Monday, June 16, 2008

Modern-Day Warriors & Words

Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

I had a conversation not long ago with a guy I've known for a while. We shared some more personal experiences this time, however. He told me that while he was deployed to Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, that he shot a clean-shaven man all dressed in white, that was walking rapidly and suspiciously into their camp. He shot him right in the "head", he said. It turned out to be as he suspected: the man was a suicide bomber. His quick actions and good aim saved a lot of people.

I've taught numerous tactical firearms courses. Years ago I developed a course and I've taught those in law enforcement and the military how to identify and stop a suicide bomber. The best place to shoot a suicide bomber is in the head. I usually say, shoot them in the "face." I think that startles a lot of people, even those who carry weapons everyday for a living. It somehow makes killing a little more personal.

We cannot be so dissociated from reality that we fail to keep others safe. Those charged with protecting the innocent have the burden of seeing, knowing and occasionally doing what others don't want to do or don't want to know. Such was the case with my aforementioned friend. His actions disturbed him. If it didn't he would be totally uncivilized.

He told me that the would-be suicide bomber looked at him right in the eyes before he shot him. That means he shot him in the "face". The face or the head -- does it really matter? Yes. I once knew a man who was teaching several special ops guys (myself included). He used the same terminology I use: shoot them in the face. The bureaucrats overseeing the training were so repulsed that all training was stopped for several months.

I guess, the psychology of lyrics and semantics is just as powerful, if not more so, than any suicide bomber walking into a crowded place and blowing up, severing his flesh and sending shards of bone and cutting metals deep into others' bodies. Now that's repulsive.

There are things I wish I didn't know. But if I can shield my children and the majority of my neighbors who really don't understand the real threat some human beings are capable of, then I'll gladly do it. Such is the bane and burden of modern-day warriors.

1 comment:

une Flic said...

great post. That last paragraph really sums it up, for all warriors - soldiers and cops.