The Harm in Being Harmless
by Jay D. Dyson

Jay D. Dyson Photo "Do exactly as you are told to do in order to minimize your chances of being injured and to speed the departure of your assailant before he gets other ideas." [1]

"Do not resist unless you are sure you have a good chance of overcoming the attacker..." [2]

"This is your captain. There is a bomb on board. We are returning to the airport..." [3]

Throughout the past four decades, we have been told time and again that the best way to avoid being harmed is to be as harmless as possible. Everyone from popular talk show hosts, pop psychologists, and single-issue political action groups have insisted that once we are all disarmed, we will in effect be disarming. Subscribers of the ideology claim that if we simply adopt a posture that cannot be perceived as threatening to anyone, no-one will ever wish us ill will or visit upon us any grave injustice.

On September 11 of 2001 (and in the weeks that followed), those axioms were proven false in the most brutal fashion.

Those who have read the transcripts and the accounts of the September 11 hijackings know all too well how the terrorists insisted that they would bring no harm to the passengers. We also know of their vicious actions [4] used to intimidate anyone who entertained the thought of rebellion against them. Those events stand as sad testimony to the inhumanity of the terrorists.

Sadder still, the horrific tragedies of American Airlines Flight 11 [5], American Airlines Flight 77 [6], and United Airlines Flight 175 [7] also stand as damning testimony that three out of four planeloads (over two hundred souls) of otherwise rational and free-thinking people needlessly went to their deaths believing a lie. Only one flight — United Airlines Flight 93 [8] — held people who ultimately came to the cold realization that their compliance with their captor's commands was nothing more than tacit assent to their assailants' objectives. Consequently, the passengers of Flight 93 fought back...and in doing so, saved an untold number of lives. In their final moments, they must have understood all too well what the rest of America has only now come to realize: being harmless does not prevent harm; it paves the way for it.

In spite of that incontrovertible evidence, many still cling to the notion that the U.S. and her people were attacked because we weren't harmless enough. Even while scores of our patriot dead have yet to be recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, many people have claimed that we had somehow brought these attacks on ourselves. Paradoxically, many of the people who forward such notions are the same ones who — quite correctly — maintain that no woman deserves to be raped, no matter how she acts or dresses. Even so, these same people somehow find the ravaging of Lady Liberty to be an understandable event, rather than an unforgiveable atrocity.

To add insult to injury, the Chinese government-sponsored media was quick to produce a glitzy multimedia package that glorified the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon [9]. In this, the Chinese government-sponsored media brazenly proclaimed that no-one need ever fear the "Paper Tiger" (as they are wont to call the United States). Suffice it to say the Chinese government's conduct is not only callous, but a chilling reminder of what striving to be "harmless" truly yields: totalitarian regimes that will gladly take your humanitarian aid while at the same time offering nothing in return but contempt for your compassion.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, a number of politicians seized upon the 9-11 attacks as an opportunity to make certain that U.S. citizens could become even more harmless by lobbying for further restrictions on every citizen's Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. On October 14th, California Governor Gray Davis took it upon himself to sign off on a sweeping set of gun control laws [10] that do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, but do everything to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to acquire legal firearms by which they can defend themselves and their families. Still other politicians have used such opportunism to attempt to outlaw ownership of various firearms (up to and including air rifles) under the disingenuous claim that "terrorists could use them." [11]

Fortunately, more Americans than ever before are waking up to the reality that nobody — not even a police officer [12] — is legally obligated to protect them when their lives and the lives of their families are threatened. Thus, America is witnessing a renewed interest in self-defense that has manifested itself in an increase in firearms purchases. No longer are people so willing to believe that the wolves will lie down with them if they work hard enough on being lambs.

It is a sad fact of life that it often takes a tragedy to force people to see the world as it truly is. It is also a sad fact that terrorists, like all other criminals, prefer victims that don't fight back. For my own part, I wish that the 9-11 attacks had never occurred; even if it meant we would still hold as true the illusory notion that being meek will spare us the wrath of the terrorists. But as it stands, I can only hope that the 9-11 atrocities did not happen in vain. If nothing else, I pray that America will never again need to be so painfully reminded of the harm in being harmless.

Granted, it would be wonderful if every nation and every person operated with honest and honorable motivations at all times. But until such a Utopian world arrives, it is every citizen's responsibility to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

I'm sure that those who think we should unilaterally disarm as a show of good faith have the best of intentions at heart...

...but we all know which road is paved with such intentions.

Jay D. Dyson
November, 2001

  1. "Crime Prevention" Tips on How to be a the Best Victim for Your Assailant
  2. How to be a Model Rape Victim
  3. Those words were uttered by the terrorists who hijacked Flight 93.
    (More info...)
  4. The terrorists used their boxcutters to slash the throats of stewardesses to demonstrate their willingness to take lives.
  5. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center (92 on board).
  6. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon (64 on board).
  7. United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center (56 on board).
  8. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in rural southwest Pennsylvania when the terrorists lost control of the passengers (45 on board).
  9. Beijing Produces Videos Glorifying Terrorist Attacks on 'Arrogant' U.S.
  10. Lawmakers Send Anti-Gun Bill to Governor
  11. GOA Alert: Banning Everything...including Air Rifles
    See also the parody on these alarmist tactics: BanScrewdrivers.Com.
  12. Review of 'Seven Myths of Gun Control'
    See also: A Nation of Victims

Copyright © 2001 — Jay D. Dyson. All Rights Reserved