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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

How Not to Get Shot by a Soldier

The following is intended to serve as a useful guide to various activists, protesters, migrants and other completely non-violent folk who happen to be packing knives, guns, rocks and crowbars. You will encounter soldiers, border patrol officers and various law enforcement and military personnel-- this is how not to get shot by them.

First of all it's important to remember that if you attack an armed man in a uniform, he will very probably shoot you. Even given the most restrictive Rules of Engagement in the world which forbid him from opening fire unless he is outnumbered 600 to 1, there is a nuclear war in progress and only when he has been given specific authorization by the UN to use deadly force-- there will still come a time when he will open fire on you. This will occur when he feels that he or his comrades are in danger. At this point there will be bullets headed your way, and no matter what you learned at your Madrassa or in Protest Studies at Evergreen State High University, you are not bulletproof. Really, you're not.

The good news is that there is a very easy way not to get shot. It starts with you not attacking the nice men in uniform. That means not trying to disembowel them with your peaceful knife and not throwing rocks at their head. Because while you might think that legal activism includes attempted murder, the nice men in uniform think that attempted murder should result in sudden death. And when that happens you will realize that fanatical passion for your poorly thought out cause and a medieval weapon are no match for trained law enforcement officers who have guns and know how to use them.

The thing to remember is that while just about every revolution you read about does involve a crowd of people rushing at armed men, those people usually end up dead or in a lot of pain. You should expect to have the same thing happen to you. Putting on a Kefiyah or a pair of Birkenstocks does not exempt you from the laws of physics, or the code of common sense. And considering that Allah failed to save numerous Muslim armies and crystal power never levitated the Pentagon, this kind of story can only have one conclusion. Putting all politics and wacky beliefs about a pedophile who rode a flying horse aside, if you attack someone, you should expect them to respond. And if they have a gun, they will respond with bullets. At that point you will either become a martyr or the world's ugliest man.

Everyone has their own narrative and play the hero of their own story. And while you might have a great story in which you are the Mahdi or the reincarnation of Che, the man you're attacking just might have a story in which he's John Wayne. And just to refresh your memory, Che was shot in his thirties by the Bolivian Special Forces. The last Mahdi died of Typhus in his forties in a besieged city and his remains were tossed into the Nile along with the rest of the trash. John Wayne died peacefully in his seventies. Which fate would you rather have?

Since the dawn of time, men have guarded the borders of their nations. The border indicates that the lands within are the possession of their tribe and their chieftain. That border may only be crossed with the permission of the laws of the people who rule over it. To cross that border without their permission is to invite war, or at least a shower of arrows, spears or more lately, bullets. To cross that border for hostile purposes is to take your life in your hands. And unless you have an army with you, those hands are slick, greasy and operated by a mind completely devoid of common sense.

Similarly since the dawn of time men have responded blow for blow, rock for rock and fist for fist. If you claim to be non-violent, that may remove from you the risk of suffering preemptive violence, but it does not give you license to engage in violence yourself under the dubious shield of words. Because words are only good for fighting other words. Once you have a weapon out, then you have put words such as "non-violence" or "pacifist" or "youth" aside. You have given up the moral protection of presumed innocence, for a life and death struggle. And if you do not have the stomach for the consequences of that struggle, then you should not raise that knife or that stone. Because there will be no use complaining afterward about disproportionate violence.

It is also written in the codes of common sense, that only the attacker can be guilty of disproportionate violence, not the defender. It is the business of the defender only to repel you with as little damage to himself as possible. If you have a rock, you should not expect him to put down his gun, and throw rocks at you. And if you have a knife, you should not expect him to set aside his gun for a sharp blade. This is not a duel of honor, but an exchange of force intended to result in injury or death. His business is not to mete out an equivalent level and method of force to yours, but to dispatch you as quickly as possible. Prior to your attack on him, his concern was for your safety. After your attack on him, his concern is only for his own.

What you need to understand is that for you violence is political. To soldiers and law enforcement officers, violence is only a tool. In your mind, your attempt to kill is noble, while his attempt to kill you is vile and cruel. In his mind however there is an equation, violence set against violence. He does not particularly care what you believe, just that you not attack him while you are believing it. To you he is only a rage puppet in a political or religious narrative. To him, once you attack you are nothing more than a moving target. Understanding this will help you to not get shot. Failing to understand this is how martyrs are made. But the thing about martyrdom is that the health plan is terrible and there's no long term prospects to it at all.

