The Bad Guys? Part 2


For most of my life, Johnny Lawrence was a bad guy. The student leader of the Cobra Kai dojo in 1984’s The Karate Kid was my generation’s bully prototype. But that all changed last year when YouTube produced a continuation of the franchise centered on Johnny called Cobra Kai. The show is far from great (I skim through several sections in each episode), but I keep watching because I’ve been impressed with how the writers managed to cast Johnny in an entirely different light.

The show depicts an older Johnny as he scrapes up enough cash to reopen his old dojo. Just as he begins to have some success, Daniel Larusso – now a successful business owner – becomes a bully to Johnny, using his fame and influence to smash the upstart business before it can take root in the community.

After only two episodes, I found myself rooting for Johnny and his new Cobras against Daniel, and Daniel’s thoroughly unlikable new protege.

We get a glimpse into Johnny’s backstory — his abusive father, and a terrible home life that drove him into the waiting arms of a bad teacher. We learn how his sensei’s distorted philosophy tainted Johnny’s adult relationships, and of his struggles with alcoholism, and eventually how he became an estranged father himself.

The show reinforces one of the chief principles of Daniel’s mentor, Mr. Miyagi: There are no bad students, only bad teachers.

I don’t ascribe to that principle in full (I’ve known plenty of bad students), but Miyagi was on to something. Take bad information, feed it to others, filter out critical details, and voilà: You’ve just produced some bad guys. Is this how it happens? Is this how it happened to me?

I wasn’t taught a particular standard of morality beyond the oft-cited Golden Rule. I thought I had a pretty good handle on right and wrong concerning the things that mattered: Don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t disfigure your fourth-grade classmate’s Cabbage Patch Doll. On other topics, I was taught that truth depends greatly on a person’s point of view.

As I got older, I drifted farther from the moral relativism of my early teachers and came up hard against the submerged reef of moral absolutes, chief among them being that human life at every stage is valuable. It was a truth personified in the beautiful but lifeless body of my second child, who died of an infection-induced miscarriage at nine weeks gestation, as he lay peacefully in a plastic tray I held, crying in the emergency room.

I don’t recall ever defending abortion. I believe my opinion before that was similar to many Americans; I didn’t think it was any of my business. I wasn’t familiar with abortion, only marginally understood it, and had certainly never studied it. What I knew was learned in abstract on fictional TV shows, and second-hand from abortion rights activists while studying other topics. They had plenty of arguments, but their main one seemed to be centered around the notion that abortion was justifiable due to a scientific rationale that a fetus is something other than a human being.

I accepted that and went on with my life. It wasn’t any of my business until that day in the ER, after seeing a child nine weeks after conception.

Some issues are not important to us until we experience them with our own eyes. Prior to that day, I took the rhetoric I was taught at face value. They said abortion was not the killing of a child, now I knew they were either lying or uninformed. I don’t disparage people for buying into the lessons of bad teachers. Abortion clinics are full of people working under the false pretense that what they are perpetuating is helping women. This may very well be the biggest, most deadly lie ever taught in the history of our nation. The people who believe the lie and act out of that assumption are not the bad guys.

As their experience within the industry increases, they often become horrified, and many have become pro-life activists. I commend them for their willingness to admit their mistake, and applaud their passion for telling their tales, exposing what so many powerful people are trying to cover up.

But there are others.

My sympathy ends for those who know full well that children are daily being killed for profit. These people have a number of arguments to justify their position, all of them false, and there is one group within the abortion fraternity that is completely aware of what abortion is, and entirely honest about their motivations for partaking in it — abortion doctors.

Somewhere on earth, there may be a doctor performing abortions for free, as a twisted form of “public service,” but I’ve never heard of one. I do know, however, that abortion clinics make anywhere from $300- $10,000 for each child, not counting the well-documented and illegal sale of their harvested organs and body parts. Murder has always been lucrative. They are also perfectly aware they are killing a human being. They have to be.

In order to kill something effectively you need to understand it. Hunters know how to kill the animals they seek, exterminators know what kills any given bug, botanists know what will kill a plant, or a pest, and abortion doctors know the best method for killing a child at each unique stage.

Do you know what these tools are used for?

Sopher forceps


If you don’t, I suggest it’s time to do some research. Or you can simply watch this doctor who has performed over 1,600 abortions describe the procedure:

Many people are taught that abortion is justified, or an unfortunate necessity. I suspect most people who believe that were never told how the tools are used, or what the procedure entails, or what the “products of conception” look like before they are discarded. If you’ve never seen it and you still defend it, you better be willing to click here. But make sure you don’t have any children sitting next to you, because it’s more terrifying than any horror movie, and those images will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Did you look?

If you’re not willing to face what you’re defending, then it’s time to rethink your position. No shame, but you need to rethink the lessons you’ve believed, even if you’ve believed them your entire life. Bad teachers perpetuate false doctrine, expecting their students to accept it without question. Is that you? Or are you willing to look the issue head on?

Good teachers equip their students to ask hard questions, to examine the facts, and embrace a culture of continuing education. They understand that eventually students will be on their own, and they will need firm principles to fall back on.

Near the end of Season One of Cobra Kai, Johnny recognizes his student Miguel copying the mistakes of Johnny’s past. Johnny realized his mentor was wrong and he was forced to reconcile with the fact that he’d bought into a lie, and that he needed to admit his errors.

Maybe I’m learning new lessons myself,” Johnny tells Miguel. “You have the potential to be better than I ever was.”

