Fighting On Despite Desperate Odds

 

Why do men fight, and why are willing they willing to continue to fight to the last man, preferring death to surrender? T. E. Lawrence’s said men go to war “because the women were watching.” According to Michael Walsh, in his new book, Lawrence’s answer holds more truth than irony. Men fight for their families.

“Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost,” by Michael Walsh, investigates the last man phenomena. It explores why men fight, and why they are willing to continue fighting even when they know they will lose.

Walsh examines history through the lens of combat, starting with the Ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae and continuing through the Marine retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in the Twentieth Century. In thirteen chapters he explores sixteen last-stand battles. Some, including Thermopylae, Masada, and the Alamo, the defenders lost and dying almost to the last man. In others, like Rorke’s Drift and the Battle of Pavlov’s House at Stalingrad, defenders triumphed against terrible odds.

Some battles such as Custer’s Last Stand and the Battle of Hastings, are famous. Others, including the Last Stand of the Swiss Guard in 1527 and the Siege of Szigetvár are obscure. A few are surprising. Shiloh is not thought of as a last stand battle. Walsh includes it, making a convincing case for its inclusion.

Sometimes, as at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the fight exercises a choice of how to die. The Warsaw Jews knew Nazis were going to kill them. They decided to taking as many Nazis with them as they could. At Teutoburg Forest and Rorke’s Drift, defenders fought knowing surrender would not be accepted. In others, like Masada they refused to live under the rule of their conquerors.

More often, as at Szigetvár Shiloh, or Chosin, the last stands were efforts to buy time. In some, most notably the French Foreign Legion at Cameron or the Swiss Guard defending Pope Julius II, they fought preferring death before the dishonor and surrender.

Walsh believes unless there is something worth dying for there is nothing worth living for. He is an unabashed defender of physical courage, manliness, and the superiority of Western culture and civilization. Those triggered by that should avoid this book. For those willing to consider ideas outside their comfort zone, and especially those seeing reasons to support physical courage, manliness, and Western culture, “Last Stands” is a book worth reading.

“Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost,” by Michael Walsh, St. Martin’s Press, 2020, 368 pages, $28.99 (hardcover), $14.99 (e-book), $15.99 (audio book)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.

Published in History
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 23 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    In Catholic theology, killing in war is moral only while its purpose is defense (of survival, but also of life — love, justice, and truth) and has a reasonable chance of success in that defense. Thus, killing in an obviously lost battle might be justified if it significantly weakens the enemy for a future battle you won’t live to see. But killing just to go down fighting would not be moral.

    That’s why the history of Christian martyrdom includes both “a warrior’s death” and death by torture. One must stand for truth and justice to the end. One must speak truth, and not just believe it silently. Peter was ashamed for denying Jesus even to save his own life. Sometimes war is not the appropriate manner of defense. 

    We should honor both forms of martyrdom. Many modern Christians in the West have been misled to believe Christianity rejects violence absolutely. Violence cannot be our preference. But, for immortal souls, death is not a final destruction and condemnation. Christ’s apostles carried swords to defend against bandits and other aggressors. A just man unjustly killed can be resurrected by the Creator and Lord of all. 

    • #1
  2. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    This sounds like a great book. I have ordered it. I would add one more group of people fighting to the death: The passengers of United Flight 93 on 9/11. Their fight must be considered a victory, as they did not allow the plane to reach its target.

    • #2
  3. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Sounds like a great book. I’ll definitely check it out at some point.

    I’m especially curious about his inclusion of Custer. I’ve recently become a little obsessed with that battle. It doesn’t seem to quite belong with the others, as Custer was on the offensive.

    I guess you might put it in the mix with those like Teutoburg or Rorke’s Drift, where surrender wouldn’t have been accepted. And there were apparently a couple of Custer’s men, at least, who shot themselves to avoid potential capture. For the most part with Custer, though, it seems to have all fallen apart really quickly, without much time to consider whether to make a stand or not. My sense is that most his troops were just fighting by reflex and fight or flight instinct until they were killed.