The difference between violent activists and law enforcement and soldiers, is that violent activists want to kill people, but lack the necessary skills to do it well. While law enforcement personnel and soldiers have the skills to kill people, but would rather not do it. When angry people with rocks, knives, crowbars and a few guns attack trained personnel with guns, the victory goes to the people who are trained to kill, not to those who want to kill. And when the blooded radicals complain about disproportionate force, what they're really doing is whining about how surprisingly hard it is to kill people.

The average radical, lefty or Islamic, is as stupid as he is vicious. His cleverness exhausts itself in invective and rhetoric, which he discovers has surprisingly little application in a firefight. What is left is a would be murderer who rather late in the game discovers that he is trying to kill people, who are better at killing than he is. And that he came woefully unprepared for the encounter. Part of his misguided thinking is the belief that a knife or a rock are more moral weapons than a gun. They are not. A gun is the most moral weapon invented because it is efficient, quick and deadly. Killing a man with a knife is positively horrifying compared to shooting him in the head. Soldiers and law enforcement officers understand this. Subconsciously so do radicals, which is why they long for the knife, the rock and the nail studded bombs. If they kill, they prefer to be brutal and cruel about it.

The terrorist is utterly terrible at the art of war, but excels at the art of making his innocent victims suffer. The soldier dispatches his targets quickly and cleanly. For the terrorist however, inflicting agony is the sadistic purpose of the entire exercise. The suicide bomber gives himself a quick death, while mutilating those in his vicinity. He spreads horror and shock. And of course terror. But the media finds something awful about the soldier who executes his target with one round to the head, and something faintly heroic about the suicide bomber "making a statement" by taking away the arms of a 13 year old girl. Because the media radicals admire murderous passion, but find something horrible about the detachment of the soldier just doing his job. To kill horribly because of passion is somehow better in their eyes, than to kill cleanly and dispassionately to keep the people around you safe.

But terrorists only exist when they are tolerated. And they are tolerated by people who do not think like soldiers, but think like the media. Who want to find ways of making terrorists less angry, rather than finding ways to make more terrorists dead. Such people write narrowly restrictive rules of engagement, prosecute soldiers for defending themselves, and are outraged when a bullet prevents a massacre, rather than being outraged by the planned massacre instead.

But let us be clear about it. When you pick up a knife or a rock or a gun, you are not facing the politicians or the generals who answer to them. You are facing men who bear you no particular ill will, but do want to get home to their families that night or that month or that week. And if you do anything that risks interfering with that, they will shoot you. They will shoot you without caring about your politics or your fashionable scarf or what Karl Marx wrote about the role of the industrialist in the capitalist society. They will just shoot you. Because you are an aspiring politician trying to leverage your innate violence for political power. They are just guarding the front lines. They are not politicians. They just have guns and know how to use them. And if you attack them, you will die. And in that moment you will realize that neither your moving poems or your protest songs or your passion for the imagined plight of the children of Guatemala or Gaza or Gazambalooza, will do you the least bit of good. Because while you have the passion, they have the training. And the best to not be shot by men trained in the art of violence, is to put down the knife, the rock or the gun and walk the other way.



(Spanish language translation at REFLEXIONES SOBRE MEDIO ORIENTE Y EL MUNDO)

35 comments:

GS Don Morris, Ph.D. said...

Brilliant piece-addresses the heart of the matter
gs don morris,ph.d.

im2sloe4u said...

DG, I hope it isn't redundant for me to post my FAVE lines of your article.
Oh my gosh I doubled over, laughing at your wit & illustrations. but the best thing is the way it all really drove home the absurdity of their upside-down rationale & behavior.

"if you attack an armed man in a uniform, he will very probably shoot you. Even given the most restrictive Rules of Engagement in the world which forbid him from opening fire unless he is outnumbered 600 to 1, there is a nuclear war in progress and only when he has been given specific authorization by the UN to use deadly force-- (ouch! the absurd restraints expected of Israelis.)

a very easy way not to get shot... starts with you not attacking the nice men in uniform. That means not trying to disembowel them with your peaceful knife and not throwing rocks at their head. Because while you might think that legal activism includes attempted murder, the nice men in uniform think that attempted murder should result in sudden death.

Putting on a Kefiyah or a pair of Birkenstocks does not exempt you from the laws of physics, or the code of common sense. And considering that Allah failed to save numerous Muslim armies and crystal power never levitated the Pentagon, (ROFL!) this kind of story can only have one conclusion.

