A couple of posts back I wrote about the gun debate and reprinted an opinion piece I’d written for a newspaper while living in Utah. Click here to read the post. At the time, I said I’d share some of the reaction to my column. Part of the agreement with writing op-eds is that you were not allowed to write letters to the editor and direct response in columns to letters to the editor were discouraged. We were only allowed to write on the same topic twice a year. So, I had to take my licks for the piece I wrote, which was fine.
The first volley came from the mayor of the town of Virgin (yes, Utah has a town named Virgin and, supposedly, Johnny Carson once showed a copy of the same newspaper for whom I was writing with the headlines reading “Virgin Plans a Big Night on the Town.” I am sure this was an incredible boost to the town’s tourism, but is another story). Mr. Lee, the town’s mayor began by saying I did not understand Utah gun laws concerning schools, for that students under 21 years of age would not be allowed to possess firearms (he was responding to my sarcasm about it being good thing I wasn’t allowed to have a gun in school when a professor mistakenly gave me an F instead of the A I’d earned). Obviously, Mr. Lee didn’t catch my sarcasm, nor did he realize that I was old enough at the time to have a concealed weapon permit. He went on to write about how, after a mass shooting in Australia, all the guns from the good guys were rounded up and destroyed and how the continent had since been rocked by a violent crime wave (he made it sound more like Somalia than Australian). He also cited a suspicious report from the ATF that suggests between 650,000 and 1 million lives are saved every year by those carrying guns. I shook my head and slugged it off, but a week or two later I was vindicated. An Australian citizen had been visiting our fine corner of the world and was shocked at Mr. Lee’s figures and refuted them, citing his sources and giving websites where readers could look them up. Then, another guy, who identified himself as an 18 year old, took me seriously in my comments about wanting to shoot a professor and said I wasn’t fit to own a firearm and should sell my guns to someone who does. He went on to say that I am in favor of victim disarmament. Obviously, I had touched a nerve and learned that my humor wasn’t appreciated by some.
Two years later, right before moving from Utah, I tried my best not to smirk when I read that Major Lee from the town of Virgin was being indicted for the misappropriation of funds.
On another topic, I recently wrote about a dream with snakes. I had a second such dream the other night and this one is more puzzling. I was at a house where a guy was milking a snake (but doing it in a way that it’s not done with a needle through the snake’s head). After he finished collecting the venom, he laid the snake out on a table and was showing how tame it was and suggested I come over and pet it. As I stepped over, the snake saw his chance to escape and slide down the table and under a couch and we tried our best but couldn’t find him. I decided that I didn’t hang around a room with a poisonous snake who had good reason to be upset was lurking.
On a final note, although I am not Roman Catholic, I must say that I like what I hear about the new pope.