This week's Newsletter brings up a hard topic to discuss.
We as defenders, the "good guys" if you will, are always at a significant disadvantage against the criminal or terrorist threat. You see, we don't stand for the killing or harming of innocent people. That means that when it happens, we're stunned for a moment, which a terrible place to be during combat.
But that's why we train. Why we subject ourselves to the abuse of defensive lessons. Why we strive to have the fangs of a sheepdog. But even with all of our preparation, you must understand that the human predator is far more violent, diabolical and ruthless than you assume. What is revolting to you may be normal for the violent wolf; yet when you come into violent contact with the wolf, you must be ready to be MORE vicious than he is.
Why do I bring this up? I saw this article on a news aggregator on Tuesday. Journalists reported on Facebook's moderation center in Berlin, Germany, where they encountered the people whose job is to review and delete inappropriate or illegal posts.
These moderators scour Facebook, seeking out the most lurid, horrible, and vile content imaginable to delete it, suspend the user, or reroute that user to local law enforcement for further investigation.
These moderators have literally seen it all. Beheadings, torture, child pornography, animal abuse, racism, criminality... the list goes on. Most chilling of all is the story the moderators tell about themselves. When beginning the job, these moderators were horrified by what they were seeing, crying and becoming ill at the sight, but soon they become completely desensitized to the content. From the article: “I personally did not have much faith in humankind beforehand, and now I virtually do not have any.”
What does this mean for us as defenders?
First, you must come to terms with the fact that there are people around you who are truly evil and it does not bother them in the slightest to harm themselves, you, or anyone else.
Remember, these moderators aren't reviewing the nether regions of the "Dark Web" that we hear about in the news, this is Facebook. This is mainstream. Sociopathy and other mental illness is way more common that we would like to admit.
Second, you must be ready to flip the switch of the "Justified Sociopath" when that moment of defense comes. I get the term Justified Sociopath from Ernest Emerson, the maker of Emerson Knives and a friend of SMT. He means that when you engage a threat at the defense of your life, you must become a sociopath for the next 90 seconds. If someone threatens your life, you can't tread lightly and hope they back off. If you hope to survive, you need to engage them with at least as much brutality as they're using on you.
This doesn't mean that you increase your overall level of violence. For example, think of an MMA fighter. Up against an opponent in the octagon, he becomes vicious as he fights to win. But otherwise, he needs to be calm and controlled. That includes after the bell sounds and the fight is done; when training (if he wants his training partners to come back again, that is); and when in public. Through training, you too can become better prepared to turn on the intensity when it's truly necessary, and leave it off when it's not.
Finally, it is crucial to work on our own humanity. Like the Facebook moderators who are immersed in evil images all day, we can become desensitized to the violence as we cultivate the ability to defend ourselves. That means we must also fill our lives with light, kindness, and goodness. This might be done through faith, meditation, service to others, spending time in nature, being among friends, or watching cute YouTube videos of kittens. For some people it might mean seeking professional help, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is hard to be a sheepdog in a world of sheep.
The sheep do not understand why the sheepdog would think about those dark places. Why would they want to have those fangs, knowing that fangs can bite and cause harm?
But what the sheep don't understand is this: We must do anything, even be MORE VIOLENT than the evil itself, to defend what we love. Or else the wolves will always win.
While SMT has everything you need to develop the firearm skills of an elite defender, you may also want to develop your physical self-defense skills.
Target Focused Training offers an online course called Defeating Weapon Attacks that's a fantastic place to begin your journey. They go straight to the good stuff so you get started strong.
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