Urban Alchemy

by bronxelf

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These are random moments in the life of an indecent designer and the city she loves.

To read my grudging babblings about design, click the button.



And can we really measure
If we think we're any better
than that skyline that goes on and on
forever, on and on...."

- Less Than Jake: Is This Thing On?

Everybody in this world wants the same damned thing-
just not at the same time.


-Chris Orbach: Jane


I could be condemned to hell for every sin but littering."

- Soul Coughing: Idiot Kings



I am a female, carbon based lifeform.
I am a New York City Native.
I am a Design Professional.
I take photographs.
I also sculpt, paint, create mosaics, and play with weapons.

And sometimes, I even dance about Architecture.

What I see, is what you get.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

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Amendment Jacket

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I was right near my house. Just across the street, actually, on my
way home from breakfast with a friend.

A teenager from the local high school was walking with a friend in
front of me. He was wearing this very odd jacket. You see a lot of
strange leather jackets in NYC. I just couldnt make out what it was.

Until I got closer.

That, my friends is the first 10 Amendments to the US Consitution (The
Bill of Rights), on a leather jacket. And that is BY FAR the coolest
thing I have seen all day. I don't care that it's on a jacket. I
don't care that it's a fashion statement. I care that maybe, just
maybe...someone will READ it. And *LEARN* it. And *TEACH* it. And
that's the best hope I've seen for this incredibly fucked up country I
live in, in quite some time.
24th Mar 2005, 22:19   | tags:,

bronxelf says:

I dont care *how* they learn it.

I just want them to learn it. (and goodness knows that would have been easier than my having to memorize it in the third grade.)

24th Mar 2005, 22:39

DSAFIRE says:

That rocks so hard it isnt funny.

/me ponders the feasability of making one in denim...

24th Mar 2005, 22:48

bronxelf says:

I just want to know where the hell to GET one.

24th Mar 2005, 22:49

greendalek(greendalek-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

I am indeed crying tears of joy.

25th Mar 2005, 00:50

bronxelf says:

Somehow, I knew you would be. You want me to send you a copy of this one, Pete? And do you want it in color? Or black and white?

25th Mar 2005, 00:52

Joe says:

cool to the power ten....I don't really know much about the american constitution, nor about the amendments to it, but I do know that helping to make sure that the populous understand it in literal terms, can ony be good....excellent

25th Mar 2005, 01:01

bronxelf says:

It was absolutely the most heartening thing I've seen in a (very) long time.

I'd certainly wear one.

Oh and just for informational purposes:



This is what the jacket actually *says*


I love the fact that the fourth amendment is *CLEARLY* in the center of the back of the jacket. (the fourth amendment prohibits illegal search and seizure)

My father is in politics. When I was a child The Constitution was a *big deal*. I had it memorized by the time I was in third grade. (I guess I was about 8?) It was really impressed upon me growing up that this was the most important document in the country, and that I should learn what it says. But *so many people* (not just in the US, but everywhere) are ignorant as to how their own government functions. I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world to see this high school kid sporting not a basketball team logo, or the name of a band, but the Bill of Rights on his back. That just totally blew my mind.

25th Mar 2005, 01:15

Tori says:

It is an Al Wissam jacket and the msrp is $1100.

It is definitely very cool.

25th Mar 2005, 05:16

bronxelf says:

I learned that last night. I am pretty sure this one is a knockoff, though, I didnt see any stitching on it.

I'm going to Canal St. tomorrow. Im curious to know if I can find them there and how much they are.

25th Mar 2005, 14:55

daz says:

That's pretty cool. Now I want one with the German Grundgesetz on it. :)

25th Mar 2005, 16:48

bronxelf says:

I think that's an excellent idea. :)

25th Mar 2005, 16:51

mat says:

*looks around for British Constitution*

Hmmmm.. Constitutions are somewhat double edged swords, in my opinion. Kinda like the bible - there's a load of cool stuff about being generally Good in the bible, but some people use "creative" readings of it to justify a whole world of crap. See also "right to bear arms" and the US's ludicrous gun murder rates. *ducks* :)

After consideration, I think I'm glad we don't have one. If nothing else, it makes a change :)

25th Mar 2005, 17:19

mat says:

Still, it's a nice jacket.

