Mr. and Mrs. Smith and son (courtesy cnn.com)

I understand why the friends and relatives of people gunned down by cold-blooded murderers would want to forgive the criminals who stole their loved one’s life. It’s Stockholm Syndrome. The survivors spend so much time thinking about the murderers that they develop an intimate relationship with them, which turns to sympathy. After all, love is the flip side of hate. Hate someone enough and it turns to a kind of love. You might say it’s perverted. And I would agree. But there it is. Well, here it is [via cnn.com]: “Ronnie Smith, 33, was a chemistry teacher from Austin, Texas, who was working for more than a year in the International School Benghazi when four unidentified assailants in a black Jeep fatally shot him December 5 . . .

“I just envision the black Jeep driving up to him and I don’t know their faces. I just want them to know that God loves them and can forgive them for this,” Anita Smith tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview.

Emotion broke her voice as she spoke.

“I don’t know them. That’s how I honestly feel. It may sound crazy. It’s God’s spirit that’s putting this inside me,” she added.

I’m no Biblical scholar, but I reckon that depends on whether you’re into the Old or New Testament. Speaking of which, judge not lest ye be judged. More to the point, the whole post-mortem misegos could have been avoided if Mr. Smith had not gone jogging in a Libyan city famous for . . . wait for it . . . murdering Americans.

Alternatively, Mr. Smith may—I repeat may—have emerged from his encounter alive had he been packing heat. Perhaps not the mouse gun that jogger and Texas Governor Rick Perry used to dispatch a coyote. Something a little more effective. Can you jog with a full-auto M4?

Anyway, if you can’t or won’t avoid doing stupid things in stupid places with stupid people, bring as much gun as you can. That is all. Other than R.I.P. Mr. Smith, and our condolences to his family. And best of luck to the Libyan security forces in tracking down his killers and executing them.

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69 Responses to It Should Have Been a Defensive Gun Use: Benghazi Edition

  1. Avoid risky situations when possible.Be aware of your surroundings.Be ready to defend yourself at all times.

    People feel the need to pretend rape,torture,and murder do not occur or atleast not in their immediate circle.

    Ignoring the criminal will not stop them from targeting you.Kind of like a gun free zone will not deter a killer from entering with a gun.

    • I disagree that Mrs. Smith´s reaction is a sign of the Stockholm syndrome.
      It is a sign of complete helplessness in view of a tragic situation and the desire to actively control it.

      Some of the very few measures to exercise active control is quite often forgiving the perpetrator/s. By doing so dependents and family members of the victim/s usually feel much better and are able to deal with the incident more “easily”.
      There are not many other things they can do.

      Sad enough…

      • Also remember that holding a grudge really does nothing to your enemy and weighs you down considerably. Forgiving is as much a way of releasing yourself from the destructive hatred as anything else.

        • It also allows the bad guys to get away. Once you forgive you move on. Allowing Gods forgiveness is a way to numb the pain and justify things.

      • Interesting article and it hit’s home for myself and Christmas as my adult daughter was brutally murdered and missing over the holidays back in 2006.

        As a Christian I must struggle with every emotion involving every thing form really wanting to hate someone for the crime but unable to justify it because of my beliefs. I completely disagree with the theory of hate turning to love.

        You wake up with it. Go to bed with it. Avoid crowds and family gatherings because it hurts to just see happy interactions of the family unit. Mine was destroyed.

        Isn’t this why we have a Justice System? To remove the responsibility of revenge from the individual? Isn’t much of the system designed to relieve the individual from the need for revenge? That might be part of the intent, but it doesn’t always work that way.

        “If I am to ask for forgiveness when I am judged then I will be asked why I had not forgiven?”

        Every human being is a complicated set of emotions only throttled by morals and decency. In this article and in my response you see only a very very small snippet of how the thought process deals with such loss. I can tell you her emotions run the complete circle from hate and love every moment of her existence. She chooses that Love will win!

        • She chooses that Love will win!

          Condolences on your loss. At least nothing can erase all the time you did have.

          I’m just catching up on a lot of older articles I missed, but your comment that I quoted really struck home. That is all any of us can do, and all we really need to do.

  2. My initial impression is that it’s not cool to disparage someone who lost their spouse as being afflicted with Stockholm syndrome. Is it not possible she is simply practicing her faith and forgiving the murderers, so as to not let them continue to harm her through her own vengeance and bitterness?

