If I told you I had an opinion on gun control. The hair on the back of your neck would shoot up and you’d dig in for a fight. Even if we’re friends. Even if I was the godfather of your child. Even if you needed my kidney to save the life of my new godchild (your new CHILD-child), you’d start the process of disowning me, before I even told you what my opinion is.
As my friend, you’d understand that if I opened a conversation with “I have an opinion on gun control…” you’d presume it was counter to your opinion on gun control, which I would also presumably know as we’re great friends.
If you’re against it, you already assume I’m against you. The masthead of this website is me, mustachio’d with a broadsword slung over my shoulder (refresh the page if another photo is displayed, it might take a couple tries). “Of course Nolan is the leftist of left-ites!” you tell yourself. You’re diggin’ in, you’re ready to fight.
If you’re for gun control, you’ll remember that I’m from Kansas. You’ll remember I never shut up about being from Kansas. You’ll see the beginnings of liberal treason. He is from the ruralest ruality (reality + rural, I’m pretty proud of it) in the reddest of red states. You’ll think it makes sense. You’ll believe you’ve been wrong about me this whole time.
You’re both assholes. Everyone who has an opinion here is an asshole. I basically just opened the conversation by telling you “I am an asshole,” and realizing that, I’m trying to pivot the pendulum back at you by proving you’re an asshole too.
Here’s my point. Your team is too clearly chosen. You knew what team you were gonna be on before the topic was even declared. There’s no use talking to either of you and it hurts. I love you both. You fucking idiot assholes.
When I was 18 I had to register for the draft. In the post office, I found out that was where you declare your political party for life. I checked the box marked Independent as fast as I could, walked out of the post office and flipped off the building with both hands as I walked away backwards in slow motion while the guitar solo from 1997′s “D’ya Know what I Mean?” played.
Fuck your teams, and fuck your presumption that you need one. I’m on your team. You presume I’m not. But I am. I always have been. It hurts me that you’re so scared of the other imagined team, that you’d label me as “them” just to have a place to put me. You don’t think this because you’re dumb. The other team says that about you. The truth is, you do it because you’re afraid. And you’re afraid because your team tells you you’re afraid. Guns are only useful to people who are afraid. People without guns are afraid of people with guns. People with guns are also scared of people with guns, but because they have guns, they’ve sublimated their fear into visions of shooting people who disagree with them about their right to have a gun, the right to process their fear…yadda yadda yadda, the snake eats it own tail, the frame becomes the painting, machines making machines making machines. Vampires pretending to be humans, pretending to be vampires, pretending to be humans.
I’m against gun control (although comprehensive background checks are a HUGE fucking “NO DUH,” Congress). I understand people who cling to their guns. They’re scared because there’s no money where they live. People with money want to take their guns. And guns are their base means of control over the threats in their paradigm, which have now become the rich people trying to take their guns. It’s a hard position to explain to someone who hasn’t lived on that side of the economic fence.
I’ve listened to people tell me, straight-faced, that they’re stockpiling guns to take their country back. In one second I ran down this branch of the dialogue tree in my head before I responded.
“Take the country back from who?”
“The government can shoot you dead where you stand, from space.”
“I’d like to see them try!”
“Well they’ve killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians this way, they’re not sweating one dude with 12 shotguns.”
The logic exposes a virulent wormhole after bringing up Pakistan. It forces the subject into a corner where their racism towards the president (which is used to baffling effectiveness by their team) and their racism towards Pakistanis are at odds with each other. A corner they have to punch their way out of, their escape route obstructed only by my face.
When you obsess about guns, you’re showing the world how powerless you feel. I only use the Pakistan drone strikes (probably a little too flippantly) as an example because it’s important to understand that if the things that you’re scared of happening do happen, the guns you own can’t help you. Maybe they make you feel safe, but they can easily be circumvented by your enemies. My contention is you have no enemies. Stop feeling afraid. Stop letting your team make you afraid.
I know I swung liberal there with the racism accusations. But, that was a real conversation with a real person who would stand tall and proud, look you in the eye and confirm his undying commitment to his racism. I dunno what to tell you, he’s your team. You’re the one who decided you needed a team.