“If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.” – John Steinbeck

Growing up in the 1970’s, and early 1980’s in a blue collar town youth fought frequently. I won some, tied some, and lost some. One of the things I noted in my own and through observing others fights was that fist fights vied for a social status. A hierarchy, as it were. Youth would deal out a few, perhaps several blows and then assess and ask “Do you quit?” The goal wasn’t to murder one another – at least most of the time. In one instance I lost in spectacular fashion to an upper class man and was choked unconscious, but that’s a story for another day. Vying for social status essentially means to “compete.”

I’ve heard it said that as Americans we love fair fights. Why? This post will explore some of the reasons.

We have a deep love for sports in America. We have a love for fairness and in particular for justice in America. If properly understood, and balanced, I think these are awesome things. For a Catholic, balance is a very important principle.

Two football teams take the field and they both have the same intent – to compete within a framework of rules and to dominate. To win. Competition and war are two radically different things. In competition we have referees who can call off sides, and administer penalties. Sports have rules. Sports have referees to enforce the rules. We get to see who’s the best on this, that, or the other given day. We get to see Mr. Murphy show up with things like fumbles, missed passes, interceptions, and sacks. We see the frictions of what appears like war on the grid iron. We perceive it as frictions of war. It ain’t war. It’s competition with rules and referees. That is a distinction that must be made.

In sports like boxing or today Ultimate Fighting Championships, Mixed Martial Arts, we see violent competitions – with rules and referees. We are a little shocked when we see one boxer bite another boxers ear. We’re satisfied when that boxer is disqualified for such actions. We come to see a heads up competition with the competitors bringing forth the best they have to offer. We sometimes confuse sports – for combat.

Unjust aggressors do not ascribe to rules. Dominating is their rule. Using unlawful threat or violence as a means to their ends – is their rule. Unjust aggressors have intentions like to rob, kidnap, rape, destroy, and murder. Fairness in this arena makes zero sense. Why? We are not talking about a competition. There are no referees to step in and ensure death is held at bay. We’re not talking about two competitors with the same intentions. There is no gentleman’s agreement to stop short of death. We’re talking about radically different intentions and responsibilities. We’re talking about unlawful intentions from the very beginning. That is not competition – it is war.

These things have to do with the “will” of the unjust aggressor juxtaposed to the “will” of the innocent defender. When innocents face a villain with unjust wicked intentions, the rest of us, should desire the advantages going to the innocent police officers, and to the innocent citizens. We should NOT grant legal, civil, or social advantages, to the unjust aggressors. To give unjust aggressors additional advantages is sign of how far our civilization has fallen. It is a function of blindness, confusion of mind, and madness to grant additional legal, civil, or social advantages, to unjust aggressors bent on doing evil . Some state’s attorneys, judges, media folks, and special interest groups have suffered a darkening of their intellects. Some, is a qualifying term. There are also some states attorney’s, judges, and perhaps lesser media folks whose eyes are wide open and they do consistently exercise common sense and good discretion. Those who consistently choose to do the wrong thing, for the wrong reason, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way, well they lay waste to the common good. For these, it is an inversion of reality. It is a turning upside down of the good. Some begin calling good things evil, and calling evil things good. It is the wrong way!

On a physical battlefield this kind of war, as it were, is unfair at it’s very inception. The unjust aggressor already has physical advantages by means of using lies and ruses. He does so by using surprise, speed, and violence of action. The unjust aggressors intentions are by there very nature unfair! Would anyone seek to grant additional advantages to a terrorist bent on the murder of innocent Americans? Of course not! Of – course – not. All tactical advantages on the legal, civil, and social battlefields, should go to innocents and to “just,” innocent defenders. That is common sense. That bodes well for the common good. Do we even still care about the common good? We are divided today on what that even means. I’ll tell you this much, it should not mean we make it easy for the unjust aggressors to prevail.

Imagine a scenario where you had two boxers and those boxers were to compete. At the amateur level for a title, or trophy. At the professional level for a purse, or prize money. Of course there are rules. The two competitors are not literally at war – they’re competing with rules, and referees. You can’t bite one another. You can’t stomp your opponents head when they’re down on the mat. You can’t pull a knife and stick it in their neck. Rightly, there are rules. What governing body would ever seek to stack the advantages to one of these two competitors? None. We all want to see that fair fight right? We all want to see these two boxers try to knock the other guy out. They both have the same intentions: Knock the other guy out.

Unjust aggressors are not looking for a fair fight. Their looking for a fast decisive win. It cannot, and it will not be fair from the very beginning. The unjust aggressor has different intentions than the innocent police officers. The unjust aggressor has different intentions than the innocent citizens protecting themselves and those for whom they’re gravely responsible. Unjust aggressors don’t obey any rules. Their rules are get in close, gain point blank range; dominate, and win; even if that means risking prison or death.

Americans, also like to win. Winning is a good thing. So why would we as society tell America’s finest – the police officers that they need to ignore the fundamental physical principles of combat, and come to believe in things like de-escalation, slowing down time, as if the officers choice of being “nice,” would somehow change the “will,” of their unjust adversaries? As if an unjust aggressors “will,” could controlled through such goofy measures. Sometimes it is tactically right for a police officer to offer warning. Those warnings are the attempt to deescalate. That is authentic de-escalation. Sometimes it is appropriate for a citizen to offer loud rebuke to an unjust aggressor. That loud rebuke is authentic de-escalation. The unjust aggressor, has to decide to de-escalate. He might fancy escalation.

Why would Americans begin granting additional advantages on the physical battlefield over to the unjust aggressors? He already has advantages. He picks the time and the place. The unjust use ruses and lies to close with and gain surprise. Surprise coupled with a high enough propensity for violence (like a two by four, a knife, or a firearm), and he’s going to achieve, and maintain what’s called relative superiority. Relative superiority can be looked at like momentum or a domination. Achieve and maintain it, and you win. Do we as a society now want the unjust aggressors to win? Do we want them achieving the means to their ends (robbery, rape, destruction, and murder)? Do we want the unjust murdering innocents? Some do. Many – do – not!

I don’t want to fight anyone. I have been there, and I have done that many times. I’m looking to avoid these things. I understand them far better now, than I did at fifteen years old. However, if that day comes I definitely don’t want a fair fight. It’s fantasy to think you can do the silly things we see in movies and television. Combat – ain’t about fair fights. Why? In dealing with an unjust aggressor it is inherently unfair at it’s inception. In part, this is due to radically different intentions. In part, it is due to the unjust aggressors “willingness” to depart from all rules of decency, laws, and even mercy. Ask a criminal who’s feeling in an honest mood if he expects to go to prison someday. Many expect to go to prison someday. Do you think the average innocent American expects to someday go to prison? Of course not. At it’s very root it is unfair. It’s not a competition. It is in fact combat. We ought to treat it as such.

Whether it’s a government like Germany in WWII unjustly seizing land by surprise, speed (Blitzkrieg), and violence of action, and Poland falls. Or whether it’s an unjust criminal aggressor seeking to use ruses and lies to gain point blank range where he can sink the ambush in deep. This kind of thing isn’t about trophies, prize money, or titles. This kind of thing is a matter of life and death. Win – the – fight. Encourage those sitting in leadership seats on the legal, civil, and social battlefields to think clearly and do right things, for right reasons, at right times, and in the right ways.