When you don’t have a gun, and people around you with guns do things that are offensive, it’s dangerous to object. Being a liberal in a red state is difficult for a lot of us, and there’s a lot of unfairness to it.
Why can one guy with a gun terrorize a million people? I thinking of Son-of-Sam or those two highway shooters in D.C. There’s this basic unfairness about criminal behavior. Criminals have a distinct advantage over the public, at least at first. I noticed this as a little kid in the dime store. The shop owner can’t watch everyone all the time, or at least they couldn’t when I was young. Lucky for me I wanted more challenge in my life: crime seemed too easy.
It’s still too easy. You can’t actually stop crime. It’s even illegal to try (entrapment), and as a liberal I’m glad of it. Racial profiling is wrong, arresting people preemptively is wrong, invading countries preemptively is a war crime. This is good. I want the cops to actually catch me speeding or running a red light, not just get a ticket in the mail for every wrong thing some security camera caught me doing. It seems unAmerican to have our cars report our bouts of speeding to the authorities via the onboard GPS system, even if this would save lives.
Perhaps this is the sentiment behind the right wing’s hatred of background checks before gun purchases. The local councilmen voted (amazingly!) to require background checks for all sales at a particular long-standing gun and knife show here in Austin; the sponsors refused, and instead moved the show to a nearby town (closer to me). My small-town paper reported on the great boon for the local community, with quotes of enraged purchasers who had had to travel the extra distance. They were enraged at the councilmen, not the sponsors who could have just required the background checks.
When I send my strongly-worded letter to the local paper, asking, "What do we call people who choose profit over the lives of innocents?" I fully expect to be considered a live target. And no one will be able to protect me. My only hope will be to get a gun, which I won’t have.
Isn’t life strange? We are all so close to the limit. At any time, in any location, you give someone the finger and they will most likely decide to end your life, even if it ends their life, too. (I’m still talking Red State, here, but maybe it’s this way everywhere now.) The most likely place to meet the general public here is on the road, and you do not honk or give the finger to the random bad driver without superior firepower. We're all on the edge.
So being meek is an alternative. But I don't like it. With my superior liberal brain, I should be able to cause aggressive drivers here to miss their opening, to be unable to cut in, without obviously flagging myself as their enemy and drawing fire. I love helping the good and hindering the bad. What else is life about?
So sometimes, when we write the letter to the editor, we become identified. Being a target of idiots with guns is not altogether a bad thing, of course. By causing the idiot to show his hand, to actually fire the weapon, we are then able to put him behind bars, and thereby protect his innocent neighbor or innocent children from his eventual flip out. And we get the badge of honor, being hated and even shot at by evil haters.
And eventually, as evolution crawls forward and every generation of old racist, selfish, secessionist white men die off, there are more and more inclusive, open, socialist multi-colored humans to take their place. I’ll take this bullet for you. Bless you for doing the same for me.