Friday, December 28, 2012

Bravery by any other name...

Sometimes we get lessons free on a plate.
Even when we least expect it.
And sometimes that lesson comes from a very sad place indeed.

The Sandy Hook massacre really touched the rest of the world. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are, what you are, when you hear a story like this one, you can't help but feel something.

Especially at a time like this.

Losing a child has been described as the worst thing that can happen to a human being.

One doesn't need to be a parent to 'get' this.

It was never going to be 'routine' to have to bury your own child.

The lesson I learned from this tragic event in our recent history is surprisingly nothing to do with the gun debate. As a Brit, I come from a country that is not as 'gun friendly' as America.
But I actually now live in a country with the same gun laws as America. Except there is nowhere near the litany of tragedies that America has, over in Switzerland. It may not be the about the guns per se...

No, the lesson I learned is that there are many more good people around than we think.

I am therefore really proud that I never forget the (minority) of good women still around, despite my dismay with the greater majority who are not up to scratch (which includes myself, of course).

When there are stories about brave men who protect women to the extent that they sometimes lose their lives in the process, we are awed and respectful of these men.
Stories circulate on Manosphere blogs about how courageous they are.
I agree wholeheartedly. These men show us all their glory and honour, even in death.

But one thing puzzles me with these stories.

Not by any means a universal phenomenon, but I notice some men use these stories as a way to chastise women in a sweeeping manner.

"See? We men protect you lasses. You are not worth protecting anymore. In any case, you wouldn't protect me in a similar situation..."

A woman was never meant to protect a man in a physical sense. There are many other ways a woman can be of use to a man. Yes, women are not being what they should be to men these days. I know that. But the accusation that women would not seek to protect a man in a physically dangerous situation is tantamount to a woman berating a man for not wanting to give birth.
It does not make sense.

The Sandy Hook teachers demonstrated to me the natural order of things.

Men protect women.
Women protect children.

Not to say that there are no exceptions to this rule. Occasionally, one hears of a woman saving a man's life, or a 5 year old boy saving his diabetic mother's life by calling an ambulance when she slips into a coma...

I am pretty sure that not all of those six brave teachers who died last week were mothers.
But they still did the maternal thing.

Those of them who were mothers did not stop to think about their own children, but those children who were under their care in the here and now. Those kids became their kids in that fateful moment of danger.
At least two of these teachers were found with their bodies shielding at least one child from the rain of bullets that hailed around them.

Those women were just as brave as the men who risk their lives for others in high profile as well as low profile cases.

In all humility, these people, irrespective of gender who perform these heroic acts deserve our utmost respect. Whether it is because they are 'doing their job' or just volunteering their services when it is called for without thinking twice, it is still bravery.

I would just hope that I would do the same if called upon to do so.
But of course, I will never know until I am in that situation...

There is no argument that men are the physical 'pillars of strength' that protect all of society. This is one good reason every man deserves respect. Just for being a man. (I mean this).

But let us not forget the women who are just as courageous and will not shirk from protecting those more vulnerable/weaker than them.

And let us not forget the good women who continue to inspire men to be men, without demanding anything or defining their masculinity for them. But simply by virtue of retaining their femininity.

The long hard climb out of the cesspit will not be possible without these women.


Unknown said...

"Women protect children."

The only way those women could have protected those children is if they had a firearm. They ended up with holes in them and the children.

Good intentions don't mean anything.

dannyfrom504 said...

guy had mental issues. i have no idea why mom (who LEGALLY purchased the guns) didn't have them locked up.

if i know i have an unstable kid, i've NEVER make a gun available to him/her.

from the time i was 5-6 i was CONSTATLY told to never point at something i didn't intend to shoot and to NEVER point a weapon at a person unless they were threatening you. it's def more of a southern thing.

but that kid was def unhinged. i'm starting to notice the correlation between the same boys that are medicated throughout their early years snap when they go off on their own and quit taking the meds.


i've read articles that postulate younfg boys placed on meds don't mentally develope properly. and they never learn to harness and quell that "male aggression" that men have.

Unknown said...

Every one of those mass shooters has been on psychiatric "medication." I call them murder/suicide pills.

The drug companies have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits because of the thousands of cases of murder/suicide.

