You can substitute “fit” for the “fat” part of Old Fat White Guy. Partial credit goes to my second divorce—as powerful an incentive to become more presentable as an executive post at Bain Capital. Of course, I’m about as likely to take a position at Bain as Bahati Prinsloo. I may not have “Doesn’t Play Well With Others” tattooed across my forehead but I’m not sure it would make that much difference. To avoid an inadvertent vow of chastity, I hit the gym and adopted a new social strategy (i.e. less jokes, more posing). Which kinda leads to the second explanation for my toned physique . . .
Firearms. Specifically, walking the talk.
I can’t very well tell armed self-defenders to STFU after a DGU (Defensive Gun Use) if I’m running my mouth like an AC unit in July and wheezing while walking to Wendy’s. Did you know Wendy’s french fries are now way better than McDonald’s? Neither did I.
Where was I? Oh right, guns . . .
I was lunching with my famous photog nephew and his peeps down in LC on Friday. Lib, laugh, love. Well, not so much laughter. And I definitely wasn’t feeling the love when George Zimmerman’s impending trial entered the conversation.
I reckon the Zimmerman verdict depends on the answer to a relatively simple question: did Zimmerman throw the first punch? Regardless of his inadvisable neighborhood watch surveillance, if Zimmerman physically initiated the conflict with Martin, he forfeited his right to legally justifiable homicide.
My position: no one knows. Let the jury sort it out.
The Big Apple twenty-somethings’ position: Zimmerman’s guilty. Just another ‘effing nutcase with a gun. One member of the group, an extraordinarily beautiful raven haired artist’s rep, had but a single point to add to the debate: “I’m glad I don’t live in Florida.”
The remark brought to mind the adage “A liberal is conservative who hasn’t been mugged.” My nephew gave credence to the analysis when he said “I’ve lived in New York City most of my life. I’ve never seen anyone flip and start attacking someone for no reason.”
English is a remarkably compact language. So much information in so few words. In this case none of it was very heartening. Not for those of us who read about—or have experienced—-random acts of violence. People who consider armed self-defense the best way to protect ourselves from its ravages.
Old people. On the day of my 53rd birthday, I’ve decided that there’s no getting around it: the older you are the more likely you are to carry a gun.
A startribue.com post called Land of 10,000 gun carriers reveals that 1 in 40 Minnesota adults has a concealed carry permit (total population as of 2011 5,344,861). As we’ve discussed, there’s a big difference between having a permit and actually carrying a gun.
Be that as it may, here’s the bit that caught my editorial eye:
For decades, Minnesota police chiefs and sheriffs limited how many permits they issued, especially in the Twin Cities.
The Personal Protection Act of 2003 changed that. It added Minnesota to the “shall issue” majority, saying a permit should be issued to any resident 21 or older who pays a fee of up to $100, gets prescribed training and passes a background check.
Minnesotans queued up at an average rate of 10,000 a year, swelling the ranks of permit holders from 11,381 in 2002 to 50,777 by 2007. Wisconsin, which in November became one of the last states to pass a carry permit law, reached 100,000 permits in less than six months . . .
About 87 percent of Minnesota’s permit holders are men, and almost 70 percent are over 40, according to state data.
The stats aren’t exactly representational. The Gopher state’s concealed carry liberalization is only 9 years old. That’s not enough time for a generation to come of age under its provisions, or for the state’s concealed carry culture to gain widespread purchase.
We’ll see if the average age of a concealed carrier skews downwards over the next decade or two. Meanwhile, it’s not illogical to suggest that older folks are more amendable to exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms.
The startribune.com turned to Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance Veep Andrew Rothman for an explanation.
Rothman said older folks can more easily afford guns, and are more security conscious.
“When you get to be in your 40s and 50s,” he said, “you begin to realize you’re not Godzilla and can’t run as fast as you once could.”
As Miss Prinsloo might say, ja nir (yes no).
I’m not so sure that discretionary income has anything to do with applying for a concealed carry permit. Guns aren’t that expensive. And while I consider any permit fee unconstitutional, $100 is hardly an onerous financial burden for anyone with a job. Or a relative with a job.
As for the fitness component, I can now run a LOT faster than I could in my 40′s. Personal transformation aside, I doubt thousands of OFWGs look in the mirror one day and say, “Wow. I need a gun.”
The key to the age of Minnesota’s concealed carry permit holders lies in the phrase “security conscious.” The plain truth is that older people have more to lose. Unlike my relative’s unmarried homies, they have a family to protect. A gun is insurance against those who would destroy their ability to provide for the ones they love.
In fact, one of the women in the group had an eight-month-old baby in tow. When the rest of her pack retired to the kitchen for zucchini bread and a less contentious conversation, she asked me a simple question. Holding her baby close, inhaling her infant’s heady fontanelle smell, she asked “Do you think we’d be safer with a gun?”
I couldn’t tell if she was being provocative.
“It’s not for me to decide,” I replied after the usual song and dance about buying an alarm system and locks and increasing situational awareness. “But you live in a country where you have a constitutional right to make that decision for yourself.”
That’s the crux of the Zimmerman case for both “sides” of the debate. Not whether or not Zimmerman should have followed Martin (he shouldn’t have). Not whether or not he should have shot Zimmerman. Whether or not he should have been armed.
The Zimmerman case is a litmus test for concealed carry. Those who condemn him out of hand or attribute racial motivations to the shooting are, by and large, people who don’t believe that American citizens should be able to carry a gun. Those who maintain an open mind think “there but for the grace of God go I.”
Lola and I stopped for ice cream on the way home. She wanted to try a new flavor (one we hadn’t bought from Gray’s before). She opted for chocolate. She didn’t like it. “It’s too dry.” We traded it for Oreo. No charge. That wasn’t a big hit either. Besides, she was tired and full.
As Lola had proven, America is still a country where people value freedom of choice. I don’t want anyone to carry a gun who doesn’t want to carry a gun. But I want those law-abiding citizens who do want to pack heat to be able to do so. To defend themselves and their loved ones the best way they can.
Good luck to us all.