March comes in like a lion, as they say, and goes out like a lamb, and here in the middle of the month I’m feeling a little lamblike and a tad lion-ish.
“You’re a liberal, so you’re probably scared of guns,” I was told by a gun-owning acquaintance, and he was right on one count. Guns scare me. (Speeding cars also scare me, which confession, combined with the other, ought to irrevocably disqualify me from living in Nashville, the Manliest City in the U. S. of A, according to a poll several years back.) In an altercation involving one (a gun), I would be as a lamb led to slaughter.
On the other hand, I am positively leonine in my opposition to guns. Well, not positively. How about somewhat? I would not, for example, argue too vociferously with those who love them—after all, they have all the guns.
I suppose I ought to champion gun possession, it being hallowed by our Bill of Rights, in a paragraph right next to the one protecting our freedom of the press. Freedom is precious, we’re told, and perhaps our Founding Fathers were farsighted and wise enough to envision the age of drive-by shootings and mass murders in malls, and to decree that guns are eternally good.
They did see clearly that government was bad, incorrigibly so, and that it would be necessary from time to time to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing have them repealed. “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun,” Chairman Mao reminded us, which may explain why, as citizens feel themselves more and more powerless to affect the elements that control their lives, they clutch their guns ever closer. With prosperity, security—even a modicum of contentment—forever slipping through your fingers, a gun is something you can grasp.
These are weighty matters, but in the end they are, largely, matters of opinion, and as far as opinions on weighty matters go, no month is madder than March, when college basketball conducts its national tournament. As of next week, everyone will have his bracket and her opportunity to shine as a professional (jump in the pool!) prognosticator.
Which brings me to an idea. After this month, during which all the world’s a basketball court and all the men and women merely players, let’s stage another sort of competition, one that lets everybody blow off some steam in a tournament with real stakes. I propose that we outfit everyone with guns—every last man, woman and child—and match neighborhood versus neighborhood in a shootout to the finish. There’d be starting teams, and liberal substitutions allowed for injuries or fatalities. First, second and third “rounds” would have piquant meaning; overtime contests would be sudden-death.
The general purging would solve a multitude of ills—high unemployment and overcrowding among them—while allowing us to celebrate our love affair with guns.
I volunteer to referee.