Friday, April 20, 2007

Getting in on the Conversation

Over at the Dailygut, they’ve been discussing an article wrote by Mark Steyn where he called the student in the VT shooting less than men for not confronting the psyCho killer. I wanted to comment over there but they have this ridiculous comment length limit and I need spell check to make sure I don’t look like too much of an idiot.

I would like to go on record now and call Mr. Steyn a fool for stating that the students in the VT classroom were less than “men” and that they were more than children. I’ll explain the more than children statement first. All though I’m sure that most of the students were of legal age to be considered adults, I doubt that any of them had enough life experience to be called such. Age has little to do with the ability to act as an adult. What’s more is that experience that they lacked probably would have caused them to act differently. Those students had yet to live a life that wasn’t sheltered by teachers and parents. They were not on their own and the toughest decision they ever had to make was whether they were going to buy real food or get the ramen noodles and beer instead. To be able to react under a stressful situation, one most go through stressful situations and be forced to make a decision during that stress. I’m not talking about whether or not to study for a final. Nor am I talking about whether to cut the red wire or the blue wire. I’m talking about the type of stress that one is subjected to during training such as military, police, fireman, martial arts, or other activities that require decision making during times of stress. The one thing that you will hear a lot when some one interviews a hero is that they relied heavily on past training or experiences. These children did not have enough time in their lives to experience that. Yes at 19, I was more of an adult than these “children”. I had already gone through Army basic training, Airborne School, and Ranger Indoctrination Program. The largest portions of these training programs were to give you the ability to make decisions under high stress. This training gives you something to rely on when the “flight or fight” instinct kicks in.

The less than men part is particular egregious. No where in any of the combat training I’ve had, has anyone instructed me to rush an armed opponent if an avenue of escape was available. Some of you might say that there was no avenue of escape for some of these students, but I say in that split second when you realize you can’t run there is now zero opportunity to close the gap to the opponent and dispatch him before he shoots you. (It’s still not known whether people died trying to rush him or not.) If you wonder why a few students didn’t try to take him in a team effort, ask yourself how well you can get a few people to work as a team on something they’ve never done before when you have no time to plan or coordinate? The truth is even an experienced team of soldiers might not have been able to accomplish disarming an armed assailant without weapons. Actually, having been a trained soldier my first trained instinct when shots ring out is to get on the ground. Doesn’t sound very brave, does it?

4 Comments:

At 3:01 PM, Blogger a4g said...

Well said, D-Phat.

It's comforting to know that guys like you were willing to run and hide for our country. (I kid...)

 
At 6:10 AM, Blogger Dr. Phat Tony said...

Funny you shoud say that. Being in a 6 man team means that if you make contact with the enemy your first step is to break contact (retreat) and then evade and escape.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger a4g said...

Hey, just so long as the ultimate objective is a good ol' fashioned American ass-whuppin', who cares how you get there.

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger Nightcrawler said...

Actually, the sentiment of your post was where the phrase "Discretion is the better part of valor" comes from. How much courage must it have taken for some of those students to lay there while their classmates were being slaughtered and play dead in the slim hope that they might have survived? When every fiber of your being is screaming at you to put as much distance between you and the threat in as little time as possible, some of those students had the presence of mind to lie perfectly still and not move a muscle.

I'm guessing that those who think the students should have rushed the psycho were inspired by the actions of those brave members of Flight 93. The difference is, those people were adults who had time to weigh their options, they knew there was no possibility of survival and they didn't have to make the decision in an instant. The two situations are as different as night and day.

 

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