    • Yes….it is called grace. It is the only hope that this poor woman has for healing and living her life.

      I understand what RF was saying, but he got it wrong with such a generalization.

      • It’s what Christ said; I’m paraphrasing, but he said to love your neighbor is relatively easy; but to love your enemy does true glory unto G-d.

        He also said that the road to hell is wide and the road to heaven is narrow. When the common statements I read here of hate and vengeace towards the killers and disparaging comments towards a woman attempting to live by G-ds commandments to forgive her enemies; then it is obvious what Christ meant.

    • This. Forgiveness like this is a miracle, and it’s one that’s surprisingly common. It doesn’t fit at all with Stockholm syndrome.

      I’m actually pretty shocked, RF, that with as much as the POTG go on about not spewing unfounded BS that you’d go out on a limb and deliberately mischaracterize this person’s distinctly Christlike attitude.

  3. Yes, of course condolences to the family of the departed. And while not exactly Stockholm. the wife is practicing the best parts of her faith and saving herself from years of emotional anguish by forgiving these evil men.

    BUT, WTF was this guy thinking? Stupid place? Check! Violent, anti-American population with assault rifles? Check!! Stupid activity (given the circumstances)? Check!!!

    What mindset did this guy go to this country with? Did he forget where he was? I hate to say that he asked for it but damn! He asked for it.

    • Nick Berg, anyone?

      Edit – actually, upon reflection, I don’t know what this guy’s motives were so that’s probably not a fair comparison. Berg went into Iraq trying to make a quick buck by capitalizing on the lack of infrastructure. That does not seem to have been the case here. If he was a teacher he could very well have been motivated by mission rather than money.

      Still, talk about an unwise decision…

  4. This isn’t Stockholm Syndrome. This is someone who is religious being religious.

    I don’t drink religion myself, but more power to her.

  5. Hate is not the opposite of love. They are very closely related emotions. The opposite of love is complete indifference. That is not mine, I just don’t know who to give the credit to.

    • “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

      Elie Wiesel

      Hungarian Jew, survivor, author, etc. Very interesting, and quotable, man.

  6. A micro uzi would have been a great jogging partner that day, or perhaps a vz scorpion, fn p90, or glock 18. That’s assuming he could legally pack a sub gun, which would literally be the only thing that could possibly persuade me to live in such an ass backwards place.

  7. In the Bible, and everywhere else, the opposite of love is fear. You can love and hate something at the same time. But perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18

  8. Opposite of love is hate, opposite of passion is apathy.

    Bill Russell was popular for saying the opposite of love is apathy but that was just to guard against being called the asshole that he was. He was personally a very cold person with very little relationships outside of a very close group of people.

    The writer of this article seems to be projecting a lot of his own internal failings on this woman. Quite frankly she is just practicing her believe in loving the sinner but hating the sin and simply forgiving and moving on and not letting hate destroy here. I applause her because that is very hard to do and I hope she is able to move on from this incident.

    I’ve heard conflicting reports on her husband though, if he was in fact working with the CIA, can’t really say he was truly innocent.

  9. Christ said he was here to teach two things; love G-d with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor and your enemy as your self.

    Which doesn’t mean that I would no more hesitate to put down a rabid dog than I would hesitate to defend loved ones, neighbors or myself from a rabid religious or ideological fanatic.

    I just don’t have to hate someone that is being a human predator, just eliminate the threat and G-d will take care of the rest.

  10. I’ve run into a few civilian contractors in “high threat” environments who think that it can’t happen to them. I’m never surprised when it does.

    I understand the family is upset, and the departed may have been a great guy, but talk about a predictable outcome…

  11. Yes, I can positively say you can jog with an M4, or an M16 if you prefer to go old school. That brings back some wonderful memories!

    You can run with it at the ready, above your head, held straight out in front of you, slung (but that doesn’t burn many extra calories), while doing military presses, while doing curls, and I am sure after fifteen years I have forgotten some of the other interesting ways I learned to run with a rifle.

    Anyone else?

  12. Guess I’m an oddball. Someone murders any of my family and if I didn’t get to him first I’d ask if I could through the switch. No mercy here unless they take out my mother in law. I’d buy the guy a good Bourbon before his lights out.

