In the instructions of a role playing game I enjoyed as a child, it was advised to encourage and reward creative actions outside of the rules… once. “If throwing sand in an opponent’s eyes always worked every time, fighters would be better off carrying a bag of sand instead of a sword.”

A trooper assigned to MACV-SOG once recounted a tale of his reconnaissance team being compromised and pinned down by a much larger force. Unfortunately, the immediate terrain would have forced the preferred tactic of peeling to break contact to go uphill and in the open. Struggling to come up with a solution, the story goes the trooper reached for a grenade and his hand found an air horn carried for signaling and he depress the plunger for a long, extended blast. Afterward, he claims, the proverbial pin drop could be heard as the attacking force was gone. The tale-teller surmised the Viet Cong aggressors must have fled from hearing the firing signature of a yet-unidentified Lính Mỹ superweapon.

Sounds great! Air horns are much lighter than rifles and machine guns, especially with ammunition. However, even if it worked (once) would you bet it would work again? And consistently?

Being sneaky can work. Once.

For practical purposes, it doesn’t matter if something worked once. Plenty of people have built reputations based on their “real world” experience primarily because work or life forced them into a dangerous situation, yet they failed to die. Their failure to get killed doesn’t automatically validate what they did while death avoided them and it certainly does not validate any other opinion they happen to have or sell.