What does Leadership have to do with Legitimate Defense?

Leadership is the cornerstone to the twelve fundamental principles that I teach. Leadership is a matter of life or death.

So why would anyone want to sit and listen to a whole day on leadership? I’ll try to paint a picture of how important leadership is to each of the five battlefields.

The most important of the five battlefields is the moral battlefield. The good news is God is not anything like a progressive elected states attorney. With God the advantages still go to the just defender not to the unjust aggressor. God doesn’t suffer any kind of false compassion for criminals bent on doing evil. He has compassion but not false compassion. There are moral lines. Those who study the bible know vengeance is God’s alone. We’re not supposed to be about vengeance or revenge. When someone insults a Christian, we’re to turn the other cheek. A distinction must be made between an insult and the threat or use of physical violence. Those are radically different things. In antiquity men were less likely to unsheathe the sword, for a slap in the face. Our current generation has grown weak in the knees and soft in the spine. Today we often indulge our egos over slights and insults. That is the wrong way. I know, easy to say and hard to do.

Leadership is about doing right things. Doing good, and avoiding evil. Leadership is not afraid to define clearly where the lines are. It’s about doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way. The right Way, with a capital “W,” isn’t a something. He is a Somebody and His name is Jesus.

If we do the work to learn where the “moral,” lines are we have a far higher probability of staying out of serious trouble on many of the five battlefields.

Why do I need to know how leadership applies to the physical battlefield? Acknowledging the truth of the fundamental principles that hold sway is the bulk of the physical battlefield. Knowledge and skills. We need both. Knowledge is more important than skills. That doesn’t mean we should neglect the skills. We need both. Failure to understand the truth of things may result in physical death. Your physical death or the physical death of someone you’re gravely responsible for. This battlefield has much to do with fundamental principles. Lets look at an example. Action beats reaction. That is a fundamental principle. But you might not believe it. You might not like that principle. Okay, so what? It doesn’t change it. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, or like it or not. It does not change the principle. If we were to watch a violent video of an unjust aggressor in the “act,” stage of the OODA loop (Col John Boyd’s OODA loop), we’d observe that he can draw and shoot in about a quarter of a second. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (that was given to the world by John Boyd). At my old police house a trainer used to add a silent “a,” on the end of OODA, for “accept.” How long does it take a trained person with good reflexes to see it, understand it, make a decision, and act? Did they “see it?” On average somewhere around three quarters of a second. For some longer. For a variety of reasons some will never find their way to the act stage of OODA.

Leadership is the cornerstone of my principles. Is there a cornerstone to leadership? Yes, humility. St. Teresa of Avila defined humility as the acknowledgement of the truth. Truth is crucial to winning the physical battles.

If we don’t even know the principle action beats reaction we may come to believe all sorts of goofy ideas. Lies lead us to a false belief that a just defender has some mythical ability to “slow things down.” De-escalation, right? If you value your life and the lives of those you’re gravely responsible for, realize, sometimes you must speed things up in order to win. A hard saying. Not a convenient saying in our current generation. Rejecting a principle like action beats reaction gives the advantage to the unjust aggressor. Advantage should go to the legitimate just defenders. Advantage should never go to the unjust aggressors. It is madness to seek to give advantages to unjust aggressors. How did it come to this? How has our great country fallen so far as to have a desire to give advantage to unjust aggressors? Sin. Acknowledgement of the truth of fundamental principles of combat is a matter of life or death.

Poor training due to a crisis in leadership may result in the physical death of those being poorly trained.

The legal battlefield. How is that related to leadership? We must define where the lines are. Let’s take one example. Andrew Branca wrote a great book called The Law of Self Defense. I liked that book so much I now have two copies of it.

Andrew Branca writes about five elements necessary for us to win a claim of self defense on the legal battlefield. The five areas of concern are innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance, and reasonableness (both objective and subjective). The term self defense is a legal term. It doesn’t matter how you feel about what happened. You either are rightly within these five elements or you’re not. If the elected states attorney doesn’t believe you are, then you probably get indicted. If the states attorney can prove to a jury you failed in just one of these elements you will end up in prison. One of the areas mentioned is innocence. So I’m going to say a few things about innocence.

