Calgary MP Rob Anders is in hot water today after signing a Support the Troops card in Parliament Hill with the slogan "When in doubt, pull the trigger":
Anders' message did not sit well with his constituents in Calgary West.As I mentioned on Twitter today, it took me all of 20 seconds to walk a few steps, ask the veteran I work with about the authenticity of the slogan, and know more than the CBC or the Edmonton Journal's Paula Simons bothered to research.
"I find this very offensive and disgusting as my husband used to be in the military," said Dorthy Wright on Monday. "I don't think it's a joke."
B.K. Samuel, 18, said if Anders was joking, he should have made it clear in case soldiers took his message the wrong way.
"It's pretty funny, but I don't think it's appropriate to send to … soldiers," said Nyuon Jock, 16.
Phone calls to Anders' office were not returned on Monday, and a spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office had no comment.
The thing too about all the knee-jerk reactions to this comment without the quick confirmation that yes indeed it is a common phrase amongst servicemen is that the anti-Conservative instinct of journalists was indeed a case of pulling the trigger when in doubt. I wonder if this really is a military phr -- bang, fire off an article showing only condemnation!
I thought back to a pro-Canadian Forces bumper sticker that I have seen around Edmonton and will try to get a picture of: "If you don't want to stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them." (Google images only shows the US version). Isn't this a far more "offensive" sentiment? After all, Rob's big thing is that his slogan means shoot if you think your life is in danger. This bumper sticker implicitly says go murder pacifists.
David Maclean on Twitter believes that this incident is evidence of pansification of political discourse" and its hard to find a good reason from this "scandal" to disagree.
Regardless, my veteran source did give me a few other little slogans popular among soldiers that you might be shocked to learn. Most of these were honed from the time spent with the UN while in Kosovo, where Canadian Forces personnel were forced to endure at times ridiculously slanted rules of engagement. (Indeed, my veteran coworker relates a couple of stories involving being shot at while under direct orders not to return fire without proof that the combatants knew they were shooting at UN forces. You can see where "when in doubt, pull the trigger" became popular).
The title of this post translates into English as "No one Provokes me with Impunity" which you might think sounds like some sort of warmongering Israeli flotilla-arresting battlecry but in fact is the motto of The Black Watch, more commonly known as the Royal Highland Regiment. If you want to be knocked onto your ass, this is the slogan for a Quebec-based regiment. (The other major Quebec regiment, the Van Doos, has the far more undesirable slogan je me souviens). Yet there are many unofficial mottos, of which "When in doubt, pull the trigger" is just one of them.
Warning: if you're a CBC loving progressive, you may find the following material disturbing:
- When in doubt, pull the trigger
- Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6
- Fire two warning shots: first in the chest, then in the air†
† While it sounds good, this slogan is a little out-of-date: warning shots are no longer fired into the air but into the ground, specifically so that investigators can prove that the shot didn't go into somebody's chest. So what some modify it to say is "first in the chest, then in the sandbag". The point remains the same: nobody can then say which shot was first.