In a gas station parking lot this week, I witnessed a fairly common, non-verbal exchange between complete strangers that only lasted about 10 seconds but spoke volumes.
A pretty, young girl was walking toward a store just as a rough-looking thug pulled up beside her in a beater car with music blaring. The guy stepped out in front of her and leered suggestively. The girl hesitated, unsure whether to continue toward the store or run to her car. Simultaneously, another man walking past gave the creep wide berth, seeing the woman’s situation, but avoiding eye contact.
I quickly walked straight toward him, pointed my finger and yelled, “Hey” to get his attention. He dog stared and cussed at me as the girl hurried into the store. Another guy about my age saw what was happening and headed our way, so the thug got back in his car and drove off. I nodded thanks to the man, and we all went our separate ways.
It struck me later that an incident like this demonstrates in a microcosm the three basic categories of men. Some men are inherently Predators. They are driven, not by any sense of duty or decency, but solely by lust and desire for power over others. Psalm 10 gives a detailed description of this type of man: “God is in none of his thoughts … His mouth is full of cursing, and deceit, and oppression … He sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the secret places he murders the innocent. His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless; he lies in wait secretly as a lion in his den.”
Predators lack kindness or natural affection and are motivated by whatever they believe they can gain through force. They use physical strength, money, and position to abuse women and children because they can. To a Predator, every action is measured not by morality, but by the probability of successful coercion and dominance.
The opposite type of man is a Protector. Protectors have an innate motivation to defend those who are physically weaker. Standing by while a woman or child is threatened is unthinkable to a Protector, regardless of whether they are outsized or outnumbered, because they believe that right makes might.
Lastly, some men are just plain Puny regardless of their size. Weak men scurry past Predators rather than confront them because in their hearts they’re cowards. “Playing the hero is a good way to get yourself killed,” they sniff, justifying their inaction. A Puny man and a Predator are actually a lot alike because they both think primarily of themselves. And Predators only exist because Puny men allow them to.
The happiness or misery of a woman and her children is largely determined by whether or not the men in their lives are Predators, Puny, or Protectors. Think about it. Since our nation is an aggregate of all of these individuals, the future of our entire culture depends on the character of the American male. A generation of largely fatherless, young men are now adrift with no one to teach them how to be real men. Lacking direction, millions of boys now take their cues from Hollywood, which idealizes Predators and paints all other men as clueless wimps.
It’s time for American men to start thinking about more than their own gratification or saving their own skin. Men need to become Protectors of not only their own families, but also those they come into random contact with on a daily basis.
Craig Ziemba is a military pilot who lives in Meridian. His latest book, A Lily in the Harem, is on sale at the downtown Bible Bookstore.