Who Would Take to the Streets With a Gun?

Posted on February 27, 2022

I have been in loads of great discussions about civilians taking up arms in Ukraine. I am not a war strategist (obviously) and I don’t like wars or guns. However, wars do spike my interest and it is always interesting to track which direction they are heading and how resistance emerges.

Last year, when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, there was barely any resistance. Conversely, in Ukraine, there has been plenty. Some say this is reflective of respective cowardice and bravery. It is probably more to do with the quality of life and the current regime that someone is living under. It is likely that the standing Afghan regime wasn’t worth dying for, whilst the free democracy of Ukraine is.

Civilian Volunteers

So, that makes the “would you fight for your country?” question more complex than the impulsive tall stories you hear down at The Red Lion. It would appear that in Ukraine, Russian forces are meeting stiff civilian resistance in and around Kyiv. There are stories of ordinary people picking up arms at their local government office and receiving training on how to make a Molotov cocktail. That’s quite mad, isn’t it?

It is a brave fight though. One where even the president and the Klitschko brothers (millionaire boxers) are standing their ground. Unlike many, they have escape routes, but it appears they couldn’t live with themselves by making an escape. The Klitschko brothers could live in luxury in the Hollywood Hills. Yet they would rather have a real game of ‘Call of Duty’ on the streets of Kyiv. Could you imagine Boris Johnson stood in Parliament Square with machine guns? I know Johnson loves a uniform but if he isn’t an utter coward, I’m Charlie Chaplin.

Armed Choices

Anyway, I have been trying to imagine what I would do if I was sat in my house watching Russian soldiers marching up the hill. For the sake of an utterly unrealistic scenario, let’s imagine Liz Truss has dropped me a machine gun off at my local Post Office. As well as having my new gun, let’s assume that Grant Shapps (the emergency CEO of Serco Defence PLC) has been holding online Molotov cocktail training events at just £99.95 plus VAT.

My options would be as follows. Surrendering and pleading for mercy. Running away and risking getting shot in the back. Hiding everyone in the loft and hoping the enemy thinks we have already deserted the ship. Or, finally, doing what Big Ron down The Red Lion would do. Run at them, spraying bullets at thin air, shouting, ‘HASTA LA VISTA, BABY”, before dying in a pool of blood, riddled with bullets.

So, not a great deal of choices for a happy ending there. However, the final one would leave my partner, her son, and my dog, at the mercy of some angry soldiers. With that in mind, being Arnold Schwarznegger might be a decision I live to regret. Or die to regret, in this case. At this point, I imagine that far from being a hero, Jennifer, for the remaining seconds of her life, would remember me as a fucking retard.

The Surrender Option

Walking out of my home with hands in the air may appear a cowardly option on the face of it. However, what if it is a case where you know that at some point soon, goodness will prevail, and trained soldiers will come to your rescue? Surely, in that scenario, it is worth trying to pacify those who may not have the appetite to kill innocent civilians. Being held captive with some hope is better than being dead, in my opinion. At least it buys a bit of time.

On the flip side, if there are bullets coming through your windows and doors and it is apparent you are going to be dead at any second, I guess you might as well have a go back. It won’t do anyone any good though. At that point, every action would be pretty much futile and not as exciting as it seems after a few pints with your mates. To be honest, I’m fucked if I know what I would do and I don’t want to find out. Some people say I look like Bruce Willis but that’s about as close as it gets to me being a bloodied hero. I don’t want to kill anyone if I can help it.

The reality is that war has been proven to be a stupid and pointless waste of human life. We should all hope that these civilian battle scenarios are fantasies that never become real. The Ukrainian civilians will have to do what they feel is best. They deserve respect, admiration, and most of all, humanitarian aid. However, as a friend of mine said. One civilian bullet coming from a block of flats could result in the whole building getting blown to pieces leaving hundreds of innocent people dead. Civilians aren’t trained to make logical military decisions.

Call me Mr Picky but on reflection, I don’t think being a civilian hero is all it is cracked up to be.

1 Reply to "Who Would Take to the Streets With a Gun?"

  • Trevor
    February 27, 2022 (11:35 pm)

    It’s an interesting question and one that often came up when we lived in Warsaw. I can’t remember if I took you to the Uprising statue when you visited, but essentially towards the end of the war the Poles took to the sewers to fight the Nazis and fought bravely in hand-to-hand combat for 63 days until the Nazi’s bombed the city and wiped out their resistance. They were ultimately double crossed by the Russians who sat on the other side of the river and watched Warsaw get 98% destroyed. Conversely the Czechs and the French ‘allowed’ the Germans to come into Prague and Paris respectively. That’s why they’re such beautiful cities now and tourist magnets and Warsaw is predominantly soviet rebuild. . In that case the relative cowardice of the French and Czech’s (and I know that’s a huge generalisation) paid off.over the long term.

    Inspired by our time in Poland I like to think in true fantasy style that I’d ‘have a go’ as well and go down all guns blazing, but (at a much more inconsequential level) I also always thought I could do a bungee until I had the opportunity to do so on holiday and then realised that it wasn’t even worth paying for a turn as I’d have just papped myself before I had even got to the ledge.

    It taught me that more likely I’d be the one pushing the women and children out of the lifeboats or fleeing at the first sign of danger. Other people are welcome to the bravery medals 🙂

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