A comment from Tsgt Joe on the Home-field Advantage story
With both sides portraying the current troubles and election as an "existential struggle for the soul of our nation" I'm thinking more and more good people will be inclined to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war. It wont be as one sided as conservative folks like to believe. There are trained veterans on the liberal side who feel quite strongly that the conservatives are causing all this mess and need to be stopped.
I want to share some of my thinking behind the story.
First, I agree that there are trained veterans on all four sides.
Left, right, lunatic left and lunatic right.*
Depending on how the dance plays out, does the center come together against the lunatics chucking Molotov Cocktails and pulling people out of their vehicles (a mobile castle) and beating them to death?
Imagine a hundred parallel universes where Plantet Earth is in an essentially identical state. How many of those universes would have the center come together? Twenty-of-one-hundred? Five? One?
The lunatic fringe's bench strength
In my humble estimation, this is one of the lunatics' huge weaknesses.
Let's look at Colton from an ecological-niche standpoint. Who would lunatics be most likely to find and promote?
If you go to a tavern where veterans are known to congregate, how many who claim to have been in some form of Special Forces actually were? Is every person who claims special valor somebody who earned it? Maybe half are pretenders. Maybe one-in-five actually made-the-cut...maybe one-in-twenty.
Let's run with four-of-five people who claim or imply having been in Special Forces as being pretenders. Having been in a large organization, I can attest that the best liars get promoted faster than those who actually do their job without drama.
That is the intellectual basis for Colton and Gregious (or the first generation of lunatic trainers) being pretenders. How quickly will they adapt? Great question, Lysenko (an agricultural scientist) hung on until the mid-1950s and millions starved.
A slow escalation in defense-response favors the lunatics evolving to match.
A breathtakingly rapid escalation of defense-response is more likely to shatter the lunatic's ability to recover and respond. Getting back to the electric fence. If the voltage increased slowly, the animals will learn to defeat it. If the full power of the fence hits one of them directly in the face (or ears), then fear will prevent them from getting close enough to the fence to "learn" anything.
*Hat/tip to Matt Bracken. He breaks out three groups, Loonie-Left, Left and Right. To make Bracken's observation something the center-Left will consider, it is prudent to include the Loonie-Right. Frankly, do you intend to look up a thug's voting history if he is standing thirty feet from your house and he lights the wick of a incendiary device...or are you going to center-punch his sternum?