I’ve been hanging out with TTAG writer Jon Wayne Taylor. Let me tell you, it’s a trip. Driving to the airport with my 11-year-old daughter in the back of the car, Mr. Taylor held forth on the aftermath of motorcycle accidents (“what hits the ground stays on the ground”), acceptable firearms reliability (yesterday’s question of the day) and the relative unimportance of the survival instinct in a gunfight. Huh? “You know that sheepdog post you put up?” Jon asked. “Yes,” I replied sheepishly, remembering my semi…OK unsuccessful struggle for coherence. “You know that bit you wrote about three armed guys entering the restaurant . . .
“You said you should act like a sheep. Do what you’re told. Wait for a chance to counterattack.”
Before I could defend the concept in song (“you got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”), Jonathan presented an alternative view.
“My goal would be to immediately destroy the bad guys.”
“No matter what happened to you? Even if you weren’t likely to take them all out?”
“No matter what,” he replied with the kind of certainty that must have kept members of the Taliban awake at night. “You seem to think survival is the most important thing. It isn’t.”
“I’m a single father without a safety net,” I said. “My daughter needs me. When she’s older, it might be a different story.”
[Notice the word “might.” When you’re talking to someone who’s survived numerous life-or-death armed conflicts – and you haven’t – it’s best to offer any opinions about your response to a lethal threat as nothing more than a theoretic construct.]
“She’s 11,” Jonathan pointed out. “She’s all set.”
This led to a conversation about the Jesuit’s motto (“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”), Spartan training for prepubescent boys (something gruesome about their 10 percent washout/death rate) and Jon’s two-week childhood “camping” expeditions (where he was left to fend for himself in the woods, without any camping gear, at the age of eight, and enjoyed every minute).
Not to put too fine a point on it, the conversation left me feeling like a pussy (as I often do around Jon), even though he constantly reminds me that his advice may not apply to anyone but himself. There was one thing we agreed on, later, after my daughter was safe at home, after Jon floored my CLS 550 on the Capital of Texas Highway, as the traffic light turned yellow…when we were already ambling along at 100 miles per hour — hesitation kills.
“Identify the target, attack the target, reassess,” Jon advised. “Wash, rinse, repeat.”
I’m not sure one should engage every target regardless of the chances of success. But I’m completely down with the idea of going all in when you do engage. In the few [non-lethal] fights I’ve had, I’ve realized that ambition. And I’ve taught my girls to fight with all their might the instant someone tries to rape, injure or kidnap them (Heaven forfend).
It’s that moment of hesitation where you can lose it all. The woman in the video didn’t hesitate. When she attacked, she really went for it, charging the kidnapper with speed, surprise and violence of action.
Again, if you’re going to attack, attack as quickly and decisively and violently as possible. Does it work? I wouldn’t have Jon Wayne Taylor for a friend if it didn’t. We are friends, right? God I hope so. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate.