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Jeff Cooper "Hold! Enough!"

This article was re-published in Jeff Cooper's book, "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth". The book is a collection of Cooper's writings:


Why do you suppose the creeps of the world have declared open season on Americans? Are we not the posterity of Patrick Henry and George Washington and Nathan Hale and Buck Travis and George Custer and Teddy Roosevelt and George Patton?

How do they dare?

We seem to have changed, and not for the better. The Fathers won the country with sweat and blood. The sons seem to think that gives them a free ticket to the fat life - a life without fighting. Now where do you suppose the idea arose that a man can make it without fighting? It was certainly not prevalent in the 1920's or 1930's. It is new, but it is now almost universal. And it is sick. It delivers up the soft to the wicked. It makes the American the laughing stock of the age.

The issue is "hijacking" - air piracy. It is now intolerable, and it promises to get worse. We wring our hands. We look for "solutions" in concepts and gadgets, but what we need is will.

The goblins do not hijack El Al. Not any more. If the Shi'ites wanted their people back from the Israeli P.O.W. camps, their obvious target was an Israeli airplane - one might suppose. But they hit T.W.A. instead. Why? Because they believe - correctly - that Americans will not fight, and that - also correctly - Americans will grovel at the possibility that other Americans may be killed. And they further believe that by savaging a prisoner to death they will intimidate, rather than enrage, the American public.

No, they did not try El Al. As cowards, they fear the Israelis. But they do not fear the Americans. They know the Americans will not do anything but whimper.

How in the name of John Hancock did we come to this disgusting pass!

For whatever my opinion is worth, the root of the problem is the demise of the nuclear family. Morals and ethics are taught at the mother's knee, and consolidated around the family dinner table. When mother is otherwise occupied in the marketplace, and dinner is taken in front of the tube, there can be no inculcation of righteousness in a developing personality.

See, now, over the portals of our academies are engraved the words: "Duty. Honor. Country." How many people under the age of forty can you name who can even define those words? As generation follows generation this situation degenerates. If Daddy has no idea of what honor means, how can he explain it to Junior, even if circumstances lend themselves to it - which in most cases, they no longer do.

The press, academe, and the law enforcement establishment preach: Do not fight back! On the street, in your home, on the airplane, on the high seas, anywhere, anytime. Do not fight back! You may be hurt.

Of course you may be hurt. You may be killed. As my daughter put it just last week: "Big deal. You expect to live forever?"

The only honorable response to violence is counter-violence. To surrender to extortion is a greater sin than extortion, in that it breeds and feeds the very act it seeks to avoid.

Fifty years ago, young people were made to understand - around the dinner table - that strife was part of life, and that they might well encounter it, and that it would then be their duty to face it without blinking - ready, willing, and able to use force quickly and expertly if necessary. Boys were taught to shoot and use their hands, and girls were taught to expect that in their men.

And that society was infinitely safer and more serene than what we have now. Mugging, rape, piracy, and terrorism (in the sense of the victimization of the uninvolved) were so rare as to be sensational. In that society, it would have been both futile and ridiculous for two punks to assume physical command over 159 people. They would have been quickly killed.

The idea that intended victims can overcome armed bandits is not fanciful. Some years ago, two pirates attempted to take over an Air Iberia flight from Madrid to Rome. The passengers killed them, the stewardesses covered them up with blankets, and opened the bar. The flight arrived on schedule. More recently, a troll seized a girl in a Philippine bank, doused her with gasoline, and threatened to burn her if he was not given all the ready money. The customers not only beat him to death, they actually dismembered him. It can be done!

Is it too late for America to find its way back to an honorable social order - one in which the goblins of the world will respect us as much as they respect Israel? Perhaps it is, but let us hope not. The current series of disasters has pressed us hard. The mood of the times is anger, fully justified. But anger is of no use to the soft, and the majority of our mentors are far too flabby to serve us well. The requisite hardness of spirit must come, unfortunately, from generations which have no evident interest in courage and no pride in victory. But the latent nobility of the human soul has not vanished. It is simply buried. Let us unearth it.

Something has got to be done.

Let's do it!!

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