    • #3
  4. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Already reading this, and it’s very good. I’ve just gotten to the chapter about the Swiss Guard. I’m surprised he didn’t include the Siege of Malta.

    • #4
  5. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    A few are surprising. Shiloh is not thought of as a last stand battle. Walsh includes it, making a convincing case for its inclusion.

    Shiloh was a last stand at the end of day one. The Union Army was back to the river. Sherman met with Grant that evening and said, “We’ve had the Devils’ own time today.” Grant said “Yup. Lick em tomorrow, though. ” That was Grant’s finest moment.

    • #5
  6. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Seawriter: Why do men fight, and why are willing they willing to continue to fight to the last man, preferring death to surrender? T. E. Lawrence’s said men go to war “because the women were watching.” According to Michael Walsh, in his new book, Lawrence’s answer holds more truth than irony. Men fight for their families.

    Those are all valid, but don’t forget that not all men fight for good reasons. The dirty secret is well expressed by Robert E. Lee:

    It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.

    Men like to fight. It is exciting. It is fundamentally what men are made for. I always say war is fun as long as you’re not the one getting blown up.

    Civilization is the force that keeps us from our natural state of fighting.

    As for last stands, there are many reasons. Sometimes it is the ultimate fight and glorious. Sometimes it is desperation in the face of a more horrible death. Horatius at the bridge, or the defenders of the Alamo. But at the root, both Horatius and Bowie liked the fight.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The truism that a soldier doesn’t fight for flags or causes but for the man on his left and the man on his right gets affirmed in every war. A society can be rotten with perverse values (e.g., Sparta, Nazi Germany) yet produce a military culture in which men will die before giving an inch to the enemy.

    The janissaries of the Ottoman Empire — Christian boys, enslaved, forcibly converted to Islam and made to live only for the elite military force that they were forced to join should have had no reason to be loyal to the sultan but they were the world’s best fighting force for 200 years.

    In 1969 when I was much younger and far more clever I recall asking a Marine recruiter who had set up a booth on campus whether he actually expected to get any recruits in the current climate. He completely ignored the implicit snottiness of my question and explained that the Marines are composed certain kinds of guys. This recruiting gunnery sergeant was at his recruiting station just to be available for that kind of guy when he comes looking for the opportunity to be a Marine. It is not about sales or persuasion but about just being there to be ready to help that guy find his way to the Marine Corps.

    As the USA becomes less virtuous, less honorable, less positive about our history, values and future, our military appears to be more professional and effective than when I was soldier 50 years ago. Are we Sparta? Late Ottoman Empire?

     

     

    • #7
  8. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The truism that a soldier doesn’t fight for flags or causes but for the man on his left and the man on his right gets affirmed in every war.

    It’s more of a cliche than a truism. Men just like to fight and win, and they only win if they are a good team.

    • #8
  9. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The truism that a soldier doesn’t fight for flags or causes but for the man on his left and the man on his right gets affirmed in every war. A society can be rotten with perverse values (e.g., Sparta, Nazi Germany) yet produce a military culture in which men will die before giving an inch to the enemy.

    The janissaries of the Ottoman Empire — Christian boys, enslaved, forcibly converted to Islam and made to live only for the elite military force that they were forced to join should have had no reason to be loyal to the sultan but they were the world’s best fighting force for 200 years.

    In 1969 when I was much younger and far more clever I recall asking a Marine recruiter who had set up a booth on campus whether he actually expected to get any recruits in the current climate. He completely ignored the implicit snottiness of my question and explained that the Marines are composed certain kinds of guys. This recruiting gunnery sergeant was at his recruiting station just to be available for that kind of guy when he comes looking for the opportunity to be a Marine. It is not about sales or persuasion but about just being there to be ready to help that guy find his way to the Marine Corps.

    As the USA becomes less virtuous, less honorable, less positive about our history, values and future, our military appears to be more professional and effective than when I was soldier 50 years ago. Are we Sparta? Late Ottoman Empire?