25th Mar 2005, 17:19

bronxelf says:

I'm a firm believer in the Constitution. I think that most people who are interpreting it arent actually *reading* it, though I support the second amendment fully. (Though we were never a gun-owning household when I was a child, I know lots and lots of people who are.) However-- "arms" can mean things other than guns, so although I'm not the gun type overall? The state (really, the feds) can have my means of personal protection over my cold, dead corpse.

And it's a *wonderful* jacket. I want one. MUCH better than advertising for Coca-Cola or Armani or whatever.

25th Mar 2005, 17:23

bronxelf says:

Whoever highlighted the jacket:

THANK YOU!! :D

25th Mar 2005, 17:39

alfie says:

There should, I think, be some kind of distinction between the right to arm yourself to protect your hosuehold or overthrow a government that is not of the people, and being allowed to own devices which were created only to kill human beings.

25th Mar 2005, 17:59

alfie says:

heheh.
oh the punnagement!

25th Mar 2005, 18:02

bronxelf says:

Alfie: But how do you make that distinction? And what really, is the difference? The framers of the Constitution certainly meant guns when they wrote it-- It's not like they didn't use or have them. I just dont know how you draw that line. That's why gun control has become such a hot issue here- people are trying to draw that line and no one is satisfied with where it gets drawn. Me? Im happy not to draw the line to begin with-- I think that it's too late for that now, and on a practical level, it simply wont *work*.

25th Mar 2005, 18:03

mat says:

The right to bear arms is a very tricky one, because you should have the right to defend yourself if you have to, but there's a minority of society who really can't be trusted with access to weapons. I think it's worth a try having the right to bear defensive arms (pepper sprays, stun guns, etc), but not the right to bear offensive arms - if more people get killed that way, it can always be changed back. Guns alone might not kill people, but people are very good at killing people, and even better again if they've got guns to help them with it.

I don't think the US constitution is a Bad Thing, but I worry it can be used for Bad Things by Bad People, which is why I'm glad we don't have one in this country. Of course, a lack of constitution can cause as many problems as otherwise, but better the devil you know, eh? : )

25th Mar 2005, 18:09

bronxelf says:

but there's a minority of society who really can't be trusted with access to weapons.

I completely agree. I dont think anyone, really would *disagree*. I am all for background checks and 7 day waiting periods on gun purchases.

However, the fact *also* remains that much like the drug trade, you aren't going to stop the illegal *weapons* trade in the US either. So while I am all for supporting safety measures in gun sales, the truth is that anyone who really WANTS a gun that badly? Will get one-- about 300 bucks on the streets of NYC, for one that's clean. It's not a high price-- the jacket that kid's wearing in that photo costs more.

And just speaking as someone who has experience with weapons, I gotta say? ANYTHING is an offensive weapon. What? Are we gonna ban baseball bats too? Sharp sticks? Paper clips and rubber bands? Im just trying to point out that the line isn't clear, even as to what's offensive and defensive. *anything* can be used for any purpose.

This is why Im saying that at *this* point, it's largely impossible to draw the line. Because really, there *is* no line other than what's in that person's head at the time.

25th Mar 2005, 18:15

mat says:

Are you really suggesting that there's no difference between a can of mace and a fully automatic 9mm handgun? One stops people who are attacking you, the other can kill a room of innocent people in a few seconds.

Gun Control - a fact: Kids in school in the UK don't go on shooting sprees in their canteens. Ever. There is ONE reason for this - they don't have access to the tools of mass murder. Sure, they could go on a knife rampage, but they wouldn't get far - it's easy to bring down a kid with a knife. I'm more than happy to give up my "right" to possess killing tools (that I don't have any need for anyway) so that more people don't get killed needlessly.

Sorry, must stop ranting about this. Not having gun control in a modern society really gets to me, it just seems so strange. You must all be scared, all the time - I know I would be with all those guns around...

25th Mar 2005, 18:26

bronxelf says:

Point the first: What I'm saying is that you can use BOTH offensively. Im not trying to compare damage to damage. You dont think you can use mace offensively? Whooboy. Read the NYC police blotters sometime.

Point the second: Illegal weapons *can and will* enter the US. Period. The kids shooting up their high schools is *relatively* recent-- though The Boomtown Rats covered that in 1979. Gun control *will not stop* these kids from getting their hands on guns. It *will not*. What it*WILL* do is make it harder for people who want to legally and legitmately own one to have one.

