Go get a drink, I’ll wait.
I have to start this post by adding to my disclaimer. This post is in no way an attack on America, the military, police, men, religion, race or politics. I am just trying to figure out something in my head and this exercise is always easier when I write. I put ideas in this blog so that others can expand upon them, I don’t try to put this out there to be a contrarian in any way. In fact what I want to do is be constructive.
All the talk of radicalization of Muslims has made me start thinking of something just a pervasive, the radicalization of America. While Donald Trump is doing a great job at exposing it, we cannot blame him for radicalizing the country. The first glimpses of it was when I watched the movie American Sniper. It simplified the world into sheep, wolves and sheep dogs. When you do dig deeper into the origin of the quote you find that it was a little more complex of an idea by a Lieutenant Colonel.
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.
– David Grossman
I went to high school in the Chicago area, gangs were a reality there. Besides learning about colors and how I had to be careful what and who i said it to, the thing that stuck with me the most is why people joined gangs. The need to belong and be protected is natural in most people. A family provides that for most of us, but what happens when you don’t have a strong family structure. You fall prey to the mentality of I need someone to provide that sense of family. The same can be said about community.
We all marvel at what ISIL (who I like to call Daish since it suposedly pisses them off) has been able to do to recruit and radicalize people into horrible atrocities. Are we maybe missing the mark by not seeing what is being done with our own population?
A recent trend has the introduction and use of the term “soft target” aka sheep. If you associate the very negative connotation of children being murdered that should be enough to end the gun control talk with most, but that did not happen. I have a theory as to why it did not.
Guns in this country are part of the culture. One thing people don’t think about is that also part of the culture is the “hero” and “warrior” mentality. To a certain degree it is also something most people associate with manhood.
As a parent now I have become even more protective than I was before. I always though of myself as a guardian and martial arts always thought me about self defense. I never felt that the best defense is offense. Avoidance was always preferable to confrontation, specially if I had the upper hand. However, that is not what our military programs people to do. I don’t have statistics of how different the post deployment debriefing is compared to WWII, but the fact that there is a fast track between military service to police department and a mix of PTSD and you have in my opinion a recipe for disaster.
I have seen a trend this last year of using memes to hook people into ideologies, not from ISIS but from veteran groups. The first meme starts with a simple, take care of our troops before you take care of refuges. Not a position I would ever take but I can see how it rings true with some people. Then the next one from that same source is more radical, a veteran relaxed with the text; just let me know when I can start shooting people. Then the cherry on top is a block text proclamation of “We are full, F@ck off!”
I have seen this stuff re-shared by people I know. I’ve been wrecking my brain trying to figure out how xenophobia is spread so easily. Then it hit me, we are being pushed into a warrior class again rather than guardians. Yes I also loop cops into this conversation and here is why.
Warrior class is something that modern warfare had made something of the past. I’m not saying that every person that joins the military does so because he/she wants to become a warrior. Most of them do though, and some of them end up eventually being our police. Also, some of those police officers also have the warrior mentality in them. Not just protect and serve, which is supposed to be the motto.
I also take that one step further. Most people don’t want to be a sheep, and what makes you feel powerful and not vulnerable? A gun. The moment someone threatens to take that gun away, they are basically making you into sheep because you are not a wolf, you have to be a sheep.
America is being radicalized into thinking that guns are the only thing that is keeping you from being a victim. First it was just for home safety from robbers. Now it has grown up to terrorism. Next will be from your own government. This country is little by little being told a lie that in the end is just about someone making more money.