     

     

    I have suggested to my son several times that his son, my only grandson, should do a tour in the Marine Corps before college. When I was examining recruits still, I met a young man who had enlisted in the AF right out of high school, finished his tour and then went to college. He got his BSEE from U of Alaska and was going back into the AF.

    • #9
  10. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    Great suggestion! Thank you. I just downloaded a copy. I have both combat experience and experience in the mountains and rock climbing which I have often compared to combat. I cannot number the times I was on a rock face desperately fighting to stay on when failure to do so might have had fatal consequences. I suspect that men in places like the Little Big Horn or Rorke’s Drift or even Thermopylae never give up the fight because until you’re dead, you aren’t, and as long as you can fight back there is the chance that you could survive. Accepting defeat in any of those situations is to accept death, I don’t think the active mind willingly does that.

    The closest, I think, I came to that sense of accepting death was, perhaps, 15 years ago. I was on a hiking trail I traveled often and caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to focus on it and saw a very long tail crossing the trail about 25 yards ahead of me. The rest of the beast came into clear focus on the slope just below me in the form of a very large cougar. He had stopped and I turned to face him at a distance of about 25 yards. I slowly reached into my jacket and undid the thumb break on my shoulder holster which held my .44 Magnum S&W Model 629. Perhaps stupidly, I didn’t draw the revolver. Instead I maintained eye contact with the cat who I would estimate at around 150 pounds and, if standing on his hind legs, significantly bigger than me.

    In those moments of staring at each other I understood for the first time in my life what it is to be a prey animal. A part of me surrendered internally, was almost ready to be food for this big cat. It was a sense that passed, but which I had never felt before. I had never felt so powerless, not terrified or, really, even scared, just resigned.

    The other part of my brain kicked in and I made an effort to appear as large and dangerous as I could. I don’t know exactly how long that confrontation lasted. I would estimate half a lifetime or more realistically 30 seconds. Then the lion simply turned and sauntered off. I will never forget that sensation of resignation. It was completely uncharacteristic of me, yet, I think it is something built into our genes, into the genes of all animals in those very final moments before certain death.

    • #10
  11. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    As the USA becomes less virtuous, less honorable, less positive about our history, values and future, our military appears to be more professional and effective than when I was soldier 50 years ago. Are we Sparta? Late Ottoman Empire?

    I don’t expect that to last; for decades the military was selectively recruiting the best from a degenerating culture, instilling the values of generations of military families onto recruits from outside that framework.

    The military brass has become woke, and dedicated to the transmission of progressive values; military families and patriotic pioneers alike will be made increasingly unwelcome, and other recruits will be indoctrinated without the influence that patriotic veterans had in years past. If our lukewarm Civil War goes hot (albeit likely in low-intensity fashion), I expect most in the military will be conditioned to enthusiastically kill the domestic enemies of progressivism. A military that hates the values that made it great might not do it as efficiently, but with superior firepower and unlimited funds and inherited infrastructure, they won’t need to.

    That said, I’m not military, nor from a military background; maybe some from that tradition will have reasons to disagree with my pessimism.

     

     

     

    • #11
  12. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    Great suggestion! Thank you. I just downloaded a copy. I have both combat experience and experience in the mountains and rock climbing which I have often compared to combat. I cannot number the times I was on a rock face desperately fighting to stay on when failure to do so might have had fatal consequences. I suspect that men in places like the Little Big Horn or Rorke’s Drift or even Thermopylae never give up the fight because until you’re dead, you aren’t, and as long as you can fight back there is the chance that you could survive. Accepting defeat in any of those situations is to accept death, I don’t think the active mind willingly does that.

    The closest, I think, I came to that sense of accepting death was, perhaps, 15 years ago. I was on a hiking trail I traveled often and caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to focus on it and saw a very long tail crossing the trail about 25 yards ahead of me. The rest of the beast came into clear focus on the slope just below me in the form of a very large cougar. He had stopped and I turned to face him at a distance of about 25 yards. I slowly reached into my jacket and undid the thumb break on my shoulder holster which held my .44 Magnum S&W Model 629. Perhaps stupidly, I didn’t draw the revolver. Instead I maintained eye contact with the cat who I would estimate at around 150 pounds and, if standing on his hind legs, significantly bigger than me.

