A lot of Special Forces Green Beret training involves making decisions with limited information. Special Forces operations succeed or fail on the decisiveness of the men executing the plan.

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”—Dave Grossman

There are two general reactions to mass shootings or acts of terror: The sheep think, “Thank God I was not there; I would have died.” The sheep dogs think, “If I had been there, I could have done something to stop him.”

No one can plan a response an unpredictable attack like those we have seen in movie theaters and shopping malls.  One can, however, think about how to think. We can prepare and strengthen ourselves so that if we find ourselves  there, we will be prepared to do all that we can do. I don’t want to speculate about what happened in a specific event or second-guess anyone’s actions, but we can have a discussion about what we should think about for the next time.