The great Robert Ripley, “Mr. ‘Believe-it-or-Not,'” told us that no two people have ever seen the same rainbow! Interesting explanation – unless you’re standing inside the person watching with you, with your eyes precisely where his eyes are, you are seeing ever so slightly different rainbows!
The 5-year-old boy watching Christian movies in the church basement one Wednesday night started crying uncontrollably when the scene came on in which the Christians were being eaten by the lions. His mother was issuing all the standard incantations – “Be quiet, Johnny.” “What’s wrong, Johnny?” “Johnny, Dear, it’s only a movie!.” Nothing stopped him or even slowed him down. Finally the mother, in total exasperation, sternly asked, “Johnny, why are you crying?” At that point, between sobs, little Johnny pointed to the screen and said, “Th-th-that b-b-baby lion over there ain’t gettin’ any.”
Little Johnny was a rare case. Most of us usually see almost the same rainbow.
I’m afraid I became a “Johnny” myself on Friday, Jan. 6, while watching the story of the Fort Lauderdale airport shootings unfold. The rest of you saw the confusion, the disruption, the police and first responders trying to organize and stabilize a world gone wild. I wanted to cry like Johnny. I didn’t expect my fellow Americans who’ve never had military training to behave like heroes of the anti-Nazi Norwegian underground. But it was painful to see my fellow Americans, my people, abandoning all sense of everything except running for their lives – their own, nobody else’s!
There they were, Americans stampeding like frightened cattle. They neither knew nor cared that people – especially children and the elderly – can get killed in a stampede as surely as they can be killed by a terrorist’s bullets. Nonetheless, there they were, running for their lives. I was humiliated. I could imagine the terrorist high command in their headquarters, plotting such an attack, and the leader explaining, “At this point the Americans will stampede like frightened cattle!” You know us well, gentlemen of the terrorist movement. Congratulations. You know us well.
At the age of 12 I became a Boy Scout. Laugh if you must and sneer if it suits you, but that Boy Scout training made military training so much easier years later, during the Korean War. And that military training during the Korean War made me, today, a much more valuable citizen than many of those we saw running for their lives.
I left the Army in 1953 and have had no military training since. Nonetheless, my Boy Scout and military training prior to 1953 has prepared me so that if – God forbid! – the enemy were to strike unexpectedly right this minute, I would be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I’m not saying those passengers running for their lives in Fort Lauderdale are cowards and I’m brave. Nonsense! But I’m saying they are untrained, and I am trained.
Once upon a time almost every American male got military training. I’ve always maintained it was great to have UMT, universal military training, not just for the defense of the homeland but for the improvement of the character of the males being trained. I’d like to see American males and females get that same training, particularly now that the world is tilting the way it is. What contempt I have for those untrained types running for their lives! And what gratitude I have for those who hammered me on their military anvils into a trained and disciplined American! Despite my age, you wouldn’t likely see me being bundled up by four nurses and carried away on a stretcher. You’d be much more likely to see me help bundle somebody else up and help him proceed to treatment.
Here’s a free sample of “training” from the Boy Scout Handbook of 1942. Whenever you go into an enclosed place, like a theater, for example, always ascertain your most sensible exit if there were a need. If there were a fire or other emergency, you, too, would probably panic. But you would panic in the right direction!
What a sad delight it is to see one’s dismal theory come roaring to life. I don’t want to see Americans stampeding like screaming meemies for their lives. But what do you expect when we “hire” a volunteer force to protect us and leave all protective missions to them? A little training goes a long way. What a joy it would be to see Americans behave here at home like our heroes have on the many battlefields to which they’ve been called after being trained!
Too few of us want to see the peacetime draft revived. I’m sorry about that. A lot of military training is mental, psychological and really quite interesting. For instance, did you know that 25 motivated troops can hold a position better than a hundred troops of whom 75 are not motivated?
Or this training gem – the British were not braver than the French at the battle of Waterloo.
They were only brave for five minutes longer!
Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact [email protected].