If you have a problem with someone and they say to you: You want to step outside and handle this like a man? If you silently and tacitly agree, then follow him out and fight, you’ve lost innocence. That is called mutual combat. The legal term self defense is not longer an option. If someone dies in that fight the winner of the fight is most likely going to trial. If someone flips you an obscene gesture in a road rage type situation, and you roll down the window and say: You want to go?!! Pulling over at the side of the road and engage in a fight. You’ve – lost – innocence. That is mutual combat. Mutual combat removes your ability to lay claim to lawful self-defense. That is not “nice,” to know. That is “need,” to know. That fits in perfect with the moral battlefield and turning the cheek, as it were, to insults and offenses. Clarity about right things is a big part of authentic leadership. Leaders prepare their people well. Authentic (meaning genuine) leaders train their people properly. The leader must understand the dangers that lay ahead for their students or clients, and then do the work to prepare them. The truth is there are no guarantees. So the best we can do is keep our people away from the fantasies and lies, that will be of disservice to them, and tell them the truth. Show them what lays in wait ahead of them.

Humility (acknowledging the truth) is the cornerstone of leadership. On the legal battlefield, leadership is a matter of freedom versus incarceration.

On the civil battlefield leadership is a matter of maintaining wealth acquired versus bankruptcy. Are there things you can do to hedge against this? Yes. There are strategies. Humility is the truth. Humility is also a willingness to take the lowest seat. Taking the lowest seat can gain you a gift, a present, as it were. The unjust aggressor see’s you avoiding him and that act of avoidance plays to his ego. The gift he gives you is to underestimate your capabilities. To underestimate your will, to defend yourself or your people. It’s easy for the arrogant to puff up even more into an over confidence. That’s a strategy. In Boyd’s OODA loop it was said as a fighter pilot he could begin in an inferior position in an aviation dog fight, and within a matter of seconds reverse positioning and win the fight. It is my opinion John Boyd learned how to use his opponents will to pursue and overtake him. He let his opponents will led them right into a position of disadvantage. Think about this. As a civilian, as you move away to avoid an unjust aggressor, you move towards better ground. What’s better ground? Cover. A big old oak tree. Something that stops bullets. That is the gold standard of better ground. High ground is generally better ground. You move to a tactically superior position. Think about it from the unjust aggressors perspective. You [their perceived victim] suddenly have cover. He suddenly feels very vulnerable, because he didn’t make it to cover. Here is where the confrontation takes place. Get the idea?

Carl von Clausewitz in his book On War wrote: “War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.” In other words war is in the will. So the unjust aggressor has free will. He decides. He decides if and how much force it’s going to take to stop him. He could change his mind. He could surrender to the police officer. He could turn away from his selected rape victim. He could do a lot of things. He decides how things will play out. Some unjust aggressors will turn away. Some will burn it in. That’s just the way it is. Free will, right? Right.

War ain’t fair. If you’re looking for a fair fight go compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Go somewhere with a referee who will intercede to ensure nobody dies. Competition ain’t combat. They are radically different things. Don’t ever go looking for fight, but if one comes to you, learn the fundamental principles that will hold sway and then strive to make good decisions. Strive to be decisive and strive to win. Forget about mere survival. It may come to that – but we’re not starting there. That is a losing mindset. Think like a winner. That’s what I believe and that’s what God willing, I will strive to do.

Leadership on the social battlefield, can be condensed, distilled, and synthesized down to a matter of staying in your home or moving, staying in your job or being fired. What’s my mission? Protect, provide, and lead those I purport to “love.” My family. If things get bad enough, I hope and pray that I’d have the grace to humble myself and move. My mission is not to feed my ego. Ego is often about posturing. It’s about reassuring your sensitive, insecure, insatiable ego that thinks it needs to be patted on the head and told – it’s okay, you’re are very courageous! So we postures and talk smack to feel better about the whole perceived injustice – whatever that might be. Perceived being the qualifying term.