    In those moments of staring at each other I understood for the first time in my life what it is to be a prey animal. A part of me surrendered internally, was almost ready to be food for this big cat. It was a sense that passed, but which I had never felt before. I had never felt so powerless, not terrified or, really, even scared, just resigned.

    The other part of my brain kicked in and I made an effort to appear as large and dangerous as I could. I don’t know exactly how long that confrontation lasted. I would estimate half a lifetime or more realistically 30 seconds. Then the lion simply turned and sauntered off. I will never forget that sensation of resignation. It was completely uncharacteristic of me, yet, I think it is something built into our genes, into the genes of all animals in those very final moments before certain death.

    My wife was working in the front yard last summer, gardening, when she looked to her side and saw a mountain lion walking past her. We live in the foothills of the Catalina mountains and lions are common in the area. Our assumption, which might have also applied to your experience, is just that the lion wasn’t hungry.

    • #12
  13. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    As the USA becomes less virtuous, less honorable, less positive about our history, values and future, our military appears to be more professional and effective than when I was soldier 50 years ago. Are we Sparta? Late Ottoman Empire?

    I don’t expect that to last; for decades the military was selectively recruiting the best from a degenerating culture, instilling the values of generations of military families onto recruits from outside that framework.

    The military brass has become woke, and dedicated to the transmission of progressive values; military families and patriotic pioneers alike will be made increasingly unwelcome, and other recruits will be indoctrinated without the influence that patriotic veterans had in years past. If our lukewarm Civil War goes hot (albeit likely in low-intensity fashion), I expect most in the military will be conditioned to enthusiastically kill the domestic enemies of progressivism. A military that hates the values that made it great might not do it as efficiently, but with superior firepower and unlimited funds and inherited infrastructure, they won’t need to.

    That said, I’m not military, nor from a military background; maybe some from that tradition will have reasons to disagree with my pessimism.

     

    I spent years, until 3 years ago, examining military recruits. From my experience, so far, I think we are safe. It is possible that fragging might make a comeback and “Trust no one over O-6” is still a valid rule. All in all, I think the kids joining up might be the only sane group under 30.

     

     

    • #13
  14. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    My wife was working in the front yard last summer, gardening, when she looked to her side and saw a mountain lion walking past her. We live in the foothills of the Catalina mountains and lions are common in the area. Our assumption, which might have also applied to your experience, is just that the lion wasn’t hungry.

    Most large cats won’t attack prey face on. Wood gatherers in the Sundaban forest in India wear masks with faces in the back. It reduces attacks by tigers who are quite common in the area. The particular cat I ran into was very likely not fed. I found what looked like even spaced idiot makers (clumps of snow that fall from trees and leave big pits in the snow below), roughly 10 feet apart higher up on the trail. When I looked inside of the pits there were distinct pug prints from the cat. Through the area were deer tracks showing a small herd had scattered when the cat had attacked them. There was no sign of a kill anywhere near. The cat I saw had to be the same one that missed the deer higher up. He wouldn’t tolerate another cat in his territory. Lack of hunger wasn’t the reason he passed me up. 

    I live in an area, like yours, where big cats occasionally come by, but rarely during the day. They are nocturnal hunters, generally young cats driven out of their mother’s territory and looking for dogs and cats. I have seen their prints in my yard on a number of occasions. Attacks on humans by cougars are rare. However, one as large and dominant as the one I ran into, one used to taking out 1000 pound elk, according to the local game warden, isn’t going to be as shy about going after a human, particularly if he sees him as a invader in his territory. Then it isn’t a matter of food, but territory, an imperative nearly as strong as hunger. I suspect that the cats in your area are aware that humans are off limits. I have had similar encounters with Black bears which also seem to be shy of humans in most cases. 

