I started this as a comment to his post but it became too long so I’ll do it as a post and link him here.
I agree with the basic premise…most “mall ninjas” are having delusions of grandeur when they talk about how much butt THEY would have kicked had THEY been there.
However, there is a big difference between Virginia Tech and the situations Les’ examples found themselves in. When you have a reasonable belief that, as long as you cooperate, the worst thing that will happen is that you will be relieved of your belongings I can understand not entertaining the idea of risking your life. But in a situation where the perpetrator is obviously and deliberately killing as many people as possible…when your best possibility for survival is to DO SOMETHING rather than lie on the floor and wait for the bullet…well, I don’t think the situations are comparable.
The human survival instinct is strong; the primal urge to do whatever you can to make sure that it’s the other poor sucker that gets shot instead of you is VERY hard to resist. That’s why they call the people who resist that instinct “heros”. They are unusual, superlative, better than the other 99.9%. We give them medals and write news stories about them. We erect statues and monuments in their honor and recount their tales of glory for time immemorial.
But even with that said, I think there is some credibility to the argument about the wussification of the American Male. The entire idea that “violence is never the answer” is a violation of the laws of nature. Sometimes violence is the ONLY answer…but our kids have been indoctrinated to disbelieve this truism from the earliest ages. We have basically brainwashed the “fight” option out of the natural “fight or flight” instinct.
And sometimes, that gets people killed.
Saying that those students lacked the most important self-defense tool known to man or beast…the combat mindset…is not a condemnation of the students: they did what they had been trained to do…and the majority of us would do exactly the same. It is a condemnation of the society that would consign entire generations to entrusting their survival to the good will and mercy of the very creatures who possess neither good will nor mercy.
I would like to believe that I would have done something brave and heroic had I been in that situation. I believe that, sometimes, violence IS the answer. But I was raised in a different era than the students that were in those classrooms. And, even with all my good intentions…we never REALLY know how we’ll react to a situation until we are actually there. I’ve been in enough sticky situations to truly believe that I’d be able to make a stand and do something…but you never really know until it (God forbid) actually happens.
The kids at Virginia Tech did nothing wrong. The military has an apothegm: “You fight the way you train.” That is exactly what those students did and there is no shame in it. They followed the instructions and training that they had received all their lives.
You fight the way you train…and if you lose…you should probably re-evaluate your training.