(courtesy rodalena.com)

Yesterday, we published newcomer Rhonda Little’s post Gun People and the Jagged Marble. Ms. Little admitted her aversion to firearms but thanked concealed carriers for helping keep people safe. A soldier made the jump to Rhonda’s blog rodalena.com and left the following comment for the author. Ms. Little agreed to republishing it here. “I think he should be thanked by as many people as possible,” Rhonda emailed. As do I.

Ma’am, I’d like to take a moment to say thank you. I read your article “Gun People and the Jagged Marble,” and I was blown away (pun very much intended!). I am a “gun person,” and to hear someone admit that they don’t like guns, but hold no animosity toward those of us who carry legally, was the perfect pick-me-up today. But you didn’t stop there. You thanked us for being willing to do something that most aren’t. I can’t begin to express to you how much your thanks mean to me and, no doubt, to others like me. I am an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army . . .

My job description is, literally, to “close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver in order to destroy or capture him.” It is my job to bring violent death to the enemies of my nation, and you are absolutely correct in your assessment that I do not like violence. Quite the opposite, I hate it. War is my job, but it is not my passion. It is, as you say, a heavy burden that I would happily lay down if I could. Violence, especially armed conflict, should be used only after all other options have been exhausted.

In my spare time, I am also an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. I have talked with so many people who hear that 3-letter acronym, and assume that I teach 9-year old girls to play, unsupervised, with fully-automatic weapons. Nothing is further from the truth. I train the people you speak of. I train those who are willing to use controlled violence in order to prevent a greater loss of life.

People’s views on violence can be broken down into two broad categories: Those who hear of a violent act, and say “Thank God that nobody I know was there;” and those who, in the same circumstances, say “If ONLY I had been there, I could have done something.” I train that second group. They are instinctively willing to engage in violence to protect complete strangers and, even if they never have to use the skills I give them, their willingness makes them heroes.

I understand your dislike of guns. They aren’t for everyone, and that’s fine! I applaud your honest and frank self-assessment. What I want to thank you for, more than anything, is not projecting your fears onto me, and those like me. The pervasive argument is “I don’t trust myself around guns, so you shouldn’t have them either.” Someone who doesn’t want to take my guns away, in order to make themselves feel safer, is worth taking the time to praise.

I want to live in the world of which you spoke. I want to send my kids out to play, and not give a thought to their abduction. I want to live in a world where the things that masquerade as men, and call themselves ISIS, do not exist. Again, you are correct in saying that there is no such world. I live on the jagged marble. I live in a world of violence and fear and evil in all its myriad forms.

For that reason, I am willing to engage in violence myself. I want you to build your marble. I want you to build the world that all sane people want. I am willing to fight back against those who would not let you live in peace. I am willing to fight against those who would keep you afraid. When you are done; when there is peace and plenty, and the thought of gun violence has become unconscionable; people like me will be the first to lay down our guns, and rest from our constant vigilance.

Until then, your understanding of why we do what we do, and your willingness to let us do it in spite of your own fears, means the world to us.

So, again, thank you.

42 Responses to A Soldier Responds to Rhonda Little’s Gun People and the Jagged Marble

  1. I read this response to my post at my desk-a cubicle in an open office area-yesterday while I was working. It was all I could do to keep the tears from falling. This man is a quiet hero, and I hope he sees this post, and a flood of gratitude, today.

    • This is a terrific letter. Thanks for sharing it Rhonda.
      An awful lot of us share that sentiment.
      Semper Fidelis.
      Semper Paratus.

    • Rhonda, I just want Ta say thank you for the honesty and acceptance of differing viewpoints that your post displayed. It gave me some semblance of hope that people are waking up as to what the 2nd amendment really means.

      I also want to say thank you again for sharing this response. It is a wonderful thing that both of you have expressed. I hope more people can find this kind of common ground, and we can build from there together

      • Todd,

        Thanks. It’s been a wonderful experience being able to share my small thoughts here. (Robert, thank you again for posting my piece: I’m humbled that you did.)

        But, truly, it’s men like Jesse who should be lauded and men like him on whom our focus and gratitude should be given.

        Thank you again, Jesse. You’re one helluva a quality human being.

  2. Yeah all but the part about laying down arms if peace is achieved… I understand what he is trying to say but still there is shooting just for fun and carrying a gun with you everywhere because you never know when a feral dog will try and chomp you.

    • Fear not, my friend. Based upon my 13 years of law enforcement experience, peace will not ever be achieved by the will of man. I certainly can’t recall a time of peace in the Middle East, and I can barely remember when the US was not at war.

      Besides, I’d still keep my hunting guns such as my revolvers, bolt guns, lever guns, shotguns, and my AR-15s. And I might as well keep my semi auto handguns for shooting competitions. YMMV.

    • We have identified the turd in the punch bowl! A post like this should have nothing but positive comments below it. This soldier took his time I reply to someone to whom he was grateful. Thank you, Jesse.

  3. While I understand this Officer’s sentiment, I will also disagree with his statement about laying down my arms for peace. Maybe it’s the cynical side of me that wouldn’t fall for a (potentially) false sense of peace. Complacency kills. Both history and the study of human nature have taught me that true peace is an ideal–something to strive for even if we don’t actually reach it. Perhaps, in time, we can come close. Meanwhile, those who read and post here will continue to train and prepare–for whatever may cross our paths. “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell
    Semper Fidelis

    • +1 +[every military strategist recorded by history].

