Books, culture, fishing, and other games

November 16, 2004

Terrorists as Piranhas

There are a lot of fishermen missing pieces of toes or fingers in the Amazon. Some of the hand wounds result from a local affinity for fishing with dynamite, but the overwhelming majority come from that most notorious of Amazon fish: the piranha. My right index finger has a faint crescent scar to prove my experience in dealing with the nasty things. My Dad actually lost a quarter of an inch of one finger to one. This doesn't result from swimming in the Amazon or the lakes, though that's the common perception of the dangers of piranhas. No, the real threat is after they are caught (or to nets used for fishing!) and tossed into the dugout canoe along with the rest of the catch. Everyone fishes barefoot, both because of the heat and because your feet are gonna get wet in a dugout anyway. And those fish flop around. And they gasp for and chomp and, well, anything in the way of a piranha's teeth are soon removed from the way: toes, fingers, shoes, chunks or other fish, carelessly stowed lines, you name it, they chomp it. All but machete blades, at least.

The experienced fisherman knows: before you boat a piranha you first club it to death or pierce its brain with a knife. Then you chop its lower jaw right off. Even dead they are dangerous because touching their tongue or mouth seems to trigger a reflexive chomp, even when they've been dead a while. That one that got the tip of Dad's finger made it back from the lake to the house, a 15 minute plane flight in the middle (and it was in no live well! What's that?), before doing its final damage. (We ate it anyway.) A toe can still get slashed by the upper teeth, but a cut is different from a chomp. The cuts are so clean they heal almost scarlessly. My scar is faint.

Hearing today's news from Iraq reminded me of this for some reason.

That wounded 'captive,' or death feigner, was not wearing a uniform. Before anyone starts screaming war crime, or Geneva Convention, or any other such nonsense, they might actually stop and think. The rules of war are pretty clear about combatants out of uniform.

That we don't execute them all on the spot says good things about our country and our military. We are in our rights to do so.

Based on their standard modus operandi, not only are we allowed, we should. Before you say that's uncharitable of me, I consider our first charity to go to their potential victims. Once those are safe, then I will consider charity to the victimizers. In this case the potential victims are not safe as long as these terrorists live. They have proved that over and over again, and on camera.

Save a child: kill a terrorist.

More good commentary (and read the comments too) on this in "Fool Me Once" Means You Don't Get A Chance To Fool Me Twice."

Posted by dan at November 16, 2004 07:39 PM