In a recent post, I interviewed Paul Markel. The Marine gun guru decried the woeful state of police gunfighting skills, berating the majority of forces for failing to embody the warrior spirit. Some commentators took Mr. Markel to task, suggesting he was advocating [more] recklessly aggressive law enforcement.
Knowing that this was not the case, I asked Mr. Markel to clarify his position on police training and the appropriate use of force (including firearms). Markel took the high road, penning a philosophical treatise on the subject which puts policing into its proper context. It’s an astounding mission statement, which should hang in the locker room of every police force in this country . . .
The true definition of what it means to be a warrior—or possess the warrior mindset— eludes most people. That’s because humans have a natural tendency to define all things by reducing them to the simplest, most easily digestible level. The oversimplified definition of a warrior is merely a fighter, a member of an organized military or fighting force or simply a brute or barbarian. While a warrior might be a fighter or part of a military unit, mere membership does not make one a warrior . . .
A true warrior possesses a mindset or an ethos that guides his daily action in all things, not just conflict. A warrior understands and accepts that life is conflict and that overcoming conflict requires effort on his part. This effort may involve a physical confrontation and force of violence. He accepts this and prepares his mind and body for the conflict.
Both the warrior and pacifist desire peace. The warrior desires peace and stability so that his family may grow and prosper and his community may thrive. The warrior realizes that peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of victory over those who would harm his family and destroy his community. He understands that his strength and arms are gifts from God and with these gifts come a solemn responsibility. The warrior does not take this responsibility lightly.
The pacifist sees peace as a lack of conflict or war, but life is conflict and denying this truth does not make it so. When conflict arrives at the pacifist’s door he has no recourse for he is unprepared and weak in his mind and soul. Only after the wolf is eating his young the pacifist cries out for the warrior to come and save him. A warrior understands that only the strong can give mercy. The weak are helpless and in no position to be merciful.
A warrior prepares his mind and body for conflict and arms himself in a vain hope that he will not need those arms. A warrior fiercely protects his own life, for if his life is lost, who will protect his family? The warrior values his family, his community, and his nation. He swears a daily allegiance to their protection and preservation. He is a protector of life, not a death worshipper.
A warrior sacrifices and makes hard choices. While his peers are lounging, imbibing in spirits and chasing after the fairer sex the warrior is sweating in the training arena. The warrior doesn’t need to be forced or coerced to train and hone his skills. He understands that the edge of the finest sword will eventually dull if not honed properly.
The warrior walks quietly amongst the masses ever armed and ever vigilant. The warrior seeks not fame or glory. He seeks neither the approval nor the support of the pacifist. His only request is to be unhindered by the sheep.
The warrior’s reward comes from a deep sense of accomplishment and purpose, the smiling faces of his family and prosperity of his community. Warriors seek out like-minded individuals and only in their presence dare to relax. The warrior relishes the kinship of his fellows and he recognizes them as his brothers.
[Please support Mr. Markel’s decision to write for TTAG by clicking here to visit his website or here to check out his Cafe Press gob shop.]
Very well written. Thank you.
Glad to see that this Marine and former cop gets it.
People were confused as the state has usurped the word “warrior”. A “drug warrior” or “gun warrior” is a contradiction in terms, as real warriors do not start wars and conflicts targeting peaceful property owners.
I fail to see how this “treatise” in any way addresses the issue at large, which is the militarization of police and their general antipathy towards the public. The police are the enforcement arm of an increasingly out of control tyrannical government, and that goes for federal, state, and local.
Police should not have a “warrior” mindset, even in the sense expressed above my Paul Merkel. Police should have a PUBLIC SERVICE mindset. The majority of the danger on the job comes as a direct result of their own actions (i.e. enforcing unconstitutional drug laws, warrantless searches, no knock home invasions, etc). If their job did not involve violating sovereign individuals’ rights on a daily basis, their job would not be dangerous, and would NOT require a warrior mindset in any way, shape, or form.
the majority of the danger on the job comes as a direct result of their own actions
Primarily from driving like assholes.
You stop a speeding pickup, alone, at night on an unlighted road. It’s dark out there and you can’t see much of anything, just shadows in that vehicle. If you’re not a warrior, you’re stupid for approaching it because you have no idea how many, who or what is inside. Your local Police are required to do precisely that on a daily basis, yet you think they shouldn’t be of the warrior caste? Who exactly, would you send out to do this particular job?
