Tag Archives: life

random thought

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I think it’s sometimes necessary to separate the “noble intentions” of religion, warrior codes, and so on from their historical application. If our standard is to be that we disregard or throw out any belief system, philosophy or ideal that has skeletons in it’s closet, we may as well all just become bitter cynics and drink the hemlock now. There is nothing that humans haven’t F$@^’ed up once upon a time. What is “noble” about humans is that we still have “faith” in those higher ideals and keep on trying to live up to them.

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a brief history of violence

 

This may seem odd coming from a blog that focuses on martial arts, weaponcraft, warfare and the ilk; but every time I hear the doomsayers sounding the alarm for Armageddon, saying that our times are the “most violent ever” and that our children are not safe to play in the yard I wonder if that is really true. Did our ancestors during the Great Depression and WWII think that the “end” had arrived any more or less than some people seem to believe today? During the Civil War did people believe that “the end of days” had arrived? Are things somehow worse now than they were then?

As a cop you would think that I would be more paranoid, but I think most cops come to the realization fairly quickly that the lions share of violent crime happens to and is perpetrated by a rather narrow segment of society. Yes, random violence can and does happen to innocent people…always has always will…and you cant live in denial of it. However, I believe we place ourselves at a statistically higher risk of early death through our everyday living; driving, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking and myriad other poor lifestyle choices, than we will ever be at risk of homicide, but we don’t live in fear of those mundane things.

Take child abduction. Yes it does happen, yes we should protect our children, BUT stranger abduction/murder is extremely rare. Due to the media frenzy it produces, everybody fears that their child could be next. Its unhealthy. The same thing with school shootings and terrorism. I am in agreement with Col. Grossman when he compares preparation for these events with fire safety. We have all sorts of measures in place for fire safety/survival; building codes, hoses, extinguishers, drills, fire departments etc. but we don’t give ourselves ulcers worrying that the building we are in could burst into flame, even though we know that it could happen and has happened to other people in the past. I believe that preparation for violence should be much the same thing. Plan for it, prepare for it, train for it, take steps to avoid it, but don’t live in fear of it or let it make your life miserable.

The video above is of one Mr. Steven Pinker, a prominent Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and author of popular science. Pinker is known for his wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. Mr. Pinker’s speech offers hope and bit of perspective regarding just how “violent” our current society is in relation to human history. It turns out that “the good old days” were never as good as we thought they were.

Of course I also agree with his opinion about my chosen profession.

Adjudication by an armed authority appears to be the most effective general violence-reduction technique yet invented. Though we debate whether tweaks in criminal policy, such as executing murderers versus locking them up for life, can reduce violence by a few percentage points, there can be no debate on the massive effects of having a criminal justice system as opposed to living in anarchy. The shockingly high homicide rates of pre-state societies, with 10 to 60 per cent of the men dying at the hands of other men, provide one kind of evidence. Another is the emergence of a violent culture of honour in just about any corner of the world that is beyond the reach of the law. The inverse is true as well. When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing and petty warfare among gangs, warlords and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and parts of Africa in the 1990s.

finish the day

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays. “
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

that time of year

The air is growing colder, the sky is growing greyer and the change of the season is something that can be felt all around, like the coming of rain. Something that has always marked the change of the year to me has been the beginning of deer season. As a child I remember my father, grandfathers and uncles going off to hunt. It always signaled the start of the holiday season to me back then, shortly after opening day came Thanksgiving, then Christmas and the New Year. Then snow was something looked forward to.

When I was old enough to hunt it was back when my grandfathers were alive. Opening day was a ceremonial event, remembered for the gathering of my father, my grandfather, my uncles, my friends and their brothers and fathers. For a while even my sister participated. Opening day was a valid excuse to be absent from school in my hometown. The hunting was enjoyable, but the real memories were in the gathering around the thermos cups of coffee and telling tales of the big ones that got away, the hunts of years gone bye and the family legends and tales that we all have.

As the years have gone by, the grandfathers have passed away and the friends have moved away or moved along. For a number of years it was just my father and I. Now, after his bypass, I have gone out to the woods only a handful of times. While I am blessed with three beautiful daughters, none of them are interested in getting up in the early morning hours and braving the weather and the cold to walk the woods. Last year my partner decided to pick up the shotgun again and we went out a for few days and plan on going again this year. While it is still enjoyable and my partner has become a good friend, in some ways deer season has changed from being a ceremony of community and continuing tradition, to a symbol of the changing of human life.

the things worth believing in

“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love… true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. “