Good teachers expect to be challenged and to grow with the knowledge of experience. The good guys are aware they don’t know it all, and would rather admit to being foolish than continue being wrong.

The bad guys are the ones who don’t care.

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There are 9 comments.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I’m glad I hung around for Part 2, Vince. It would be impossible in this world of social media and mass communication that a fetus, no matter how small, is a child. And those who know it’s a child are committing murder.

    • #1
  2. drlorentz Member

    Vince Guerra: Did you look?

    Yes, and not because I defend abortion but because I thought I should look. It made me a bit nauseated: just a touch. Not to stray off topic but I wondered why such images induce nausea. After all, seeing the images has nothing to do with the digestion or the balance function of the inner ear. My conclusion, after brief reflection, was that the reaction was me telling myself to do everything possible to avoid ever seeing such a thing again. And there’s only one sure-fire way to make certain of that.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher

    I suppose that I did “defend” abortion, though I probably just hadn’t thought much about it. Abortion was just one of those things that one agrees with when one is a thoughtless liberal twerp.

    Jimmy Carter cured me of most of my default liberalness. Ethics class did the rest.

    Everyone in the Ethics class was either fully in support of abortion, or scared of those firebrands who were most vocal. Everyone, that is, except for one girl. She wouldn’t do much other than quote “thou shalt not kill,” and she was so meek that she almost apologized for doing it, but she wouldn’t back down. She did get picked on by the rest of the class. They went full-on “mean girls” on the resistor; they made her cry.

    They ought’nt have done that.

    Pretty soon, they had another target. One that had the advantage of not having any feelings that they could hurt. I didn’t quote the Bible — my faith hadn’t progressed to that point yet. Just reason and logic and bullheadedness. I started to have fun. Then the professor caught my eye. He was grinning from ear to ear. So I kept at it. One hot, humid, lazy spring afternoon of intellectual whack-a-mole.

    I did such a good job that I convinced myself.

    • #3
  4. Suspira Member

    I wasn’t prepared to cry when I began reading about Cobra Kai. Bless you.

    • #4
  5. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I wasn’t prepared to cry when I began reading about Cobra Kai. Bless you.

    Blessings to you as well. We can talk about Cobra Kai too.

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…

    Fantastic post, Vince.

    My sympathies for your lost baby.  My wife and I had the same terrible experience.  In my case, it didn’t change my view on abortion, which I already opposed.  It had a bigger effect on me.  It led me to belief in God (almost immediately) and then faith in Christ (about 2 1/2 years later).

    You are more forgiving than I am about those who support abortion.  You suggest that they have been misled by bad teachers.  I am disinclined to accept or excuse this level of ignorance.  I think that they are willfully blind at best, malicious and full of hate at worst.

    There are two groups in the pro-abortion camp:

    1. The first group actually thinks that they have the moral high ground.  These are typically the more radical Leftists, especially Feminists.  They are full of hate at their opponents, believing that those who oppose abortion are wicked oppressors.  They are, quite literally, people who call good evil and evil good.
    2. The second group seems to have moral concerns, but doesn’t want to address the issue.  They seem to become angry, and full of hate, only when confronted by those who oppose abortion.  My impression is that most of these people know full well that abortion is a monstrous crime, but don’t want to think about it.

    I find it difficult to understand the motivations of the second group.  I think that, for some of them, it is aversion to (and even hatred of) Christianity.  Perhaps they think that adopting an anti-abortion position would concede that those darned, meddlesome Christian moralists are right, and if they’re right about abortion, perhaps they’re right about other things.  I think that, for others in this group, they don’t want to face the fact that if they consciously accept the truth and adopt an anti-abortion position, they must necessarily conclude that:

    1. They have, personally, been supporting (actively or tacitly) one of the most horrific crimes in history, with a death toll about 10 times that of the Holocaust; and
    2. They have family members and friends who continue to support that crime, often in a self-righteous way.

    These are very painful things to face.

    I say this knowing that I’ve had two very close family members,who I loved and admired greatly in many respects, who were on the wrong side of this issue.  One is still living and one is dead.  It is very painful to face the truth on this issue.

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…

    I have one more thing to add.  If my objection to abortion is correct, and my skepticism of the proposition that people on the pro-abortion side are innocently misled is also correct, then it is difficult to view the opposition as “good people.”  They are not “good people.”  They are, perhaps, even worse than the Nazis, at least in terms of: (1) the total death toll, and (2) the innocence of the victims.

    This is a dreadful thought.  

    As a matter of metaphysics, Christianity solves this problem.  Even willfully blind or malicious people are misled and deceived, ultimately, by the Prince of Darkness.  They are not inherently good, but they are not irredeemably evil either.  They are the very people that we are trying to save.

    Then I think of Morpheus in The Matrix, explaining that as long as people remain committed to the deception, they are the enemy.  You’d like to save them, but there is little that you can do.

    Unlike Morpheus, I can pray.  Thank God.

    • #7
  8. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane

    I’ll sit through every corny episode of Cobra Kai because I wanted to marry Daniel when I was 12.  That seems appropriate now since Ralph Macchio still looks 12.  

    Of course abortion is evil.  Of course.  


    • #8
  9. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I’ll sit through every corny episode of Cobra Kai because I wanted to marry Daniel when I was 12. That seems appropriate now since Ralph Macchio still looks 12.

    Of course abortion is evil. Of course.


    I recommend skimming. Of course, I tend to skim past the Daniel parts mostly. There is a great scene in season one where Daniel and Johnny go to a bar together. Most of the best acting though is between Johnny and Miguel. 

    • #9
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