Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Psychology Of The Ambush

     This vitally important piece at The Daily Anarchist reveals the central fact about those who go forth to murder en masse:

They expect their victims to be unarmed.

     The tremendous difference between the mortality statistics in mass shootings of unarmed versus armed victims should settle that question forever:

  • When the killer is stopped by police: 14.29 deaths.
  • When the killer is stopped by an armed citizen: 2.23 deaths.

     Note that the cited piece is more than three years old. Ergo, we have no excuse for being at all uncertain about the advantages of an armed society. But I submit that even more important is the psychology of the mass killer: the mindset in which he strides forth to reap innocent lives.

     It’s been military doctrine for quite some time that when ambushed, a unit must immediately attack. The concept has proved sound over many years of military experience. Attacking the ambusher is the approach that best limits casualties and preserves unit coherence. Yet it takes a great deal of training and practice to overcome the natural impulse to seek cover from incoming fire and go on the defensive.

     Our intellects can easily cope with the contradiction. The ambushers have the element of surprise on their side. By carefully choosing the locale and designing the attack, the ambushed unit, in its natural inclination to seek cover, can be herded into a position of tactical disadvantage, if not immediate defeat and annihilation. Only by immediately going on offense can the unit caught in a well-planned ambush seize the best available chance for survival.

     But intellect is not supreme over the inclinations of the body. Immediate survival is the paramount consideration in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The degree of discipline and training required to overcome the run-for-cover impulse is correspondingly great.

     It was an important day indeed when military theorists realized that that impulse can be turned against the ambusher.

     The mass killer with a gun is a classical ambusher. He has the element of surprise on his side. He has the run-for-cover impulse in his favor as well. More and worst of all, he has a reasonable expectation that his fire will not be immediately returned. But should that expectation be defeated by reality, he’s in the deepest of deep shit, for he has entered the situation with the ambusher’s mindset. He’s inherently unready for a counterattack.

     No, not all counterattacks succeed. The elements of surprise and choice of context matter greatly, and they’re always in the ambusher’s favor. But even in the worst of circumstances, the man who refuses to run for cover and plunges headlong into attack has better chances than does he who sees the “turtle tactic” as his only hope.

     As I noted just yesterday, weaponry – who has it, how ready, willing, and able he is to use it, and where he is – makes all the difference. This is equally the case in political combat.

     Among the reasons Donald Trump has been unaffected by the widespread attacks on him is that he remains on the attack himself. He refuses to play defense. Even among his staunchest supporters there are many who don’t endorse all his positions without qualification. They back him anyway, and for excellent reasons:

  • First, because they believe he’s on their side;
  • Second, because he’s exhibiting a rhetorical candor that career politicians habitually eschew;
  • Third, because he contrasts sufficiently with the rest of the Republican field to make it credible that if given the presidency, he will do as he has said.

     Other aspirants to the Republican presidential nomination don’t have all of that going for them. Ted Cruz has it to some degree, yet even the junior Senator from Texas is prone to circumlocutions, qualifying his statements, and couching them in terms calculated not to give offense. At this time, people want to hear anger, even fury, in “their guy’s” voice. They want a Man on Horseback who’ll scream “Charge!” and ride straight toward the enemy’s guns waving his saber overhead. As Mel Gibson’s William Wallace said in Braveheart, men don’t follow titles, they follow courage.

     No single aspect of Trump’s campaign is more important to his current pre-eminence than his display of fearlessness.

     John F. Kennedy, no great shakes as president, won the office by campaigning in a style much like Trump’s: all-out attack. In his first campaign, Ronald Reagan, arguably the best president of the Twentieth Century, did much the same. Before their respective victories, the bien-pensants were inclined to dismiss them. We can observe the same behavior today among the media and the talking heads, with regard to Donald Trump. Whether the initiative is with him or with an adversary, he always attacks.

     It’s a great help to Trump that the political and media elites have squandered their credibility so completely. The Democrats squandered theirs by speaking and acting in defiance of realities we could all see and touch...and in many cases, that could touch us as well. The Republicans squandered theirs by promising many things if we would raise them to power...and then reneging on nearly everything the moment they controlled Congress. The media, of course, squandered theirs by omitting crucial facts from the stories they covered and by refusing to cover so many others. Their lack of credibility is the key to the current popularity of the “outsider” candidacies, most especially that of Donald Trump.

     I still think Trump’s personality is unsuited to the White House. Among other things, you can’t “fire” elected legislators or the potentates of other countries. However, he’s teaching our elites lessons they badly need to learn...that they should have learned long ago.

     The electoral horizon is nearing. Iowa and New Hampshire will tell us much. Stay tuned.


Andy Texan said...

I am willing to see congress and courts dismissed and our president rule by fiat long enough to get the country back on the constitutional path. The constitutional usurpers in the legislature and judiciary command no special protection in my opinion. This is a full out civil war. True constitutional government required a unified polity. Something that has not been seen in many years. There is no feasible way to defeat 99% of the federal government in a one-way commitment to the original meaning of the constitution. The dark side has other intentions which don't include fealty to the original constitution and it is silly for our side to pretend that old fashioned constitution government is still extant or can be imposed through persuasion in the ordinary constitutional sense. A coup d' etat by President
Trump is required. I don't think any of the other candidates (including my favorite Ted Cruz) who can or is willing to act decisively. Whatever the current government is, it is not constitutional in the original sense.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Andy, are you seriously saying that it's necessary to destroy the Constitution in order to save it? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

In Andy's defense, I think what he's saying (and I only think this because he stated it outright) is that there IS NO SAVING the Constitution. There is nothing to save.
It isn't necessary to destroy the Constitution. That job is done. Completed long ago.

