Thursday, December 10, 2015

Firing Blanks

I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show
A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes.
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain,
And celluloid heroes, never really die...
- The Kinks

In the film of our life that plays on a continuous loop in our mind's eye (a lot of the time it is simply running in the background while we go about our day-to-day but, believe me, it is always playing), more often than not the role we fashion for ourselves is that of the protagonist.  Our film is a fiction, fraught with good intentions, in which we are as all-together as Cool Hand Luke, whereas in reality, ours is a life in which, at least every now and again, we are someone much closer in personality to Daniel Miller in Defending Your Life

Among the more asinine topics of conversation that has sprung up among the Internet cowboys in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California is the one that presupposes that arming every man, woman, and child in these United States would prevent such attacks from occurring and would - in fact - curb the national spate of mass shootings.  That premise is, of course, predicated upon the wholly vacuous notion that a nation shoulder-deep in adults brave enough to attack one another from the anonymity of the Internet is also replete with civilians - absent formal training and practical experience - who would join the fight and run towards danger, rather than from it.  

Is it?  Truthfully, I have no idea.  Suffice it to say, I have a healthy amount of skepticism on this particular subject.  And here's the thing.  Those people who declare that they do know what would occur are talking out of the orifice most humans use to expel food as opposed to the one most of use to take it in.  As a matter of our wiring, each of us has a "Fight or Flight" reflex.  To proclaim that you not only know how you would respond in the face of danger but that you know how a stranger would respond is worse than irresponsible.  It is a fucking lie.  

Furthermore, and I direct this to the virtual bad asses who I happen to know (or, at the very least, I knew a lifetime ago when we were all much younger), who have never been confronted with a life-or -death situation, and who nevertheless think that doing the work of a First Responder, such as a law enforcement officer, is something that anyone can do:  Stop embarrassing yourself.  Go grab another Red Bull out of the fridge, hit the reset button on the PS 4, and plop yourself down in your bean-bag chair.  This is an "adults only" conversation.   

My son is a federal law enforcement officer.  The agency by which he is employed provides its members with the finest, hardest, and most comprehensive training of any agency in the world.  It was not until he successfully completed seventeen-and-one-half weeks of training, including a considerable amount of firearms and weapons training, that he actually earned his job, at which time he received his service weapon.  In the seven and one-half years that he has been a federal law enforcement officer, he and his colleagues have undergone training on a regular basis.  He is excellent at what it is he does for a living.  Each one of of us benefits from his aptitude and from his dedication to his craft.  For anyone to have the balls to suggest that what he and his colleagues do is so easy and so routine that anyone, whether trained or not, could do it as well is an insult.  It is an insult to him, to the men and women with whom he works, and to the men and women who earn their daily bread as this nation's First Responders.   Worse yet, it is the type of misstatement of fact that - if you believe it to be true - can get you or someone else really dead, really fast.   

I get it.  Everyone wants to be a celluloid hero.  Walter Mitty was not an anomaly.  He was Everyman, irrespective of gender, creed, or color.  Each of us daydreams.  Each of us - at least every now and again - visualizes our self doing something somewhere other than the thing then and there commanding our time and the spot where we find ourselves anchored.  As long as we do in fact remain anchored in the real world that we inhabit and do not succumb to delusions of grandeur, all is good.  A dream and a delusion are not the same things.  

Will you - if confronted with a situation where shit and the fan intersect - step up?  I know not.  Neither do you.  And since you do not, stop perpetuating the fraud that you do.  In case you have forgotten, John McClane is not a real-life member of the NYPD.  He is a fictional character and the actor who created him is currently getting his ankles mashed six times a week on Broadway.  

But then again, everybody's a dreamer..  


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