Discretion Is The Better Part of Valor

Discretion is the better part of valor is actually a variation of the original quote.  The original quote is from the character Falstaff in the play “King Henry the Fourth, Part One” by William Shakespeare.  What Falstaff actually said was “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.  

This sure is an exact definition of my philosophy for preparedness.  Many people in this field seem to be preparing not actually for long term survival, but to perform as some type of light infantry. 

For me, while the ability to provide my own security and to defend myself is important, the ability to AVOID trouble seems to be more important.  “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.

Max Rockatansky

It’s easy, with the prevalence of mass media productions like The Book of Eli, and the Mad Max series of movies, to envision yourselves as a band of righteous warriors, traveling the post-apocalyptic wasteland, righting wrongs in a world gone mad, but it’s not very realistic. 


It is indeed important, when preparing for a Without Rule of Law situation, that you are capable, as part of a group, to conduct limited dismounted operations to defend yourselves and your larger area, but it shouldn’t be the main focus.

To illustrate, I’m going to go with a tried & true example that is very near and dear to my heart:  The United States Marines Corps.  

In the Marine Corps, the Force Reconnaissance Companies are world-renowned as the best long range recon operators in the world.  They can slip in and out of areas completely undetected and gather whatever information they need.

If they are detected and make contact, make no mistake, they are absolutely among the last people on earth you want to fight, and they’ll give better than they get.

But the point of this comparison is that if they make contact and have to fight, things have gone very wrong.  Their role, by nature of the size of the teams they operate in, is NOT to engage in combat, but to avoid all contact while gathering information.  Because they operate in 6 man elements, they would rather risk a failed mission than to rush into a situation that they have a limited understanding of.

This is what makes it directly applicable to our discussion.  In a WROL environment, you will be operating in small groups, protecting your local community.  It is far better to detect problems when they are a long way off, like Marine Recon, than when they are on your front door. 

It’s also why developing the ability to process information into actionable intelligence is a vital skill to learn.  You can begin down this path by checking out the training courses at www.forwardobserver.com.  An area study is good place to start.

Discretion involves having the judgement to know when not jumping into a situation is the best idea.  As an example, let me give you a story that I share during my concealed pistol classes.

Two police officers pull up on an altercation in progress at a traffic light.  What they see is a man and a woman in the middle of the street, fighting over a purse.  The officers jump out, run up, and take the man down.  He resists, telling them they’ve got it all wrong.  Once they get him into cuffs, his wife runs up and informs them that her husband had been wrestling with the woman who had just snatched her purse, who has now vanished with the purse.  Discretion is the better part of valor.

The officers acted immediately on partial information and an assumption, that led to actually helping a criminal complete their crime.  “Caution is preferable to rash bravery”.

It’s important to understand that rushing headlong into things may not always be the best idea.  

A secondary piece of this is using our discretion on what information we share.  Too many of us over-share information on our preparations and our plans.  

In our current environment, where anyone to the right of Mao Tse-Tung is called a right wing extremist, your plans “to resist FEMA relocation” during a crisis could easily be reported as “anti-government views”.  Pointing out that Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison all had “anti-government views” only paints a larger target on you, no matter how true it is.

Keeping your plans and thoughts private and off social media may seem like giving up your right to free speech, but read some of the indictments that the FBI is publishing.  Social media posts are the main evidence being used to target people right now.  In fact, several people were just indicted for evidence tampering for deleting their own Facebook private messages (see below).  

Yes, really.

Membership in any kind of mutual aid group or the dreaded M word that is mentioned in the Second Amendment, which I shall not utter here is enough now for a search warrant.  

I know what you’re thinking….”If I’ve done nothing wrong, why do I care?”.  Let’s discuss the tale of Duncan Lemp.

Lemp posted several photos online of him with his firearms.  An anonymous source reported to his local police that Lemp owned illegal “assault” firearms and was a member of a “3 Percenter” group.  That was enough information to obtain a no-knock warrant.  During the execution of the warrant, police claim that Lemp grabbed a rifle and they shot and killed him.  His girlfriend and family maintain that he was shot and killed while sleeping.

It’s worth noting that the raid occurred at 4:30 AM, and the only notice Lemp had that anything was happening was when his bedroom window was shattered by a police baton as they entered.

When the police, pursuant to the search warrant, inspected and researched every firearm in the house, they determined that there was no crime and that the guns were all lawfully owned.  Let me say that again:  After killing a man in the execution of their search, they found that he had not committed a crime and the basis for the entire encounter was FALSE.

The entire ordeal was based upon someone seeing his social media posts.  This is bad enough, but the story doesn’t end there.

Despite this happening in March, the police still haven’t released any body cam footage of the raid.  They did however release a series of text messages and social media private messages where he discussed fortifying his house in case “the police decide to raid me for exercising my rights”.  In one, he even told his mother that he was worried that the police might kill him, despite him having done nothing wrong.

The police point to these as evidence of their need to have executed a no-knock warrant, because of the risk that a man who had NOT BROKEN THE LAW posed because he was worried about police over-stepping their authority.  On a side note, I guess Lemp’s concerns were valid.

Think that through…the police were worried that Lemp would resist them, even though they had NO CRIMINAL OFFENSE to arrest him for.  I’ll point out that in America, you are supposed to have probable cause that a crime was committed before getting a search warrant.  Search warrants were never supposed to be issued, as they frequently are now, to see if you have committed a crime.  The police are supposed to show that it’s LIKELY that you have committed a crime and that evidence is LIKELY to exist at a particular location.  Anonymous sources aren’t enough.

The entire situation could have been resolved by just knocking on the door, explaining the complaint to Lemp, and arranging an inspection through an attorney.  But, in our “everyone is a dangerous extremist” society, the 4:30 AM raid is the more likely approach and the more likely outcome.

In another FBI indictment, they state that attending firearms training, which many of us post about on social media, was evidence of “right wing extremism”.

This is presented as evidence of a crime.

You can avoid this by not sharing too much information online.  The vast majority of the rocket scientists who went into the Capitol have been arrested because they decided to either livestream their criminal activity or post selfies of them doing stupid things inside the building.  It’s worth noting that I made a public announcement that if you were going anywhere near Washington DC that day, you should not take a phone with you for just this reason (by the way, Feds, my phone was ON the entire day and I was in Michigan all day).

Kyle Rittenhouse Did Nothing Wrong

I know, this is easier said than done.  As I’m writing this, I’m serving out a 12 hour Twitter suspension for daring to tweet 5 letters.  Yes, really.  The letters, which is all I typed, are “KRDNW”.  Yes, it does stand for “Kyle Rittenhouse Did Nothing Wrong”, but expressing that opinion is, according to the Twitter overlords, “glorifying violence”.  I wonder how many rappers they kicked off Twitter for their music videos glorifying violence, but I digress. 

I’ll leave you with another piece of Tactical Wisdom, from the Ultimate Tactical handbook:

Discretion will protect you,

And understanding will guard you.

Proverbs 2:11

Be cautions, learn to develop & analyze information before rushing headlong into situations, and guard your own information.

Be safe.

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Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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