During America’s War of Independence, British officers had not factored-in the accuracy of the average American rifle-owner. Two historical accounts document the importance of training boys with guns. In wartime, they become men with guns. In a letter to Giovanni Fabbroni, June 8, 1778, Thomas Jefferson writes, "I enclose you a list of the killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commencement of hostilities at Lexington in April, 1775, until November, 1777, since which there has been no event of any consequence ... I think that upon the whole it has been about one half the number lost by them, in some instances more, but in others less. This difference is ascribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire; every soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his infancy."
Jefferson’s analysis at War’s end: American boys were twice as accurate as the professional British and mercenary troops. But even so, lethal hits were difficult to achieve. In his memoirs, war veteran John Adlum recounts, "One Continental soldier claimed that 'at least eighty balls were fired for one that took effect,' and often 'but one ball in near three hundred.' In that respect the battle of Bunker Hill was the deadliest battle ever fought up until that time, 'taking into view the quantity of fire or the number of shots that were fired,' since about one ball in every thirty (fired by the patriots) hit the mark.
Every man needs a 72-hour bugout bag. Try to put one together without searching a browser for what to assemble. See what you can gather from around the house as you imagine what life would be like in a barren wilderness for three days. Such a bag used to be called “field equipment” or “kit” – a collection of supplies and tools for wilderness adventure back in the day when every man was an outdoorsman, at least for 72 hour outings. Today you might have to use your kit in a less than enjoyable situation. Like survival. But a bugout bag is not your ultimate survival solution. It's for getting to a survival solution. Along the way, you might be catching a fish, shooting some game, building a fire and protecting your body temperature. What’s in your bag? Here's a comment that predates WWI.
“Field equipment is a most excellent hobby to amuse one during the shut-in season. I know nothing else that so restores the buoyant optimism of youth as overhauling one’s kit and planning trips for the next vacation. Solomon himself knew the heart of man no better than that fine old sportsman who said to me ‘It isn’t the fellow who’s catching lots of fish and shooting plenty of game that’s having the good time: it’s the chap who’s getting ready to do it.’” Horace Kephart, The Book of Camping and Woodcraft (1910)
After Pip steals a porkpie, he admits, “In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
An even greater test of courage is what we do with free speech. As Martin Luther said, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”
Dr. Gary North writes about the three phases of the Spanish Flu: the spring, fall and winter of 1918. The autumn phase was the deadliest. "What if,” North posits, “COVID-19 were to follow the pattern of the Spanish flu? The epidemiologists don't know if it will. We hear an occasional reference to the possibility, but nobody is focusing on it. Everybody is focusing on today. What if the killer phase began next September? What if it began as schools opened? What if it began as the presidential campaign was escalating?”
Answer: If a genocidal phase of the pandemic began in September, the quarantine issue would be even more politicized than it is today, with even louder calls for lockdowns, whether they were medically expedient or not. Lockdowns have not been shown to stop death rates. But lockdowns have served to crash the 2019 Trump economy. The president’s opponents believe the death of the economy will ensure a political victory for the Democratic party and its agenda. Bill Maher actually voiced this sentiment on 8 June, 2018, when he stated, “…I think one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So please, bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or you lose your democracy.”
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
- G. K. Chesterton
When a society breaks down, the first thing to go is order. Because no social community can survive without some form of order, something or someone takes charge, almost overnight. The criminally ambitious usually have the pulse of the community. They are always looking for an opening through which they can take criminal advantage of the unsuspecting. A social collapse is like getting a key to the city. Organized crime cartels or small-time gang lords will have no opposition unless some protectors stand up and get in their way.
It takes both bravery and vision to keep a bad situation from becoming worse. Cool-headed men see the threats place themselves between the threats and the people. The next stage in social recovery is steering the community back to the foundations of peace, constitutional law and justice. Without these, the bad guys cannot be justly restrained, and a free market economy cannot get back on stable ground. With steady, moral leadership, communities and nations can be returned to conditions of order and civility.
History teaches that effective crisis leadership comes not from career politicians, or career bureaucrats, but “out of nowhere.” This truism is a bit of a misnomer. When solid, wise and dependable leaders appear during a crisis, they do not arise from nowhere. Their quiet lives have been marked by steady, ongoing, governance of themselves and their own private affairs for a significant time.
What typically makes them successful is the clear-eyed understanding of what peace on earth looks like, and what freedom looks like. They are familiar with the moral compass because they have been using it for years to orient their own thinking. Their task in reordering things will not be finished until lawless opportunists are driven back into obscurity and powerlessness. When bad men come face-to-face with this kind of moral determination, they recognize the moral authority behind this ambition. It is often at this point they realize they are not willing to pay the price to continue.