But this may be cultural-- Im *entirely not willing* to give up my "killing tools", because ANYTHING can, and will be used as one, if someone is that determined to do so.

Point the third: No problem, but youre totally welcome to keep discussing it. :)

Im not scared at *all*, btw. NYC gun control laws are notoriously tight. It's almost impossible to get a carry permit here. Doesn't matter-- anyone who *really* wants to pack a glock .9 is going to. But I am not even the slightest bit worried about this. Im not sure if that's just me? Or if it's cultural, but I don't worry about this at all.

And it's *really* hard to get an AK47 on the subway un-noticed. Just sayin. The real worry, if you had to have one here, is not for the guy with the Uzi. It's for the 16 year old with a .22.


25th Mar 2005, 18:37

mat says:

OK, but on that basis (and back to the drug trade comparison), do you think there would be more or less of a drug problem if you could buy crack at the local chemist? (yes, you can probably buy it just outside on the street anyway, but that's not really my point)

Illegal weapons are always going to be available, but that doesn't justify selling them legally. If, for example, my Dad hated his job and after 40 years it had all got too much for him - he could legally buy a weapon (after background checks, etc) and go and shoot his boss and half the company before killing himself. He wouldn't know where to start looking for a gun on the street, and he'd probably lose his nerve if he tried to find one.

It's the same reason you put a deadbolt on your front door - you hope the mortice locks will hold, but more security is never a bad thing.

There's a very clear line between guns and other weapons (except possibly bows/crossbows) in their stopping power. Yes, mace can be used offensively, as can anything, but in a fight, the guy with the gun is going to win, 99% of the time. If I get held up by someone with a knife, I've got a chance to deal with it (with some martial arts training and improvised weapons on hand) If someone sticks a snub nosed .38 in my face, I'm doing whatever they say (or worse, whatever they want to do with me).

I have a tricky relationship with America - in many ways, it's a wonderful and beautiful country, but I get distinctly uncomfortable in the presence of police on the beat with assault rifles and half-length flak jackets (last time I was in DC), On a slightly related "cultural differences" note, I've been to a lot of countries, but America (despite, or perhaps because of, the language) is the most "foreign" feeling place I've ever been. Not in a bad way, just different.

This has been fun, but I've really got to go and eat some dinner and stop typing so much (bad rsi, bad!) : )

25th Mar 2005, 19:00

rassilon7 says:

I like the Chris Rock Philosophy:
Keep gun control as it is... but make the cost of Bullets 5000 dollars...

I don't know anyone that I would trust with a gun including myself, I would want one but should never be given one.

Oh and don't run with scissors either kids :)

25th Mar 2005, 19:03

Richard(ram-at-soundandfury-dot-org) says:

I used to be totally anti-2nd Amend. "Do we really need these weapons?" BUT, the more I realize that it's about time for another revolution, the more I want to be able to be ready to mow down the christian right if I need to. They're bound to piss off us christ-killing jews one of these days soon... :-)

/Sadly, all I got is one cheap Toledo short sword.

25th Mar 2005, 19:25

bronxelf says:

Rasslion: Dude, that might work better than the laws we have that don't work...

Until the trade in illegal bullets begins in earnest.

25th Mar 2005, 19:30

bronxelf says:

Richard:

I love you. Just sayin.

My favorite though are the billboards in LA that go up every NYE and Cinco de Mayo that remind people not to shoot guns in the air.

It floors me that people don't know that *gravity* works.


And you know where to find weapons of er... higher quality. :)

And when are you coming east, you vaudevillian bastid?

25th Mar 2005, 19:32

rassilon7 says:

I personally can see no need for the common man to carry weapons in this day and age, you can over throw a goverment with no violent acts they do it all the time in europe.

But it is a very tricky question because getting from the stage you are at now to having no guns would be a dark period in your nations history with many deaths.

I guess as someone living abroad I am unqualified to comment or judge.

