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First Principles

Peace(makers) on Earth

Surely there are rabbis and pastors who might come together to arrange a sort of exchange program of qualified, background-checked, good-hearted men.

During the Christmas-Hanukkah overlap of 2019, the annual festive season for both Christians and Jews was marred by violent reminders that in a hatred-infested world, our fears as well as our joys may intersect. A church shooting in Texas and a machete attack in New York bloodied our respective sacred celebrations.

In a variety of ways, Jews and Christians both have responded to such incidents in the past, according to conscience and temperament. All have lamented; all have prayed; some have prayed and raged.

And some have prayed and prepared.

When I first took a concealed carry class in South Carolina, I met a number of people who fall into the latter category. I found that several classmates were specifically pursuing carry permits in response to the Emmanuel Church massacre in Charleston, either on their own initiative, or at the request of their pastors. Church security was mentioned as a secondary motive by several other classmates, and our instructor reminded us of the procedure required to carry legally in a church setting (including permission from the church leadership, as required by federal law).

This is a manly, wise, and American response to the threat of violence. Get trained, get armed, stand ready. We are right to do as the pilgrims did in old New England when, to prepare for worship, “each (set) his arms down near him.”

So far, so good. And as we have seen most recently with the heroism of Jack Wilson at his Texas church, it can also be effective.

Of course, as celebrants at a service, our minds are supposed to be on spiritual things. Some traditions even encourage listening to what the pastor or rabbi might be saying, and it can be hard to maintain condition yellow during a sermon on the “Perseverance of the Saints.” (Though there is a nearly 400-year-old tradition among Presbyterians of doing so, going back to the Scottish Covenanters).

Still, one closes his eyes for prayer now and again. And it occurs to me that I have friends who worship the Almighty, not on Sunday mornings, but on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. We may have important doctrinal disagreements, but we share a revulsion at religious murder and a man’s sense of duty to protect the innocent.

It’s well that Jewish synagogues and temples, and Christian churches, should have designated marksmen to respond to violence against their congregations at worship. But it occurs to me that this sad necessity brought about by the evil of mankind, might also be an occasion to remind one another of more comforting truths.

What if, as we trained to defend worshipers from homicidal madmen, we were to make a point of crossing religious lines? What if arrangements were made between congregations for some Saturday worshipers to serve as volunteer guards on a Sunday morning, now and again—and some Sunday worshipers to stand ready, to protect a Sabbath service?

Surely there are rabbis and pastors who might come together to arrange a sort of exchange program of qualified, background-checked, good-hearted men.

The first true interfaith order of chivalry it would be. Its seal might show Gabriel Possenti (unofficial patron saint of handgunners) and Imi Lichtenfeld (founder of Krav Maga) shaking hands.

And the perfect theme verses, I think, are to be found in 2 Samuel 10: 10-11. In this passage ancient Israel’s general, Joab, has detailed two forces to meet two foes—and to watch one another’s backs:

And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God . . . ”

Wouldn’t it do all of us good to watch one another’s backs—and to see someone else, motivated simply by human decency, watching ours?

First Principles • Post

Citizen Responsibility in the Face of a Mass Shooting

The wall-to-wall coverage of the two recent shooting sprees has provided partisans in the government-media complex with yet another opportunity to espouse their usual—and tired—talking points. To escape this Matrix, this parallel universe, this anti-reality constructed by the political and media classes, I decided to contact my martial arts instructor, retired Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Al Ridenhour.

I was not surprised to learn that Master Al and I share a common understanding both of the phenomenon of mass shootings and of the media’s tiresome coverage of it.

Master Al, it’s crucial to know, has spent more than four decades training in martial arts, with the last three spent training in the art of Guided Chaos. During his 28-year career in the Marines, Master Al participated in some 100 or so combat operations and completed multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, combating such charmers as the Taliban. In the midst of all of this, he was entrusted with training his Marines in the ways of both armed and unarmed combat.

Today, Master Al is a senior-master instructor in the art of Guided Chaos, which was founded 40 years ago by Grandmaster John Perkins, himself no stranger to combat. Perkins is retired from the Yonkers, New York police department where, among other things, he had the distinction of having been involved in more than 100 documented instances of brutal street violence, encounters that impressed upon him all too well the glaring contrast between the nit and grit of reality and the choreographed, rule-bound, sportive unreality characteristic of most martial arts systems.

This is all worth noting so that the reader understands the frame of reference for Master Al’s analysis of the latest events. For starters, Master Al, “the Colonel,” recognizes that leftists care little to nothing about either the El Paso or the Dayton shooters or their victims. Rather, they are interested, essentially, in criminalizing two things that, in their warped narrative, are inseparable. These two things are white men and guns.

