A few weeks ago, Jürgen Conings died alone. His body was found on 21 June in the woods near Limburg, Belgium. He apparently ended his own life with one of the weapons he had stolen from his unit. He had been the subject of an intensive manhunt conducted by Belgian police and Special Operations components of the Belgian military since 18 May after his car was found abandoned with four rocket launcher training aids inside.
The details of his crimes are largely unimportant for the lessons we need to draw from these weeks of pursuit. Let it be stated as a given that he had been under suspicion by his government for “far right activities” before a “hit-list” was found which named a virologist and Conings’ ex-wife. He had also stolen several weapons from his unit (including those four rocket launcher trainers.)
What interests us more, and is also beyond debate, is that Jürgen Conings was reportedly a highly trained and experienced soldier, a sniper in the air component of Belgium’s unified military’s Air Component. He had tours of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Lebanon.
At one point, the military officials hunting Conings observed, “He’s extremely proficient as a soldier and has had training and experience that he has been taught to adapt to irregular warfare. He will be comfortable operating alone and under great stress.”
It was even suggested that Conings was nowhere near where the car was found abandoned. He might have abandoned the car away from his intended area of operations in order to distract and mislead pursuers.
Highly trained and experienced, he had eluded equally well-trained and experienced pursuers for about three weeks.
I was reminded of Chris Dorner, the LAPD officer who left behind a manifesto detailing the racially motivated maltreatment he had suffered as a member of that department before going on to kill four people and injure three others, all connected to law enforcement. In that manifesto, he had declared “unconventional and asymmetric warfare” against the LAPD.
Like Conings, Dorner was well-trained. He was a graduate of the LAPD academy and an officer in the US Navy Reserve commanding a security unit.
He lasted nine days.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the purpose of the Second Amendment. I’ll go on record here as stating the amendment itself, the Federalist Paper 46, and the letters the founders left behind all make it clear that the purpose of owning military grade weapons is found in the possibility that Americans might, again, have to oppose their government by force.
President Biden, in recent comments, stated that this is absurd and suggested that one would need F-15s and nuclear weapons to oppose the state.
It is a cute little altercation that proves neither side is listening to the other. The left asks incredulously if we really believe our black rifles can defeat the US military and we bring up Vietnam and Afghanistan. We try to explain that every insurgency from the American Revolution to Chiapas has demonstrated that a simple willingness to fight will overcome the technological advantage a larger force has once the citizens lose that willingness to watch their soldiers die. It’s been going on for years and both sides pretend this isn’t a set of tropes they’ve chuckled condescendingly at before.
I rarely discuss the 2A with people who do not already own and train with firearms. It does not fall on me to justify the amendment to those who think “well-regulated” means “legislated” and that the “militia” is the National Guard. (See 10 U.S. Code § 246 as referenced here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/246 )
Instead, I’m the one telling fat rednecks who love their black rifles (or much cheaper AK knockoffs) that if they are sincere about carrying a weapon in the militia, they have an obligation to be proficient and fit and trained in insurgent warfare.
Like Jürgen Conings.
Like Chris Dorner.
It occurs to me we can go back further: John Dillinger and every bank robber from the 30’s, that group of racist nutcases that called themselves THE ORDER back in the 80’s (an impressive 29 months) and the Weather Underground (8 years and counting).
Far too many of the men I speak to about resisting the tyranny they are convinced is coming try to ignore the implications of Chris Dorner. They read Sun Tzu and Machiavelli…or Mao. They talk of swimming among the people as a fish does the ocean. They talk of falling like thunder.
They do not talk about how to cross a danger area, or how to defeat a drone. They show off their night vision, but have no idea how to defeat an adversary’s night vision.
Sometimes, I mention to them that every insurgency relies on outside support. The Viet Cong had the Russians, ISIS has Iran, every other insurgency in the Middle East has Saudi Arabia, the Contras and the Northern Alliance had the US. During our own revolution, we had the French and mercenaries from every corner of Europe.
When picturing their little guerrilla band facing off against some tyrannical US Government, do they also imagine the Russian advisors? The Chinese intelligence? The Cartel money? All will be offered in support of even the most right-wing insurrection and all of them will be necessary, and, more importantly, all will be offered in such a fashion that they cannot be refused.
Its an interesting paradox that right-wing “revolutionaries” (or just preppers and survivalists) become obsessed with the possible political situation before and after their Boogaloo, but rarely consider its manifestations during any such troubles.
The common right-wing “resistor” seems to be more dedicated to Evola and Sun Tzu than to actual tactical training and study. This befits his fantasy of being a rebellion’s commander, not a common soldier. He has dreams of ordering men into battle, perhaps even of leading them in some charge against the corrupt liberal forces, but has given no thought to the logistics of feeding and arming that force (beyond the vague notion of living off the enemy’s fat), and even less thought to how fighters were recruited and trained. The assumption seems to be an army of men like himself who stockpiled food and ammo in eager anticipation of this day.
All of whom are content, in this fantasy, to be foot soldiers sacrificed to a cause by the complete ignorance of his command.
You can see this in most “unorganized militias”, too. They have one man (usually the organizer) as a Colonel, another as Major, a Captain, a few Lieutenants and then a handful of NCO’s. The few privates I have met are the new guys and when they don’t outgrow that label and into higher ranks, they quit.
And when I mention Chris Dorner, they smile smugly, or decide to again discuss the politics that would create a Chris Dorner.
But they don’t have a plan.
Which is fine with me. If Z-Day (the Boogaloo) comes in my lifetime, I imagine there will be a very steep learning curve that leaves none of these amateur groups intact and functioning. I guess there’s no harm in their LARP until an FBI agent infiltrates and starts suggesting the group actually do something.
Another phenomenon that intersects this one is the proliferation of men and groups teaching “warrior mindset” and hosting events designed to make modern men feel like warriors. And I find so many of these courses taught by men who have never seen a war.
I understand that men are hungry for meaning and initiation and tribe.
So, too, do the merchants selling these initiations.
The difference then between the warrior and the LARPer is the internalization of the Ksatriya Dharma (as defined by John 15:13 perhaps and not the Bhagavad Gita.) If you have a warrior spirit, you train. Its that simple.
These fat neckbeards who think they know about war because they watched videos on how to fight like the witcher should be an embarrassing warning of what can happen if you do not keep your focus on real world threats. And if your focus is on real world threats (a thug in the parking garage is a greater likelihood than a SWAT team looking for your guns or to force you to vaccinate), then you’re not going to let the weapon on your hip gather dust when you should be training to protect what you love.
Worse, as these groups of militia LARPers become infiltrated by the FBI, we’ve learned that many of their foolish operations are inspired and even planned by those agents who intend the group to fail and then be arrested. These groups aren’t just the innocent victims of the state. For that man who sees a state preparing to resist the collapse of the empire of nothing, these groups are adversaries who foolishly serve the state’s intentions.
If you’re not training and not educating yourself effectively, that is the way you are headed. When Z-Day comes, you’re going to be in a mass of faces that have studied Evola and Robert Greene and Sun Tzu and Machiavelli and you are going to wish someone had read FM 3-06.
Jürgen Conings and Chris Dorner had training, dedication, experience, and a plan.
Jürgen Conings and Chris Dorner died alone after mere weeks.
What do you have that they did not?