Letter Re: Killing, Death, and Dying

HJL,

The article speaks to human nature. Being tough in a vaguely dangerous situation is easy, being tough in a moderately dangerous combat situation, like Fallujah, is a bit harder, but being tough as the first dude onto the beaches of Normandy would be truly tough. I can only imagine that level of violence. Don’t kid yourself thinking that sitting in a leather recliner watching Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan makes you understand. Nevertheless, can you or I prepare ourselves to the best of our individual ability for that type of event? Yes, as previously discussed.

Regardless of mental and physical training and preparation, some people are not meant for battle, in my opinion. What if you know you are not a fighter? The sight of blood makes you pass out, you react to being scared by curling up into the fetal position, loud noises frighten you, or your simply too old or injured. I would say try to train yourself out of those weaknesses to the largest degree possible, so that in the event you are confronted with said fear, you can be somewhat useful, even if you cannot teach yourself to embrace the fear and turn it into drive that propels you into the fight. If you cannot develop a combat mindset, it does not make you worthless; you just need to find another purpose. Perhaps you can hack into computers like mad? Perhaps you can hide things/people? Perhaps you can make hydro power plants? If you are a fighter and have a potentially MORE useful purpose, maybe that should be your primary? A good ER doc would be more useful in that role then standing post, right? That is not at all to say he should not be somewhat capable of standing post; he most definitely should, as well as he should have a combat mindset so when somebody comes into his house to take him away, he goes out with a fight of some sort.

My first deployment as a Marine grunt was pretty boring: the occasional mortar attack, shooting, or IED attack was all we had until we started Phantom Fury. Those small events do not truly bring out the best or the worst in most. Why not? Because the level of violence being sent your way is really minimal, when you think about it. Combat is 99% sitting around waiting for something. Such wait times have a great way of making people very complacent. The general attitude of the U.S. is complacency– nothing will ever happen to the U.S. because we have been doing well for so long. Bring that down to an individual level, with you standing watch for hours on end in a cold little OP. You may never see a thing! In regards to standing post, besides self-discipline, shorter watch times can mitigate some of the laziness that will result from not seeing anything besides birds and trees on every shift. Keep that in mind, please. – Anonymous

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