To grow stronger in mindset (a principle) we need to deny our ego’s illicit desires to posture over insults and slights. That is one of the best ways to avoid situations that can easily escalate.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Some things are worth standing your ground and saying the truth. Authentic leaders stand up and say hard things that will cost them as it pertains to speaking truth and standing up for their people when they act rightly. A distinction must be made. That is not the same thing as someone insulting or giving offense to you and you falsely believing your honor is on the line. Two different things. You have to know where these lines are.

When I talk about the social battlefield I view and care more about the part relating to a learned capacity to be unpredictable. To be awkward which facilitates being unpredictable. To be willing to rebuke an unjust aggressor which does test his will. Which does reveal your jeopardy. More on that later.

Our country is philosophically divided. In these last couple of decades the divisions have deepened. The black and the white, as it were, have gotten larger, while the gray in the middle, has thinned out. Many there are who have become blind, confused, and quite crazy as it relates to right things. We see it in the criminal justice system. States attorneys pitting themselves against police officers. States attorneys exercising a false compassion with the unjust criminals, and an overzealousness with innocent police officers doing a hard job. We see it in some activist judges wielding a false compassion for unjust criminal aggressors. As we watch the legal, civil, and social battlefields struggle to know and do right things, we still have responsibilities to protect our families. The police officers still have responsibilities to protect the innocent within their communities. Every one of us has a right to insist upon more respect for own life, than any number of unjust criminal aggressors. They have no rights to threaten or cause serious bodily injury or death to innocents. We cannot compromise our responsibilities, due to fear of the legal, civil, or social battlefields. The best we can do in times such as these, is to adopt strategies making it more difficult for folks in positions of authority on those battlefields (legal, civil, and social), to successfully do the wrong things.

In conclusion, leadership is a matter of life and death for the moral and physical battlefields. Leadership is a matter of freedom or incarceration for the legal battlefield. A matter of maintaining ones wealth or bankruptcy for the civil battlefield. Leadership is a matter of staying in your home or moving for the social battlefield.

That is why leadership is the cornerstone to all the first principles I teach.

Five Battlefields

There are five battlefields as it relates to legitimate self defense. In the Old Testament it was revealed to us King Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted it to him. King Solomon said the following:

Ecclesiastes 1: 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after.

There is nothing new under the sun. I’m simply going to give you my understanding of principles I learned over a twenty six career in law enforcement.

In starting this blog it’s become clear to me how difficult it is to write a post, and be satisfied with it. Perfection is always out of reach. The difficulty in covering all the angles. Writing and re-writing, and writing again. Using various editors which seem to sometimes contradict one another. I have known for awhile now – I don’t write so well. Bear with me.

The Five Battlefields are:

1) Moral Battlefield

2) Physical Battlefield

3) Legal Battlefield

4) Civil Battlefield

5) Social Battlefield

The moral battlefield has much to do with right things. Good things. Who decides what’s good and what is evil? Well – God. As a Catholic I look to my Faith to understand morally where the lines are. It is my opinion that the moral battlefield is by far the most important of all the battlefields. The Word of God asks what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Leadership is the first fundamental principle that I teach. Leadership has to do with doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way. The right Way isn’t a something, it’s a somebody and His name is Jesus.

There are many and various qualities or characteristics of leadership that need to be developed by good leaders. Purpose involves both mission and will. Leadership is not about you, it’s for your people. Leadership is not about power – it’s about responsibility. The authority involved is not given to you for your self aggrandizing or to reassure your ego. It’s – for – your – people! How important is leadership as it pertains to concealed carry or home protection? It quite literally is a matter of life or death. It might be the death of someone you purport to love. We always find our true selves out, when we get tested. We find out just how much we really “love,” the one we purport to love when there is a cost. When there is a price to be paid. When we have to say to the waiter, “Check!” That proverbial check perhaps being our very life. It’s easy when things are to our liking to say “I love you.” To say “I care about you.” Not so easy when we have to pay a price.

Leadership is the cornerstone to the twelve fundamental principles I teach. Humility is the cornerstone of leadership. A great working definition of humility is the acknowledgment of the truth – St. Teresa of Avila. The truth of things. Humility is also found in little things. Humble things. Small things. The four safety rules seem so little yet they carry such a profound effect at all levels of skill building as it relates to defensive firearms. The four safety rules go right to the heart of our mission. What’s our mission? Protecting those for whom we’re gravely responsible. The adage that we don’t need to sweat little things is incorrect as it applies to becoming a craftsman. Little things do in fact matter. Sweat them.

