Monday, April 20, 2009

The New Paladin

No gaming news today; this is a quote I enjoy from Col Grossman, author of "On Combat" and "On Killing."

Have you ever wondered why police officers wear a shield on their left side? This is a direct, intentional, overt reference to the knights of old. There really were knights. They woke up every day and donned armor. They hung a weapon on their hip and a shield on their left side. And they went forth and did good deeds and administered justice in the land.

Gunpowder defeated armor, and the knights went away.

Today, for the first time in centuries, in both the military and law enforcement communities, we have warriors who don armor every day, take up their shields, strap on their weapons, and go forth to do good deeds.

If that is not a knight, if that is not a paladin, a new order of chivalry, then you tell me what is.

The knights of old are somewhat mythical, but these new knights are real and are embodying the spirit of the ancient model of the knight paladin, the champion of the weak and the oppressed, dedicated to righteousness and justice.

One US military leader (whom I have promised to keep anonymous) wrote these words as he witnessed his soldiers engage in great acts of valor:

"Dear God, where do we get such men? What loving God has provided, that each generation, afresh, there should arise new giants in the land. Were we to go but a single generation without such men, we should surely be both doomed and damned."

Think about it. If we went without a single generation without men (and women) who are willing to go out every day and confront evil, then within the span of that generation we should surely be both damned and doomed.

We could go for a generation without doctors, and it would get ugly if you were injured or sick, but civilization would continue. We could go for a generation without engineers and mechanics, and things would break down, but civilization would survive. We could even go for a generation without teachers. The next generation would have to play "catch up ball," and it would be hard, but civilization as we know it would still survive.

If, however, we went "but a single generation" without the warriors who are willing to confront human aggression every day, then within the span of that generation we would truly be "both damned and doomed."

So, "where do we get such men" and, may I add, women? We build them. We train them. We nurture them. There can be no more important or noble endeavor for a civilization. They are the warrior clan, the fellowship of arms.

Do not limit, my brothers and sisters, the role of the warrior. I had the privilege of being the co-keynote speaker with a Nobel Peace Prize recipient in an international peace conference. There I proposed the term peace warrior to refer to those in every profession, with and without guns, who are dedicated to moving our world forward towards peace. This term has been in use for a long time, and today it is widely accepted. It includes the Red Cross, the non-governmental organizations in a war zone, the probation and parole officers, the doctors and EMTs, the firefighters, the social workers, and even the clergy. Whether it is the passengers of Flight 93 over battling terrorists with their bare hands over the skies of Pennsylvania, a Red cross worker in Africa, a Green Beret in Afghanistan, or a police officer walking the streets of LA, they are all peace warriors...

George Washington warned us that, "He who would have peace, must prepare for war." This means that there must be warriors. Good Warriors. Paladins. Peace warriors who must study and master combat, as the firefighter would study and master fire.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it." - Thucydides

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