Spacetraveller said...


"The only way those women could have protected those children is if they had a firearm....
Good intentions don't mean anything."

Oh Bob, how could you possibly say such a thing :-(

This may sound totally illogical to you (actually, it does to me too) but it is somewhat comforting to think that when the time came for those sweet little kids to depart this world, they were in the arms of people who simply scooped them up in their arms rather than engaged themselves in a gun battle that they may or may not have won.
I sense that by your comment you imply that had the teachers been armed, perhaps no-one may have died. Fair point. But we simply don't know that.

If you are American, I understand where you are coming from. We from outside America just don't 'get' what the Yanks are on about when they talk about the 'right to bear arms'. I am not sure we ever will.
And I watch with great amusement the saga playing out with thousands of Americans wanting (Brit) Piers Morgan out of their country because of his anti-gun attitude :-)

Bob, it was an elementary school. Not a milirtary base in Afghanistan. It seems to me that arming female teachers in an elementary school (remember, these will be perhaps the least gun-friendly of all women!) would simply not work. Perhaps a better idea might be to have armed guards at the school entrance (but I must say, I balk at even this idea).

One pair of the parents of the dead children said that it was indeed a comfort to them that when their child died, he was in the arms of his favourite teacher.

Those teachers and children WERE defenceless, yes. And Adam Lanza (even in his moment of insanity) knew they would be.
But I am not sure the answer is to 'masculinise' this type of woman even if it is for her own protection and that of the young children in her care.
I don't know that this would help any...

Danny (and Bob),

Couldn't agree more. Asperger's (as far as I know) is not a predisposing factor to violent acts. But perhaps any medication used to treat it might have murderous/suicidal side effects, yes. The problem is, it is rare that people like Adam Lanza get to be 'studied' because they usually are under the radar until they do something like this, and then they die, aong with thier victims, at their own hand.

Strange that his mother wasn't more careful with the guns...or perhaps he was able to get his hands on them despite all possible precautions?

An important point you make is that yes, there seems to be an overmedication problem going on in school medicine.
Especially, boys are being medicated out of normal boyhood behaviour. Some have called it 'institutional misandry'. There may be something to these emerging stories, for sure. Masculinity is wildly misunderstood, as the whole world gets more and more feminised, and households with children lack fathers...

Food for thought...

metak said...

NOTHING that mainstream media reported about this massacre checks out. There's so much more in the background, like always.

Everything that's happening right now, was described in the plans that were written decades ago. Masculinity and femininity are not misunderstood. They're both being attacked with surgical precision! Kids are being targeted in so many ways, with vaccines, drugs, food, TV and other gadgets, public education,... ST, why do you think Obama sends his daughters in school that's protected with 11 armed guards? The whole idea of current public education was based on Prussian model that was specifically designed to produce new obedient soldiers and workers.

“The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

― H.L. Mencken

I'll shut up for now, but I will bother you again ST, with my "parenting-tips".

Unknown said...

"Oh Bob, how could you possibly say such a thing :-("

I had five or six black teenagers surround me on the street one time. When they found my pistol pointed at the biggest mouth, they were gone in a flash.

I also met the mother of two girls who were gang-raped and murdered. None, of course, had so much as a .22 pistol. Even a .22 derringer would have saved their lives. Just point it at the leader and the rest fall line,

By the way, I am not a fan of female teachers. I went to a college that was the biggest producers of teachers in a very large state, and I never met a smart one. I wouldn't want them teaching my kids.

"Gun-free zone" means "Come in and shoot me."

Women should be taught to use firearms as little girls. I had girlfriend one time whose father was an Army vet and he taught her to shoot. She really enjoyed it.

dannyfrom504 said...

my sister shoots (louisiana girl ftw) and i take my mom to the range whenever i go home.

PVW said...

Hi, ST, I hope you had a merry Christmas. Happy new year!

ST: But I am not sure the answer is to 'masculinise' this type of woman....(through use of guns)

Me: Now this is interesting; In the US, I don't get the impression that women who shoot guns are seen as masculinized...

In certain parts of the country and in certain subcultures, like Dannyfrom504 mentioned, shooting guns is a natural part of life for both men and women.