Everyone has their own narrative and play the hero of their own story. And while you might have a great story in which you are the Mahdi or the reincarnation of Che, the man you're attacking just might have a story in which he's John Wayne. (TOO good & funny, AGAIN!)

Once you have a weapon out, then you have put words such as "non-violence" or "pacifist" or "youth" aside.

.. misguided thinking is the belief that a knife or a rock are more moral weapons than a gun. They are not. A gun is the most moral weapon invented because it is efficient, quick and deadly. Killing a man with a knife is positively horrifying compared to shooting him in the head. Soldiers and law enforcement officers understand this. Subconsciously so do radicals, which is why they long for the knife, the rock and the nail studded bombs. If they kill, they prefer to be brutal and cruel about it.

For the terrorist ....., inflicting agony is the sadistic purpose of the entire exercise.. (Touche`!)

You are facing men who bear you no particular ill will, but do want to get home to their families that night or that month or that week. ..............They will shoot you without caring about your politics or your fashionable scarf or what Karl Marx wrote about the role of the industrialist in the capitalist society. They will just shoot you. Because you are an aspiring politician trying to leverage your innate violence for political power. (You GOT it, DG!)

They are just guarding the front lines......... They are not politicians.
And if you attack them, you will die. And in that moment you will realize that neither your moving poems or your protest songs or your passion for the imagined plight of the children of Guatemala or Gaza or Gazambalooza (haha), will do you the least bit of good."

BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN! Expose their ignorance and convoluted, irrational thinking.
This screams to be heard by the mainstream populace.

Menachem Lipkin said...

Brilliant, just brilliant.

NatureJockk said...

It is just like in Louisiana where i live, if n intruder comes on your property and enters your house, you can shoot him. The crook knows the rules and dangers of the act, and the possible outcome could be his death. So it is the same with the Mexicans that cross the line of the border and have objects in their hands which could be construed as weapons. You will be shot.

DP111 said...

DG
Brillaint.

One correction

Similarly since the dawn of time men have responded blow for blow, rock for rock and fist for fist + Interest.

A Jew With A View said...

*Superb*


My absolute favourite part:

'Part of his misguided thinking is the belief that a knife or a rock are more moral weapons than a gun. They are not. A gun is the most moral weapon invented because it is efficient, quick and deadly. Killing a man with a knife is positively horrifying compared to shooting him in the head. Soldiers and law enforcement officers understand this. Subconsciously so do radicals, which is why they long for the knife, the rock and the nail studded bombs. If they kill, they prefer to be brutal and cruel about it.'


INSPIRED!!!

You have summed up, in one neat paragraph, the precise and absurd and prevailing 'morality' of much of the world.

I'm going to be reposting some of this article if that's OK, and of course linking back to you, on various sites which malign Israel and where I sometimes try to post counter arguments.

Brilliant article, as always :)

BeeSting said...

Good morning Daniel,

I would love to hear this read "on air" ... better than Andy Rooney, but then again, common sense is always better than the idiotic excuses this world presents for the cause of terrorism.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You forget a few basic things:

1) Most people do not think like soldiers. They think like the civilians in the media.

2) Most people idolize heroes. If you paint them a hero, they will idolize him and ignore the real man behind the fanciful portrait. Even when confronted with the real man, they will ignore reality and forgive everything for the sake of the illusion that brings them comfort and happiness. This is why Che adorns the t-shirts, and not the Bolivians who shot him. If your hero has real achievements to his credit, all his flaws, mistakes and even monstrous behavior will be ignored. This is why there are, even today, millions of Russians who admire Stalin, Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible.

3) Symbols rule the minds of men. If you lack the physical force to defeat your enemy, you must instead defeat his mind through the use of symbols

4) All real men have something for which they are willing to sacrifice their lives. The purpose of martyrdom is to inspire others. Every protest movement that starts with rocks and fails to achieve its goals moves naturally to IEDs and snipers. And with every martyr, dozens of young men and women are inspired to step into the battle, especially when martyrdom is rare and uncertain, but the admiration engendered by risking martyrdom is great.

