Travis Haley posted this story and said this: “You can be smart, fast, a physical specimen,… you can be agile, tactical, technical and proficient, but if you lack compassion then you are nothing more than a Hyena…”
He has a very good point. But let me take this a step further. Compassion and Mercy are or should be critical traits in our armed public servants. In the USA we’ve seen some national news stories that show perhaps that the decision to go to guns was maybe a bit too hasty. We’ve seen in LA during the Christopher Dorner incident the two ladies in the pickup truck that got lit up. We’ve seen a kid with a replica AK get taken down. And in New Mexico, a mother with a van full of kids get fired on. Take a look at Iceland right now, the whole nation is morning because for the first time a police officer shot and killed someone. The decision to go to guns weighs heavily on everyone… not just the Suspect thats fired upon, but also upon the community and the person who had to pull the trigger.
This sort of decision making has to happen instantly, and it relies heavily on the Mind Set before the incident even starts. It’s about that Warrior Mindset you need to do the job… I know a lot of guys that believe in the Bushido way and that they as Officers of the Law they are modern Samurai. They believe in Protecting and Serving as the old Law Enforcement motto goes, and that the word Samurai means “To Serve”. And as a result they continually train themselves in their martial arts… with their Rifles and their Handguns and the tactics to employ them. And that’s good.
However, the Samurai also knew that they needed balance. The Samurai were also known to practice other arts… Painting, Poetry, Theater. Many wrote books, others studied the Literature of their time. Some fished. In the movie The Last Samurai, the lead Samurai character spent his times searching “For the Perfect Blossom” and said that if one pursued that as his life’s purpose it would not be a life wasted. The Samurai appreciated and sought after the beauty in the world around them. This balanced them. Centered them.
A lot of our warriors deal with PTSD, probably because they are out of balance in this way. But that’s another discussion for another time. (I had written a thesis on this it earned me a lucrative job offer at a treatment center because they thought I was a doctor in psychology. I of course turned them down)
I think when a person has a good balance inside them… Balancing the Yin and Yang of Light and Darkness in their warrior spirit… it makes them better at what they do. It makes them better warriors. And it also help them recognize the bigger picture of things when they have a threat situation and the gun is coming up to the shoulder or out of the holster… That blink of insight. That neural firing of the part of the brain that has compassion… Because just maybe… That trigger doesn’t have to be pulled. Maybe there is another way to resolve that situation. Not every Nail must be hammered. And you can have this compassion, this mercy, inside you, and you can make that judgement call without effecting your speed to target if you do have to pull that trigger and take that life to save another. Or maybe that compassion will help you be faster onto target, and more accurate. Make you train harder. Make you faster up that flight of steps to get to that firing position… Help you will yourself to lower your heart rate to stabilize that crosshair. Because you appreciate the Life that you are about to save.
JRR Tolkien said it best:
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”