Thursday, July 18, 2013

From The Sidelines of Common Sense

It's been an unusual couple of weeks considering all the emotions that seem to be swarming around the Zimmerman and Martin case. Emotions can be a dangerous thing and for the most part, I've stayed on the sidelines watching this disastrous media and now racial frenzy.

I think emotions and race relations aside, my opinion on the matter is a bit more cut and dry than the rest of America and has very little to do with justice but just good old common sense.

There are two topics I would like to cover on this piece and they are:

1. Fear

2. Guns

First let's discuss fear. There will be very few women that can relate to this story as most women I know haven't really been in a knock down drag out physical fight. I'm sure there are a few of you perhaps but I'm talking about a down home outside the bar fight that involved fists flying.

It was in a summer of my high school years when a young man approached me outside of a club and before I could get two words out of my mouth, he hit me twice in the jaw. (Yes there was a woman involved.) It happened so fast that the rest of the fight was more or less a blur and I have no recollection of movement, what I was doing or any sense of coordination. I do remember grabbing him by the head and hitting him underneath but this only lasted until a bouncer came running out of the club and broke us up. Fear, anger and adrenaline managed to take over my entire body leaving me with little control of my own actions. All I could do was hold on and try not to fall down. It damn sure wasn't like what you see in the movies. You know, where the guy is some sort of martial arts expert and within three moves the bad guy has a broken leg and a dislocated jaw. This is the kind of crap the entertainment world feeds us as if two guys are actually in control and fighting is some sort of glorified art form. It isn't.

In consideration of fear, which will bring up another point of this piece, I'll tell you another story that everyone can relate to. A few years ago, I was in a drugstore on the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Central picking up a birthday card for my wife. I was in the back of the store where all the greeting cards were when yelling broke out up front. Looking around the greeting cards, I saw a man yelling and screaming at the clerk. "I'll kill all of you! You'll do what I say!" He was obviously homeless and raging back and forth at the counter which put the fear of God in all of us in the store. We had no idea what to do and I felt absolutely helpless with nothing to defend myself with. Then all of a sudden I heard screaming and the air became so thick with a burning sensation that I could barely see and breathe. Unbeknownst to me, the clerk had let go of an entire can of pepper spray and even though I was at least 20 yards away, it was all I could do to get the hell out of there. I can't imagine what the homeless man was feeling as he took it straight in the face.

My take on all of this, the case, Zimmerman and the Martin boy is that both of them were out of control due to their own emotions. And emotions like fear, anger and a good shot of adrenaline are a deadly combination when a gun is involved.

Which brings up Mr. Zimmerman as we're all supposed to believe that it's perfectly acceptable for an untrained guy to carry around a firearm. It's the American way right? Now before you go beating me down as some liberal who's against guns, think again. What rubs me the wrong way is our society is perfectly fine with giving a guy who has no training the responsibility of keeping the peace with a gun. And that's just plain stupid.

Some of you reading this may know a cop or a soldier. These men and women are trained to handle guns and under large amounts of stress. All the while controlling their fear and emotions and even trained, it's not easy. They suffer from all kinds of emotional damage if by chance duty leads them into taking another human being's life so to say it's fine to arm up a civilian would beg the question, are you really prepared to take another man's life?

The moral of this story lies within my own experience in the drugstore which is simple and most importantly, it works. There are several ways to render a man helpless without killing him. Pepper spray, mace and my new favorite, the taser.

So before you plan on pretending to be Joe Badass with a handgun, ask yourself this question. Am I really ready to kill another human being? And if not, what other alternatives are there that would aid in taking a man down.

Problem solved brothers and sisters.