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Use The Force, Luke

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Something I just read here made me start thinking again... and it's a simple but rambling thing I think everyone can agree with.

I've been told that I of all people am the perfect person for a concealed handgun license, and not because I have some kind of ninja skills or because I'm special in some way, but because I'm actually very calm.

Sure I get upset and I sure do worry a lot, and I get perturbed and annoyed, but angry... precious little makes me angry. I wasn't mad about it when I was the victim of a hit and run a few months ago. I don't get mad when I get cut off in traffic. And I don't get mad when people try to make me mad. The last one just annoys the fire out of certain students who get off by pushing their instructor's buttons.

That's why I think Dennis Leary is so funny. He gets angry about everything. I think if I had anger, I'd be just like him.

That's not to say I don't get mad when it counts. That Supreme court ruling? That pisses me off. The impending education mislegislation of doom? That hacks me off real good. The very idea I should be subject to a background check to purchase a .22 caliber rifle? Okay stop before you get yourself all worked up...

Anger really can consume you if you'll let it. I know some people who can't enjoy their job or anything else because they're always so angry. I agree apathy is dangerous, but at some point you have to let stuff go. Yeah so the dumbass at Wendy's gave you chili and you wanted a baked potato... the chili's better anyway. Eat it and be happy. Drop a comment card in the box if you feel some compelling need for justice.

Keep in mind anger is not the same as concern. Yes I'm concerned about a lot of things that go on that I don't think are right. But my sphere of influence is much smaller than my sphere of concern. I do what I can and I let it go. Yeah I think it's horrible what the Chinese do to their infants, but it's outside of my sphere of influence and there's lots of other problems that need to be fixed before that one.

I think the only time you should get genuinely angry is when it counts. When someone threatens your life, liberty, or property, and even then it's on you to decide for yourself how much certain things anger you. I for instance find it insulting I can't own an automatic firearm without procuring a special license. But first I want to fix the problems I see with concealed carry in my own state. One thing at a time. Baby Steps.

Where am I going with this? I don't think that we, and yes I mean we, of all people, should have any lax control of our mental state. The time to get angry is when someone puts a knife in your face and demands your life, liberty, or property.

Now only should one be allowed to become angry in this situation, one should become angry. The very thought of anyone pointing a lethal weapon at me when I did nothing to provoke it just burns me up inside. It really does. The very thought of someone trying to attack me, or take something I worked for, or make me do something via physical coercion just makes me livid.

Anger is not bad. It's not good either. It simply is. It's a tool in your mental toolbox. Believe it or not, unless you have some kind of physiological or pyschological disorder, you control anger not the other way around.

As an armed person, or more appropriately a rational human being, your anger should be carefully measured out in small doses appropriate to the situation.

Someone curses you out at work when you didn't deserve it? A thimbleful of anger might be appropriate if it was particularly bad.

Unfair legislation? A few gallons of anger is in order.

Someone tries to kill you? Open the flood gates and get so mad you literally see red.

A lot of things happen in this life that shouldn't, and this understandably should upset even a moderately moral person. But so many of them you just can't do anything about.

But at some level, you should never put up with certain transgressions. You want my wallet? Yeah let me get it for you real quick... my .38 caliber wallet is right here and I just made a two round deposit in your guts.

"But all he wanted was your property..."

First of all how the heck do you even know that? How can anyone know that?

Second of all that's not tolerable behavior. He can't have my property and he certainly can't threaten my life as means of taking it from me. You can't do that to people and the contents of that wallet are mine, dammit. If I ever do that to somebody I hope I'm put out of my misery like the dog I am. I'd rather be die than resort to preying on others for profit or pleasure.

Third you have to set examples. We need to stop coddling every little thug in the system. Yes I know that little thug has a heartbroken mother somewhere and I feel for her, but the fact is he did what he did and he must pay the price. It's called individual accountability, an idea we've completely eschewed in favor of being pansies. People who rob others should be stopped in the act. People who kill others should be stopped in the act.

That's not to say you should go run off half cocked and run into situations where you don't know what's happening. That's not to say you should be a vigilante. But what I am saying is that when it happens to you right in front of your face, you should be angry about it and act decisively.