Please don't fire your guns in the air at a 42 degree angle East during high winds, or if you do warn us British friends :)

25th Mar 2005, 19:44

bronxelf says:

Less. That's the same theory as addicts being able to get drugs (heroin) there. I dont think making *legal* _anything_ use necessarily increases consumption. Example: We tried prohibition in thie country. It didnt work then, and it wouldnt work now. We ban prostitution in *most* of the country. However, in Nevada, they don't *have* the kinds of problems that they have everywhere else due to the legality of same. You don't *stop* something by making it illegal to do it. You make something taboo, exotic and dangerous? THAT, on the other hand? Works *every* time. :)

In addition, (and I can cite this, Im sure someone on the Libertarian forum has this study handy) that in towns where it's *easier* to get a carry permit? Guess what? Crime rates *plummet*. Why? Because the criminals are far less certain that *they* are going to be the only ones bringing a gun to a gunfight.


. If, for example, my Dad hated his job and after 40 years it had all got too much for him - he could legally buy a weapon (after background checks, etc) and go and shoot his boss and half the company before killing himself. He wouldn't know where to start looking for a gun on the street, and he'd probably lose his nerve if he tried to find one

The whole goal of the waiting period is for people who are "passion killers", such as your example, to be given time to cool down. But it is *not hard* to find a gun on the street here, and do so so immediately. Your dad may not know where to look for one, but finding one *here*, illegally is *not difficult*. Finding one *LEGALLY* in NYC is *much, much harder*. So that being the case, explain to me how preventing *legal* gun ownership solves anything?

The other thing is that we are *NOT*, under any circumstances, going to outlaw guns in this country. It aint gonna happen. Not now, not 5 years from now, not 500 years from now. It. wont. happen. The only way to stop illegal arms from entering the country is to ban *all* weapons and that will never occur here. So again, I fail to see how stopping *legal, registered* ownership of a firearm will stop anything. It's comparatively *rare* here for a *legal* weapon to be used in commission of a crime. The kid who just shot up his high school in the midwest? His grandfather was a *cop*. The weapons he used were owned by a police officer. There isnt a single gun control law in this nation that would have meant that man wouldn't have been allowed to own a firearm, no matter how stringent the law.

DC was not like that, btw until *after* 9/11/2001. Nowhere was. Here in NYC? We don't worry about guns.

We're too busy worrying about *bombs*. And on that note, are you constantly frighened about the notion of a bomb going off in a neighboring mailbox? That's certainly happened in the UK *way, way* more than here. I can't imagine you are-- it's just the same thing here, with guns. :)

Have a nice dinner!

25th Mar 2005, 19:45

bronxelf says:

Can I still fire paper clips with rubberbands?

*(those can embed themselves into ceiling tiles quite well, you know..)

25th Mar 2005, 19:47

mat says:

I should point out that this was DC in 1999, and I was just wandering around downtown, not near any big government buildings. But I've heard DC is like that anyway :)

Bombs, yes, I see what you're saying. I was in Manchester when the big bomb went off ten years years ago, and I know people who were actually hurt by it. I'm sure you can say the same, or worse, being a New Yorker. But that's a different thing, somehow. A bomb is a discrete event, as compared to a continuity of firearms, and the chances of me being hit by a terror attack are miniscule, despite anything my (or anyone else's) goverment might claim otherwise (I'm sure we've all read the requsite Orwell on this point - the war MUST go on!). To be honest, I'm more worried about crossing the road safely, going by the numbers. I am prepared to admit that my worries regarding guns in the US are (a) experientially unfounded and (b) somewhat out of proportion - we get a lot of "gun crazy america" type stuff over here.

I think there is a big cultural difference though, certainly for me there's something decidely un-British about using firearms for anything other than hunting/target shooting. Feels like cheating, y'know - it's just not cricket, a chap using a gun against another chap. :)

By the way, police officers in the UK don't carry guns, except under certain special circumstances, and the weapons certainly never leave the station lock-up when not in use.

OK, must go eat :)

25th Mar 2005, 20:12

rassilon7 says:

depends on the wind speed

25th Mar 2005, 20:13

bronxelf says:

Mat: See, I don't worry about guns. I was *here* on 9/11 though. Im not so keen on the bomb thing. Just sayin. There was a period after 9/11 that could could have taken out an *entire train* with nothing more than a harmless smokebomb, because the panic it would have caused would have created such a stampede, people would be crushed. Though the tension level here is lower I *REALLY WISH* that they would *stop* having huge events here for a few years, And someone needs to be beaten *repeatedly* for having the Republican National Convention here *at all*. (For the record, I didn't want the DNC here either) I hope we don't get the Olympics. Im TIRED of being under this level of security *all the time* just so we can wave the banner of "Still Standing" to the world at large. Yeah. NYC is still here, now please people, find another place to hold your event. How about Tuscon? Sioux Falls? Baton Rouge? ANYWHERE BUT HERE. We need a break. Seriously.