My New England relatives grew up around guns, using them for hunting and for recreation, ie., target practice. I've joined them on occasion; it is quite a lot of fun!

Others in the South grew up in rural areas where they had to deal with wild animals and so forth; no one walked outside without a gun.

Spacetraveller said...


"ST, why do you think Obama sends his daughters in school that's protected with 11 armed guards?"

Um...because he is the president of the United States of America and his children are therefore prime targets?

Is this not a reasonable answer?

More parenting tips, please, Metak!
Please share - they are gold!


I hear ya.
I was going to counter-argue with you: Yes but what if one of those boys was also carrying a gun - perhaps you wouldn't be here to tell us all this tale...

But actually, that would be crass... The underlying issue (which of course I was not going to disclose but which you seem to be forcing me to, lol) is that women in general like the idea of being protected by a man, but won't take on the task of protecting themselves, certainly not with a gun, whose only function is to kill.
Won't touch it...

Um, primary school teachers are smart enough for their jobs, Bob!
Sure, they may not be Einsteins, but do we need an Einstein to teach a 5 year old??

PVW (Yes thank you! Hope yours was super too) and Danny,

For sure this is a cultural issue. But I daresay, the scenario you describe, PVW, is only 'normal' because of the environment, eg. rural? near where wild animals are to be found? for a sport that requires shooting?
I would seriously question whether these women carry guns with the intention of actually using them to kill human beings even if it becomes necessary...

You see, I think it is much more dangerous for a woman to be pointing a gun at someone and not actually shoot it than if she were completely defenceless.

The smell of fear can be detected very easily. In that case it doesn't help if you are carrying a gun, because the person at the other end knows you don't have the bottle to pull the trigger. Plus if they do manage to overpower and kill you, they can always argue self-defence because you were carrying a gun.
Can lead to all kinds of legal loopholes...

Unknown said...

"I was going to counter-argue with you: Yes but what if one of those boys was also carrying a gun - perhaps you wouldn't be here to tell us all this tale..."

Maybe he did, but I was faster than he was. In a situation like that, you NEVER hesitate.

I had a cigarette in my mouth. He asked for a cigarette; I told him I didn't have one; he asked for the one in my mouth, and the pistol came out. No hesitation. None.

There is a John Wayne move called "The Shootist." When asked why he always won, he answered: "I never hesitate."

Hesitation is what gets people killed.

Spacetraveller said...


"Hesitation is what gets people killed."

Oh yes.

This is the disdvantage most women would have. We would hesitate.
And that would be fatal.

Don't arm the teachers at elementary schools, America!

(OK, I zip it now. We Brits cannot get involved in your gun debate...).

Unknown said...

I live in a state that has open carry: you can carry a handgun on your hip.

I was at a local restaurant today and a young woman, who appeared to be in her early 20s, was carrying a semi-automatic pistol in a holster on her right hip. It appeared to be a .380.

No one said a word on even looked at her.

Handguns in the U.S. were originally called "equalizers," since it made the smallest, weakest woman the equal of the biggest, strongest man.

metak said...

What I was trying to say, was that only the children of the 'elite' are in well protected schools. They don't care about the other children.

It's amazing to me, how resilient kids are, in spite of everything that's being thrown at them... With parents that home-school their kids, parents that don't vaccinate or drug their kids, etc., there's a hope.

Unknown said...

"What I was trying to say, was that only the children of the 'elite' are in well protected school"

That is true. They go to schools with armed guards; the live in gated communities with armed guards; they have armed bodyguards.

Yet the peasants are supposed to go to "public" schools that are supposed to be "gun-free zones," which means (and I repeat) "Come in and shoot me."

Of course politicians are going to say their children are targets. As if other children aren't.

PVW said...


You see, I think it is much more dangerous for a woman to be pointing a gun at someone and not actually shoot it than if she were completely defenceless.

The smell of fear can be detected very easily. In that case it doesn't help if you are carrying a gun, because the person at the other end knows you don't have the bottle to pull the trigger. Plus if they do manage to overpower and kill you, they can always argue self-defence because you were carrying a gun.
Can lead to all kinds of legal loopholes...

Me: This is why I have always admired stories of women who evince a certain level of competence and courage in circumstances like those.

