I am 39 years old, a father of four, happily married, owner of Tucson's most popular and cool cafe with no criminal record, don't drink or do drugs and believe in holding doors open for women. I am also licensed to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Arizona. After having been shot at, at close range, by a group of drunk cowboys out in Reddington Pass some years ago, I decided to not be a victim ever again. I carry a firearm, not because I hope to one day be able to shoot somebody, but to protect myself, my family and innocent third parties.
I hope that I never have to draw my firearm and take another's life. But I will not stand idly by in a society as violent as ours and watch others die and not do anything about it. There are some flaws in the concealed weapons law as it stands. Catherine O'Sullivan did not comment on what didn't make sense or needed to be amended. Two times last year, my oldest son's school was locked down, because the police were looking for some fleeing criminals that were in the immediate area. I wasn't there and nothing happened. But ... why if I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon, can I only protect myself and my loved ones under certain conditions? Another scenario: I can go into a restaurant with my family and have my concealed weapon on me as long as two factors aren't present: a sign prohibiting firearms and no on-site alcohol sales. Why can I protect myself and my family at McDonald's and not at Outback Steakhouse? Random violence is just that, random. Be prepared or don't be. Not just some of the time. Statistically, it is my understanding that states that have CCW permits show a drop in violent crimes. Numbers are numbers, right?
There are way too many battles to fight. So, Catherine O'Sullivan, I encourage you in the future to pick your battles well.
When young Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot up Columbine High School, what finally stopped them? When Jeff Weise shot up his Red Lake high school, what finally stopped him? Other men with guns arriving on the scene. But the idea of allowing law-abiding CCW permit holders to have a firearm in schools is "insane"?
Guns in bars and restaurants? The law in question specifically prohibits consumption of alcohol by the CCW permit holder. I'd like Ms. O'Sullivan to explain her opposition to this bill to Texas Rep. Susanna Gratia Hupp, who watched as her parents were shot to death in a Texas Luby's, knowing all the while that her handgun was locked in her car, because it was illegal for her to bring it into the restaurant.
Texas has since changed that law. Their homicide rate has fallen, along with the rest of the nation's. People who jump through the legal hoops necessary to get a concealed-carry permit aren't the people you need to worry about.
But Ms. O'Sullivan isn't worried about the people. Only the guns.
I can't fathom that "logic." But then, I can't understand her irrational hatred of inanimate objects, either. I can recognize it, but not understand it.
Perhaps I was unclear. When I mentioned a "culture of coercive homosexuality in seminaries," I was NOT referring to epidemic of pedophile priests, but rather to the testimony in the media by adult men about a power dynamic that seems to have become prevalent in those priestly houses between the usually gay hierarchy and heterosexual seminarians.
What I was trying to say is how sick I am of our movement--or any movement--telling us what to think and how to feel in order to be considered "correct." Was anyone as ashamed as I was of how some in our leadership engaged in outright fascist tactics to run Dr. Laura Schlessinger off the air because of what was purported to be her thinking on homosexuality? Is free speech and the right to make a living only for those we agree with? Are we so pampered by the cloak of victimhood that when someone utters a homophonic idea in the classroom, or at work, we are willing to destroy them academically or professionally behind what has become the censorial accusation of hate speech? And why, when some of us express how pissed off we are that certain segments of the gay male community are consciously engaging in the spreading of HIV to unwitting partners, are we accused of blaming the victim?
Yes, lesbians and gay men must engage in clear, strong activism against the right wing's attempts to annihilate or at least marginalize our existence, whether that ass-kicking comes after a process-filled committee meeting or not. But I'll be damned if I'll unquestioningly fall into place behind enabling some of the nasty, misguided and downright wrong behaviors in which our community engages in order to be considered an ally.
Not that carrying water for the official story is less than what is expected from a wannabe Republican office holder. The real significance of this carbon-paper duplication is that of saying to Republican funders, "I'm your boy. I'll say whatever Our Dear Maximum Cheerleader outs in the distribution pipeline." As to opining about American presence permanence, it should be obvious to one and all there never was an "exit strategy"--that is the meaning of building 14 new and permanent military bases in Iraq.
To any of Frantzman's readers that haven't already disregarded his foolish advice: The best way to ensure that you are treated like an "evil" or "imperial" American is to act like one. There is so much more to be learned than trying to assure ourselves that we are better than everyone else. While a meaningful cultural experience abroad is likely to give you a greater appreciation for the way you live at home, it can only be gained if you travel with an open mind. The "myths" that circulate about America will never be debunked if our citizens can't even manage to be polite guests in other countries.