I know that individual scenarios can present situations where cooler heads and sinister wits prevail, and I myself practice Verbal Judo. I can even agree that if you're disadvantaged in the situation, you may have to try the ploy of trading your property and/or liberty for your life so you can escape the situation, but only if it's clear you don't have a better option. But there is a time to get angry, and I think it's fairly obvious when that time has come when it comes for you.

When someone threatens you directly, there is no time for what ifs or pondering and you should do neither. You should put the threat down quickly by whatever means necessary even if it means destroying the aggressor by way of your actions.

I have always believed that if the time ever came when I was truly in danger, I will know it. I honestly believe that people possess an instinct that lets them know when something is wrong, and I belive that anger can be a great tool in that situation.
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50,157 Posts
Semi Related But, Slightly Off Topic.

By The Way...Good Thread Euclidean.
Any real potential threat, danger or confrontational predicament auto~trips the flight or fight response & then whatever emotion is present gets escalated to great heights. Fear Anger Panic. The trick (I guess) would be to constructively direct that toward either Proper Self~Defense or Quick Flight.
An interesting sidelight is that years ago I worked close quarters mostly with predatory cats and some other various massive forms of God's creatures that were easily capable of inflicting serious bodily harm and/or death on a whim. It is difficult for most people to imagine just how powerful these animals are. If you have ever tried to control an ordinary domestic house cat that was going into a fit or a tantrum & multiply that by 1,000 you would be getting close.
It's an interesting phenomenon that the emotion of Anger trips off the same body chemical scent response as fear. Wild animals sense anger the same as fear.
And so I learned very quickly to stay as emotionless as possible in those sorts of inherently dangerous situations. It was the hardest thing that I ever learned how to do. I had a great mentor though. It's an interesting feeling (to say the least) having your adrenaline level SKY HIGH & KNOWING that neither Flight, OR Fight is a realist option. Because, you WILL be outfought and outrun BOTH.
I truly believe that (especially the predatory cats) DO NOT KNOW WHEN you make a mistake BUT RATHER they immediately smell/sense when YOU KNOW that you've made a critical error and they can (and often do) react instantly....and take advantage of that. This is more true when they are confined & also about a half hour/to an hour after coming out of anesthesia when they are absolutely impossible to predict.

273 Posts
That's awesome, man! I wish I had teachers like you when I was in high school. Great post. You nailed it. I get irritated more often than I would like, lately. I rarely get angry, except in cases where my liberty is being curtailed, or in danger of such curtailment.

Premium Member
25,596 Posts
Euc - another classic! Well put indeed. :smile:

I ''get pissed'' and guess most of us do - but I separate that from anger. Even if some jerk cuts me off on the road - I will have a blast of invective (said to self) - but that'll be where it stops.

Anger management is something some folks should practice - all the more if they are the types who get cranked up when they've had a few drinks. I never allow anyone to make the excuse ''but it was the drink''! No Sir it was YOU - the drink just brought it out!

As Euc says and actually NRA IIRC even makes the point - if you are under severe threat then anger is not only useful but almost mandatory.. You have to be angry that another should dare put your life in danger. You need adrenaline.

I only once ''snapped'' - late school days - after much provocation - caused a guy a lot of dental repair!. I am slow to anger but when I do reach the boil - things can go bad quick, as they did this one time. Taught me a lesson and now I am much more aware of the need to be in command, and control anger usefully - should it after quite some time ever get to that stage.

Again Euc - good job!

2,204 Posts
Euclidean, excellent post sir.

Oddly enough, I was having a discussion similar to this with a friend the other day. It basically boiled down to what y'all have said. It's easy to get me annoyed, slightly more difficult to piss me off, very difficult to make me mad/angry/enraged/whatever. If and when that happens though, you better start looking for a hole to crawl into 'cause it's not going to be pretty.

75 Posts
My wife can tell when I go to Yellow. She says my forehead get smooth (no wrinkles) and I close my mouth with just a slight angle of my head upwards. I don't do this much, but if something catches my attention I tend to focus. And stay focused until the perceived threat is better defined. If we are separated and I go yellow I will get her attention and give her the look, glance towards the door. She will meet me there and we will further assess.
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