If you don’t like the laws, blame the politicians who write them, not the Police Officer whose job it is to enforce them. Many of those officers don’t like such laws themselves, but they don’t get to pick and choose. Despite your remarks, warrantless searches and “no-knock” dynamic entries are the exception, not the rule. I’ve never been involved with (or observed) either, but then, I’m only 69 years old…
“The warrior walks quietly amongst the masses ever armed and ever vigilant. The warrior seeks not fame or glory…”
Apparently, the warrior also speaks in dialogue from a cheesy kung fu movie.
Like Yoda the warrior speaks.
Odd his grammar is. Still, the force is strong in this one.
Getting serious, I think Greg has it right. Police officers are citizens first, and so are the people whom they are policing.
That is the key difference between a soldier and a cop. As a soldier, I was accountable to my Chain of Command. I was not in any way accountable to the people of the countries where I was deployed.
Cops, however, are accountable to the people who live in the community, the people on whose behalf they serve and (as I said in the other thread) the people who pay their salaries.
If you ask me, we have too many “warrior” cops out there now. The fact that they’re also incompetent with firearms (while often arrogantly presuming themselves “experts” regarding weapons) only makes that worse.
Sounds a bit like the code of chivalry. Good stuff.
“The warrior desires peace and stability so that his family may grow and prosper and his community may thrive. The warrior realizes that peace is not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of victory over those who would harm his family and destroy his community. He understands that his strength and arms are gifts from God and with these gifts come a solemn responsibility.”
That’s super, but my community could use a decent plumber who will work weekends and isn’t a crook.
“my community could use a decent plumber who will work weekends and isn’t a crook.”
My community could use a decent cop who will work weekends and isn’t a crook.
Wow I’m getting a serious anti cop vibe. Anyone who straps on a gun has to be a warrior, whether they have a badge or not, because if you intend to use deadly force to protect yourself or others a sheep mindset won’t cut it when the shit starts to fly.
This is good stuff even with the jedi master grammar. Can’t wait to see what else he brings to us.
I’m strapped 24/7, and rather than being a warrior, I’d prefer to be a track star.
Haha. Do you need those track star skills to outrun the smacking hand of your girlfriend?
To clarify though people, I am not advocating the warrior mindset as a reason to go looking for trouble. If violence can be avoided then it should be at all costs, but if you find yourself with no choice in the matter then you are going to need the warrior mindset to persevere.
“I was not in any way accountable to the people of the countries where I was deployed.”
Until a soldier gets captured. He may still not consider himself accountable to them, but his captors might.
I’m not a warrior or a pacifist. The whole phony dichotomy irritates me. I haven’t garroted anyone in weeks.
“I haven’t garroted anyone in weeks.”
I have. It’s overrated.
Just a bit of point about the claim about pacifists made by the author. People like Gandhi and King seem to have as much determination as a warrior. “Weak in mind” is not how I would describe many who worked, through non-violent ways, for civil rights and freedom. They showed as much courage and determination as any warrior. They both were cut down by assassins, and they knew that they were making themselves targets through their actions.
Also, I am not sure that I buy the definition that the author is putting forth. If we look at the traditional definition of warrior or hero, we have example like Aeneas, Achilles, and Beowulf–each of these figures was more motivated by personal glory than by public service (and if anyone wants to argue that these are literary figures, there are countless historic examples of warriors who personified the same values the literary heroes, Byhrtnoth, for example).
There’s a huge difference between being a “pacifist” and a peaceful protester. The pacifist refuses to fight under any circumstances, while the peaceful protester (Gandhi & King) fights hard with words, just not fists or weapons.
Both the peaceful protester and the armed fighter can be warriors in their own way. They both stand up and stand their ground, guided by their principles.
Don’t confuse warriors with gladiators, who are driven by pride and ego…
The warrior’s code: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. Then, go home to the wife and kids secure in the knowledge that you’ve made your community a little nicer place to be. And then the true warrior kills a sheep and eats its liver.
Along with fava beans and a nice chianti???
“People like Gandhi and King seem to have as much determination as a warrior.”