You can laugh all you want at these facts. But you ought to look around and note that the West is retreating and committing suicide precisely because it is uniquely vulnerable to their consequences. A populace that believes in nothing but their own arses will always, in the end, surrender and retreat before men willing to die for a higher cause. Because, in the end, if you are unwilling to suffer and die for anything, you will not be willing to kill and risk death for anything, either.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Thank you all, sometimes a little ironic common sense can go a long way

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

indeed, the symbolic war can be a powerful one, if the other side has no sense of its own rights either at the top or the bottom

the bottom today has those sense of rights, it is the top that does not

that's why our military works and our government doesn't

Enigma said...

Thank you Daniel,

Everything I wanted to say was mentioned in the comments preceding mine! 'Brilliant' is an understatement!

You just made my day! As you worded it: "ironic common sense", was the best way of conveying your thoughts across. You were funny and poignant.

I will be following your writings.

Dave said...

Fantastic article, I will be showing this article to all of my friends as a case study on why members of military/civilian authorities should not lose their job for doing it as they have been trained.

im2sloe4u said...

DG,
echoing BeeStings' thought: "I would love to hear this read "on air" ... better than Andy Rooney,.."

Have you have ever been audio-recorded reading your own articles, such as for radio?
The question even comes with a multiple-choice answer sheet:

1. yes.

2. no.

3. not sure... maybe if I talk in my sleep. ?

4. I am willing.

5. I'm not willing. ie; too humble,
my voice makes Bob Dylan sound smooth, or I take the 5th.

6. other.(fill in)

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

I've done radio interviews, but those were conversations, not speeches. The closest would be my appearance at the New Media event, which was on here on video.

stevew220 said...

stevew220,

first time i have encountered your site. very good work.

( an aside to anon. above )
i am a veteran, and have killed!
It is something i would rather not have to do again, but will not lose any sleep if forced to it.
( or as my T.I. put it:
'the toe tag looks better on the OTHER s.o.b.')

im2sloe4u said...

The blogspot.com does have an option for uploading audio files.
This article would sound better than most music nowadays.
Could you be persuaded to record it on your computer and upload it, then it could be put on CD?
Perfect listening while driving around!

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

I don't know that very many people are interested in having this blog also be a podcast, but I can look into it.

im2sloe4u said...

Only this one article is all I'm asking. Looking into a big thought like PODCAST could derail you completely.
*Just one little upload, then one little download*... should you then decide to remove it from blogspot.com - no big deal.

By then, I have your CD & maybe share it with friends.
What could possibly go wrong?

Fame and Fortune... obscurity and poverty. You're no worse off than now.
and I drive the streets cheerfully listening How Not To Get Shot By a Soldier.
This could potentially save lives, if my windows are rolled down.
Have you ever timed a 4-way stoplight?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Well I'll see what I can do given some time

gsw said...

@Anonymous: "willing to die for a higher cause"

You mean "willing to die for a baser cause."

Higher causes are, for example,:
feeding starving children;
saving lives;
building homes;
giving love& laughter;

Blowing up people to provide more land for people who have more children than they can feed is not a higher cause it is pure greed.

Crazy Daisy In Jersey said...

Every day I come here to see what you have to say and I'm never disappointed. Once again, you've written another truly brilliant piece.

Thank you for sharing your brilliant pieces with us.

Marcoroz said...

Insightful, indeed !

Once again, I am tempted to translate your article into French and publish it... I just miss time to do it.

Anonymous said...

@gsw: A higher cause is one outside yourself, one for which you are willing to make sacrifices and face hardships even if success is unlikely, or even impossible. How it is perceived by others, especially others who are your enemies, is irrelevant. If you can imagine no circumstances under which you would be willing to be a suicide bomber, I pity you. If you don't understand what I am saying, google "Alexandr Matrosov".

@Daniel: Who told you that the West's militaries work? Militaries are political tools. Their actions and doctrines reflect the policies and attitudes of the nations that create them. America is running from Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia is staying in Chechnya. And the Sinhalese are staying in Tamil Eelam. The reason? America is unwilling to use the necessary methods to ensure victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia and Sri Lanka ARE willing to use the necessary methods to subdue the Caucasus and Northern Ceylon, respectively.

Here is proof once again that it is will and belief in one's cause that win wars, not high tech toys. The high tech toys are mere tools. Having them only makes things easier. But one can do without.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

That is only the subjective definition of a higher cause. GSW was getting at an objective definition of one.

The US military is quite effective in direct combat. And ineffective when it is used for political nation building exercises. The former is its purpose. The latter is not.