Questions like can I should I, and where am I leading my people, are great leadership questions to frequently ask yourself. Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it. Where are you leading your people? Do you know what it is you’re preparing them for? Have you done the work. Have you reflected on hard sayings? Are you prepared to pay a price for telling them the truth about this, that, or the other things? Do you have your peoples best interest at heart? Or do you have your own interest at heart? Is this about you or is it about them? There is an old Latin saying Nemo dat quod non habetNo man gives what he does not have. Have you put out doing the work to gain that which you need to give to your people? To become a craftsman at anything in life you have to invest of time and hard work. You have to be willing to put out and do the work necessary to come up to speed and competency in whatever your profession happens to be.

There has never been a time where there is more game film, as it were, of actual violent and deadly confrontations available as there is now on the internet. We see police videos. We see violent robberies and citizen on citizen attacks. We see a lot of competent instructors educating folks in skill building. We need knowledge and we need skills.

Are there principles that hold sway in all physical confrontations? In deadly force confrontations? Yes.

There are fundamental or first principles that hold sway. I have a desire to educate and share with people fundamental principles. I have twelve in mind:

1) Leadership 2) Mindset 3) Problem Solving 4) Jeopardy 5) Threat Awareness 6) Tactical Staging 7) Time, Distance, Cover, & Concealment or Obstacles 8) Loud Rebuke 9) Relative Superiority 10) Surprise, Speed, & Violence of Action 11) Action Beats Reaction 12) Throttle Control

Why twelve? Why not twenty eight, or forty seven? One could prepare forever before embarking on a journey, but then one would never begin. It is a work in progress, just as we are a work in progress. To paraphrase the late great Vince Lombardi we may not achieve perfection in this life, but if we chase after perfection we may in fact catch excellence. We have to begin. We have to take the first steps. There will be principles within these twelve fundamentals. To the degree we stack as many good principles as the circumstances allow, we will probably (probabilities) do better than if we stack errors. There are no guarantees in anything in life. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. There are principles that apply for winning or losing, adopt the winning principles.

These first two battlefields have held sway since the beginning of time. The moral and physical battlefields. They will hold sway until time gives way to Eternity. In other words until Jesus returns for the final judgment.

The next three battlefields depend upon civilized society.

The legal battlefield concerns elected officials. An elected States Attorney SA, making a judgement call on whether your use of force fits within the legal definition of “self defense.” Laws vary from state to state. I cannot give legal advice as I’m not a lawyer. I don’t believe you came here for knowledge that relates to what a lawyer thinks. I’m willing to share what a retired police lieutenant thinks about this, that, or the other law, or case law. I’m willing to share my understanding. There are no guarantees for you, or for me. Change one nuanced detail and you may change the entire context of the “what if?” Every tactical or scenario based question in the world necessarily must be answered with just two words: It depends. That’s not avoiding any questions it’s telling you the truth. If the context changes – the right thing to do may change. You can still do the right thing and have a legal problem with an elected SA who may see things very differently than you do. Where are you? Where did the violent confrontation take place? Are you in a county that elects liberal, left leaning, folks?Where are you? It matters. It might matter to the point of your use of defensive force being justified or you being indicted and tried. I don’t even like that reality but my not liking it doesn’t change it. Read the news and you’ll see madness. You’ll see a movement in various places to decriminalize crime. You will see demonstrations of a very false compassion for the unjust aggressors of this world. You’ll see bail bond reform. It is what it is. A great friend of mine would at this point sarcastically ask – is it? To which I’d respond – It always is.

When I first retired a friend asked me if I planned on obtaining concealed carry insurance? Arrogance is somewhat of an occupational hazard in law enforcement, so my response was something like; ‘No, if I’m forced to use my firearm I will be receiving an award.’ Thinking that would only be in defense of my life, my family members lives, and other innocents against an active shooter. Time passed and I began doing what I did in law enforcement. I began studying Illinois case law as it relates to self defense. I methodically studied, highlighted, annotated, and learned lessons from dozens of civilian self defense cases. I read Andrew Branca’s book; The Law of Self Defense. Little by little I realized – concealed carry insurance was in fact a good thing.