  13. Even my ex-wives wouldn’t love my murderers. And that’s true even though I don’t pay alimony.

    I’m not saying that she should hate those murdering scumbags, but love them? Really? I understand that the poor woman needs to do something to help herself cope, but still . . . .

    She’s right. It does sound crazy.

  14. This is the second post in as many days, where our Jewish correspondent has slagged on Christianity. I wonder how he or his tribesman would react had they read similar thoughts regarding judaism?

  15. Between the crappy pop ups that freeze my ipad and the cheap shot Christian bashing , I’m thinking of not visiting any more.

  16. Not with a full auto, but you can certainly jog with a select fire one. Bad for neighbor relations and makes Stop and Frisk a little redundant though.

    In all seriousness though, I suspect it is part devout Christian and part psychological damages. While I offer my sympathies to his family, he went to a dangerous place and did a dangerous thing alone around dangerous people.

  17. My guess is she is a regular Cooper fan. Maybe that’s the only way to get on Anderson Cooper, by saying something like that. I don’t watch the show but I doubt he would let spew the usual TTAG attitudes.
    All I would have is hate for the murderous bastards. Wouldn’t let a loved one go there to jog either.

  18. “I just really want them to know that I do love them and I forgive them, and Ronnie would want this, and I hope and pray that our son, Hosea, would believe this,” she said.

    This is the most important quote from the article and it’s missing in the post.

    • Yeah, we’d certainly love the people that killed any of our dads. Maybe we could have them over for dinner and cocktails.

    • Love your enemy. It’s like putting out some decoys before the ducks fly over or using a wounded-rabbit call to bring in the coyote. When they get close enough? BAM.

  19. There are very few foreign countries to which I would consider traveling … maybe Germany, Canada, and Czech Rebublic or whatever they call themselves these days. Other than that, no thanks.

    • There are a couple hundred countries out there depending on the latest count. It’s not hard to find a statistically safe place.

  20. That’s not Stockholm Syndrome, unless you’re broadening its definitions so much as to mean almost anything.

    That said, I’m not sure where the complaints of “Christian-bashing” are coming from, so maybe I missed part of the article somehow.

    • Christian bashing probably comes from the writer calling the woman mentally unstable for saying a pretty common christian philosophy of loving your enemies.

        • Crusades were political, not religious events.
          No different than the issue in Ireland, it isn’t really about Catholic vs. Protestant it is about politics and political power.

          Seeing that you have opted to go the ignorant route in your reasoning though, I think that our discussion will most likely go no where.

          I say this as a agnostic.

        • So calling it “political” sanitizes it? Interesting. But I don’t think that Jesus would agree.

        • General Boykin got it. Schwarzkopf got it. What’s so difficult about understanding the concept “love your enemy”? You wouldn’t want a murderous person to sin again if you loved him. If you can’t get him into a jail the options are few. Save him from sin if he’s declared war on you and yours. Toast him. WWJD? OK, WWJDIHHAG (If He Had a Glock).

        • Were the crusades and Inquisition so different than the annihilation of the Canaanites, means to practical and spiritual ends, the two inseparable? The pope abandoned his armies when they could no longer be victorious. Temple Judaism became rabbinical Judaism when they could no longer hold a country. The US will give up militarily-supported trade and currency hegemony when or if it goes broke buying off poor voters and bomb builders at home.

          If RF wants to say “Mrs. Smith should want to knee-cap the Ansar al Sharia b@stards and finish up with some slow knife work” he could just come out and say it. She won’t say it. It would be bad form for a lady.

        • It is always all political. Power and riches. Religion is just another the way to sell it to population. PR and marketing.

      • Straw man argument. The two presented statements are not remotely analogous. Last I checked religion does not try to control firearms.

        Care to explain how accusing a woman of stockholm syndrome has any meaningful bearing on guns?

    • Click on the ” about us” tab at the top of the page: this is what it says,”Robert Farago founded The Truth About Guns in February of 2010 to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.”

      This is the mission statement for this site; so talking about politics, morality, ethics ect is perfectly acceptable here in relation to self-defense; if you want nothing but guns; this not the site for you.

      • Their beef with RF is not that he discussed morals related to self-defense, but morals related to love/forgiveness.
        The only way this article seems to relate to guns is that the woman, who’s thoughts/behaviors we/RF discussed, had a loved one who was killed by someone using a gun (and that a possible defensive situation may have occurred.)

        RF gave some violence avoiding tips, and recommended carrying an M4 (not that that’s a bad idea). Other than that, the post doesn’t seem gun related.

