Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Word of Caution for the Cardboard Cowboys

We had not even finished our synchronized hand-wringing over the multiple killings that occurred on the campus of Umpqua Community College two Thursdays ago, when that particular act of insanity was pushed off of the front pages by dual shootings at Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University, which occurred within hours of one another this past Friday.  One develops a good appreciation for just how far through the looking glass we have come when commentators - discussing the latter two events - took solace from the fact that in both instances the shooter was not an "active shooter".  Rather, the shooter was someone pissed off about something (real or perceived) that one or more of his victims had done to him and responded to that horrible transgression by shooting the committer of that particular sin as well as anyone else in the immediate vicinity.   Phew - what a relief, right?  

Thirty Septembers ago, it freaked me out more than a little when my roommate Alex unpacked his stuff in our freshman dorm room (Farrand 487) and his belongs included a Chouinard Ice Axe.  I might have shit the bed nightly had he unpacked a gun among his treasures.  

I find all of the political back-and-forth that goes on in the wake of events such as these to be as pathetic as it is predictable.  Among the "ideas" (to give that term the broadest definition permitted by the Einstein Estate) that I have heard vocalized is the one that goes something like this:  If more persons were armed on campuses, including college campuses, then it would curtail events such as these because those viewed as targets by the "active shooter" would likely include at least one individual armed with a weapon that he or she is prepared to use to kill, if necessary, the bad guy.  

It is this idea that I find the most offensive.  It is this idea that I find the most potentially dangerous.  It is this idea - in a seemingly endless stream of stupid fucking ideas - to be the single dumbest fucking idea of all.  Why?  For it is this idea that poses the most potential danger to one of the people on this planet about whom I care most of all.  And before I stand by quietly and let one of the Cardboard Cowboys currently running for elective office repeat it with sufficient frequency to elevate it -almost by default - to a position of reason and logic, I will do my damnedest to expose the innate stupidity at its core.   For me, it is not a political issue.  It is a parental issue.  

My son, Rob, has chosen a career in public service.  Unlike Yours truly, who finds it difficult to manufacture even a faux fuck about the world in general, he is one of those individuals to whom the term "first responder" applies.  When shit and fan arrive at the point of intersection, he heads towards that point with all due dispatch.  His is a path I could not - and shall not - pretend to have been born with enough (a) courage; and (b) selflessness to walk upon - not even one single step.  

Those among us who do what it is my son does for a living have enough to worry about when responding to a rapidly-unfolding situation without trying to discern which person with the weapon is "a good guy" and which person with the person is "the bad guy".  Also, unlike me - and possibly you as well - he was required to satisfactorily complete the best training in the world - MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS OF IT - before he was entrusted with his duty weapon.  If and when he receives the call to respond to a situation such as the ones that have played out already this month in Arizona, Oregon, and Texas, his "to-do" list upon arrival will be full enough, thank you very much, without having to worry about dodging friendly fire from a well-meaning person who is "just trying to help". 

Note to all of the aforementioned Cardboard Cowboys:  Irrespective of your gender or your political affiliation, the peddling of this particularly virulent strain of political expediency, which could adversely affect someone I love dearly, has gotten my attention and shall continue to commend my attention for as long as you intend to peddle it.  And I shall do all I that I am able to protect him - and the men and women who serve alongside him both literally and figuratively - from you and your dangerous "appeal to the lowest common denominator" approach.  

I have never been smart enough to back away from a fight in my entire life.  I can assure you that given how much I loathe change, this is not likely to be the first time I do so.  And if you think for even one second that I might be bluffing, then I double-dog-dare you to call me on it.

In the words of celluloid hero John McClane, "Yippee Ki Yay, Mother Fucker...


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