As we learn more about the actions taken by those inside Sandy Hook elementary last Friday there is the tenancy of some to lionize the action of some. I will not disparage the instinct to some such as Principal Dawn Hochsprung. or teachers like Mary Sheriach, Victoria Soto and Lauren Rousseau. They are being remembered for their actions to save the lives of other though sacrifice. As a Marine I was indoctrinated into the nobility of self-sacrifice during the Crucible. I will never forget the words of my Senior Drill Instructor (Then) Staff Sergeant Sequiros. :We are going teach each one of you how to win the Metal of Honor.” he then through a rock in front of my squad. There was a moment of hesitation before we started a dog pile to cover the impromptu grenade with out bodies to save the lives of our fellow recruits. This scene was repeated again and again over the next 72 hours. Also during that ordeal we were called to attention repeatedly to be read the citations of long dead Marines and Sailors who had sacrificed their lives for others.
During my time in the Corps we read about the exploits of Marines such as (Then) First Sergeant Bradly A. Kasal who was awarded the Navy cross for his heroic action to save members of his company. He took action and was in the end recognized for this. For years this man has been trained and groomed to react to preserve the lives of his fellow Marines no matter the cost. recently another Marine Sergeant t Rafael Peralta will also receive the Navy Cross for his actions. Sargent Pertalta threw his body onto an enemy grenade and save the lives of other Marines in his squad. again this is a conditioned response to a threat.
By chargin into a room with blatant disregard for his own safety 1stSgt Kasal killed the men slaughtering his Marines and himself was severely wounded, Sgt. Paralta gave his live so that the Marines of his Squad could continue the fight. In each case the sacrifice was of a tactical nature, the same is true with the selfless actions of Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart who held back a city and save the life of Michael Durant. In each case there was some for of tactical, violent action to ensure survival and an attempt to mitigate and/or repel the onslaught.
So far I have talked about Marines, Soldiers and teachers and heroism. What is different about the sacrifice of men like 1stSgt Kasal and Sgt. Pertalta and the teachers of Sandy Hook? The difference is that the actions and sacrifice of these men made a difference in the fight, allowing for the other members of the unit to regroup and conclude the hostile actions. While noble the actions of the the faculty and staff of Sandy Hook did not have this effect. Sadly none of these educators had any background in how to handle a situation such as they encountered. None of them had ever been placed in a high stress situation where their lives would be at risk, or a situation that would even approximate these stressful situations. They acted with valor but none the less their action fruitless.
Very few Americans have the ability to assess a dynamic-violent situation, the magnitude of Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, Columbine, Kent State and keep their perspective and think soundly and tactically. The cocktail of neuro-chemicals that are dumped into the bloodstream as out primal defense mechanism facilitate fight or flight and do little to imbue us with the ability to withstand the impact of a 115gr hollow point bullet unless he have inoculated ourselves against this.
Teachers are selected based on their nonviolent tendencies and even temperament not there willingness to act in the face of danger and internal call to action. What if just one of these teachers had been able to form a cogent plan of attack to defend their students? What if there Principal Hochsprung had used a concealed approach to close the distance between her and the man murdering her students? This is Monday morning quarterbacking but this is looking at things from a different angle than just putting guns in class rooms and the type of thing that can be done without years of debate and millions of dollars in bureaucracy. In a weekend the seed of prudent action can be planed in the mind of almost anyone.
I have talked about the some of the underlying problems with our culture and society in the past but today I want to ask a very deep question to all of my listeners and the readers of this post.
Where has the metal that made men like Dan Daily, Gary Gordon, Randy Shughart, Salvatore Giunta, Dakota Meyer, Robert Miller, Michael Murphy, Jason Dunham, Paul Smith, Michael Monsoor, Jared Monti, Leroy Petry and Women like Mary Walker, Beatrice MacDonald, Helen McClelland, Lillian Murphy, Monica Brown, Leigh Ann Hester gone?
Why is it that none of the name’s you just read do not appear in our high school history books and why is it that we do not cultivate a society that teaches what the proper action can save lives and made a real difference.