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Monday, January 21, 2013

Pink fuzzy slippers and so-called assault weapons.



You've almost certainly seen a pair of pink fuzzy slippers. They're warm and cozy and nothing any real man is going to casually wear around the house. By using the phrase "real man" I mean a heterosexual male who demands that there be no unfortunate misunderstandings about his sexual orientation or about his ability to protect himself and his family. Real men typically cultivate the reputation of a being stand-up guys. We won't duck a fight, and we don't wear pink fuzzy slippers.

Now then, a lot of people misunderstand why that's so. They ask questions like: why are you so unsure about your masculinity? Do you hate homosexuals because secretly you are homosexual? Are you afraid that if you put these slippers on, that suddenly you'll get the urge to kick up your feet and dance around singing show tunes? Questions like these are all designed to put someone on the defensive, to stifle debate and silence dissent. When I was a kid one of the most devastating and vicious insults you could throw at somebody was to accuse him of being gay. If you called him a homo or a fag that was nothing less than an invitation to fight that could not be avoided without being forever tarred as the homo you'd just been accused of being.

Today the same vicious tactic is still being used. Even though they do it a little more circumspectly, it's still merely the same asinine accusation which is designed to silence any guy who is so asininely accused. Asking a husband and a father of six kids if he might not be a "closet homosexual" because he refuses to wear fuzzy pink-slippers is not only disgusting and demeaning, it's not just dishonest, it's also downright evil. I think you have to really examine the personality and the motivation of a person who would stoop that low.

I was an Army brat, son of divorced parents who both remarried. They took turns with custody each year; so every year it was a different school. If you're an army brat like me, you know that kids like us, we get in a lot of fights growing up. Every new school is just another place where first we have to prove ourselves. Sometimes it was possible for me to avoid a fight by intimidating the guy they'd picked to test me. If you can jump in the air and execute a perfect spinning back kick at above head height it can sometimes daunt that boyish battle fever. Of course nowadays everybody's a Karate Kid so I'm not sure how well that trick would work anymore, but nevertheless, being perceived as tough is still the best way to end up not actually having to fight.

Let me reiterate that point. If they believe you can kick their ass, you probably won't have to kick their ass! Which brings me back to those pink fuzzy slippers and finally to that so-called assault weapon. The same paradigm holds true for boyhood schoolyard combat as it does for adult confrontation.

Suppose that my rifle was friendly looking. Suppose I had a pink-fuzzy rifle with a seven round clip. I guess something like that would even be legal in the state of New York. It's so cute and adorable! It has little bunny ears right on the barrel, and instead of the scary-sounding metal on metal scraping sound of a gun cocking, when you pull the hammer back on this fluffy rifle it makes a delightful mweep-mweep sound like an excited bunny offered a carrot. Instead of a big scary open barrel down which a home-invader can almost see the fires of hell, there's a cute bunny nose complete with whiskers.

Can you see it? Can you envision this travesty, this misguided mockery of a firearm? If you can then maybe, just maybe you can see the one overwhelming problem with it? If it's not scary looking, if it doesn't announce by its appearance that somebody is close close close to death, then in all likelihood the person holding it will be forced to either pull the trigger or watch first in impotent terror and later with unendurable sorrow as first they take away his pink fuzzy gun and later do whatever they choose to with him and his family. Do you understand my point? If they believe you will kill them, you probably won't have to kill them!

When I was twelve years old, I had proved my responsibility enough times that my parents put a great deal of trust in me. On this occasion I'm about to tell you about, my mother and stepfather—both radiologists working at the same practice—had to go to Atlanta for a seminar. We lived in Augusta at the time and so they asked me if I was okay spending the night on my own. Sure I said, what could go wrong? Famous last words!

My sheltie—that's a miniature collie—woke me up in the middle of the night barking like crazy. I heard a banging sound like somebody was slamming a door over and over. I grabbed my nunchaku and headed out into the living room to find somebody about my size, maybe a little bigger, wrenching and yanking at our VCR. This guy was too stupid to unscrew the cable from the back and was just trying to tear it loose. I screamed "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" and I flourished my nunchaku extravagantly. I'm not into false modesty so let me just tell you that when you see me work my chucks you're going to be certain that I can definitely kick your ass. He dropped the VCR and ran downstairs where he scrambled through the window where he'd broken in. I called my grandmother who came over and then she called the police. They never caught the guy who broke in, but here's the take-away...I didn't have to use my chucks on anybody because when the bad guy saw I knew what I was doing with them, he didn't want to test me.

An "assault weapon" isn't an assault rifle. It's not designed to auto-fire multiple rounds. It's not designed to invade foreign countries or defend borders. It may have a folding stock. It's sinister, black, and shiny with scary looking bits poking out here and there for uncertain reasons. It may even have a bayonet! But honestly, I've never heard one story where the mass-murderer bayoneted his victims. So what is it about so-called assault style weapons that so alarms the gun-grabbers? Being scary-looking isn't a design flaw. It's supposed to scare the living shit out of anybody it's being pointed at. That way, maybe, just maybe...the person it's pointed at doesn't have to find out the hard way that it doesn't matter whether it's pink and fluffy or black and sinister, it still fires the same deadly hunk of lead at supersonic speeds.

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