|Everybody knows a Walt Kowalski. He is the grizzled Korean War veteran Clint Eastwood played in the movie Gran Torino.
A man who spends his days sitting on the porch, keeping his house and
yard immaculate, satisfied to drink his cheap beer while watching his
neighborhood and country go to hell around him.
He is an anachronism, a dinosaur -- part of the old America where you worked hard, took pride in your work and where you lived, and fought for your country and what it stood for when called upon. Armed with his M1 Garand rifle and 1911 .45 pistol he brought back from the war, he put new meaning in "Get off my lawn."
(Warning: spoilers follow.)
As anyone who has seen the movie knows, Kowalski is recently widowed and terminally ill. He does not have much to live for until he befriends his young Hmong neighbors. After teaching them what honor and self-reliance are, he eventually gives his life for them.
Fewer have heard of Ben Mitchell, who features in the book Enemies Foreign and Domestic. Mitchell is a former Vietnam-era Green Beret operative who paralyzes Washington, D.C. by crippling the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. (Again, spoilers follow.) Though not terminally ill -- yet -- Mitchell does not see much of a future ahead of him and is angered about his friend being set up by the federal government during an unconstitutional gun-grab passed in the heat of the moment by legislators after a tragedy. Before losing his life, however, he manages to take out most of the federal law enforcement team sent against him.
Both of these men are fictional characters, but is it just fantasy? Let us look back at Samuel Whittemore. Samuel was an old man -- seventy-eight years old, to be exact -- on April 19, 1775. After many years of service bearing arms for the British Crown, surely he was too old to fight, and his wife even told him so. On that fateful morning, though, he gathered up his musket, two pistols, and a cavalry saber that he acquired from a French officer who "died suddenly" and took his place to meet the British Regulars in Menotomy. When it was over, the British thought they were fired upon by a whole company and sent the same to subdue him. After dispatching some British Regulars by emptying his musket and pistols and drawing his sword, he had half his face shot off and was bayoneted thirteen times and left for dead. Samuel did indeed die -- ten years later.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Dangerous Old Men
Must read, it will strike a chord with all of you older guys and veterans in particular. But not only.
I am a veteran. I am a survivor of the communist hell. I am a dangerous old man.