President Bush observed this week that the pilots and staff of the Al Qaeda Air Force had made a grievous miscalculation about the nature of American society, due in part to watching the Jerry Springer Show. His point is well taken. A person coming from an isolated society might indeed conclude that America is populated by exhibitionist freaks should he watch too much Springer. As a result he might conclude we are decadent and flabby and thus prone to panic and surrender. The aftermath of the attacks have taught a different lesson, as the president has stated many times. Americans will gladly travel great distances to blow up bushwhackers, and polls show they support the even more sensible idea of traveling great distances to blow up would-be bushwhackers as well.
Yet is must be said that not all of our citizens have reflected this bracing spirit. Some, indeed, have performed just as the Al Qaeda fly boys assumed they would. They have freaked out. They have freaked out to the degree that they now see the enemy everywhere. Robert Kuttner, who co-edits “The American Prospect” and scribes for the Boston Globe, is a half-step from wet britches:
“Whether it is an ill-specified axis of evil, or a decision to make tactical nuclear war thinkable, or a domestic ‘shadow government,’ or deliberately leaked plans to attack Iraq, George W. Bush in his own way is as frightening as Al Qaeda.”
This kind of teeth-chattering prose no doubt has Mohammed Atta smiling in his flaming catacomb, and perhaps it is being read aloud during pep rallies in various caves and huts in the remaining Taliban regions. One also assumes that Ann Coulter has added Kuttner to her list of girly men, meaning he should forget about asking her out any time soon.
But these palpitations of timid hearts should not drown out the steady drumbeat of vigilance, resistance, and outright war. Indeed, our adversaries should take note of a much more significant result of their attacks: They have genuinely pissed off many American women, who are arming themselves at an unprecedented rate.
According to the formidable Collin Levey, gun sales have risen 25 percent in the past few months, and 60 percent of that increase is from sales to women. Collin, who writes for the Wall Street Journal and who would no doubt burn an Al Qaeda paratrooper a new one should he attempt a descent into Manhattan, also reports that gun clubs are increasingly popular among Ivy League females. These women are surely discovering a jarring truth: They have true enemies in this world, and Wayne La Pierre isn’t among them.
Armed chicks have attracted boobirds, most notably at the New York Times, which specializes in squawking at phantom dangers. “Chicks with guns,” we are told, are dangerous, which of course is the whole idea. Chicks with guns are much more dangerous than chicks with cell phones, even those with 911 on their speed dial. An armed woman may never get to plug a foreign thug, but she might get a chance to make life hell for the domestic variety. When an armed Vassar Vixen says she’s taking back the night, she will be taken much more seriously than her sisters who give the concept mere lip service.
It is worth pointing out that these Ivy Leaguers are late to the armory. Women have been arming themselves throughout our nation’s history — here in Virginia almost all the women have arms — and there was a definite up-tick during the push for concealed weapons permits in the 1990s. I was briefly stationed in Colorado at the time and met a few of the women beating that drum. The chief of the Colorado drive, then named Rebecca Johns (perhaps that is still her name), was a stunning blonde with a deadly credo: Two to the chest, one to the head — or was it the other way around? Whatever the case, a decided bummer for anyone on the receiving end. She packed a .45 semi-auto, and had come to the altar as a result of being raped, as had some of the other women interviewed for stories on the phenomenon.
There was also Suzanna Gratia, a Texan whose parents were murdered in a café while she helplessly watched. Her story was made more terrible by the fact that her pistol was in the car — in accordance with the law. She eventually made a powerful political presence in Texas because of the power of her story — which was indeed about real empowerment.
For there is no disputing that an unarmed woman presents an easy mark for a male predator. Even if he’s unarmed, he’s likely going to be more physically powerful. The worst that can happen, from his perspective, is that the police will be called, but they’ll almost always arrive too late. An armed woman is a different matter altogether. In many such cases, the best that can happen, again from the predator’s perspective, is that the police show up before she drills him. And that will be entirely up to her. Timing, as they say, is everything.
Our adversaries have a view of women as doormats, and poorly dressed doormats at that. One wonders how they would respond to a chick in a miniskirt with a Big Iron on her hip. They might think they had encountered a she-devil — which is much more in our interest than encountering Robert Kuttner.
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