Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Experiences in a Concealed Weapons Licensing Class

So, last weekend I took a class that is required for me to get a concealed weapons license. A classmate of mine once joked that my state is one in which even the liberals are pro-gun, and yeah, that's kind of true. I have nothing but positive associations with guns, mostly because my dad used to take me shooting when I was a girl, and it was a lot of fun. It's not too hard to get a concealed weapons license, and so I figured, why not, I'll apply.

Holy Jesus. I guess I temporarily forgot where I lived, a lily-white part of the country well-known for racist mindsets. Because there were some uncomfortable racial undertones going on at this class. Every single example of an assailant, whether it be via oral story from the instructor or video, was a black man. Okay, wait, I think one was a Latino man. That could not possibly be a coincidence. I got all squirmy. No one else seemed bothered by it.

And at first I thought the instructor was going to be reasonable and not scary gun-crazy. He made a point to mention that guns can now be carried in national parks and monuments because President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. I was pretty impressed by that. Then he threw it all away. He showed us this video of a horrible, horrible man who randomly, violently, and viciously assaults people on the street and videotapes it to post online. The man is just a disgusting human being. In the video we saw, he talks to the camera about how he's going to beat up on someone, then he picks up a crowbar and starts attacking a woman's car, while she's inside and trying to get away. The man also happens to be black, and obviously of a low socio-economic class. So what does our esteemed instructor say when this man comes on the screen?

(To a friend of his in the class) "No, Tom, that's not Obama's brother."

I was so pissed. So. Pissed. What on earth would make a person compare the piece of garbage on the video with our President unless he's a racist? The two have nothing in common other than they're apparently both American, male, and black.

And of course we got the standard tell-a-story-where-a-person's-skin-color-is-completely-irrelevant-but-make-a-point-to-mention-the-person-acting-like-an-asshole-is-black. I fucking hate that shit.

So I'm already kind of pissed. Then the instructor tells us that we should use hollow-point bullets so that if we shoot someone we kill them, because otherwise they might survive and sue us for their injuries. Gross. I don't want to kill anyone. I just want to be able to scare someone off or get away.

Then as we're all filling out our applications, literally half the people in the class have a criminal record they have to explain away. Seriously.

But here's the kicker. As the instructor is finger-printing me for the application, he asks what I do for a living, and I tell him I'm a lawyer. He asks what kind of law, and I tell him mostly creditors' rights and collections for banks. So then he proceeds to tell me that he has a house in Florida that's in foreclosure and he's hoping to avoid a large judgment against him. I say, "I don't know Florida law, but good luck with that," because really, deficiency judgments are pretty straight-forward. But then, then he says to me, "I'm just going to hide it all."

As in, hide his assets from criminals.

I was so taken aback I couldn't react. I couldn't believe that he would actually say that to me. Jesus Christ. This coming from the same man who, earlier in the class, told us the story about Nicholas Cage's stolen guns from Face/Off that have a $50,000 reward. Who told us that if we ever come across the guns, let him know and he'll buy them for $20,000.*

So he'll spend $20,000 on guns, but wants to hide his assets to creditors? Nice.

This is why I am inherently distrustful of NRA members, despite how I personally feel about guns.

*Nevermind that this genius doesn't understand that he couldn't buy these guns because they're stolen and he admitted that he knows they're stolen and thus he's not a bona fide purchaser.

Baby Talk

This blog post is about something really bothers me: people talking about baby girls getting married.

I don't understand it. At all. I've touched on the subject before. I'm writing about it now because of someone else's blog post where they shared a letter they wrote to their (then) unborn daughter. Part of that letter talked about how she would one day give her away to the love of her life. Before this baby was born, her parents were talking about her marriage like it was a certainty.

I... I am so flabbergasted by this. Especially now that I'm an aunt to a six-month old little girl. I think a lot about what my niece will be like. I think about what kind of music she'll like, if we'll share tastes in that. I think about what sports she might want to play. I think about what career choices she will pursue. I look forward to seeing the kind of person she grows up to be.

But I have never, ever once thought about her romantic relationships, whether she'll marry or who she will marry. It just bothers me, so goddamn much, that marital status is the first thing so many people seem to think of when they think of a person's future.

These expectations are so ingrained in our society, they literally start before we are even born. For most people, that's harmless, because they're probably get married. But not everyone will get married, and failing to live up to expectations is always, always hard. Take it from me.