To limit oneself to the bounds of the Constitution in order to restore the Constitution is a fool's errand. It is not even "bringing a knife to gunfight"; it is blindly obeying and feeling comforted by a sign that says "Gun Free Zone".

To expect the Constitution to suddenly re-manifest while simultaneously limiting oneself to "playing by the rules" and, at the same time, expecting this outcome via the standard political process and voting is to exhibit a lack of cognitive dissonance at believing 5 or 6 different logically contradictory fantasies at the same time.

I'm really sorry to be the one to tell you this Fran, but the Constitution is no more.

You can't go home again.
You can't have things go back to whatever way it was that you felt comfortable with them.
You can't do it by playing by the rules. You can't do it by breaking them either. You can't do it Andy's way. You can't do it by FOOLING YOURSELF into thinking that the Constitution is still in force in ANY way. You most emphatically cannot do it through the existing political process. You cannot vote it back.

You cannot get it back even by force of arms ..... EVER.


Almost as if it had never existed. And soon, quite soon, down the memory hole it will go.

The rule of law is dead.

The Rule of Law is dead.

The Rule of Law is DEAD.

Why do you insist that it lives?

Anonymous said...

That's a great word, circumlocution, and I have seen a bit of it from Cruz, especially in the last week. I haven't seen any of it from Trump and I've been watching for it(without knowing what it was called, imagine that).

As I've noted before, I'm for Trump because he is directly addressing the nightmare with policies I believe that will give us a chance. And I do believe he will not go DC, he's actually stepping down moving into the WH-HA! And the salary? That's cigar money, so to speak, for him.

While he's said he will repeal ObamaCare, I'm still waiting for something concrete there-otherwise he seems to have handle on solutions and doesn't couch them.

I've been coming here for quite a time Mr Francis and although I'm an infrequent commenter, I do occasionally provide a link to BigFur to run over there as you can get very profound. I saw a reply of yours at Mike's site with a link to one of your books and having been regaled now for some time with your writing chops, I'm going to read the one you linked to.

Anonymous said...


Are you seriously saying that the checks and balances between all branches (but especially the Executive) are functioning today in the way envisioned not only by the Founders but by the Ratifying Generation and subsequent generations up through at least The Hyde Park Charlatan?


Similarly, do you see a viable electoral candidate who can restore "constitutional government" in the sense as was previously understood and accepted through 1933?



JWMJR said...

I think what Andy is saying is that it may be necessary to destroy the political RULING CLASS in order to restore the Constitution. As I have called for him to do, if Trump were to call for strict term limits on the House and Senate he would be swept into office all but unassailable.

Andy Texan said...

Francis, the constitution is defunct (i e separation of powers, limited government, objective judiciary, etc). Only a pretend shell remains which is given lip service. Admittedly even O did that. He could not rule entirely by fiat. I am ready for the next stage whatever it may be. Our side should initiate the transition but it will probably be them. They appear to have the will while we don't.

Tim Turner said...


What we're hoping is that civil-religious-race war doesn't break out yet.

It's easy to see that Obama and the left have undermined the values that many Americans believe in. But it's not (I hope) quite yet time to nuke Mecca.

We're close, I think. Trump speaks to the frustrations and unvoiced hopes of many Americans.

But, unless we're gonna get real down and dirty about race and Islam, I think it's best to use the Constitution and founding principals.

To that end, I'd suggest that we don't yell at each other or our respective candidates. Cruz or Rubio or Trump or Fiorina may be better or worse at some thing or another, but I believe any of them would be better than Hillary or Sanders.

I understand that things are horrendous, with Muslims infiltrating Europe and America. And America's own culture is under attack by blacks, feminists, leftists and others who haven't read the Federalist Papers or taken the time to understand what the world is, or what human passions are.

But the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution ARE a statement for the ages. We owe it to the future to abide by those beliefs.

Jefferson's statement, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots," is FAR more bloody than most people believe. When (if) we attack this political/corporate/statist conglomerate, we'll probably lose much of the comfortable life-style we have now.

Think. And think again. We've BEEN here. Those guys are probably smarter than you are. They made the Constitution and pledged their lives to it.

Reg T said...

The election of a candidate who was not Constitutionally eligible was one of the biggest hits the Constitution has taken since Madison vs Marbury. FDR's attacks on that document, followed by the total perversion of the Interstate Commerce clause to rationalize every restriction or excess that the Executive Office, Congress and the Courts wished for, left the Constitution in tatters. Finally, Obama has pissed all over what is left and turned his back on the urine-soaked remains.

We need to return to being a Constitutional Republic, but we currently are _not_ such an entity. So, while I don't approve of electing a warlord or dictator in the hopes he will return us to our desired state (possible, but certainly not a precedent to set), we may indeed need to ignore the Executive Office, Congress, and SCOTUS in order to achieve our goal. If we attempt to work within a system that is so corrupted that it no longer functions Constitutionally, we might as well stay home and play tiddly-winks. The three branches of government are so pus-filled and cankerous with liberal elites that they will never willingly permit us to return to what this country was meant to be and once - briefly - was.

As so many have said before, I don't think we will be able to vote our way out of this. I don't think the system will permit anyone other than a Jeb or a Lindsey or a Hillary to be elected. The "one party with two names" will not allow the system to be used to defeat itself. And that's if Obama doesn't start a race war or religious war through a false-flag incident in order to extend his stay at the helm of this floundering ship of state.

By all means, vote for Trump and/or Cruz. I probably will. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

So, yes - I agree with what I believe is Andy's intent, if not necessarily his method.

Reg T said...

BTW, that was supposed to be "foundering ship of state". Don't want to mix my metaphors any more than I have to.