For those who would have a bias for action, it is ignoble to know and not to act. On occasion, the action required is good counsel.
I once had a Marine get into trouble for communicating a threat. The short version of events is he felt he and his family were threatened by the questionable activities of shady characters near his home. He said as much to local authorities going on to say if the police weren’t going to do anything it would be fine. He owned firearms and could take care of things himself. The young lad ended up being detained by law enforcement for about four hours.
Later I was able to pull him aside explaining that while his feelings weren’t misplaced his execution was utterly flawed. The conventional man-at-arms has no need to openly declare his capability to “stomp a mud hole in your ass” or announce his intention to use firearms. These facts are implied in our carriage and comportment. The most lethal individuals I’ve ever met didn’t have much to say about it. Their capability was a matter of fact, not bravado or posturing.
We discussed his role as the leader of his household and of his fellow Marines. In this capacity he needed to lay aside his emotional response to a crisis. Leaders who lose their mind in an emergency only lead those in their charge to believe everything is out of control. Remaining cool and collected when it is time to apply violence is the difference between two shots center mass and emptying an entire magazine without even knowing it.
Concerning the incident, the Marine was detained since technically he was the only one who violated the law by communicating a threat to shady individuals who legally weren’t doing anything wrong.
For those of us who choose the path of the modern warrior, the lessons here are simple but important:
Intent is not a bill board, but a private, intimate message.
It is the duty of the more seasoned to mentor the wayward youth who cross our path. These opportunities aren’t delivered to us by chance but presented as an assigned task to positively impact those around us.
For those interested, I originally posted a version of this article on exemplarpath.com.