Does that masculinize? Make them less feminine? Courage and competence are not values exclusively held by men, in my view.

From the arcane--female snipers in World War II who racked up a fair number of kills to the more mundane (within a certain subculture of American society), the story of a young widow from Oklahoma who protected herself and her child from intruders. Her husband had been terminally ill; before he died, he taught her how to operate firearms.

The miscreants thought there might be drugs in the house, ie., from his illness (painkillerss are big on the black market) and sought to break in. She called 911 and told them what was happening. The operator told her to do what she had to do, as the police would not get to her in time.

She barricaded herself in the house, putting up a couch in front of the door. As the intruder broke in, she shot him dead, I believe....

Spacetraveller said...

Bob and PVW,

I hear you.

I have thought about this issue more deeply now.

I think I am going to withdraw from it.
A combination of personal and cultural constraints prevent me from 'going there'.

I understand what you say, i.e. in certain situations a gun is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
I get that.

I really do.

However it may have been possible, I wish those poor kids in that school could have been saved somehow. As indeed all those killed accidentally or intentionally by guns all over the world.

Hope you don't mind if I leave it there. But thank you indeed for your comments on this issue, because I would never have been made to think about this.
And believe me, it is a topic I need to consider carefully. I live in a country with 'liberal' gun laws too.
One day, the reality of America may well be mine.
So I hope you believe me when I say I don't see this as a matter to be brushed aside.
But...alas, I am ill-equipped to continue in my current state of relative ignorance :-(
You may of course carry on between yourselves, but I bow out...



The lives of the rst of us are not quite as valuable as the 'elite'.
There we are...

flirtyintrovert said...

I am a 20-something American woman who enjoys target and trap shooting. I am also a schoolteacher.

After hearing the news, I thought a lot about how I would respond in such situation. I thought about the layout of my classroom and the campus, about what I could do with a chair, or scissors, or a fire extinguisher.

But I fantasized as well as planned. In my mind, I shot the sonofabitch over and over. Sad that the fantasy would be so much easier to carry out than the reality. I weigh 120 pounds and have matchsticks for wrists. It's unlikely that I could ever jump, stab, or bludgeon an attacker.

At the same time, I'm not a cop. If teachers had guns, a few kids would try to steal them, or a careless error would lead to an accident. School massacres are statistically very rare, and a few unintentional shootings would probably replace the few prevented murders. On the other hand, the psychological value of feeling defended against random psychos might be worth it.

Bob Wallace, though: while you are technically correct, you are missing the point. I often catch Manospherians stating, bizarrely, that women are incapable of self-sacrificing love. "Women will never love men with the same love men have for them," etc. Spacetraveller is pointing out that good men and women both instinctively protect those who are weaker than them. Some of the teachers failed, yes. And some of them succeeded. Either way, it absolutely matters that these women put the lives of the children before their own. It's called "duty," and you can't have civilization without it.

flirtyintrovert said...

More to Bob Wallace:

I do absolutely agree with you that women should be taught to shoot (as I was at the age of 11), and I like your line about "equalizers"! My petite grandmother once leveled a pistol at a man who tried to get into her house at night while my grandfather was away, and he ran off like a scared bunny rabbit. Ah, sweet firepower! :)

Inquiring minds want to know: do you favor arming female teachers, or are we too dim-witted for that? Just curious.

Unknown said...

"do you favor arming female teachers"

I think the police should be disarmed and all citizens carry firearms. Crime would drop by 90%.

In the not-so-distant past, there were shooting clubs at American schools (which include women) and boys rifles in their trucks and cars while parked at the schools.

The more guns the less crime.

I bought my first firearm (a .22 single-shot rifle) when I was 12. I have never shot anyone; neither did my friends.

PVW said...

@Flirtyintrovert: In my gun safety class of about a week ago, the instructor told us that in some states, the legislatures/governor's office are authorizing teachers to carry weapons. Whether this happened before the shootings or because of it, I'm not sure. I believe he mentioned Ohio and Texas.

Spacetraveller said...


Good to hear from you!

Your comment is well taken. Being a schoolteacher, you are undoubtedly close to the recent events...
Thanks for chiming in.