A Jeff Cooper Retrospective

Apparently the Georgians have a whole lot of personal guns,…

Apparently the Georgians have a whole lot of personal guns, and it is driving the Russians up the walls. Now just how those people got hold of those guns is puzzling, as the Empire rulers do not even accept personal property, much less personal weapons. Yet here we have a whole armed populace tucked away down there in Caucasia. How did that happen? When we find out we must tell the citizens of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and New Jersey and Maryland and California, and a good many others among our police states.

● As the twentieth century draws to a close, it is impossible to escape the impression that imperialism might have been a better solution.

A man who has never been in battle is never sure whether or not he is a man.—The Guru

● “He who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that that is where he is.”—James Thurber

● Success without victory. Our people achieved a magnificent technical tour de force, for which no praise is too high, but the bad guys are still in charge in Baghdad and still murdering their own people with Soviet choppers, which they should never have been permitted to retain. Thus we did not achieve the political mission for which we went to war. This business of bellus interuptus is certainly a new thing. When you are just about to land a haymaker, it is no time to stop the fight.

It would not seem correct to refer to the confrontation in Mesopotamia as a “war.” What it was, was a splendid training exercise, which established that our logistical and communications techniques, together with our “Star Wars” weapons, work even better than we had been led to expect. Moreover, the whole operation seems to have washed out the bitter taste left by Vietnam in the mouth of the nation.

We should be careful to note, however, that a conflict in which the enemy effectively lacks the will to shoot back is not one on which we should base our future plans. This may be the first conflict in history in which nobody was killed by the personal weapon of an enemy soldier, but to assume that personal weaponry is therefore obsolete is to draw a very dangerous conclusion. No war is ever exactly like another, and all we can be sure of is that the next time around the fighting will be different.

How about 23 tanks on one watch! At dawn on 25 February, Captain Eric Salamanson and Lieutenant John Marks, flying two A10 “Wart Hogs,” destroyed four and four on their first mission, and eight and seven on their second. We have not yet determined what the balance was between the Maverick guided missile and the 30mm Gatling, but a good deal of this must have been done by the Gatling, because the aircraft simply does not carry that many Mavericks. We had long wondered whether a storm of 30mm projectiles would suffice to smash a modern main-battle tank. Now we know.

● Note that from August 7, when American troops were deployed, to February 27, when the cease-fire was declared, 298 American troops were killed, either in action or in accidents. In that same period, there were 404 Washington-area homicides.

● The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.—Carlos Castañeda

● You may have wondered about the origin of the word “champion.” It turns out, however, that we discovered the answer to this on the tomb of El Cid in the cathedral at Burgos. On the marble slab is engraved, in gold, the following: “Rodericus Didaci Campidoctor.” The Latin word, campidoctor, signifies “professor of campaign,” or more simply, master of battle (currently found in the German Kampfmeister). Campidoctor evolved into campeador, which is the word by which the Cid is generally described. Campeador evolved into campeon, or in English, champion. (Well, we thought that is the sort of thing you would like to know about.)

● For those who did not finish junior high school, we point out that instinct is inborn, whereas reflex is programmed. Thus one can instinctively remove his finger from a hot stove, but he cannot instinctively shoot. Unsighted fire is a very high art, but it is not instinctive. Moreover, it should not be encouraged except in people who are prepared to devote a great deal of time and ammunition to it. We used to do a lot of it, but we dropped it when we took up teaching.

● Old codgers are more crotchety than young whippersnappers because they have been exasperated over a longer period.—The Guru

● Perhaps you have not heard of San Gabriel Possenti. He was born in Assisi in 1838 and was canonized in 1920. One of his noble works was the confounding of a violent rapist, together with his entire gang, by means of a pistol and demonstrated marksmanship. San Gabriel may be considered the patron saint of the handgunner. Note it down.

● Family member C.W. Watkins tells us that Alexander Pope used the word “learning” rather than “knowledge” in his aphorism, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” We must be careful to differentiate between the words education, learning, knowledge and wisdom. They are not interchangeable.
● “As far as we can look back into history, the downfall of any nation can be traced from the moment that nation became timid about spending its best blood.”—Frederick Russell Burnham

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