The civil battlefield concerns being sued by unjust aggressors or their families should they perish during the a deadly force confrontation. Early on in my career I had a couple of good city attorney’s drop the tip of titling my home by entirety (if married). Titled by entirety, is supposed to protect my spouses interest, in this personal asset. I have had my home titled like that ever since.

The Social battlefield as described by other instructors, has much to do with public opinion. Crowds are fickle; Hosanna! Hosanna! The next day; Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Don’t worry about what media, social media, or anyone else is going to think. Focus on doing right things and know your mission. If things get stupid enough you can always move right?

For a police officer the social battlefield includes both police leadership and secular leadership. Administrative rules, right? Policy. A community within a community. If you were to do an internet search for the words “etymology,” and “society,” you’ll find that part of the Latin understanding of “society” includes “community.” The social battlefield includes government leadership. Elected politicians then often pick governmental heads like the Chief of Police. The social battlefield includes politics and politicians. If there is a crisis of leadership that will absolutely trickle down to officers on the street. That affects you and I, the citizens. It’s not just the officers problem that they suffer under the weight of a crisis of leadership, it’s our problem too should we be forced to defend ourselves, our families. For the citizen the social battlefield includes all legitimate societal authority. These are social constructs.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed thinking about all of that. That’s not what we need to focus on as protectors and defenders of our families. We need only to prioritize, and do right things. Here’s the list of priorities:

1)Moral 2) Physical 3) Legal 4) Civil 5) Social

Social is last for a reason. Are we going to strive to please God, or please man? Increasingly we have to make a decision.

As a police officer having worked high crime areas I learned early, the high value in being awkward. Awkward often equals unpredictable. That comes through doing odd things like stopping short. Like not doing what everyone else does. Socially those are things we’re all expected to do. Social awkwardness at times is priceless. These are also social constructs. They are constructs that the innocent can use to avoid the unjust criminal aggressors. To demonstrate to the unjust criminal aggressors their target is not predictable. Being unpredictable is a dangerous to an ambush predator. I assure you ambush predators, use social courtesies, and constructs, to get close to you to do their will. Some are masters at closing the gap. Using ruses, lies, and other techniques. Masters at concealing their intentions until they’re close enough to sink the ambush in deep.

This area of the social battlefield is priceless, because it is an opportunity for us to avoid ending up at the will of a confused, blind, or crazy politician. An opportunity (not a guarantee) to cause the unjust criminal aggressor, to pause, and go in search of another victim.

This post is a first step. It lacks more in what it fails to say, than in what it actually says, about these battlefields. It isn’t a book. I simply wrote down a few things. It will take time, and effort, to give you a better tour of these battlefields. May God give us the time, and the grace to journey on.

Down Range

About the photograph. We see a World War II D-day landing at Omaha beach (Public Domain, Library of Congress). At the front of the LCVP (Landing, Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), or Higgins boat, we see a door. When that door falls it becomes a ramp. The greatest generation breached, and moved inland, towards the sound of the guns. What is down range? Down range is being in harms way as a potential target, not as a tourist.

Where are the geographical areas where violence is common place? What does a person gain from having been down range? Experience. Theory and training meet reality, which is another way of saying – experience.

In America’s war on terror, American soldiers grew much in experience down range. Many of us have benefited from our soldiers shared experiences in urban combat.

Police officers operate and patrol dangerous areas day after day, for years. Every decent sized city USA has a down range, as it were. A high crime area. Hot spots. Police departments often maintain a homepage. Wherever you live if there is a crime problem in a city near you, check out the police departments website. A popular trend is for cities to post crime mapping statistics. To identify “down range,” dangerous areas near you, look for the higher number of firearm crime related incidents. Look for map locations of shooting victims. There are often many times more shooting victims than homicide victims.

