Why I Chose Journalism: Reflecting on 2017

One of the most famous scenes in American Sniper shows Chris Kyle’s father explaining to his sons there are certain different types of people in this world, and how one must develop the talent to recognize them:

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.”

“Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world, and if it ever darkened their doorstep, they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep.

Then, you’ve got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves.

And then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression, an overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.

Many folks go into journalism to enrich themselves and gain power, but I went into to protect others: To confront the wolf. I wept writing out Congressional testimonies from victims of illegal alien crime and used all of my energy, strength, and whatever talent I may have to help those who needed help.

While people are not projects, many friends constantly call me to ask for advice, and I have successfully talked many out of their problems. Never feel ashamed of your mistakes and missteps, I’d say, because you have to keep picking up the bow and arrow and keep shooting at the target. I will never judge or criticize anyone for the demons they fight. As they fight them, I’m there with them every step of the way, giving them the mental tools to destroy the things trying to bury them in a shallow grave.

Why a bow and arrow?

Because the Greek word “Hamartia” starts life as a technical term in archery, for missing the bull’s eye. Thucydides expands the use of the term in his history of the Peloponnesian War by using “Hamartia” to mean an error in judgment, a bad policy or strategy, and so Aristotle lifts Thucydides’ use of the word in his ethical works. If ethical behavior is “X,” then unethical behavior is anything that misses the mark, misses the “X.”

Aristotle believed that the key to a good life was moderation, to aim for the middle between two extremes. Bravery is the correct ethical behavior, while cowardice is the arrow missing the mark by landing below the bull’s eye.

And being foolhardy is the arrow missing the mark by landing above the bull’s eye… I have been brave, cowardly, and foolhardy, and learning how to have balance is a critical component to living a good life. “Being blessed with the gift of aggression” sometimes means I’ll say things off-the-cuff which will be hurtful or offensive. But I’ve learned not to draw my sword indiscriminately.

When I see people mistreated, and when I see good, well-meaning people tricked by clever-silly predators who think they’re the masters of the universe and cash in on naivety, it brings out the “sheepdog” in me.

When innocent people suffer, “I cannot look the other way and I will not look the other way.”

And I’m not done yet.

Happy New Year, everyone, and thank you for reading.

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