    • #14
  15. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    My wife was working in the front yard last summer, gardening, when she looked to her side and saw a mountain lion walking past her. We live in the foothills of the Catalina mountains and lions are common in the area. Our assumption, which might have also applied to your experience, is just that the lion wasn’t hungry.

    Most large cats won’t attack prey face on. Wood gatherers in the Sundaban forest in India wear masks with faces in the back. It reduces attacks by tigers who are quite common in the area. The particular cat I ran into was very likely not fed. I found what looked like even spaced idiot makers (clumps of snow that fall from trees and leave big pits in the snow below), roughly 10 feet apart higher up on the trail. When I looked inside of the pits there were distinct pug prints from the cat. Through the area were deer tracks showing a small herd had scattered when the cat had attacked them. There was no sign of a kill anywhere near. The cat I saw had to be the same one that missed the deer higher up. He wouldn’t tolerate another cat in his territory. Lack of hunger wasn’t the reason he passed me up.

    I live in an area, like yours, where big cats occasionally come by, but rarely during the day. They are nocturnal hunters, generally young cats driven out of their mother’s territory and looking for dogs and cats. I have seen their prints in my yard on a number of occasions. Attacks on humans by cougars are rare. However, one as large and dominant as the one I ran into, one used to taking out 1000 pound elk, according to the local game warden, isn’t going to be as shy about going after a human, particularly if he sees him as a invader in his territory. Then it isn’t a matter of food, but territory, an imperative nearly as strong as hunger. I suspect that the cats in your area are aware that humans are off limits. I have had similar encounters with Black bears which also seem to be shy of humans in most cases.

    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    • #15
  16. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    I think that cats who live in relatively close proximity to humans tend to be less aggressive towards humans. I suspect that it is a territorial thing. They understand that they are moving in human territory. We have lot of cats in Western Washington, but there have been very few attacks on humans. I don’t know if the big cat I ran into was a threat or not, but when you are looking at an animal that large at that range it is very intimidating. Around my home I am much more concerned for my dogs. I don’t let them out at night. Actually, though the local pack of coyotes are probably a great danger to my dogs.

    • #16
  17. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    I think that cats who live in relatively close proximity to humans tend to be less aggressive towards humans. I suspect that it is a territorial thing. They understand that they are moving in human territory. We have lot of cats in Western Washington, but there have been very few attacks on humans. I don’t know if the big cat I ran into was a threat or not, but when you are looking at an animal that large at that range it is very intimidating. Around my home I am much more concerned for my dogs. I don’t let them out at night. Actually, though the local pack of coyotes are probably a great danger to my dogs.

    There was a flap recently when three lions were found to be feeding on a human body about a mile from our house. It turned out the guy had died of nothing to do with the lions,. and there was considerable unhappiness (including by me) when the cats, a mother and two cubs, were euthanized.

    https://tucson.com/news/local/arrest-made-in-killing-of-man-whose-remains-were-gnawed-by-mountain-lions-near-tucson/article_f0718f4c-0e7b-11eb-8a46-bbc027d195cf.html

     

    • #17
  18. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    I think that cats who live in relatively close proximity to humans tend to be less aggressive towards humans. I suspect that it is a territorial thing. They understand that they are moving in human territory. We have lot of cats in Western Washington, but there have been very few attacks on humans. I don’t know if the big cat I ran into was a threat or not, but when you are looking at an animal that large at that range it is very intimidating. Around my home I am much more concerned for my dogs. I don’t let them out at night. Actually, though the local pack of coyotes are probably a great danger to my dogs.

    There was a flap recently when three lions were found to be feeding on a human body about a mile from our house. It turned out the guy had died of nothing to do with the lions,. and there was considerable unhappiness (including by me) when the cats, a mother and two cubs, were euthanized.

    https://tucson.com/news/local/arrest-made-in-killing-of-man-whose-remains-were-gnawed-by-mountain-lions-near-tucson/article_f0718f4c-0e7b-11eb-8a46-bbc027d195cf.html

     

    No arrests made of the euthanizers, I see.