Political will is important. But Russia is just doing what the US is, backing up puppet regimes with its own armed forces while pandering to Muslims. Russia just doesn't bother caring about collateral damage and rarely bothers placing any restraint on its troops.

And of course having Muslim colonies is just a long term way of cutting your own throat. Demographically speaking.

So political will is important. But it has to be directed sensibly.

Marc Louis said...

of course this will not work in Iran (or the rest of the islamic world) where simply protesting will get you a bullit in the head.

Anonymous said...

"Russia just doesn't bother caring about collateral damage and rarely bothers placing any restraint on its troops.

And of course having Muslim colonies is just a long term way of cutting your own throat. Demographically speaking. "

You do realize that you have just contradicted yourself, right? Or do you forget how Stalin solved the Chechen Problem? If there is one nation that is safe from Islamic takeover, Russia is it. There is a reason why Putin officially reconstituted the Cossack Hosts.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Considering Russia is projected to have a Muslim majority by 2050, I would say a Muslim takeover in Russia is a foregone conclusion.

But then Stalin did not have a problem with Muslims. He wanted slaves and he didn't care too much who they happened to be. The current rulers seem to be no different.

Frans Groenendijk said...

Very, very good. Thank you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

@Daniel: Actually, as an Orthodox Christian who confessed regularly, ensured that the icons above the Kremlin's gates were carefully concealed under plaster and steel instead of destroyed and the only Soviet premier to have a formal church funeral service, Stalin definitely cared who the slaves were. Stalin forcibly suppressed virtually all meaningful expressions of non-Russian culture. Georgian or not, no csar was a more ardent Russifier than Stalin. His prejudices were thoroughly Russian. He even went so far as to try to finish what Hitler started. But Hashem removed him first, on Purim eve no less.

I agree with you that the current leadership is cast in Stalin's mold, though not as irrational and paranoid. But then again, no one who is not cast in that mold can effectively rule Russia. The Russian People do not permit it. As was evident from Yeltsin's disastrous reign.

This is why, demographic projections notwithstanding, I predict not islamization but escalating pogroms, forced conversions, rampaging Cossacks, mass rape as military policy, mass engineered starvation, concentration camps and cultural genocide. Russians will be Russian, Daniel. Whether you like it or not.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Stalin was consolidating an empire, and he began to play Czar. Not that he didn't have contempt for Russians as for everyone else, and not that he had any problem killing them, but as the heart of the empire, they were a useful tool for consolidating for the empire as a whole.

Under Communism, the Church as the Synagogue, to the extent that they existed, did so as corrupted servants of the regime, whose clergy were expected to inform on their congregants.

that same situation still exists today

Anonymous said...

"Under Communism, the Church as the Synagogue, to the extent that they existed, did so as corrupted servants of the regime, whose clergy were expected to inform on their congregants."

And you think the Church did not inform the czars before the comissars? Stalin did not "play czar". He WAS a czar. And the Orthodox Church was the SAME Orthodox Church that always was and always will be -- a branch of the Russian State. Among Stalin's major reforms was the end of efforts to destroy the church and its incorporation into a status quo. The church leaders knew well that the day would come when the church would again be needed to replace Communism. I expect that Stalin considered this eventuality also.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Of course. However Communism allowed for a degree of control and consolidation that the Czars had not been capable of for a while before the revolution.

Anonymous said...

Not communism. Totalitarianism. The red flags were just window dressing. New tricks for an old dog. It was always the same Russia. It just needed a capable czar.

HermitLion said...

A really humorous piece - I loved it!
'Gazambalooza', in particular, really cracked me up good. It's a word worth repeating many times to foolish 'protesters'.

Anonymous said...

Great insight....however, I disagree with a small underlying concept.

Not ALL police in the US are just 'defending' themselves when protests occur.

In several US cities, Pittsburg's G20 being the latest example, police used tear gas and beat protestors with batons BEFORE protestors raised a hand in violence.

This is the essence of a police state.....the state doesn't like what you have to say, so they declare the protestors to be an unlawful assembly (peaceful or not) then they roll in with riot gear, sound cannons and tear gas...they surround people (so they can't legitimately claim they just want the protest to 'break up') and then they start arresting people.

In the case of Pittsburg, protestors were denied the permits to protest. A right that is permitted is a right that can easily be denied.

Your commentary really doesn't address this issue and it's something that definitely warrants mention.

Sean King
Mesa, AZ

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