Killing, Dying, and Death – Part I, by M.H.

This article will be on something that is rarely talked about but nevertheless is a fact of life and certainly a major fact in a TEOTWAWKI type situation. It’s the combat mindset of killing, dying, and death. This includes getting a handle on killing bad people; you dying; your wife, husband, or kids dying; and the fear of death. Most importantly, it also includes the fear of killing. It will hopefully shatter all the theories and misconceptions people have from Hollywood, or from “experts” who have never killed or risked being killed. While not particularly thought of as a skill set by most, without a combat mindset and acceptance of the horrors of war, all of the other skills will render themselves useless the moment one is confronted with a horrific event, such as watching one’s spouse get shot in the head.

Everyone is an expert these days. A young teenager I had hired to help me build some fence and I were discussing ballistics and he was arguing for this caliber and that, based on what he had been told by others. I asked him how many of those people had killed people before. He stated that they were all in the military; I repeated my question, to which the answer was “I don’t know”. Remember folks, if your veteran buddy was a grunt, it does not necessarily mean he EVER saw any action, let alone was in close combat.

I will use actual events I have experienced to demonstrate the reality of some of the points I want you to grasp. Are the examples I use the standard all the time? Of course not, but it should make you think!

Death and Dying.

Most people are scared of dying. From young to old, we fear death or the thought of its occurrence in one way or another. Some family of mine never want to talk about what will happen when they die, nor choose to make a will, thereby they are leaving a mess for their children, because they won’t handle this “stressful” topic. My mother-in-law asked me one day about what she should do if somebody came into her house. I told her my opinion. She decided it best to just go out the back door. Then I asked, “What if my kids are spending the night in the other bedroom?” Oh boy, it’s no longer a simple option. Well, that resulted in her ending the conversation with “I don’t want to think about it”. I fear getting burned to death. That has just got to stink. I don’t fear other common forms of death, nor the thought of dying. I do fear what could happen to my family after my death, which was a variable I did not have while in the military. That variable is scary to think about, since a social collapse could result in very unfriendly conditions for my wife and two kiddos after my demise. However, I cannot let that fear hold me back, or it will consume me. I accept that I will die and so will my family. Personally, I believe that if I endure till the end (as stated repeatedly by Jesus) in the way of righteousness, I will go to heaven after death. Regardless of faith or lack thereof, accept the fact of death and focus on making sure it is not in vain.

Having seen charcoaled bodies and bloated bodies laying out in the sun, having shot a man in the head and watched the top of his skull disappear and his brains spill all over the floor, having walked through pools of blood, having seen dead men and women (thankfully no children) laying in the streets of Fallujah, I will tell you it is not a glorious sight as portrayed in the movies. Is it something I sit at home and cry over or even dwell over? No. Though, having seen it and knowing the ignorance of the masses regarding the horrors of war or whatever you may call it, I want you the reader– the man, woman, or teen reading this– to recognize and accept that there will be horror, dead bodies in the streets, mobs that will tear people to pieces, bombs dropping on YOUR house, blowing your little girl to pieces. Oh, no? You say, “I have a bunker and my kids will be safe.” They may; they may not. If not, and your fantasy prepper world goes to hell in a hand basket because you did not have time to get to your bunker, and you watch your child bleed out, you may potentially render yourself utterly useless to the rest of your family, since you’re likely to be so emotionally distraught that you cannot even think, while the post-bombing team is lining up at your door to clean up the survivors. Accept it now. It will not be easy, nor pleasant to think about, but I beg of you not to deny reality and risk more losses by your denial.


It seems that some folks have a huge issue with killing people. If you are truly convicted in your mind that you will not kill anyone for whatever reason, it does save you the cost and trouble of weapons. For those who don’t have a specific conviction, remember that life is not to be taken lightly. It is one man fighting for his cause against another fighting for his, however good or evil those causes may be. Yet, if you know in your heart that your cause is just and right, the man who comes against you should not be thought of more than the time it takes to eliminate him. Why? Because you are the good guy, and he is the evil guy. If you want to think about the decisions he made in life that resulted in him being a bad guy, give it a few days, or until hostilities are over before you lend yourself to doubt.

Easy enough you say? No problem killing all the bad guys that come along? You are just going to pretend they are all zombies and never bat an eye. Fair enough, but let’s take it a few steps further: Let’s pretend we are in Nazi-controlled Holland at the moment; the Nazi party has been established and is recruiting young men and women into the ranks in what starts out as harmless roles. A year later these young people are committing atrocities. Your nephew had joined the Nazi party. You know he has knowledge of your family’s beliefs, which will likely result in your death, as well as the deaths of your wife and two other children and the eight Jews you have hiding on your farm. Would you kill your nephew to protect the other lives? What if we replace your nephew with your son? Killing bad guys just got real in your mind, I hope. I’m not going to tell you what I would do, or what you should do, other than that you should think about it, because that type of situation has happened many times in the last 100 years and will happen again someday. Tribes are formed, people band together for both good and evil, and sometimes people you know and care about may join up with the evil.

Getting killed

Everybody is a tough guy while standing around their buddies. Few are tough when their buddies have been killed or the odds are not in their favor anymore. While a grunt in the “Battle of Fallujah”, I saw this repeatedly. Another young Marine was with me on the roof of a mosque one night posting security, and he said “I just want to go home; I am scared.” Not without reason, mind you, the closest the average American has gotten to that level of chaos is fireworks on the 4th of July. Another Marine crapped his pants. Yet, another crawled under a Humvee rather than use his machine gun for suppressive fire. One of our E-4s, a big ‘roided up dude, kicked in a door for me one time; I ran into the dark room with my gun light on to find a man hiding in the far corner with his AK still pointing at the ground. Mine was up and ready, and therefore he lost his life instead of me. After about six rounds rapidly sent into his chest, two other guys started coming up from behind a bed. Do you think the big, tough, smack talking, steroid-using powerlifter came in to help me out? No, he did not. The same Marine Corporal was very tough and aggressive when there was 10 of us shooting at one unlucky insurgent, who had no chance off inflicting damage on him. Another time our squad was split into two teams, each team would take a side of the street, and we just went down the road clearing houses. Seeing my counterpart point man, SS, who has since passed from an IED, getting ready to go into a courtyard, I waited to make sure they got in “okay” before going into my house. SS went through the door, followed by two other Marines, when SS started shooting. I cannot recall if I was heading across the road to assist the moment the shooting started or after I saw the first Marine run out, since it happened rather quickly, but I literally RAN INTO the second Marine as he ran out of the courtyard. SS was fine, even though he was quite irate that the two left him. Also, I was the only one who ran into the courtyard out of the entire squad. I hope I have portrayed the scenario well enough to help the reader grasp what happened. Two trained Marines ran out of a courtyard leaving one of their own! One Marine out of what I recall to be about 10 at the time took immediate action! Those two cowards sure told a lot of good stories when they got stateside though. ( I will come back to this at the end of this article for a side note to the main theme). These are young men who went through a rather specific indoctrination in boot camp, two months of infantry-specific training, followed by unit training before a deployment, complete with live fire, sim rounds, et cetera. So, if you think that just because you went to a Gunsite class and read a few books that you are good to go, you may want to take things a step further. One senior Marine was especially motivating while doing MOUT training with sim rounds on an old Air Force base. I thought that for sure this guy is going to be good to go to war with! The moment we went into Fallujah that all changed. He was a coward, to put it bluntly. What were these Marines lacking? In my opinion, acceptance of death and mental training.

The moral of the story is well summarized in the quote commonly attributed to Heraclitus: “Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

Part two of this article will discuss the training to make yourself the fighter!