Take a city like Peoria, Illinois as an example. As of this writing the latest shooting report on their website, is from 2017. Following the link and locating the shooting report for 2017, the second map from the bottom reveals there were (9) fatal murders, and (74) non-fatal shootings. Go back and check the older shooting reports. It’s not rocket science to see the pattern – the geographical areas to stay clear of, due to the shootings occurring in these areas. Click on the shooting section to reveal the shooting reports at:


If you grow up in an area where gun play is common place, there is a high probability you understand violence in a way other folks do not. So how do people who did not grow up in these dangerous areas gain experience there? Law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies hire and train police officers and send them out to work in high crime areas. Nothing beats experience in the field.

The closest any of us can get to experience in a gunfight, short of a gunfight, is paint marking simulation exercises. Gunfights are a last resort. Shootings are always preferred to gunfights. What’s the difference? In a shooting the defender does all the shooting. How many people understand when it is lawful to draw their firearms? Do it too soon and you may face criminal charges. Be convicted of certain crimes and yes you could lose your license to carry and right to possess firearms. Do it too late and you or yours might be killed by an unjust aggressor. That kind of knowledge is far more important than skill building. Learning to perform a sub one second draw with fast splits does have it’s place – but measured against when and how to defend yourself, there is no contest.

Law enforcement brings with it a brotherhood. A thin blue line. Officers will go to great lengths to protect one another while in harms way. They will take many and various calculated risks for their brothers and sisters in arms. That sort of disposition makes it easy to trust your brothers and sisters will do the same for you. This brings forth a great confidence and composure for those moving and working in that type of down range environment. Training and experiences also build confidence.

What helps men move and work down range? What helps men move through breach points towards the sound of the guns? A willingness to risk. Calculated risks – not reckless risks.

Fear of failure, motivates men to advance into and through breach points. Fear of letting your brothers and sisters in arms down, moves men towards the sounds of the guns. Nobody wants to let a brother in arms down. Many there are, who would rather die, than fail their brethren in the field.

Where does this fear come from? In part, it comes from our ego. From our desires or our perceived need for honor. From a fear of losing honor. Some of this gets formed inside the law enforcement agency. How so? In law enforcement fellow officers are ruthless at reminding each other of their mistakes. As it should be. I better write that again. You may not have heard this before. As – it – should – be! Why should it be that way? Ruthless reminders thicken an officers skin, as it were. That comes in handy on the street. Ruthless good natured ribbing also helps officers to learn to sweat the small details. I disagree with the adage not to sweat little things. I argue we ought to pay attention to the smallest of details if our goal is to become a craftsman. That ought to be our goal. If you don’t have a desire to learn your profession well, do everyone and yourself a favor, and go find another one. Ruthless good natured ribbing reminds you there is a price to be paid for messing up. So don’t – mess – up. Get it right. Put out and do the work necessary to learn your profession, and then do it right.

Ego is a good thing when used in the service of others, legitimate self defense, and for a worthy cause. Ego turns into a bad thing when used to appease one’s insecurities. Ego is bad when misused based upon mere insults or personal offenses. Our ego’s are rather sensitive and insatiable. The more you feed it, the more it desires to eat. Self centered ego or pride has put more men in the ground, or prison than any other fear based emotion. What is it we yet fear? If we would rather die than lose honor, then yes, we breach. Peer pressure is a powerful motivator. In the service of our brothers and sisters in arms fear of a loss of honor, fear of failing them, often serves the common good.

We have to guard against misuses of our ego. There are times a fear of a loss of honor can go too far into wrong actions. In general we don’t like decreasing or losing parts of ourselves. We don’t like denying our ego’s the reassurance we sense it needs. We don’t desire to enter into suffering. We are suffering averse in our instant gratification generation. We don’t like the idea of picking up a Cross and carrying it. When we begin to suffer we find out what’s in our hearts. We get tested. Authentic leadership is tested leadership. When we begin to pay a price for our moral and physical courage, we get measured, as it were. We find out, what is in our hearts. Is it about us, or is it for our people?

What causes us to fail to breach – is fear. Fear of a loss of something we’re overly attached to. If we turn away from the breach point it is often to “save ourselves,” from some perceived loss.

At it’s root, grace and sin are at war. Everything good in this life we do, is a function of grace which comes from God. Everything bad that we do, well that’s on us. The buck stops with me, and it stops with you. If this kind of talk is not to your liking, this blog may not be for you. Godspeed my brother or sister, Godspeed.

