That Type of Guy

 

The only thing wrong with masculinity is its absence.

This is not a popular position, but it’s true even if the cultural surrender class would have us believe otherwise. Oppose them, because they’re dangerous. Men by nature are as God designed them: Capable of frightening strength, coupled with a capacity for tenderness. The perversion of either asset creates something foul — a monster on one hand, the paralysis of inaction on the other. Nobody needs that type of guy.

I’m grateful for dangerous men when they’re using that power in defense of something. Soldiers are dangerous; so are the guys willing to holler “Leave her alone” at an abusive man from across the parking lot. Stepping into a volatile situation can get you shot, or beat up, or embarrassed. It’s much easier to keep quiet, maybe pull out your phone and call the cops. That might be a good rule of thumb — Don’t be a hero, they say. It’s the safe way to go, but I appreciate fierce men because the world needs heroes, and heroes are not always safe. In fact, we need them to be dangerous.

Dangerous men are a nightmare for their enemies. They weren’t born that way — somewhere in the timeline, perfectly docile young boys were taught the reality that a bully needs put in his place for the good of the schoolyard, because villains are being raised too. Every neighborhood or village on earth is teeming with boys either learning how to master their innate ability to be fierce, or to deny it. Some will use it properly, others will pervert it, but we need the types of guys who embrace and harness it. Men need to teach them how.

I too was taught that toxic masculinity is an awful thing, but it should be defined as an inability or unwillingness to man up, to cower in the face of challenges or to consider self-preservation a virtue. I have a problem with policies that encourage inaction. For instance, there are few things I find more toxic than encouraging a man to run and hide when someone is shooting.

A few years ago my employer instructed me to watch a training video of an active shooter situation. The video showed a man walk into a building’s lobby, shoot a security guard, and then walk from room to room shooting as he went. The proper responses according to the video: lock doors, run for exits, or hide. I’ve seen others where they make a cursory suggestion at maybe fighting if you’re cornered, when everyone else is presumably already dead.

I suppose if I were instructing a room full of children, maybe even women, this might be the way to go. But my first thought when watching that video was, “Where is the guy willing to throw a chair at him?” An office is a treasure trove of weapons, like fire extinguishers, scalding hot water, even scissors if it gets up close and personal. I’ve always operated under the assumption that planned responses are great when the scenario is hypothetical or the situation is static. Once the bullets start flying all bets are off, though. Either someone steps up and eliminates the threat, or people die. And the longer they wait, the more dead bodies.

How about this instead?

Scenario: Shooter begins roaming and shooting.

Question: Are you a child, or physically unfit to defend yourself?
If the answer is yes — Run or hide.
If not — Prepare to defend life, starting with others and ending with yourself.

The experts will say untrained individuals are not equipped to confront threats. I agree, so let’s train them to fight instead of run. What if everyone was trained to grab a projectile weapon at the first sound of gunfire?

That seems simple to me, and of all my friends you might say I’m the least fierce in any room. I’m a writer. A perfect day for me would be waking up in my own bed next to my wife, spending all day reading books and drinking coffee. Maybe watch a football game or a nerdy movie. Go out for Chinese food and end the night with more of the same, plus ice cream. Fierce, huh?

I live in Alaska and own guns, but I don’t hunt or fish. I even own a legit hunting bow. Why don’t I use it? Because I’m not into slogging around the wet alder bushes and sleeping in a tent on single digit nights with other guys for a week. I don’t desire moose that much. But I applaud those who do, so long as their families are in agreement. When it comes to outdoorsy high-octane stuff, I’m just not that type of guy.

I wear nerd t-shirts. I get irritated with outdated fonts. I’d rather hold a sleeping newborn than a fly rod, and I’m not into men’s conferences but I love to mentor. I love to challenge guys to do hard things, to make difficult choices that reveal vulnerability and risk self in pursuit of honoring others. This is the flip-side of the coin. We need men willing to kick in the door and clear the room of hostiles, but we also need them to yield and be sensitive to the ones counting on them. Good men know there is a time to fight and a time to submit, and I don’t want to be the type of guy who does too much of either.

A friend of mine once noticed a shoplifter running out of a store. He could have minded his own business, maybe should have, but instead, he took him down and held him till security took over. Another guy I know once broke the window of a pickup in order to apprehend a known felon the police were looking for. These are violent actions performed by dangerous men, but here’s the thing: Neither of them would ever harm another intentionally. They act when action is needed. Would you? Will I?

I once had a conversation with a guy about United 93, one of the four aircraft hijacked on 9/11. He asked whether I would have been among the passengers to storm the cockpit and take on the terrorists. I told him then what I’ll say now: I like to think so. It’s possible that fear or excuses may have kept me in my seat, but I can say for certain I wasn’t raised that way. I hope that in those moments, my five boys will be willing to do the dangerous thing, even unto death, because somebody has to. And I want for them what I hope is true about me — we are that type of guy.

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There are 11 comments.

  1. Jim McConnell Member

    You got that right. Great post! Thank you.

    • #1
    • June 17, 2019, at 9:14 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Seawriter Member

    Vince Guerra: I once had a conversation with a guy about United 93, one of the four aircraft hijacked on 9/11. He asked whether I would have been among the passengers to storm the cockpit and take on the terrorists. I told him then what I’ll say now: I like to think so.

