His fans love him, and many are truly Fanboys.

However, I’ve never seen Mark cultivate this. What he’s proposing makes sense, and while he advocates it as the best way to get fit, he doesn’t feel the need to tear people down over it. He appears to prefer to let the results speak for themselves.

And therein lies the difference.

If there’s one thing that separates the huckster from the radical thinker, it’s that the need to destroy criticism. They can’t trust science to back them up, they can’t trust results to back them up, they can’t trust anything except their own prowess with…well, whatever.

So please, do beware of these people. They prey on the desperate, those who want nothing more than to get healthy as quickly and easily as possible. They prey on that desire and really don’t care about getting people healthier.

Don’t get suckered in.

Beware The Snake Oil

Regardless of where you are with your physical health, there are people out there who claim to know the secret. They swear up and down that they and they alone know the path to a healthier you.

Yesterday on social media, I encountered one of these guys. He’d made a joke and, though skeptical of what he was selling, it was the kind of joke I respect. As a result, I mentioned being skeptical of the program, but jokes like that made me really want to give it a try.

After all, I tend to believe there’s more than one way to the Promised Land. Continue reading “Beware The Snake Oil”