Quote of the Day: Rising to the occasion

“It seems to me the future of the world depends on the persistence of this sort of heroic virtue. I would guess terrorist attacks are foiled much more often by the extraordinary courage of ordinary people than by the sophisticated security state we’ve created to try to stop them.”  – Ben Kleinerman 

Ben is a fraternity brother of mine from Kenyon College and an Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy at Michigan State University. He posted the above quote to his FaceBook page Saturday, about 24 hours before Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds’ latest USA Today piece which makes much the same point.

There is a saying that it isn’t the caliber of weapon that is important, rather the caliber of the individual who is wielding it that is important. In the case of the 3 Americans (and apparently 1 Brit) who foiled the attempted terrorist attack on the Paris to Amsterdam train, it was purely their caliber as individuals that mattered. They were completely unarmed, yet managed to take down an alleged Jihadi with a pistol, rifle, and box cutter. 


From USA Today:

“As Skarlatos recounted in a Sky News interview from his hotel in Arras, northern France: “I just looked over at Spencer and said, ‘Let’s go!’ Spencer got to the guy first, grabbed the guy by the neck, and I grabbed the handgun, got the handgun away from the guy and threw it. Then I grabbed the AK (assault rifle), which was at his feet, and started muzzle thumping him in the head with it.”

Stone was cut by the attacker behind his neck, and his thumb was nearly sliced off as the man was wrestled to the ground by the Americans. Sadler said: “The gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times.” He added that the attacker “never said a word.”

To Americans who remember Sept. 11, 2001, this kind of response even down to the “let’s go” echoes the story of Todd Beamer and the passengers of Flight 93. It’s the right response, of course, to terrorists who threaten innocents.”

CCW enthusiasts like to refer to themselves as sheepdogs in a world of sheep. Instapundit continues:

“As Brad Todd wrote days after 9/11, it was the response of ordinary Americans on this flight that meant a repeat of the attacks was much less likely: “Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism the most deadly yet invented came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective. … United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. … Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who’d had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction”

Here Dr. Reynolds makes the same point as my friend Ben, the courage and reactions of the people who are first on the scene trump the sluggish, bloated, expensive, and liberty crushing responses of the Governmental bureaucracy to the threat of Islamic Terrorism, or mentally ill spree killers for that matter.

“Meanwhile, the expensive global security establishment failed to stop 9/11, and despite having the French-train gunman flagged as a possible jihadist did nothing to stop this weekend’s attack. And that’s a lesson.

Bureaucracies have their place, but they don’t deal well with diffuse threats such as terrorism. By the time “first responders” get there, it’s usually too late. But there’s one group of “responders” who don’t have to go anywhere, and that’s the group already on the scene. In conventional analysis, and in the terrorists’ hopes, those people are called “victims.” But as the three Americans on that French train demonstrated, victimhood isn’t the only response.

And there’s more. The purpose of terror is to terrorize. But responding appropriately has the opposite effect. The response of British businessman Chris Norman, who helped subdue the attacker, illustrates this: “Norman said his first reaction was to hide,” The Fiscal Times reported. “But after he saw the Americans fighting the attacker, he said he went to help them.”

Of course the New York Times is reporting that the TSA wants to increase their level of security theater for Amtrak passengers, further bogging down a terribly inefficient money sink even further into irrelevancy.

Most of us carry knives because we want to be prepared for what contingencies life might throw at us. Our EDC kits are emblematic of this as well. Many of us carry CCWs in addition to our other gear. It is a mentality that it is the citizenry who are responsible for looking out for one another. In the words of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of Scotland Yard:

“The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are the First Responder. It is incumbent on you to be prepared. It is our civic and moral duty to stand up against those that seek to destroy our communities, our Country, or civilization itself.



  1. jlottmc says:

    Well said, all of it. It echoes the very gestalt that I have been trying to teach my wife and daughter. Thank you gentlemen for doing the right thing at the right time, may you inspire many to rise up and fight back.

  2. Sam L. says:

    I liked the bit where “they have been friends since middle school”.

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Quote of the Day: Rising to the occasion

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