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Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2001 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan 5762

Dave Shiflett

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Men O War: Testosterone as a weapon of war -- WAR is not the worst time for males, as some non-males have been pointing out lately, through bared incisors. As Katha Pollitt moaned recently, "911 and its sequelae have definitely rehabilitated such traditional masculine values as physical courage, upper-body strength, toughness, resolve." Firemen are adored, Hillary is booed. For those in the man-hating community, the world's a bigger nightmare than ever.

Traditional religion — with its stone churches, massive pipe organs, and a thundering Deity who tosses His enemies into a fiery lake the size of Kansas — is of far greater public interest than the religion of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Alcohol consumption of manly proportions enjoys a new respect, as does the shameless consumption of red meat, fried eggs, and perhaps a lager or two with those eggs. The battleground sports, most notably football, boxing, and siege heterosexuality, are ascendant. Even firearms are okay. Those million moms are now marching to the gun stores and buying pistols, lest Abdul come calling in the night. Those arms ain't for hugging no more.

That this is all well and good, and a welcome relief from the constant vilification of the manly attributes that has marred our age. Indeed, men can talk like men once more. When the president announced that he wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive," the usual suspects shrieked — but this time no one listened. Most people were too busy applauding the president. They want some special-forces guys to corner Bin Laden in a cave and clean him out with a Bowie knife and a Shop Vac.

But the fact is, a fuller reassertion of these virtues couldn't hurt — and not only because it would further horrify testosterophobes. Our national security requires it.

The fact is, we are at war against very tough people. They can live on a diet of dirt and rainwater. According to a Reuters dispatch from the region, they are tough even when relaxing:

"When they're in season, Ghulam Raza smokes scorpions. He says he dries their stingers in the sun and grinds them, then lights the powdery venom and sucks the smoke deep into his lungs. 'Oh yes,' he said when asked if the scorpions make him high. 'When I smoke scorpion, then the heroin is like nothing to me.'"

Another sign of their toughness can be seen in the large-scale migration of jihadists into Afghanistan just in time for the carpet-bombing. These are serious people, and they have also bought the line that America has gone soft, trading Patton for Oprah, Stonewall for Ru Paul. They need to be convinced that we mean business. There are a couple of ways of accomplishing this, one of which is a fuller exertion of our Second Amendment rights.

As all good Americans know, the Second Amendment grants individual Americans the right to have and bear arms. That there is a new appreciation for this right is not in question. As the Wall Street Journal reported on its website the other day, "More Americans are exercising their Second Amendment rights and arming themselves. The Associated Press reports applications for concealed-weapons permits are up by as much as 25% since Sept. 11. In the month after the atrocity, the FBI conducted 937,042 background checks for people seeking to buy guns or obtain concealed-weapons permits, up 21% from the same period last year."

The problem here, of course, is found in the word "concealed." In this time of war, we must shift away from concealed weaponry toward a very public show of armaments. Instead of hiding our pistols, we should return to wearing the Big Iron on our hips. This is true of everyone from airline pilots to mothers pushing perambulators through city parks.

In fact, the open display of personal weaponry should include shoulder-slung rifles and shotguns, which convey a seriousness of purpose that pistols cannot match. Let us be reminded of the fact that the sound of a homeowner jacking buckshot into a 12-gauge shotgun is the most terrifying sound in burglary. Accordingly, the sight of a perambulating mother with a Remington Wingmaster on her back, and a bandoleer of shells provocatively draping her breast, would convey a message of fidelity to constitutional liberties that our enemies need to seriously contemplate.

This show of force is especially important for Bin Laden's sleeper agents in this country, but another enemy — criminals — needs to get the same message. Violent criminals, as is well known, tend to be of limited intellectual ability but have fully operational survival instincts. They avoid people they believe may be armed, and for most, hearing the 12-gauge coming to life produces a Depends moment. Yet as has been pointed out in several news stories, criminals are increasingly active these days, apparently because they sense the police are preoccupied with homeland security. It is time for ordinary citizens to do some relief hitting.

There are other ways to rattle our enemies, of course. If we really want to deplete the Taliban forces, we should put Britney Spears or a similar pop drone on the Pakistan border and let her grind away. The enemy would desert in droves to get a look at a woman who's not covered in a sack. Minefields be damned.

Or we could parachute in Katha and let her nag them to death.

JWR contributor Dave Shiflett writes from central Va. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2000, Dave Shiflett