Yes. Gandhi’s pacifism arguably was effective against the British because of the implied threat of force, the certainty of riot should the British have allowed him to die.
The warrior is steadfast, never taking more than 14 items though the express lane, while ever watchful for those who do.
Paul – Thanks for the Post!
It seems to me that there’s a lot of LEO bashing in many TTAG blogs. Over the years I’ve had my share of unsolicited introductions with “the man”, and most of them cost me some driver points and cash in court. I have formed the opinion that no one should be allowed to serve as a cop unless they are at least 30 years old and have military background, kids or some other reason to have experienced responsibility and compassion. IMHO.
However, I was around cops all of my life as my father and grandfather both retired from the Denver Police. In the early 70’s my pop was one of the SWAT guys (“Special Services Unit” back then) and I got to hang around some of his crazy partner/friends. Lots of hard-core training for hostage situation, etc., and these guys seemed to take it seriously.
I know there are LEO readers here at TTAG, and I’d really like to see some of those currently serving kick in their two cents. How many cities can we get represented? Any takers?
I HAVE BEEN A STREET COP IN TEXAS FOR 19 YEARS, AND MR. MARKEL’S WORDS HIT THE X-RING WITH ACCURACY AND AUTHORITY. I TOO AM A TACTICAL FIREARMS TRAINER AND AM FREQUENTLY EMBARRASSED BY THE LACK OF PEACE OFFICERS WHO TAKE THEIR TRAINING SERIOUSLY.
IF YOU HIRE A PLUMBER, YOU EXPECT HIM TO BE SKILLED WITH THE TOOLS OF HIS PROFESSION. THE SAME GOES MORE SO FOR THE SURGEON WHO IS ABOUT TO CUT INTO THE BODY OF YOUR CHILD.
WITHOUT THE PROPER MINDSET OF THE WARRIOR I WOULD HAVE PERISHED LONG AGO. SOME OF YOU FIND THESE WORDS “CHEZZY” OR EXTREME. YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT IT TAKES TO SURVIVE A FISTFIGHT MUCH LESS AN ARMED ENCOUNTER, THAT IS WHY YOU DO WHAT YOU DO, AND FOLKS LIKE MYSELF AND MR. MARKEL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE EXPENSIVE ‘PEACE’ TO DO IT IN…………….
Definition of WARRIOR
: a man engaged or experienced in warfare;
Cops are not warriors, period. Regardless of how much they would like to pretend otherwise. They are nothing but notetakers and ticket writers. I still remember the images of the north hollywood shootout, where two thugs with ak’s and body armor held a couple hundred of LA’s finest at bay. A platoon of Infantry would have decimated those punks in seconds armed with the same weapons the cops had. It’s all about training and mindset. And cops dont even come close to real deal warriors.
Most cops these days read too many gun magazines, buy all sorts of military tacticool gear and use military lingo to pass themselves as high speed low drag warriors, which they are not.
Similar to airsoft commandos. IF you wanted to be a warrior, you would have served in the military, proved yourself in combat through multiple deployments spanning years and then not cared to talk about it for glory.
So stop all this chest humping and wannabe bullshit and do what u do best. Violently assault the closest donut shop u can find.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA warriors indeed. NOT
The only problem with your statement is many cops have served in the military and done multiple combat tours. Believe me thou I’ve had my fair share of run ins with cops who think they’re Rambo. I’m a former 11b paratrooper and have had more than my fair share of combat, I was wounded and medically retired from the m o military. However I had a cop I went to school with, who didn’t so much as play high school sports tell try to tell me I shouldn’t carry a gun and should leave my saftey to the police… so ya I get it there are tools that get a badge have a little authority, and ruin the name of good cops. However I know many good cops, I served with a lot of them, the went through the same he’ll I did and are warriors. Do I think cops should have MRAPS? Hell no. I understand we live in a world with terrorist threat, however there’s other ways to protect officers and the public, for example if someone is a known terrorist don’t let give them a student visa…,but I digress. I believe Paul Markel is correct that police need to have the mindset necessary to protect the public but they also need to be better trained and actually be skilled with there equipment, lets be honest my buddies say most cops only practice shooting during qualification. So heavily think cops need to have a warrior mindset, however they don’t need to see the public as a whole as the enemy… after all we pay there salary.