Sheepdogs and the Warrior Mindset

by Drew Beatty

On May 7, 2019, a brave young warrior, a sheepdog, was killed. He wasn’t a soldier killed in a war far away. He was killed just outside Denver in his English Class. His name was Kendrick Castillo. He was a mere three days from graduating high school, and he was killed defending his classmates from a wannabe mass killer. This young man and all his classmates who fought back that day exemplify the warrior mindset.

Listen to Kendrick’s good friend and fellow warrior Brendan Bialy recount the story as he was interviewed by the media. Like Kendrick, Brendan is a warrior. Selfless and humble, yet fierce in battle. Brendan states that he and Kendrick were close friends for years at the school. They did things together that high-school boys do together. On this day, by choice, they were both warriors together.

Both Brendan and Kendrick, along with Joshua Jones rushed at a potential mass murderer who entered their classroom, an occurrence we are unfortunately all too familiar with. But this day was different. Brendan, Josh and Kendrick had cultivated a warrior mindset. The shooter, being a coward, wasn’t expecting that.

As Brendan recounts in this interview, he, Kendrick and Josh immediately attacked the shooter, overwhelming, overpowering and disarming him, allowing other students in the classroom to get away to safety. Shots were fired, but the attack was stopped. As it happened, Brendan and Josh walked away, with Josh suffering minor gunshot wounds. Kendrick died of his wound. Brendan sums up Kendrick in one sentence, mincing, no words when speaking of his friend: “He died a legend.”

Having a warrior mindset doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It means you see what needs to be done, you weigh the odds, and you act quickly, decisively and ferociously. You confront evil in the best way the circumstances allow. Brendan is asked around the 20:00 mark by one stunned media member why he didn’t follow the run/hide/fight rule. His answer speaks to his warrior mindset. Running and hiding when he had an opportunity to defeat the threat, was simply not an option. Why would he cower from evil? Fighting was the only option he considered.

You can tell by listening to Brendan that he had cultivated a warrior mindset throughout his life. Both his mind and the minds of the two other men were made up long before this day in English class. When a ferocious response was called for, they did not hesitate. They answered the threat with selfless action, and good triumphed over evil.

I think there are important lessons to be taken from the way these young men decided to fight back. When absolutely everything is against you in a particular situation, the mindset you have can still allow you to prevail.

As I discussed in a previous blog post, there is a defensive order of operations. First and most important comes mindset, then tactics, then skill, and finally, gear. These warriors demonstrate clearly the power of mindset. They decided that they would win the fight despite being underdogs. Their warrior mindset allowed them to defeat an armed person who had a plan for mass murder of defenseless victims. These men and made the decision long before that horrible day that they would be the victors if that day ever came. And they prevailed.

Yes, Kendrick died a legend. The rest of these young men are legends too. We can learn from them, and we owe them honor and gratitude.

Drew Beatty is a 52-year-old lifetime resident of the great state of Colorado. He is a long-time firearms enthusiast as well as a strong advocate for The Second Amendment.