    I lived in Tucson from 1986-88 (BEAR DOWN!). Buddy of mine lives there now. The times friends and I would go on hikes, for some of the local guys who were from Tucson, we’d get warnings about local critters to keep an eye out for. You can imagine what an 18 year old thinks of such warnings.

    Now I’d walk out there more suitably prepared:

    See the source image

    • #18
  19. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Gazpacho Grande' (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    I think that cats who live in relatively close proximity to humans tend to be less aggressive towards humans. I suspect that it is a territorial thing. They understand that they are moving in human territory. We have lot of cats in Western Washington, but there have been very few attacks on humans. I don’t know if the big cat I ran into was a threat or not, but when you are looking at an animal that large at that range it is very intimidating. Around my home I am much more concerned for my dogs. I don’t let them out at night. Actually, though the local pack of coyotes are probably a great danger to my dogs.

    There was a flap recently when three lions were found to be feeding on a human body about a mile from our house. It turned out the guy had died of nothing to do with the lions,. and there was considerable unhappiness (including by me) when the cats, a mother and two cubs, were euthanized.

    https://tucson.com/news/local/arrest-made-in-killing-of-man-whose-remains-were-gnawed-by-mountain-lions-near-tucson/article_f0718f4c-0e7b-11eb-8a46-bbc027d195cf.html

     

    No arrests made of the euthanizers, I see.

    I lived in Tucson from 1986-88 (BEAR DOWN!). Buddy of mine lives there now. The times friends and I would go on hikes, for some of the local guys who were from Tucson, we’d get warnings about local critters to keep an eye out for. You can imagine what an 18 year old thinks of such warnings.

    Now I’d walk out there more suitably prepared:

    See the source image

    Ha, his suit is made of rubber! See the folds in the torso?

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Gazpacho Grande’ (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I don’t disagree but my wife had her back to him and only saw him as he passed. She weighs about 105 pounds soaking wet so maybe she just didn’t look worth the trouble. Our neighbors have lots of trail camera shots and video of big cats at night.

    I think that cats who live in relatively close proximity to humans tend to be less aggressive towards humans. I suspect that it is a territorial thing. They understand that they are moving in human territory. We have lot of cats in Western Washington, but there have been very few attacks on humans. I don’t know if the big cat I ran into was a threat or not, but when you are looking at an animal that large at that range it is very intimidating. Around my home I am much more concerned for my dogs. I don’t let them out at night. Actually, though the local pack of coyotes are probably a great danger to my dogs.

    There was a flap recently when three lions were found to be feeding on a human body about a mile from our house. It turned out the guy had died of nothing to do with the lions,. and there was considerable unhappiness (including by me) when the cats, a mother and two cubs, were euthanized.

    https://tucson.com/news/local/arrest-made-in-killing-of-man-whose-remains-were-gnawed-by-mountain-lions-near-tucson/article_f0718f4c-0e7b-11eb-8a46-bbc027d195cf.html

     

    No arrests made of the euthanizers, I see.

    I lived in Tucson from 1986-88 (BEAR DOWN!). Buddy of mine lives there now. The times friends and I would go on hikes, for some of the local guys who were from Tucson, we’d get warnings about local critters to keep an eye out for. You can imagine what an 18 year old thinks of such warnings.

    Now I’d walk out there more suitably prepared:

    See the source image

    Ha, his suit is made of rubber! See the folds in the torso?

    It is an incomplete suit. More common than most folks realize.

    Maybe it’s in the shop.

    • #20
  21. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I was waking my wife up one morning two years ago when I glanced out the window into our back yard. It was 8 AM and here was a big cat walking through the yard. It had a short tail so had to be a big, very big, bobcat but it looked the size of a cougar. Before I could get my camera, it had jumped our 6 foot wall and was gone.

    • #21
  22. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    One of my neighbors photographed a big bobcat in his backyard. I think I would rather face a cougar. Bobcats are nasty!

    • #22
  23. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Just finished Last Stands. Outstanding book.

    • #23