Saturday, February 28, 2009

The First Church of Smith and Wesson

The world moves so fast I struggle not so much to keep up (that's pretty much beyond me now) but to not fall so far behind that I can no longer see the tail lights of the slowest moving vehicle in front of me disappear over the horizon.

I thought I saw a news item the other day and I did, but my brain just caught up with my eyes, so I apologize if you've already chewed on this: a state Senate panel has rejected a bill that would allow concealed handguns in Arkansas churches. I grew up in New Jersey and have now lived in Connecticut for seventeen years. I mention those two facts because I have a (I suspect) typical Northeastern attitude of smug superiority towards a part of my country in which I have never traveled to or been in, ever.

Instead I fall back on stereotypes and caricatures not only about Arkansas but about guns. I don't like guns and think they're a goofy way to settle an argument. But did I mention I don't own a gun or possess a license to own one, and aside from firing an M-16 for familiarization during basic training while in the US Air Force (and I was such a dweeb, the recoil knocked me down and the M-16 has very little recoil), I have no contact with guns of any kind? You're right; I should mention that, so all of us, but especially me, can see my biases and prejudices.

However, in fairness to my sense of the absurd, take a look at the AP story again and if the idea, advanced by the person who introduced the legislation that this is 'a question of religious freedom' doesn't leap out at you, I'll eat a bug. When you read deeper into the story, the AP reports there are two states, unnamed, which do not permit the carrying of concealed weapons--and that of the 48 who do, 42 of them let churches make their own rule, leading me to wonder if I should be reassured or disquieted.

As I said, I have no familiarity with guns, concealed, congealed, revealed or any other kind. Pistols or rifles or whatever else--no appreciation and no history of use. I have actually cut myself washing (technically, trying to dry) an apple-corer (so deeply I had to go the emergency room and get stitches, sort of; it was medical super glue) so I avoid all contact with firearms and as many kitchen utensils as is practical and, if I say so myself, I have a decent enough track record fifty six years on. I wouldn't trust me with a spoon--weapons would not be a good idea, but only for me.

I suspect another mixed blessing of these nifty thumbs and the big brains we hope always goes with the thumbs is sorting out which time is the right time to Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.
-bill kenny

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