Re: Weapons in DC-

See, we never had the National Guard in Penn Station with automatic weapons until afrer 9/11. Hell, we had a hell of a time giving *transit cops* Glock 9's instead of .38's. (they did, eventually get them, thank goodness.).


But you're welcome to come visit. I find it unlikely you'll see many guns while you're here. :)

25th Mar 2005, 20:22

rassilon7 says:

I agree that Prostitution and drugs should be legislated by the goverment as a way to make it safer for everyone concerned. However! It just doesnt sit well with me having guns around, do they really have that many positive effects?

The illegal gun trade surely comes from within your country as well, I imagine (and this is a guess) that a great many guns get stolen from with the US and then sold black market. Is it really that easy to smuggle in weapons?

To me its also about social acceptance I would feel very strange around guns as that is the culture that I come from. if your parents and government and stars are telling you that guns are great then you will feel more comfortable around them.

I suppose the final point for me is "would I ever feel right about having shot another being" and I think the answer is no. I would do it in the moment but would never really forgive myself.

But as before stated I am very unqualified to comment

25th Mar 2005, 20:22

Paul says:

Just to jump in on the political debate (I love the jacket btw) - I, personally, am not opposed to people owning weapons in order to protect themselves and their property. That said, the article in question reads -

Article the fourth [Amendment II] - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

My problem comes with the people who hold up Amendment II as a justification for them owning any weapon they want for self defense never quote the whole thing they skip the bit about an organized militia (well, except for those folks with their own private armies but that's a whole other issue). They use that amendment to justify arming themselves to protect themselves, not the nation. Now, an argument could be made that by protecting themselves they are ultimately protecting the nation but, that would probably be a stretch.

At the time it was written people did keep weapons in their homes for hunting, home security, etc and also participated in drills in local militias. That is a thing of the past. In the world we live in it's very hard to justify telling people that they can't arm themselves to provide protection from other people who may or may not be better armed than they.

Maybe instead of amending the constitution to prevent things like oh, say, gay marriage, time might be better spent addressing the parts of the constitution that are out of date?

25th Mar 2005, 20:23

bronxelf says:

Mat: Also? Not even the remotest chance, ever, that police officers here will not be allowed to carry guns.

I dont even have words for how much *that* will never happen.

That's why the whole hue and cry over the latest school shooting is so much smoke and mirrors-- the kid's grandfather was a cop. No gun control law in the US would have prevented that man from owning firearms, no matter how stringent. He would have been exempted from every last one.

25th Mar 2005, 20:23

bronxelf says:

Rassilon: Im tellin ya-- it scares me much more than people dont know that *gravity* works.

Im not prepared to debate the positive effects of guns primarily because Im not a gun person. I didnt grow up with a gun in the house. First time I saw a gun in person I was 13? 14? Something like that. But I am sure that a lot of other people I know could respond to this more effectively than I could. I *am* however, a big fan of the Constitution, which is why I summarily uphold the right to own a gun, and further, Ive yet to see it proven to me *at all* that all these gun control laws have done a damned thing except spend a lot of taxpayer dollars.





25th Mar 2005, 20:41

Fiachra says:

Rassilon: Having grown up in a rural area where everyone own one or more firearms for hunting and target shooting, I can answer your question. The positive effect of being raised around firearms is respect for them. You learn what they're capable of(from hunting) as well as how to use them safely and it takes the mystique out of it. It's a tool with a potentially lethal purpose, but a tool nonetheless. You're a lot less likely to reach for one as a way of settling a score with someone else when you've been taught respect for it all your life, as opposed to someone who has only seen them on TV/movies till they get their hands on one.

And I think that makes the biggest difference between the majority of criminals that use guns and legitimate gun-owners, is that people raised around guns respect them and are much less likely to use them except in self-defense or for recreational hunting/targetshooting.