Some men breach due to a consistent habit of doing right things. Some men breach due to virtue or strength of their character. We don’t even talk about virtue anymore. These good things are all a function of grace. In part, moving towards the sound of the guns comes from love. Love for our brothers and sisters in blues and browns. Love for the innocents in the communities we serve. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.

To move towards the sound of the guns is to move towards the Cross at Calvary. It is a paradox. Few there are who move swiftly towards that sound. Police do it. Soldiers do it. Saint’s do it. Do it.

My grandfather, Russel Bill was a Marine in World War II. My grandfather volunteered for the Marine Corps at the start of World War II. Why? He wanted to be in a brotherhood that were serious about the business of winning. He believed the Marines were the best our Country had to offer our enemies. I believe he was right. That was all he needed to know. Saint Paul spoke about this when he cautioned us not to box as if beating the air. In other words, don’t shadow box. If your going to fight, do so as if to win!

Why do some men breach? Why do some men avoid breach points altogether? It is my belief there is a spiritual answer to this question. To understand things we often have to go back to the beginning. Where is the beginning? The Old Testament.

In Chapter 4 of Genesis we read of the story of Cain and Abel. God says to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

So lets try to unpack some of this. Sin is couching at the door. What does the word couch mean? Merriam-Webster has it as “to lie in ambush.” Cain and Abel brought to the Lord an offering. God had regard for the offering of Abel, though no regard for the offering of Cain. Cain got angry. Cain found himself in a spiritual (moral) battle. To breach, Cain would have to decrease, to die, to his own “will.” What was Cain’s will? Cain was angry. His will was to lead Abel out and murder him. That is what he did. The spirit of the world tells us to save ourselves. The spirit of the world says forget about breaching this, that, or the other door, you could get hurt. You could lose things. You might lose wealth, powers, pleasures, or honors! Are you crazy? Are you stupid? Save yourself! Save your illicit desires. Save your money, your position, your attached pleasures, and your worldly respect. Save yourself! Look out for number #1! It’s all about you! It’s not about others. Get yours!

Mark 15: 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days,
30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!”
31 So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.

God was warning Cain that his own sinful desires were laying in wait, his desires were setting an ambush for him. His desires were leading him into a position of great disadvantage. The ambush occurs outside the doorway. The temptation to save ourselves happens outside the doorway. It prevents us from ever going in. This one again it’s very important. The temptation to save ourselves, prevents us from going in! We turn away from the breach point.

At best this manifests as indifference, and at worst as cowardice. We don’t want to decrease. We don’t want to die to our selfish will. We often follow our will – our selfish desires to save ourselves and we move away from the breach point. We turn away from the Cross, and leave it laying in the dust. A failure – to – breach.

That is the opposite of authentic leadership. Authentic leadership is not about us, but it is for – our – people. Those whom we purport to love. Talk is mighty cheap for a human being. When God says something it IS. It happens. When we say something – talk is often very cheap. We speak far louder in our actions, than in our words.

In World War II there was a term used; “Coin of the Realm.” It meant there is a price necessary to complete the mission. Soldiers pay that price through a willingness to risk everything to complete the mission. A willingness to die if need be. A self-sacrificing love. In Catholicism we call it agape love. Self-sacrificing Christian love. The Word of God tells us there is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his friends.

The Word of God tells us; Perfect love casts out all fear. The problem is we don’t have perfect love. We have fear. Fear often underlies anger. Fear of a loss of something. Saint Thomas Aquinas gave us four things we tend to substitute for God. Wealth, power, pleasures, and honors. Fear of a loss of honor, often underlies anger.

Love for God, our country, innocents, and for our brothers in arm, moves us into and through those breach points. There is a power in love. It is for love of innocents – we breach – we move direct to the threat – and we solve the problem. What’s the problem? Unjust aggression. Legitimate just defenders solve the problem by whatever degree the unjust aggressor chooses. Unjust aggressors always have free will. It is they who choose if, and how much, force is necessary to stop them.

Unjust aggressors have no moral or legal rights to abuse, injure, and murder innocents. Innocents have legitimate moral and legal rights to defend themselves, and those they purport to love.