The Warrior Way
Dr. Leonard M. Breure, PhD
Every society has its warrior class. America in the 21st century is no exception. Whether it’s the soldier defending their country, the police officer guarding their community or the private citizen protecting their home, all are warriors in the battle between good and evil.
The starting point for all these individuals is the realization that something must be done to secure those things that are important to them. It is the knowledge that someone must stand in the gap. The epoch quote is true, “All that is necessary for evil to prosper, it for good men to do nothing”! It is the understanding that they and they alone are responsible for the safety of their families, their community and their country.
Once an individual has come to realize that they are the one who must draw the line in the sand and, standing firm, say; “ENOUGH!” then and only then can they begin their journey into the Warrior Way.
Whatever one’s calling in this greatest of struggles; citizen, soldier or law enforcement officer – the journey is similar and the tools needed to survive the same. While the path taken and the obstacles encountered may be vastly different, the goal and the destination are surprisingly comparable.
Hericletus (circa 500 B.C.) said of men in battle;
“Of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there.”
“Eighty are nothing but targets.”
“Nine are real fighters, we are lucky to have them, they make the battle.”
“Ah, but the One…” “One of them is a Warrior…”
“He will bring the others back.”
What is it then that make the Warrior? What sets this one individual apart from the other 99? I would like to offer a few suggestions…
Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” I believe that the first characteristic of a Warrior is dedication.
As a police officer, I was determined to do what ever it took to go home to my wife and kids at the end of my shift. As a soldier, my desire was to be the best that I could be. As a husband and father, I would not let anything or anyone come between me and my family. Here an example of dedication…
Darkness fell as Team 104 loaded their ¼ ton truck.
MSR Patrol through the White Horse Pass,
Not the first patrol and not the last.
Just once they’d like to hideout in town,
And tell Operations they made their rounds,
But they hear all too often that two-word verse,
Their Company’s Motto “MISSION FIRST”.
Patrolling an area that’s usually quite,
It’s alive with movement tonight.
Dismount, Recon what do they find?
Enemy Infantry, the airborne kind.
With their position radioed in,
It’s time now for the delay to begin.
Claymores set-up off to the right,
LAWs extended ready for flight,
Six lonely eyes stare into the night.
The urge is strong to run,
When you’re out numbered one hundred to one.
But they’ve heard all too often that two-word curse,
That Company Motto “MISSION FIRST”.
No one knows how they found the time,
That had to be found,
Until help could arrive to finish the fight,
That three lonely MP’s started that night.
Nothing remains of Team 104,
Just another legend for the MP CORPS,
And three white crosses that bear this verse,
“THEY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR MISSION FIRST!”
My good friend John Farnam speaks of “meat eaters” and “grass eater”. Writing of “grass eaters” he says, “When danger threatens, they shrink away. They live frightened, insecure, unworthy lives.” By contrast, “meat eaters” are “righteously indignant when their safety is threatened.” We call this second characteristic mental toughness.
Allow me to paraphrase John’s explanation of mental toughness. Warriors proudly claim their title. Their self-confidence is readily apparent. When necessary, they are unapologetic fighters. “He will seek out and exploit to the maximum every weakness of his opponent. He will not win every fight, but he will earn the undying respect of every opponent.”
Proper mind set is the next characteristic of a Warrior. Being alert, attuned to your surrounding, mentally prepared and actively looking for potential danger indicators are all aspects of a Warrior. Listen to a Trooper’s story…
“I pulled over a car on an isolated stretch of state highway on a Thursday at midnight. He was drifting over the centerline, and I thought he was likely falling asleep at the wheel. The only person in the car was the driver. This is not uncommon, and I didn’t consider this stop particularly dangerous, as he pulled over right away. I was going to suggest to the driver that he find a motel and get some rest; nothing more.
As I walked even with his left, rear bumper, the driver turned in his seat, pointed a 1911 at me, and started firing. He said nothing, and his movement was so slow and nonchalant that I didn’t detect any peril until his first shot whizzed past my head!
I drew my pistol and stumbled backward. By the time I got to my patrol vehicle, I realized that I had not been hit (yet). God knows how! I got in, put the vehicle in reverse and backed up rapidly. I didn’t notice it until later, but my windshield had several bullet holes through it as did my grill and front bumper. My rear window was shot out.
The driver did not close the distance between us, but he did not drive away either. He was there to fight, and I quickly came to the conclusion that he had no intention of leaving. He intended to finish me off! Using his driver’s door for cover, he continued to fire at me with his 1911, reloading several times.
