I was reading a novel, THE RELIGION by Tim Willocks, set in the years of the Crusades, specifically the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, when the massed armadas of the Ottoman Empire sought to capture the island of Malta from the Knights Hospitaller, the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. I was struck by a quote early in the book. As the Hospitallers await fall of the great crescent blade, their leader said something that I believe is as germane today in the hours after the Paris attack as it was then:
“The flux in God’s crucible is infinite in possibility, and in that final outcome only God will know who it was that tipped the balance: be it the knight who died in the breach, or the water boy who slaked his thirst, or the baker who made his bread, or the bee that stung the foeman in the eye. That is how finely the scales of war are weighted."Think about that a minute. "The flux in God's crucible is infinite in possibility..." I have long talked and written about the concept of "chaos," not just in the sense of systems inordinately sensitive to their initial conditions, but systems in which so many factors, known and unknown, are acting on the system that "prediction" is impossible.
Violence — the violence of war or the personal violence of men — are just such systems. There are too many factors acting on the system for us to truly predict the outcome. I have read today that it is the height of foolishness to even suggest that one person, or 2 people, or even 3 people with handguns could truly turn the tide in a terrorist event such as Paris, or Mumbai. Foolishness! Arrogant American rednecks and their little guns! How can they imagine to stand against trained killers?
And yet, in Garland, TX, one man with a gun made all the difference in the world. "That is how finely the scales of war are balanced."
I'm going to quote here from my friend Caleb Giddings from Gun Nuts Media:
Carry your guns. This kind of thing absolutely could happen here. Yes, the odds are low, and yes you’re more likely to get killed by heart disease or in a car crash. But if it does happen? Fight.Suppose it is you and your resistance that tipped the balance? Be trained. Be armed. Be ready.