Situational Awareness

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As you no doubt know, 26 people were shot to death, and 20 more wounded by a gunman in a Texas church on Sunday.

The response from conservatives was predictable, mostly. Thoughts and prayers. Nobody could have predicted. Blame it on the left. But one response was stunning in its callousness.

Here’s what situational awareness looks like.

You go to a restaurant. You scan everyone present. Any suspicious bulges at their waistline, or under a jacket? You check the patrons, you check the wait staff. You try to get a peek into the kitchen, because you never know.

You sit, and you try to get a table where your back is to the wall. If you can’t, you’re constantly looking over your shoulder. If you can, you’re constantly scanning the room. Your food comes, but you can’t relax. You can’t really taste it, because you’re constantly on the alert. Every time the door opens, your heart beats a little faster, because it could be a gunman, and this could be your last meal.

When you’re finished, you hesitate in the doorway. You scan the parking lot, the sidewalk, the street. Don’t forget to look up. Someone could have a rifle in the parking garage across the street.

That’s only one hour of your life. But it never lets up. You can’t let down your guard when you go to work. You can’t relax if you go to a movie. To a concert. To school. To church. Relaxing your vigilance means you might be walking into a bullet. And if it happens—it seems like I should say when it happens—you’re to blame. Why didn’t you have your own gun out, ready to return fire?

This is the conservative vision for America: life in a war zone. They want us to become Mogadishu. Aleppo. Baghdad. They want us to live in terror.


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