“Death and I have played this game for many years. And now I sit here aged, a shadow of what I once was, wondering if I will see him again or if he, like a coward, will come for me in my sleep.”
I read this quote today, and it resonated with me. In 2005, while in Iraq, a squad mate once said to me, “Man, every time we step outside the wire, we play a game with death.”
These words, heavy with the weight of countless battles fought and scars earned, reflect the warrior’s indomitable spirit. Throughout history, warriors from all corners of the world have waged wars, risking their lives as they stared unflinchingly into the eyes of their mortal foe. In this article, I delve into the mindset of a warrior, exploring the intricate relationship between life and death, the inevitability of our fate, and the undying courage that characterizes those bound by a warrior’s code.
For a warrior, the line between life and death becomes blurred. In the crucible of combat, warriors witness existence’s fragility and ephemeral nature. Death becomes their constant companion, lurking in the periphery of their consciousness. Yet, rather than succumbing to fear or despair, the warrior harnesses this knowledge, embracing it as a reminder that each moment is precious. They navigate life purposefully and determined, understanding that every breath could be their last.
A warrior is never content to await their fate passively. They confront the specter of death with unwavering resolve, staring unblinkingly into its eyes. Unlike the disheartened, they refuse to surrender to fear. Instead, they channel their apprehension into an unyielding force that fuels their fiery spirit. They greet each sunrise with a resolute determination to make their mark on the world, for they know that true strength lies not in escaping death but in confronting it with valor.
While death claims the physical form, a warrior understands that the legacy they leave behind transcends their mortal existence. Whether through their deeds on the battlefield or their impact on the lives of others, their spirit lives on. A warrior’s courage, discipline, and unwavering dedication become an indelible imprint upon the tapestry of human history. Their story, interwoven with the destinies of countless others, becomes a testament to their immortality.
At the heart of a warrior’s mentality lies a code, a set of principles that govern their actions and shape their character. Honor, loyalty, and integrity are their guiding compass in life and death. Through adherence to this code, they cultivate a warrior’s spirit, becoming not only formidable combatants but pillars of strength within their communities. The warrior’s sense of purpose and self-discipline sustain them through the darkest hours, enabling them to overcome adversities that would cripple lesser souls.
In the game of life and death, the warrior emerges as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Despite the inevitability of death’s embrace, the warrior embraces their destiny with unyielding resolve. They view death not as an end but as an integral part of existence, intertwining new beginnings with poignant farewells. They etch their names into the annals of valor through their unwavering courage and indomitable will. Though shadows lengthen and the specter of death looms ever nearer, the warrior remains undeterred, forever embracing the dance with destiny.
The Monster Within
When you play with death long enough, something in you changes. Something in you becomes alive. When warriors fight tirelessly against the forces of evil, they undergo a profound transformation. Their encounters with the monstrous alter their very essence, stripping away their innocence and a piece of their humanity. To survive in this treacherous world, they must adopt certain traits of the creatures they battle. They become capable of rage and extreme violence, yet they confine these tendencies within a hidden cage deep within their souls.
Recognizing the distinction between these heroes and the monsters they confront is crucial. While the monsters revel in perverse pleasure when causing harm, the heroes only unleash their inner beast to protect others, accomplish their mission, and ensure the job is done. Yet, the ramifications of these monster tendencies are not without consequence. They bear the burden of guilt, isolation, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.
Indeed, a price is paid when violence is visited upon others by those who are not inherently monsters. However, these warriors understand that the cost inflicted upon society would be far greater without their unwavering commitment to combatting evil. This realization propels them to make the harrowing sacrifice so that others may live in peace and security.
Warriors witness horrors the average human was never meant to see, and they witness them repeatedly. They shoulder the burden that others deem beneath them. They tirelessly solve problems and sometimes resort to violence to protect others. They run towards the very things that strike fear into the hearts of ordinary people. They willingly face the monsters that seek to inflict harm upon society. While many prefer to deny the existence of such malevolence, these heroes possess the knowledge and courage to confront it head-on. They undertake the deeds that the vast majority deem too arduous, feeble, and cowardly to undertake.
The peace civilians experience daily is a direct result of their unwavering commitment. However, witnessing the current political climate in which fighting for a cause is deemed unworthy is disheartening. The famous mantra is one of submission, denigrating warriors and casting them as morally inferior. Such a mindset is nothing short of childish, asinine, and cowardly. Consider this quote:
“Hard times create hard men, hard men create soft times, and soft times create soft men.”
We are now in soft times where warriors are ignored, seen as villains, seen as not necessary. Yet, we, the heroes, understand the truth. We know that there are causes worth fighting for, even dying for. We acknowledge that not every problem can be resolved through rational discourse alone and that some issues necessitate the application of force and violence. While we always strive for peaceful solutions, we can fully embrace the more formidable path when necessary. We firmly believe that fighting what others fear is honorable, noble, and just, and we are prepared to pay the price for this deeply held conviction.
Why do we do this? It is not a choice but an inherent part of our being. We are built that way, destined to navigate the treacherous terrain between light and darkness. Our transformation, although harrowing, allows us to stand as the guardians of society, shielding innocent lives from the clutches of malevolence. So, before you judge us, remember the immense burdens we carry and the sacrifices we make to ensure your peace and security.
The metamorphosis of warriors who fight monsters and play a game with death is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. They witness unimaginable horrors, adopt the characteristics of the creatures they battle, and confine their monster tendencies within.
The price they pay is steep, with guilt, isolation, depression, and PTSD weighing heavily upon them. However, their sacrifices are not in vain, as they provide invaluable protection to society. We must acknowledge and appreciate their unwavering commitment, understanding that applying force can only win some battles. These heroes are not mere individuals; they are embodiments of honor, nobility, and justice, willing to pay any price to uphold their deeply held beliefs.
The warrior’s presence in the world ensures that the darkness does not consume us entirely and that hope still flickers amidst the shadows. They embody bravery and resilience, facing the monsters that haunt our nightmares. Their transformation may be profound, but it is a necessary evolution to safeguard the innocent and preserve the light in our world.
Ayman Kafel is the founder and owner of Hybrid Wolf Blue Line Strategies, LLC. A veteran-owned training and consulting company for Law Enforcement officers and agencies. He combines his military and law enforcement experience to bring much-needed cutting-edge training to the law enforcement profession.
Ayman is not only an active police officer but also a law enforcement instructor and has taught across the East Coast of the United States. He offers a wide variety of training, such as advanced patrol tactics, mechanical breaching courses, designated marksman, and Human Performance under duress.
In addition, Ayman is an Army Combat Veteran who was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He became a police officer in 2007 after 8 years of service in the Army
Ayman has seen the ugliness of war and evil in the world. He survived two civil wars prior to immigrating to the United States in the late eighties.
His current position is the commander of his department’s Problem-Oriented Policing Unit. He leads a team of investigators that employs unconventional methods and Special Forces philosophy in achieving specific objectives in the communities he serves. These unconventional methods range from winning hearts and minds to specific strategic law enforcement actions to arrest and prosecute those who are the root cause of various crimes.
To reach Ayman, feel free to email him at email@example.com
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.