I will address two questions 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.
There are several security issues that will concern us going forward. Food security may become a serious threat to communities, and the disillusionment of our young people may have the most profound implications for the future. However, the most unpredictable danger will be the unstable individual or group approaching from outside.
Whether unexpected visitors might be mentally unstable or motivated by dogmatic ideologies, or simply be in desperate need, will 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, communicating clearly with them, while summoning fellow community members for assistance.
In my view, we will 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.
Gracious 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 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 seek conflict management and other defensive and peace-making skills. It would be wise 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.
It is important that our conscious purpose should not only be safety and survival, but also to build the principles we care about into our future.
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 potential for danger must never be forgotten.
Meeting 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 dangers 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 we need not fear them.
Each of us is wounded in some way.
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; healing requires grace; rebuilding the foundations requires vision.
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.
A note to readers: You can support this blog and book project by suggesting that your friends and associates take a look. And, please watch for the next post on or about May 17: “First Principles”.