I returned fire with my pistol, but then grabbed my shotgun. Several pellets from my first two buckshot rounds hit him in the feet and ankles. He fell down behind the door but then got up again and resumed shooting. I swapped out to a slug and then aimed at his center mass where I calculated it was behind the door. The slug penetrated the door and most of the suspect. It ended the fight and ultimately proved fatal. He was DRT. Thank heaven for slugs!
The first backup car arrived ten minutes later, long after the situation was over. Several citizens stopped some distance away, but they did not approach and did not influence the outcome either way.
I was uninjured. We discovered that the suspect was driving on a suspended license from another state. He also had several outstanding misdemeanor warrants, again from another state. Paradoxically, he had little to fear from me. He probably would not have even received a ticket, but he obviously thought he was trapped.
The one thing that came crashing into my head as the situation progressed was that I WAS ON MY OWN! I wear a uniform, and I have a radio. I am part of a large organization, but none of the rest of it was in a position to help me while I was fighting for my life. No one arrived ‘in the nick of time.’ We’re so used to suspects running away and/or surrendering meekly, that we are astonished when someone actually wants to fight! It always seems to take us by surprise.
It shouldn’t! WE SHOULD ALWAYS EXPECT A FIGHT AND BE FULLY PREPARED TO BE VICTORIOUS, ON OUR OWN, WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM ANYONE ELSE. That lesson was not clear to me before this incident. It is now!”
In “The Personal Protection Handbook” I list several “Rules for Survival” They are:
Exhibit an Appropriate Attitude
Speed is Essential
Respond with Violence of Action
Stay Calm /Be Accurate
Use Surprise to You Advantage
All of these are ingredients in proper mind set.
The next characteristic of a Warrior is Skill at Arms. There are many arm¬chair commandos out there that claim to know it all. They can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk? A Warrior can give a good accounting of himself any time and any where. He has engaged in a life long endeavor to better his skills as a fighter. Unarmed techniques, less-lethal weapons, firearms – all are a part of the warrior’s tools of the trade. This is a way of life, not just a means of entertainment!
The following is a brief list of the fundamental skills a warrior MUST develop to the point of becoming a reflexive response. They are listed as pertains to the pistol, but apply to the rifle, shotgun and sub-machinegun as well.
The Draw Stroke
Firing the Shot (Not the decision to shoot)
Re-Holstering / Concealing
Movement with Firearms
Shooting While Moving
Use of Cover
These are the basic, fundamental skills of fighting with firearms. They need to be developed and then continually practiced to maintain a realistic level of proficiency. This must be to the level of a being a reflexive response. You must be able to allow the sub-conscience mind to perform these tasks so that the conscience mind can deal with use of force issues, tactics, the decision to shot or not, etc.
Proper equipment is the next essential for the Warrior. A good fighter can turn almost anything into an effective weapon. However, given the opportunity, he will bring the best that he can get his hands on. As Warriors, we need to realistically assess our requirements as to weapons and equipment. This is one area where we should buy the best that we can afford. Skimp elsewhere!
In today’s world there are a plethora of choices on the equipment market. I can’t stress enough to buy top quality, name brand gear. Then work with it, training hard using it, make sure it does what you need it to do. If you find something that is just right for your needs, buy two. They always seem to stop making the things we really like.
One critical aspect of proper equipment is having it with you when you need it. The biggest and best “blaster” is useless if you’ve left it at home when the balloon goes up! I am a firm believer in the “two in one, one is none” philosophy. Think you need a handgun, carry two. Have reason to carry a knife, one they see and one they don’t makes great sense.
It has often been said that there are no rules in a gun fight. Not true! The first rule of gun fighting is “have a gun”. If you do not have a gun, do not come to a gun fight. Just having a gun on your person when you need it is 90% of the fight. Everything else – caliber, action type, ammunition, even skill at arms is way back in the pack.
You do not ever surrender your personal weapons anywhere, anytime. To do so is to place yourself in the physical power of others whose intentions can never be know to you.
Realistic training is critical for the warrior. Bullets are cheap – training time is not. Make the most of every training opportunity. It’s cheap life insurance!
There are many trainers out there that are only after you money. Take the time to find a good one. Jeff Cooper commented, “As to instruction, most institutions are more interested in student turnover than in student perfection. Only a few Masters are dedicated to excellence.”
“The essential difference between the American Pistol Institute and its numerous imitators is that we are primarily interested in advancing the art, whereas they are primarily interested in turning a dollar.”
Filter all training and techniques with a healthy dose of reality!
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.
“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.” Do you believe there are wolves out there that will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” 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? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the dangerous path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
Do you have what it takes to be a true WARRRIOR?.