    That one is simple. If you were aboard, you knew you were going to die. The passengers knew what happened to the other three airliners and knew the hijackers were going to crash it. The question is how do you want to go out? Cowering in your seat doing nothing or bringing down the airliner to make sure it did not reach its target? I would certainly hope not to go out cowering in my seat.

    • #2
    • June 17, 2019, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Vance Richards Member

    Vince Guerra: A few years ago my employer instructed me to watch a training video of an active shooter situation. The video showed a man walk into a building’s lobby, shoot a security guard, and then walk from room to room shooting as he went. The proper responses according to the video: lock doors, run for exits, or hide.

    If an employer puts out a video like that then it is safe to say that anyone who stops a shooter (saves lives) will be fired. This stuff is based off their liability insurance plan, not what is right or even safest. Still, men need to do what’s right. You could die trying to defend yourself, but you could just as easily get shot while cowering in closet. Different situations require different tactics, but yes, men need to be men.

    • #3
    • June 17, 2019, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    When I was a little boy, my father who was then about 45, got into a fist fight with a much younger man who was abusing a woman who was his aunt. My father was home for a day with some bruises and a black eye, if I recall. He put the 25 year old bully in the hospital. He was incredibly strong. He was in the juke box business until the Chicago Mafia put him out of business. I once saw him carry a juke box, that probably weighed 150 pounds, up a flight of stairs on his back. He had a bad temper but I saw him visibly restrain himself on several occasions when he was mad at me.

    Unfortunately, he was a high school dropout and, once he lost the business that he knew well, he did not do well and died an alcoholic at age 65. When I was a boy of 10 or so, he took me hunting and was a man I had great respect for. His decline taught me the value of education, even though he did not want me to go to college. His example convinced me about what I should do, even if he disagreed and did not give me any help.

    When I graduated from medical school, I sent him a copy of the class yearbook with the list of my accomplishments. By that time, he owned a tavern and showed everyone the yearbook. After he died, a number of his friends and customers of his tavern criticized me for not being sufficiently grateful for all he had done for me. My last gift to him was that I never said a word.

    • #4
    • June 17, 2019, at 11:36 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. kidCoder Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra: A few years ago my employer instructed me to watch a training video of an active shooter situation. The video showed a man walk into a building’s lobby, shoot a security guard, and then walk from room to room shooting as he went. The proper responses according to the video: lock doors, run for exits, or hide.

    If an employer puts out a video like that then it is safe to say that anyone who stops a shooter (saves lives) will be fired. This stuff is based off their liability insurance plan, not what is right or even safest.

    Looking for a new job if you are busted for having a legal weapon, if you used it to defend yourself and others on company property, should be easy.

    “Reason for termination of employment?”
    “I saved my boss’s life against company policy.”

    • #5
    • June 17, 2019, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Boss Mongo Member

    Because I know he won’t do it, I’d commend to you Vince’s book, Beyond The Golden Hour.

    All about good men doing brave things in a hard place.

    Ain’t going to lie, when I read in the foreword that he’d never served in the military, I got a little trepidatious. I shouldn’t have worried. Vince wrote well and credibly about SOF, and I never noticed whether there was any detail missing (SOF guys are anal about the details. Go figure) because it was such a great story.

    • #6
    • June 17, 2019, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. PHCheese Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Because I know he won’t do it, I’d commend to you Vince’s book, Beyond The Golden Hour.

    All about good men doing brave things in a hard place.

    Ain’t going to lie, when I read in the foreword that he’d never served in the military, I got a little trepidatious. I shouldn’t have worried. Vince wrote well and credibly about SOF, and I never noticed whether there was any detail missing (SOF guys are anal about the details. Go figure) because it was such a great story.

    I can second that Boss. I read it twice.

    • #7
    • June 17, 2019, at 5:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Ain’t going to lie, when I read in the foreword that he’d never served in the military, I got a little trepidatious.

    I can’t express how much I agonized over how it would be received by veterans like yourself. I don’t read military fiction, but I read tons of military non-fiction and have several friends who have served and your stories are inspiring to say the least. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll like the sequel The Stars and Their Places when it comes out in a couple months.

    • #8
    • June 18, 2019, at 1:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Skyler Coolidge

    I believe, and I’m not the first to say so, that having so many boys raised exclusively by women has led to all of the claims of “toxic” masculinity and sissyhood in general. 

    Boys and young men need leadership and personal examples from strong men of how to behave. If they are taught that the natural aggressiveness in them is “toxic” rather than an untamed virtue, then they will not learn how important it is to use that aggressiveness in positive ways. 

    • #9
    • June 18, 2019, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Vince Guerra: The only thing wrong with masculinity is its absence.

    Very, very well said. A thousand likes.

    • #10
    • June 18, 2019, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Skyler (View Comment):
    If they are taught that the natural aggressiveness in them is “toxic” rather than an untamed virtue, then they will not learn how important it is to use that aggressiveness in positive ways. 

    It also applies to elephants. Rogue elephants have invariably grown up without a dominant male.

    • #11
    • June 18, 2019, at 2:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like