I will address two considerations involving the potential use of force in defending ourselves. The first is related to the security of our families and communities, the topic of recent blog posts. The second relates to our ultimate purpose, the effective means by which the foundations of the American Republic can be secured and strengthened.
I will consider the first in this post and the second in the coming weeks.
I have mentioned several security issues that will concern us if the current deterioration of the economy and social order continues. While food security may be the most likely serious threat to a community, the most unpredictable danger will be the unstable individual or group approaching from outside.
Whether unexpected visitors might be psychopathic, motivated by religious or political ideology, or simply in a state of desperate need, may not be immediately apparent.
We would do well to deal with visitors in a respectful and humane manner, while remaining cautious and defensive. The potential danger is real. We must respond judiciously and communicate clearly, while summoning fellow community members for assistance.
In my view, we would also do well to remain sensitive to any positive value that might be presenting itself. New faces will sometimes come to us with good character and valuable skills.
Graceful hospitality will always set the right tone, even if a visit needs to be kept brief. Some of us have better verbal skills than others, or possess more disarming personalities. Others may have weapons training or know martial arts.
An effective set of tools is offered by Target Focus Training (TFT), which includes physical skills for personal defense against lethal weapons.
If we keep weapons in the home we must manage them with utmost care. Any weapon is an ever-present liability when kept in close proximity to our families. Emotions can run high when we experience hardship. As we all know, a gun can easily kill a loved one, even without an external threat.
In addition to first aid training, which is essential, each of us can gain conflict management and other defensive skills, both verbal and combative. We would be well-advised to prepare ourselves well in advance. A list of self-determined guidelines and personal thresholds for action can be memorized in preparation for the unexpected.
To the extent possible, our conscious purpose should not only include safety and survival, but also the ultimate concern for which we are living.
Courage is a priceless virtue. Not the courage to fight, but the courage to care. It takes a brave heart to make peace, but compassion must be buttressed by backbone.
Women sometimes embrace this balance with natural equanimity, but the presence of danger must never be forgotten.
Approaching difficult encounters with a positive attitude is an ability that can save lives. This can make the difference between friendship and enmity, between collaboration and catastrophe.
We have entered a long crisis. People are coming unhinged. We will often encounter the walking-wounded, and danger will not always be obvious.
We will meet good people who have lost hope or are grieving deeply. They may appear abrupt or angry at first. We may not be sure who or what they are, but will soon come to realize that we need not fear them.
Each of us is wounded in some way.
I think most of us understand that this is not about being nice or even socially responsible. This is about treating one another with mutual respect as Americans. It is about reconstructing the United States as the kind of country we want to live in – one soul at a time.
It all comes down to purpose: Security requires preparedness; rebuilding the foundations requires grace.
We cannot afford to live in a state of siege behind walls that isolate us and appear hostile to others. To give in to fear and retreat into defensive enclaves of survivalists would be to admit defeat.
Let us rather win over the confused, heal the wounded, and welcome the returning prodigal friend. This is the true path to security.
Mature leadership greets each day with an open heart and an inclusive vision.
Next week: A Severe Choice