Well into his 70s, before his death from too many Chesterfields, my old man carried a small Smith & Wesson in the glove compartment of his gas guzzler. A charter member of the Greatest Generation, survivor of the Great Depression and progenitor of six baby boomers, he chose not to be a victim.
What dad had lost in upper body strength and God's own testosterone, he hoped to make up for in projectile throw-weight.
It is an open question whether the handgun made him safer. But this old tiller of the soil, elected four times as a Democrat to the state Legislature, decided he needed the firepower. Most states other than ours affirm this as a right. Their curious equation is that the Jerome Blaskas of the world are not the problem; the guys who victimize them are. Go figure.
For you conspiracy buffs, his boy pays no NRA dues. But I know we have a crime problem here on the southwest side of town. Been saying it for years and been endorsed by two different sheriffs in seven different elections for supporting, not always successfully, a stronger law enforcement presence.
We've had shootings on Balsam Street, a string of home burglaries in the Orchard Ridge neighborhood, drug deals on Reetz Road and sexual assaults on the Southwest Bike Path. A month ago, two of my automobiles were burglarized in my own driveway. (IN MY DRIVEWAY! WHERE MY WIFE PARKS! WHERE MY CHILDREN LEAVE THEIR TOYS!) After 15 years in the 'hood, deadbolts now secure Fortress Blaska.
So recently, when a card-carrying member of Madison's liberal establishment reported, via an unofficial e-mail listserv, being robbed at gunpoint on the increasingly mean streets of our southwest-side neighborhood, I rubbed two hands together before placing them on my iMac keyboard and typing this simple query: 'Were you carrying?'
A question of fact, as permitted by the listserv rules, I believed. Was my question loaded? Like a howitzer! Yet fair play, I thought, given the Victim's history of downplaying our neighborhood's crime problems and his support of candidates who oppose anti-loitering laws and a larger county jail.
The Victim responded: 'So they walk past me harmlessly, then quietly come back at me, stick a gun in my back and frisk me and take my concealed carry.... Or I pull out my concealed carry and shoot two teenagers for trying to steal my wallet? I don't think so, either.'
Seeing that the Victim seemed open to dialogue, I offered this reply: 'Sometimes, stealing your wallet is not all they do.... If they thought you might be carrying, it's like the old Dionne Warwick song, they just walk on by.'
Well, you would have thought I'd given Hillary a hickey on Oprah's show. Another liberal joined the e-post fray: 'I'm sorry, David. I find your comments insensitive and certainly not appropriate for this listserv. Please take it elsewhere.'
It seemed prudent to respond to such tut-tuttery with a Dr. Evil-like 'Bu-wha-wha-ha-ha!'
Apparently, the mostly liberal subscribers to this e-mail listserv are no fans of Mike Meyers. My computer inbox lit up with subject lines reading: 'Ban Blaska!'
Now, whatever limited store of patience I once possessed has been consumed in years of sparring with the 'progressive' majority ' the serious thinkers who would mandate PC light bulbs and criminalize gawking at public breast-feeders.
Back at my computer, I decided to go out blazing like Butch and Sundance in Bolivia.
'I need banning and I need it now.... Warn your dog! Keep the children in the garage! Send grandma back to Iowa.... For I am the greatest threat you face here in Orchard Ridge.'
The actual message was considerably more verbose, and it was only after the fact that I remembered my father's pithy words of wisdom.
'Blow it out the other end,' he would say.
Now that Blaska has been banned, we have peace in cyberspace, if not physical safety in the neighborhood. In a city dominated by liberals, that's progress, I guess.