The common sense that we have lost – How the battle of Karansebes repeats itself every day here in America
When I hear about a 12 year old in Ohio who accidentally shot his 9 year old brother, and then turned the gun on himself, or a 19 year old who was cleaning his AK47 and accidentally killed his sister on her 13th birthday in Fort Worth, I remember the battle of Karansebes. Undisciplined and not properly trained, soldiers turned on themselves in panic and inflicted a spectacular defeat. In just one night, what began as a ‘clever idea’, spiraled down into mayhem, unwarranted fear, and over 10,000 Austrian troops either dead or wounded, without an opposing army even in the picture.
This year, the Senate blocked gun-control legislation. Armed gun activists are gathering at Starbucks across the nation to rally. The AR-15 is selling like hotcakes. I see billboards advertising gun shows along the freeway. And yet, in our great country, not even one year since the tragic incident at Newtown occurred, there has been over 2,200 gunshot killings and accidental gun related deaths. In fact, the number of Americans killed from gun violence since last December’s shooting alone, has surpassed the total number of U.S. military casualties during the nine-year war in Iraq. You gotta admit: the battle of Karansebes repeats itself every day here in America.
It’s 1787 all over again
War has broken out between Austria and Turkey. As Austria began assembling an army, they recruited troops from all over Europe. Many of the soldiers weren’t properly trained and lacked discipline. The officers in the army were mainly Austrian, but several of the troops were from an entirely different background and language, very similar to the fusion of different nationalities, ethnicities and cultures here in the U.S.
There were also political problems that existed between troops of different nationalities. Although they served alongside one another, many of the ethnic groups within the army disliked one another. Kind of like the hostility between Red Sox and Yankee fans. Senior leadership did nothing to improve the situation. They were more concerned with their status in society than dealing with the problems of a fragmented army.
So war breaks out and the Austrian army advances with the intention of intercepting a Turkish advance near the Danube River in modern day Romania. Hussars, or scouts, who were known for being very unruly and difficult to control, were sent out ahead of the Austrian army to search for the enemy. Although they did not find any evidence of the Turkish army, they did encounter a group of gypsies who offered to sell them liquor. Instead of going back to the main camp, the hussars accepted the offer and quickly became drunk.
As night approached, the hussars who were drunk and having a merry good time, began seeing dimly seen figures in the dark and hearing men shouting in different languages. They believed these men to be troops of the Turkish army, but in fact, they were Austrian infantry who were sent to search for the hussars. Frightened, the hussars began firing at the obscure figures which made the infantry men nervous and caused them to flee running back to the camp shouting that they were under attack. Almost sounds like a Barney Fife episode from the Andy Griffith Show.
At the camp, one of the officers shouted “Halt!” in German to try and restore sanity, but this sounded like “Allah!” to some of those who heard which reinforced the idea that they were under attack. Men did whatever they felt necessary to save themselves. Men began firing at anyone who approached them while some groups tried to take a stand. Several cart horses broke loose and stampeded through the camp. One officer thought this was a major cavalry attack and ordered his artillery to open fire. It wasn’t until the next morning that the true picture emerged. The Austrian army had simply turned on itself in panic and inflicted a spectacular defeat. Over 10,000 troops were dead, wounded, or missing.
Bring back #gunsense
The tragedy and horror of what happened at Karansebes seems like it could never be repeated again in the course of mankind. And as an American living in a time and place so remote from where and when this battle occurred, Karansebes could not be more irrelevant. Yet, many families up and down the coast, along with brothers and little sisters from Ohio to Fort Worth, experience this madness of senseless gun-deaths every day. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle or even airmen prowling the skies above our towns, but the lack of gun control our nation has. We deserve better.
It is our country’s will to do what is right that cannot be broken. If we remain united and resolute, continue to lobby Congress, and continue to fight for gun control advocacy, we will fight off this new evil. As we strive together to make our country safer and reduce the number of self-inflicted gun related disasters, let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be. There have been some profound mistakes, but we have a chance to correct them and bring back #gunsense and stop inflicting unnecessary damage to our brothers, little sisters and neighbors across our great country.
Want to get involved? Join Moms Demand Action – a non-partisan grassroots movement demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws, loopholes and policies, and MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns – a national, bipartisan coalition of mayors working to make America’s communities safer by keeping illegal guns out of dangerous hands.