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  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 ,
American Airlines Flight 77 , and
United Airlines Flight 175 
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  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
. 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
 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." 
Fortunately, more Americans than ever before are waking up to the reality that nobody
not even a police officer  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.