Are Hormones Weapons? If Not, Let’s Use Them.


Drawing of a molecule of oxytocin.


Today, I’m writing about ISIS.


First, a small segue (hang on, there’s a tie): This article, and this, and this one, too – oh, and this, as well – all from the British press, reveal that in the manufacturing town of Rotherham in Yorkshire (the largest county in England, the county of James Herriott, the beautiful Lake District, The Dales) over 1400 people have been repeatedly terrorized, tortured, gang-raped and threatened with death. The police response: zero. The reports were dismissed, whistleblowers tossed out, details buried. Why? Because the victims were children. The attackers, Pakistani-origin Muslim men. Officialdom makes the excuse that it was reluctant to roil multicultural waters, though many people wonder if there was a money aspect, if they were being paid off to look the other way. We have to assume, as well, that the people responsible for not arresting the perps right away were several eggs short of a dozen and thus should never have had any sort of power at all. Also, that they were minus compassion. The biggest cop is refusing to resign his current post, despite repeated calls to do so, reported here. Finally, after weeks, the New York Times began to pay attention.


Now. ISIS. A larger group of Muslim men. Opportunists, again.


I hope someone from the US military or Big Pharma is reading this – feel free to send links, readers – because this is a eureka moment.


“Fight fire with fire” is an old saying. With wildfires, sometimes it works to dig trenches and then set light to the ground beyond, so it roars up to the larger fire which then runs out of fuel.


It’s the same way with firepower. The classic response to military assaults has been . . . more military assaults. From land, sea, air, space, as technology improved through millennia. More weapons, more pain. More death to innocents.


There’s another way we fight fire, though. We use water or chemicals. We spray them, dump them, stream them down. They put out the blaze even more effectively.


In response to the use by Germany of mustard gas during the First World War (1914-1918), the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which governs rules of warfare, bans the use of chemical and biological weapons. Substances that can harm human beings are prohibited from use (though oddly not from manufacture or stockpiling – consistency, please, people). Thus when Iraq used multiple chemical weapons against its Kurdish population in Halabja in 1988, that genocidal act was roundly condemned.


A chemical or biological weapon is a substance alien to the human body. What if the substance used, however, were produced within the body? A non-harmful compound. Pleasant, in fact.


I’m thinking of oxytocin. Oxytocin is on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines. It’s a neurohypophysial hormone, produced only in mammals of both sexes. The hypothalamus makes it, the posterior pituitary gland stores it and releases it. It’s common in childbirth (its name means “fast birth” in Greek) and is associated with lactation. The pharmaceutical form given to people in “slow” labors (it can be injected or sprayed into the nose) speeds up uterine contractions. I can attest to this myself; they accelerate like a bottle rocket.


Oxytocin promotes maternal-infant bonding. It also influences social bonding between adults. It allays anxiety with a rush of wellbeing. People who are genetically bad at oxytocin reception and uptake tend to display aggressive behavior even when their bodies produce the hormone. (Maybe that’s all of ISIS, oxytocin-deprived because of their genetics?)


So here’s the suggestion: Stop thinking bombs and bullets. Start thinking very mild, aerosolized oxytocin.


Sprayed from above, it would help every member of ISIS feel better. Much better. Their weapons would be stripped from them by gas-masked opponents, and they would be taken prisoner without spilling a drop of blood.


Let them breathe oxytocin.


We achieve a bloodless victory, using a hormone found in our own bodies. It’s called working smart. And that’s a breath of fresh air.




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