Peace Through Strength
Late one night I was woken by screams outside my bedroom window and it took several seconds to realize they weren’t human. Animals were struggling violently, but I didn’t know what kind and I still don’t. I got up and peered through the screen into the darkness, but I couldn’t see anything except movement. They were screams fear, panic, and pain as the fight moved into the woods on the other side of the road. After a minute or so, it ended and I went back to bed wondering what had happened. The next morning, I saw smears of blood on the road and leading into the woods where ferns were trampled. There were no tracks I could discern, and no remains. Either the victim got away, or it was killed and eaten somewhere deeper into the woods.
Months later, a couple of young thugs tried to invade the house across the street about fifty yards from where the animals had been fighting. One said later under interrogation that they intended to kill the elderly couple living there and take their vehicle for a joy ride. They had knocked on the door, demanded keys at gunpoint, cut the telephone wires, and then fled after the man slammed the door on them and they heard him yell: “Get the gun!” to his wife. They were arrested later for attempted home invasion and conspiracy to commit murder, and sentenced to prison.
Most people are harmless and many are kind, but we mustn’t forget there are predators everywhere - always have been - and the human variety is the most dangerous. Thank God these two young men happened to be stupid predators or my elderly neighbors would have died. Ever since, I’ve kept a loaded pistol within reach and encouraged my wife to learn to shoot with it. I’ve always had rifles and a shotgun around, but they’re bulky and not well suited to handle something like a home invasion. People have to be ready to defend themselves because police can’t be everywhere.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” as Thomas Jefferson said, and that applies to us as individuals as well as nations. Our freedom and our very existence depend on readiness to fight whenever necessary. What troubles me lately is that most Americans seem to have forgotten this, if they ever knew it. Our country has changed. We’ve elected a President and a Congress who believe it’s possible to discuss our way out of any potential conflict. They believe criminal predators among us are victims of poverty, poor childhoods, severe toilet training, or whatever, and that police and the courts should be the only ones to deal with them and citizens should be disarmed. They apply similar skewed logic to international relations, believing the United States has oppressed other countries and that’s why they hate us and attack us. They think that if we just make nice, conflict can be avoided.
They place more confidence in United Nations resolutions than the United States military, and the human predators out there in the wide world know this very well. They don’t understand that we must be strong and ready to fight at all times, and if we are, it’s less likely that we’ll have to do so. However, our president goes around the world apologizing for our past use of force and promising to set limits on how we’ll use it in the future. Our military wants to pass out medals for not shooting the enemy instead of killing them. We still have by far the strongest military the world has ever known but we seem to lack the will to use it, and our enemies sense that. Violent conflict therefore becomes more likely, rather than less.
Should these trends continue, we’ll have to again learn the hard way that weakness, real or perceived, is a bigger threat to peace and freedom than strength.