25th Mar 2005, 21:01

Joe Shelby (DC Area)(acroyear-at-io-dot-com) says:

Mat: I have a tricky relationship with America - in many ways, it's a wonderful and beautiful country, but I get distinctly uncomfortable in the presence of police on the beat with assault rifles and half-length flak jackets (last time I was in DC)...

Your country's major sites aren't all that different. Take any royal palace, Downing St., or the Parliament. They're there. Those aren't toys the redcoats with the funny hats are carrying. They aren't there for ceremony; they are there as a defensive deterrent to someone doing something stupid. Our cops are no different; we just don't have 1,000 years of ceremony to dress them up in.

Also, very few carry the big stuff. They just stick out to you because you're not used to seeing it. On a typical trip downtown (I live near DC), I usually only see 2 to 4, and only by the heavy stuff (The Capital, the White House). The monuments usually only have pistol-carriers.

And hey, our cops at least talk to people. Your redcoats on duty don't say a word to anybody. ;-)

Mat: You must all be scared, all the time - I know I would be with all those guns around...

20 years ago I would have felt the same way about the fact that you couldn't trust a trashcan or a mailbox not to have an IRA bomb in it. As Marillion wrote, "you get used to it...".

I have no problem with the guns I see, and I know that because of the guns I see, the guns I *don't* see are extremely unlikely to come out and be used "randomly". This is key: carrying is a deterent to trouble, just as it was in the renaissance, just as it was in the old west (in spite of the movies; Hollywood has killed more cowboys with guns than history EVER did). It is only when the laws against duelling are passed and enforced that the general feeling of carrying goes away -- because the *activity* was made illegal, not the possession itself.

Its the same problem I would have with government's attempts to ban things like p2p software -- they ban the device, when the activity is already illegal and the device has many legitimate uses.

And in the end, all the gun control laws in the world did nothing to protect those children in Scotland a few years back. If a criminal or a sociopath wants a gun, they'll get one, and your own recent history shows that just as well as ours.

Me personally, I hate guns. Can't stand them. They make it too easy and don't require the discipline to handle the way "arcane" weaponry does. My house currently has about 8 swords (from different eras and regions, most ceremonial but'll still hurt like hell if i swung one), and some 12 daggers and dirks. I like to teach about them, especially to kids who ask at the renaissance festival. As I put it when asked, "is that real", I say, "ALL swords are real. Ask me if it is metal or wood, sharp or blunt, heavy or light, easily broken or easily breaking, but don't ask me if its real. I treat this (usually a Scottish basket-hilt claymore) with exactly the same respect as I would a wooden one from that vendor over there."

But then again, I ended up becoming a rather disciplined person, in spite of 18 years of my parents trying to discipline me. :)

But recently there was a death in my county with a sword, held by kids (and stabbing the victim, the uncle of one of them, in the back), so right now I'm keeping a VERY close eye on the county and the state on if they'll attempt to legislate against bladed weapons (crossbows are already illegal for hunting in several states like Maine as a means of trying to control their possession in general).

But it really all comes down to one critical statistic: if you are killed accidentally or intentionally by the willful act of another, it is FAR more likely it will be by someone you know than a "total stranger". This is true at the *same statistical proportion* in any civilized country, with or without weapon control laws. Domestic disputes can end in death, regardless of whether or not a gun was involved. The gun might end it faster, but it doesn't change the ending.

25th Mar 2005, 21:08

eg says:

yeah. that fuckin' rocks.

26th Mar 2005, 04:12

bronxelf says:

Thanks. I thought so too. :)

26th Mar 2005, 04:15

First, I will say that there's not a thing in the world that a human being can't accept as normal and natural with repeated and extended exposure.

Using that as context, both of my parents came from rural Southern farms, and further, my father spent twenty-two years as an enlisted man in the US Army. Guns, including pistols and rifles, but not automatic weapons or explosive devices, were a fact in my household. When I was eleven, and we lived out in the middle of the woods, I was given the use of a .410 long arm with my choice of shot or slugs, just in case the need to use it ever came up. Dad set up targets and made sure I could hit them at various ranges, and that was about it. I never needed it. I also learned how to use various other dangerous tools, like chainsaws and such.

Mostly the shortgun was for uppity wildlife, just in case one of the six-foot-long rattlesnakes we shared the property with decided to hang out too close to the house. Occasionally it was for rabbits or deer, either of which would do their best to eat all the green stuff we were trying to grow for our food, and, though Mom didn't have much heart for rabbit or venison, I figured it was more than fair to eat them if they were going to try to make us go hungry if we didn't.

