Just Sign Here . . .
Dawn at the Bird Cathedral

Verb: to Weaponize

I learned a new verb yesterday in the vetenarian's office: Reading a newsmagazine from last December in the waiting room, I happend across an opinion piece about how naive we had been to not conceive of the idea that someone might weaponize small pox. (The piece speculating also about Iraq's dreadful stocks of bioweapons now itself seems quaint.)

I typed weaponize into Google and got plenty of hits, which suggests that this new verb had probably washed over me before without my even noticing it. My favorite usage was weaponizing humor. The verb was used as recently as yesterday by the Globe and Mail in the sentence Anti-missile defence without weaponizing space is like being half-pregnant.

But, you know, as the mother of a little boy I have a more apropriate, context in which to deploy this verb: If you weaponize that stick, I'll have to take it away!

Or consider this annecdote, told to me by another mother: A little boy attends a nursery school in which they don't allow war play of any sort and in which such things are stongly discouraged. His also mother does not allow war toys nor does she allow him to watch any violent TV shows. One day the children paint birdhouses in nursery school. When the mother picks up her son at school, she sees him hold out his birdhouse in the direction of another boy and yell, "BANG! I kill you with my deadly birdhouse."

He weaponized the birdhouse.

For me, weaponization is not a scary new concept in terrorism or military strategizing, but rather a tendency to be gently blunted every day whenever it arises.

ON MATURE CONSIDERATION, I don't think I'll be needing this verb. I tried it out on Peter. He was unimpressed.

Also, it occurs to me that it has a sinister utility. Imagine a police officer explaining the shooting of an unarmed person: He was weaponizing his cup of coffee, so I shot him.

If any noun can be weaponized, no one is ever unarmed.

What concrete nouns cannot be weaponized? Tutu? Rubber duckie? Powder puff? Suggestions?

MEANWHILE, tornados passed through Lawrence, Kansas today. Kij Johnson reports:

The tornado was about four miles due west of us, and had lifted before it went directly over our offices in Wescoe on the KU campus. As is typical of Kansas, we (and all our neighbors) were out standing in our driveway hoping we could see it, but no luck.