In their [leftists’] worldview, it is the weapon that deserves the blame, not the person doing it. So the left creates a ‘bogey man’ in the form of some right-wing white supremacist . . . .This is all done to scare the masses into thinking that this is a white wing extremist issue, or that every white man who owns a rifle, likes to hunt, and loves his country is a potential nut job waiting to walk into a mall and start shooting.

So true. The Colonel continued:

Never mind that black people are murdering each other in our cities like Chicago (‘Chiraq’), Camden, New Jersey, Detroit, Philly, and Baltimore like it was their job. Where are the cries for gun control?

So as to underscore the government-media complex’s racial angling of its response to mass shootings, he noted how the race of the shooter seems to affect coverage. hen MS-13 thugs “hack some teenager to death in one of their ritualistic killings,” he pointed out, there are never any calls for “knife-control,” “machete-control,” or “gang-control.”

Master Al, incidentally, is black.

Master Al may not have realized just how correct he was when he composed his email, for as it turns out, at least 59 people were shot in Chicago alone in what is being described as its deadliest weekend this year.

Moreover, intrepid investigative journalist Colin Flaherty informs us that although the usual suspects in the media would have us think that it was only in El Paso and Dayton, in fact there were 20 other mass shootings over the weekend, 17 of which were perpetrated by black males and three of which were perpetrated by Hispanics.

In other words, black and brown mass shooters had a busier weekend than their white counterparts, and yet it is only the latter who get the press.

Indeed, none other than that bastion of right-wing extremism itself, the Old Gray Lady, admits that 75 percent of mass shooters are black. That the hacks in the Fake News industry prefer to focus instead on those relatively rare occasions when mass shooters are white suggests that the Colonel knows something is up in their coverage.

Moving beyond racial considerations, Master Al took note of the sobering fact that for as much as “the experts” would have the rest of America believe that there is a “solution” to these mass shootings, this thought is the product of self-delusion or the will to deceive. As Thomas Sowell has been telling us for decades, the “Wonderful World of Solutions” that politicians and their media enablers have devised is no less fantastic than the Wonderful World of Disney, for in reality, there are no solutions for eternal human problems; there are only trade-offs.

The bottom line is that if a person is determined to harm and even kill other human beings, there is no way to guarantee that this won’t happen. And if a person is determined to shoot other human beings, neither is there a guaranteed way of preventing this. That it is already illegal to do such a thing, and that those convicted of committing mass shootings face the harshest of legal penalties, have not sufficed to stop these shootings from occurring. Only the chronically stupid or the chronically dishonest could believe that just one more gun law—that magic and heretofore undiscovered gun law—will “solve” the problem of mass shootings.

Master Al proposes, not a “solution,” but a course of action that only honors both the word and spirit of the Constitution. This course of action would minimize the loss of life when—not if, but when—the next mass shooting occurs.

As Americans and “Freemen,” citizens need to reassert that divine dispensation, the God-given right to protect themselves. 

To reiterate, Americans must emancipate themselves from “the statist” mindset with which they’ve allowed a robust Government-Media complex to saddle them and assume responsibility for their own protection. It is worth quoting Master Al at length here:

Until people understand that the government is not capable of protecting them, that the police per the U.S. Supreme Court has no legal responsibility to protect them, that we are responsible for our own safety, that if we are to protect ourselves from these types of people we need to be equally armed, as the Founding Fathers were when they squared off against and prevailed over England [the largest empire in the world at that time]—until law-abiding citizens understand that we are on our own in these matters and that the police can only help after the fact we will continue to see the body count rise.

Master Al—this veteran of bloodshed and of war—a man who was entrusted with leading legions of men into battle against some of the most dangerous and ruthless predators in some of the world’s most war-torn countries, has no use for the prevailing paradigm of “Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves.”

He is convinced that this rhetoric is part and parcel of the very “statist” mentality against which he is waging his latest campaign, a campaign that he undertook once he committed to training civilians, like me, to unearth the warrior within by becoming, not a sheepdog, i.e. another government agent, but a lion.

A lion, you see, will crush both the sheepdog and the wolf.

Master Al Ridenhour, following in the footsteps of his masters, including, of course, Grandmaster John Perkins, the founder of Guided Chaos, teaches his many students how to protect themselves against the most ruthless of the ruthless. In doing so, he is helping them to cultivate personal responsibility, the free agency to which conservatives in the media and in Washington D.C. routinely pay lip service but seldom personally exercise.

“The Colonel,” though, like his colleagues and masters in Guided Chaos, doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk.

Every citizen who is of America (and not just in it), who reveres its Founders, is obliged to do the same.