Editorial

Killing the Coward in You

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Basic Nathan H. Barbour/Released)

Killing the Coward in You

When I heard about the school resource officer in Parkland Florida, my immediate reaction was that of total, and complete disgust. I was outraged. Hatred and anger emanated from every fiber of my being. How could he have not gone in? How could he have let children die? The night the news broke I looked through social media and became even more enraged. I saw Facebook posts in which people were cautioning against condemning this man. Some of these posts were from people who I respect. These calls for caution against condemning this man (and the others who were later discovered) did not quell my feelings of anger.

The more I thought about this officer the more it fueled my anger. I began to think about all the other officers I have met like this one. We have all seen them, trained with them, and worked with them. I had seen this type of cowardliness before. What happened at Parkland did not shock me. It didn’t shock me when it was just one SRO and didn’t shock me when more officers were discovered. These are the officers who stay on the job just to collect a pay check, or to get a pension. They are in a constant search for the easy way and avoid danger. They don’t improve, they don’t train, and they don’t care about this profession. They don’t care about being a WARRIOR. They are the antithesis of a warrior, yet they masquerade in the uniform of one.

The morning after the news broke I was till angry, and disgusted. I sat drinking my morning coffee and preparing for my workout, contemplating how someone could be like those weak souls. During this time a thought came to me. It was a concept I once heard, that when you hate someone, what you hate is actually a trait you hate about yourself reflected through them. This thought immediately became abhorrent to me. I offended myself. How could I think my anger was generated by anything more than the disgrace, which had been brought upon our profession.

But …

In that thought was the truth.

It is true that we are, that I am, disgusted by the officer whose self-preservation overrides his duty. That person is a coward, but to be a warrior you must realize that the coward lives inside you too. What you hate is inside you. It lives there inside me, and it lives inside the bravest of us all. In those that are warriors its small but its still there. In those that are not warriors, it is large, and it controls them. It is them.

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.

Heraclitus

I realize that the coward inside me is why I workout. It is why I train. It is why I do Jiu-Jitsu. It is why I take this profession so seriously. It is why the easy way, the comfortable way, is never the way. It drives me everyday because each day you must slay the coward inside you.

Every day you must push that evil back down inside you. Every day you must kill it by training your body, and your mind. You kill it by pushing past comfort. You must push past comfort because inside comfort is where it grows. It grows in the comfort of missed workouts, a few extra beers, and a couple more rounds of golf. It grows, and it will overtake you. You must kill it through adversity. You must kill it through the continual path of a warrior.

Everyday you must strive to become just a little bit better than the day before. Your time on the job is not an excuse to become lazy, and comfortable. Ten, fifteen, twenty years on the job should show the results of someone who has spent that time perfecting the path of the warrior. The results of everyday becoming just one percent better.

So, spend no longer judging those that failed their duty that day. This action is futile and is as useless as they were. Instead ask yourself what did you do today to be ready for when it’s your turn? What did you do today to kill the coward? What did you do to bury that bastard deep down inside his hole? Go and embrace fear, discomfort, and ready yourself. Because on your day you will show the cowards what it means to be a warrior.

– CJ, police officer, Marine, and BJJ black belt

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