      Carl Von Clausewitz in “On War” wrote [paraphrased] “Peace should only be sought, and should only be relied upon when it is absolutely certain that the other side will never resort to violence” (with the understanding that would mean never) TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012.

      Per Rappaport’s translation: “If when Political objects are unimportant, motives weak, the excitement of forces small, a cautious commander tries in all kinds of ways, without great crises and bloody solutions, to
      twist himself skillfully into peace through the characteristic weakness of his enemy in the field and in the cabinet, we have no right to find fault with him, if the premise on which he acts are well founded and justified by success; still we must require him to remember that he only travels on forbidden tracks, where the God of War may surprise him; that he ought always to keep his eye on the enemy, in order that he may not have to defend himself with a dress rapier if the enemy takes u p a sharp sword”. (Clausewitz, “On War” pg. 137)

      “…While Clausewitz was obviously addressing the idea of conflict between varying levels of
      participants, the author here wishes the reader to recognize the fact that when the overall idea
      of conflict is reduced to its absolute simplicity, YOU (the reader) are “the commander.” ” TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 202, pg. 26.

      If our Uncle handed you a weapon and you used it in a place that didn’t fly our flag [or if our Uncle ever handed you a weapon] you might feel as I do, and as those who served with me (expressed that they) do, and that is “If I have served, you (as American Citizen Civilians) have served, we are all in this together and you cannot put a force afield without having an equal or greater force at-home, and one that can withstand a compete reversal of fronts”. Thank you for YOUR service, because without it there would not be an America to come home to. Live with that, and quit the mushy-head sh_t, it’s dangerous.

      • Live with that, and quit the mushy-head sh_t, it’s dangerous.

        Idealism is the the primary motivator for much of what this nation was founded upon. Without an idealistic approach to life (read as: liberty) secession from England would never have happened, the colonies would not have existed as independent states, and we would all still be subjects.

        While I don’t entirely disagree with the meat of the statement I quoted, I fear you’ve equated idealism with naivete. I am an idealist, but I am one of the most cynical individuals you’ll ever meet. The perfect world and existence isn’t possible where man is present. Some of us know that but believe that a morally grounded society can achieve the next closest thing.

        • Motivations are for diaries.

          “…[S]ociety’s armistice is not peace; it is the reduction of conflict to an illimitably sustainable level. The record, for cessation of hostilities, is contained in laws, at times supported by documentation [3]. The reason for armistice, however, is not. The reason is only contained within the individual parties.The future and posterity are often drivers for a society. However, an individual’s reason is the reason, the expression of which is only a compilation of approximates [4]. Yet, no man, interested in the fate of a society, should assume that a society is either a resignation of will to the other party or the removal of the obligation to throw it down [move to unsustainable conflict] [5] [6].” TERMS, J.M. Thomas R., 2012, pgs 20-21.

        • That’s right, I’ve dealt with you specifically in the past. I’m pretty convinced you’re a troll.

  4. Amen. It was great to read her article and admittance of not liking guns but being thankful to those that do stand up to tyranny and evil that exists all around us – soldier or citizen.

    It’s even greater to read your response. Thank you sir for what you and all those wearing our nations uniform past, present and future do to maintain the Freedoms we are blessed with in this nation because of men like you and those that take our right to carry as a step to protect and defend our loved ones and communities or those in peril, at home and abroad.

  5. I don’t know the soldier who wrote this but he is my brother just as I am his. I had the very same thing in my heart about the young lady that wrote the original post. She’s not only got common sense but has her heart in the right place and is courageous. I’m PROUD of that and proud of her!

  6. I don’t know if I speak for all who have served and have been in harm’s way, but as one I thank you both for your eloquence and your courage to publish your thoughts.

  7. Two exceptionally wise and gracious posts, bookends if you will, that describe a wide “middle” of the American “culture” today, more “common-sense” than one might imagine if you only got your news from the StateRunMedia, and certainly never so well-said, by any Journolista, as by these two citizen-writers.

    Damn, I am proud to be an American.

    Thanks TTAG, again, for platforming this, in the ‘clean, well-lit space” here (Hemingway).

    Thanks again, Jesse, for your service.

  8. As a former cold war airman I can relate to the willingness and, yes for some of us, a desire to practice and be prepared for the worst. At the same time we pray for peace. I can appreciate the original posters point of view. I have several friends that do not believe in guns for protection but do not look down at me for having them. We are still friends and out of respect for their viewpoint we do not discuss that topic. I believe that one should be prepared to counter acts of violence by all means available. I and a lot of others in Texas see that to mean firearms. It could just as easily be a crossbow if that is all you have, or a club. human nature instills in us a fight or flight response. The sheep of this world would rather flee that face danger. Those that choose to stand and defend whether on the front lines in the military or on the streets back here at home can and do make a difference every day. To them I say Thank You! I have and will continue to stand with you.

  9. We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.

    “Those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.”
    – – george orwell, notes on nationalism

    “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it.” – Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men)

  10. Well stated. Not everyone is a wolf, a sheep, or a sheepdog. Not everyone wants a gun. Not everyone wants to responsibility of being a sheepdog. Not anyone can be a sheepdog.

    But this is a middle ground we all can live with.

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