  21. RF, I can appreciate what you’re trying to convey in this post, but my gut reaction is just bad form. I, for one, won’t be standing over your corpse declaring “it should’ve been a defensive gun use.” Sometimes your prose can cross lines and this appears to be one of those instances.

  22. I’ve got an incredible idea….. STAY THE F*CK OUTTA LIBYA……its a sh!thole that will never change just like the rest of the middle east. Next time one of your buddies says ” hey man lets go to Libya, it will be awesome!” stay home and stretch your d!ckhole over a cactus….

  23. It is not Stockholm syndrome nor is she mentally deficient. Nor is her position uniquely Christian. Many religions and non-religious spiritual beliefs embrace acceptance such as hers. When she says that she loves the men that murdered her husband I sincerely doubt it is the emotional love that most people are only aware of, nor do I doubt that if there ware any hope of bringing those people to justice that she would pass it up and merely let them go free, rather that she is accepting it so that she may move on rather than spend the rest of her life living and reliving those moments. It is a human condition called adaptation and whether you want to call it a gift from God or an evolutionary necessity or both it exists. Revenge killing actually does little or nothing for the hurt ego that did it. Service towards your fellow Soldier, family members, community, etc. is where people are what they need to be when they need to be it and comes with far fewer consequences than just killing because you are “hurt.”

  24. I just want them to know that God loves them and can forgive them for this,” Anita Smith tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper…

    I think the killers, Answer al Sharia, believe that god does love them, and need not forgive them but rather has promoted them for their holy war on infidels, reserving for them special favors both on earth and in Paradise. From their point of view Mrs. Smith is confused about god’s plan for his creation, and the love of an infidel is of no worth.

    It is certainly an error to call Smith’s attitude Stockholm Syndrome. She was not a captive of Answar al Sharia. She doesn’t fit within the definition.

    Religion is not simple, and Anita Smith is entitled to her view. For all we know, her devout protestations are part of her own cover story. Or not. We should not pretend we know her. For all we know she loves her enemy as General Boykin was wont to, and once within revolver distance would kill him, to save his sole from further mortal sin.

  25. To those who are wondering about my claims of Christian bashing, yesterday’s opining about Mr. Robertson

    “It’s certainly not the kind of language I’d expect from a “true Christian”; was written in that article, I wonder how the author would feel if I stated my expectations of a
    “True Jew”

    And then we have him equating a heartfelt expression of this woman’s faith with “Stockholm syndrome”.

    Well which is Mr. Farago’s idea of “true Christianity” ?
    The one where the duck guy is not forgiving enough and doesn’t go on about gays being Gods creatures too, or, the one where this woman evinces those feelings of “true Christianity” that the duck guy lacks and has “Stockholm Syndrome”?

  26. If the guy was married with a kid and left both to teach over there, he was a missionary, and he thought he was doing good up until the moment he died, and he probably thought he was going to a better place when he died.

    Not what I believe, but at least he had a good heart. A dead heart, but still good.

  27. There was never a time when God did not posses the capacity for mercy & wrath.

    Psalms 130

    1. A Song of Ascents. Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD.

    2. Lord, hear my voice!
    Let Your ears be attentive
    To the voice of my supplications.

    3. If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?

    4. But there is forgiveness with You,
    That You may be feared.

    5. I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
    And in His word do I hope.

    6. My soul waits for the Lord
    More than the watchmen for the morning;
    Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

    7. O Israel, hope in the LORD;
    For with the LORD there is lovingkindness,
    And with Him is abundant redemption.

    8. And He will redeem Israel
    From all his iniquities.

  28. “I understand why … It’s Stockholm Syndrome.”
    No you don’t.
    No it isn’t.

    “After all, love is the flip side of hate.”
    No it isn’t.

    … etc.

    Robert, I mean no offense, but keeping the scope of your comments to guns and gun-related information would please readers and maybe even get more readers.

    While I’m whining, please try to address/summarize the topic of the posting within the first sentence, or at least the first paragraph. I’m not referring to this post, but others have nothing of substance (or at least unveiled, clear, non-figurative substance) before the break. I’m not against creativity in writing, but for the sake of the website, keep it as simple as possible, but not too simple.

    (Yes, I know he is free to write as he wills. I’m just giving him my opinion, not pointing a gun at his head.)

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