The difference between a “Warrior Culture” and a culture of violence

Seen this quote (“A student said to his master:”You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two? The master replied: It is better to be a warrior in a garden then a gardener in a war.” – Unknown) floating around and I thought I would share it too, because it captures something that is missing in today’s society. The goal of a warrior is not war but peace, of one’s mind and one’s life. I have no desire at all to harm another living being, I subscribe deeply to the non-aggression principle. Simply stated it means that force in not an acceptable behavior except when needed in the defence of one’s self. I do not even use force in teaching my students at school. I have laid out my course,materials, and the language I use in such a way that student are encouraged instead of told to go through the work and course. This idea however runs in contradiction to the social narrative being spread through mainstream media and the anti-gun, anti-self defence crowd. The idea that being part of a warrior culture and a culture of violence are the same thing, this could not be more untrue.

A warrior understands the reality of violence, that it ugly, messy, and painful; it is not something to be strived for or idolized. It is a unfortunate and grizzly tool to be used sparingly, quickly, and devastatingly in the defense of yourself and your fellow man (or woman). Violence is a necessary tool to be used under extreme circumstances, not when McDonald’s is out of chicken nuggets. You will be hard pressed to push me to violence, without my family or myself being in danger. This doesn’t mean I don’t get angry about things, or that I wouldn’t like make things happen my way. It means that unless under some very extreme circumstances I will use facts, logic, reason, and yes avoidance to deal with situations. I deplore violence but this doesn’t mean I will not defend myself. Since we must acknowledge that violence may come to use someday it is in our best interest to prepare and train in the tools of violence.

We have a violence problem in this country. Violence and force are overused, glorified, and even deified as the most effective way to get your way. We live in a safe and stable country where the real ravages of violence in not a reality for most of us. In fact most of us have generations of safety behind us, thus no real understanding of violence. I could go on about the systemic issues that this situation has created but I digress for today back to my point. We are constantly seeing people using violence to get their way, and this is not a new problem. I remember when back in the 90’s the thing in LA was killing people to get their Jordans or a flashy coat and still is now that I look it up. The idea to attack or threaten an helpless victim is unconscionable it me, yet we see it everyday in the news. Why is a story for another day and we may never really understand.

Why talk about this today, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Dr. King was a pacifist, he believed that love, tolerance, logic, and yes, pacifism was the way to change our society. However he also knew that this could only be done from a place of strength and relative safety. Dr. King was always surrounded by an armed protection force, and yes the Dr. King owned guns. Dr. King’s ultimate success come after he saw how the armed insurrection of groups like the Black Panthers was not just not helping the cause but actually hurting them. Even today you can find few who find the tactics of the Black Panthers of that time a helpful presence in the civil rights movement. Dr. King used passive resistance to grow public sentiment on his side.

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