It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. . . . Sun Tzu
The above quote was taken from Sun Tzu’s treatise, The Art of War. This well proven book has, for the last 2500 years, been considered the fighting manual of choice by military men throughout the world. A list of it’s readers would contain the names of Patton, MacArthur, Stalin, Mao Zedong, so forth. Vo Nguyen Giap used it’s knowledge to defeat both the French and the Americans in Vietnam. It’s concepts are being taught even today at the American War College.
The Art of War contains the final answer to those caught in a David and Goliath moment where the enemy is far larger and far more powerful than their fledging resistance. It’s worked before, it will work again as we take on the gas industry and their minions in Congress and the State legislatures.
I am reminded at times like these, when the odds are so overwhelming, how those little brown men in Vietnam kept moving supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail, in spite of the millions of tons of bombs the US threw at them. They trucked that trail carrying heavy loads on their backs, riding bikes, pulling carts, enduring heat, insects, hunger . . . anything to get the supplies to their soldiers fighting in the South.
No matter how hard the Americans tried, they could not stop them. No matter how many bombs the Americans dropped, they could not stop them. They NEVER quit coming . . . until finally the Americans gave up and went home defeated, not by a standing army in the field, but by the resolve of the people themselves who gave their lives by the hundreds of thousands in order to obtain freedom from those who sought to own her. They never quit!
So, for those of us who have chosen to oppose the gas companies in their quest to move quickly and destructively against our properties and our lives, it behooves us to take a bit of time to read Sun Tzu and understand some his tactics before diving into an action that will end only in futility and emotional stress. We need to get to know our enemy as well as ourselves.
So who is this giant in our land? What are his goals? His motivations? His fears? What kind of energy fuels his mind and causes him to function? All these things are important to know in order to defeat him.
Ask yourself the same set of questions. What are your goals, motivations, and fears? Su
n Tzu said you must know yourself as well as the enemy if you have any hope of defeating him. Are you up to the task? Or are you just a “cause” groupy who enjoys going to demonstrations and stuff. If so, I can assure you there were no groupies along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
First of all, when it comes to an enemy, you must respect him. He is smart, maybe smarter than you. He can hurt you far less if you do not take the easy route by demonizing him, or belittling him. This only gives him an advantage.
In this instance the gas industry is the enemy, but this enemy is in reality made of individual people much the same as you and me. They are not devils, nor do they enjoy eating children. They may merely be blind men in need of a good sight adjustment.
Try to understand where he is coming from, and why he feels as he does. See him not so much an ignoramus, but someone who has been molded by our capitalistic society into a good soldier for the cause. A soldier who can see no further beyond himself than the feet of the soldier climbing the corporate ladder above him. Where is he going? Well, actually he doesn’t know, he just knows he needs to keep climbing.
What motivates him? Well, there are what I call the ‘three P’s’ that seemingly motivate all these type A personalities. The quest for Power . . . Position . . . and Possession. That’s it, that’s all they see… Me . . . Me . . . and Me.
If it were possible to sit these guys down and suck all that stuff out of their heads, they may see the reality and beauty of the ‘oneness’ in this ecosystem that we share with the rest of creation. We may be caretakers of it, but it does not belong to us. We did not create it and in spite of all our touted advances in technology, we have yet to learn how to even put out a good weather report.
If it were possible to prove to them how easily we can ruin the whole thing, they may take a second look and stop this mad dash for the most cash that’s ruining our water, and even the air we breathe. They may come up with a different answer to the question: ‘What’s the most important, water, air, or gas?”
So how do we go about fighting these dudes? What are their greatest strengths? Well, let’s see . . . they own the state legislature, they own the governor, they own most of the capitol, they own the courts. So wow, how dumb is it going to be fighting them on their own turf? If that’s the best we can come up with, we really ought to quit and sign the lease ourselves.
Now, this political avenue could be a side street, of course, because ultimately all this will have to be decided by the courts as they’re the guys who enforce the law, and isn’t that what we all want? Good, honest law that takes into account the needs of the landowner as well as the gas company?
Even though money has, for now, decidedly turned the political head, its been proven time and again that these Congressional hacks will duck and cover as soon as the light of day rests upon their sorry heads.
Look at the movie Gasland and what a giant headache it is causing for the gas industry. That’s just one movie. THAT is a point of FEAR for these guys. Make more movies.
It’s up to us to document and prove what is taking place upon our land. They will fight us tooth and nail using lies, innuendo, anything to divert the reality of the facts we bring forth. We MUST document . . . and a good ‘before and after’ video is in my opinion, a preferred weapon of choice.
I would even recommend recording the salesman when he makes the pitch and videotaping everything that takes place after that. It may save you a lot of grief later.
If your enemy owns the night, draw him into the day.
If he owns the jungle, meet him on the prairie.
When it comes to these gas corporations the only thing they don’t yet own is us. Our turf is what they want, so wouldn’t that be the place to fight them? On our own turf, bearing the weapons we choose, and following the gorilla tactics of our choosing also?
This is the point of contact. This is where the victory lies. This is the place where the haves meet the have nots. . . . AND the place we own.
In order to draw the gas out of the shale they need us to sign their contract, it’s that simple. No contract, no gas. The fight doesn’t begin after our water is ruined. The fight begins when that salesman sits down at our kitchen table and begins to unload his box of promises on us. How many of us already signed the company contract? How many have had it looked at by their lawyer? I know some who haven’t.
Why would anybody allow some clown to come into their house with a company sided contract, and sign it without a thorough going over by a lawyer is beyond me. I know honest people have this thing about them that says all other people are honest, especially if they have just received an offer they couldn’t refuse, but damn, man, these waters are FULL of sharks.
We need to teach our people that when they quickly sign the contract they are paying a steep price for their greed and ignorance. We need to have them watch some of these videos like Gasland and be informed and fully aware BEFORE they make the decision to give up the family farm.
We need to be able to prove what will happen to them by using one example after another, of something that has already happened. We need to convince our people that if it sounds too good to be true, the fact is it probably is.
We need to convince them that we are not advocating complete withdrawal of the gas companies and their armies of drill teams. We only need the industry to stand down long enough to answer these problems with pollution and straighten them out before they restart their drilling machine.
We need to convince the industry that we need gas for heat as much as they need to dig it up. We are not against drilling. We are against the crazy way they are going about it.
We want safety for our cattle, for our children and for ourselves, not just the pile of bullshit they are currently tossing on our kitchen tables. If they want to partner up with us, let’s do it fair and square. Put it all on the table and dispense with the rhetorical PR. It may be beneficial to all of us.
What they are doing now, in all their arrogance, is offering nothing more than a train wreck that will ultimately destroy them as well as us. Power, Position and Possession, is their common goal . . . BUT WE own the Power. We own the Position. We own the Possession. They don’t own any of it, they just want to take ours. We are not the beggars here, they are.
Bottom line is that we must slow down the gas rush and make it more eco friendly. If that is impossible to do, drop the whole thing until it is.