I never had the urge or inclination to point the weapon at another human being, even though I got picked on a lot at school and watched a lot of television. I had more fantasies regarding the chainsaw, if the truth be known.

I don't think my attitudes towards firearms were any different from the overwhelming majority of people in the county. There were people who screwed around with guns in stupid or belligerent ways, and usually they ended up getting shot, often as not accidentally doing it to themselves. But that just made the rest of us more careful in thought and action concerning firearms. In general, that sort of thing inspired no fear.

When everyone has one, guns fade into the background. You don't think of it unless you need it, and you /assume/ the other guy has one, so unless you want to risk getting shot, you leave it at home. Save your bulles for the snakes. No one ups the ante when everyone can call.

And basically I never though about the gun unless something came along that needed shooting. Like I never though about the spade unless I had a hole that needed digging. Come to think of it, I killed more venomous snakes with our spade than I did with any firearm.

We got our right to keep and bear arms more as a statement of equality than a matter of personal/household/regional defense, regardless of the Militia wording in the amendment. We call everyone Sir or Madam because we expect everyone to be capable of acting with the responsibility and nobility of a knight, and we, by damn, weren't going to allow for the creation of an arms-bearing class to lord it over a non-arms-bearing class, and that is the totality of the reasoning that introduced the Second Amendment.

In the city of Atlanta, one in seven vehicles has a pistol in the glove box. Our roads are filled with the angriest, most hurryingesst people I have even driven among, and I have driven here since 1986. And yet, very few, if any, shots are fired when I know that people are at their ravening worst. Possibly because they know that other fucker might have a pistol in his car, too, and no one wants a running gun battle at 85 MPH on I-285.

You could get /killed/ like that.

Americans own guns if we want because we are in the social class of people who are allowed to own and carry guns if we feel like it, and that's a source of pride, just as it would be anywhere else on earth. Convicted felons aren't allowed to own or carry firearms, but yeah, most often they're the ones making themselves a nuisance with them. In fact, using your weapon when you're not supposed to is a pretty quick route to becoming a convicted felon, which can strip you of a lot of other rights as well. Like the right to vote.

Innocent until proven guilty was the original idea, noble until you show your true colors, full citizen and land-holding lord until you proved yourself to be untrustworthy. This is why we're supposed to be allowed to keep and bear arms.

I'm reminded of this anytime anyone calls me Sir, and because of the way I was raised, that reminds me to try to act like I deserve the honor.

I'm pretty sure that's not how the conscious mind of the average American works these days, but that's still built in at an unconscious level. In most of us, anyway. I hope.

[*]

26th Mar 2005, 06:33

bronxelf says:

Thanks. :) That was really well written and much better than I could have said it.

(though... I have to admit, I feel badly about the snakes. Snakes are one of my absolute favorite animals.)

26th Mar 2005, 06:38

bronxelf says:

Joe Shelby: Thanks hon. i knew you'd have something good to say about this.

Fiachra: I should have thought to ask you. I forget sometimes that you live inna middle of nowhere. *g* Thanks a lot. :)

26th Mar 2005, 06:39

I love snakes, too. I've prevented the death of more king snakes than I've taken the lives of rattlers, and I've even saved a rattler or two when I was with people who came across them in the woods. But when one is under the house and there's no way to get it out without risking an hour-long drive to what counts for a civilized Emergency Room, you don't take many risks. Especially with children in the house and dogs and cats you're fond of in the yard.... So it goes.

[*]

26th Mar 2005, 06:44

bronxelf says:

An excellent point. We get a lot of random wildlife up here, but I've never seen a snake out in Van Cortlandt Park. I did try to take home an 18' Boa Constrictor from the Bronx Zoo when I was three, though.

My mother to this day wishes she had a camera.

She has also wished (I have no doubts) that the constrictor would have simply eaten me and been done with it.

Either way.

26th Mar 2005, 15:32

ram(aznballer_09-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

any1 kno wer i can get this jacket?

12th Sep 2007, 08:54

ram(aznballer_09-at-yahoo-dot-com) says:

please contact me at aznballer_09@yahoo.com

12th Sep 2007, 08:55