March 11, 2010

Deep Beats a Warrior's Heart

I just finished reading What the Media Missed posted by Rob Banerjee. It describes a US Marine encounter with terrorist insurgents in Shewan, Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day. I found one statement in the enclosed article particularly moving, the significance of which, most who have not seen combat will fail to grasp:

“I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

There are sure to be those who question the actions of this outstanding young Marine – even going so far as to brand him some type of insensitive killing machine. They will be in error. Which bring me to the subject of this post.

I was once confronted in a newsgroup by an avid gun control proponent who raised the example of retired Marine, John Lovell, as reason to keep guns out of the hands of private citizens. Mr. Lovell foiled an armed robbery attempt, killing one perpetrator, and seriously wounding his partner in crime. 

The criminal's families were outraged, branding Lovell a vigilante. Family Of Subway Robbery Suspect Says Customer Shouldn't Have Pulled Trigger There were some in group who sided with the families. One poster even suggested that former combat troops be segregated for the “safety of society in general.”
The following was my reply:

Lost is the impact of that encounter on John Lovell. The article states Lovell is a retired Marine. Given his age of 71, I am guessing he started his military service in the mid to late 1950s. That would place him in uniform, and in harm's way, during U.S. Military activities in Indo-China and Southeast Asia. John Lovell is a warrior.
Warriors experience things that would make most polite society wretch in revulsion. Once separated, they long to distance themselves from those horrors, attempting to live their lives as unobtrusively as possible. They seldom discuss their military days except in general, usually amusing, anecdotes unrelated to their actual time in combat. If they do share, it is done almost exclusively one-to-one with a fellow warrior. This most often happens in some quiet corner of the VFW, where their terrible secret is safe from an unsuspecting civilian populace.
What is this burden they bear? What do they strive to protect? Fear. That most primal emotion roils just below the surface. This is not a normal everyday fear, such as fear of the dark, or fear of heights. They fear themselves. They know what they are capable of doing – what they can become. They struggle to subdue this anima lest that demon break free to cry, “Havoc!” Most warriors, in a moment of candor, will admit to taking a quiet, personal pledge upon removing their uniforms that final time: “I will never take another human life.”
Despite the protestations of the would-be robbers' families, John Lovell is no vigilante. Rather, he is a man whose training and instinct surfaced to save his life and that of the innocent employee. The actions of Donicio Arrindell and Fredrick Gadson forced Lovell to let slip his dogs of war.
Did Arrindell and Gadson get what they deserved?
Perhaps not by civilian standards where robbery is a less than capital crime. However, they placed Lovell in a situation with no alternative but to break that silent warrior's vow. For that unforgivable offense, the exacted price can be very steep.

I urge all to contemplate the finest and bravest our country has to offer. Honor the sacrifices they willingly make for our security. Let them live in a peace they have earned.

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