Dear Curt McKenzie, Dakota Brooke and all other Idaho gun advocates,

Let me cut to the chase immediately: You scare me.

Your personal positions regarding whether students on campus should have guns to “protect” themselves literally make me paranoid and afraid of you if I ever meet you on the street. And I think I know why.

The concept of the vigilante is nearly as old as organized political systems themselves. Wherever there is proper enforcement of the law, there will always be one person who feels the need to take it into their own hands. However, during recent times, this phenomenon seems to have gotten invariably worse.

During the last 50-60 years, for example, films and TV shows about these “wronged” characters have spread like wildfire and audiences have eaten them up. Works like “Dirty Harry,” “The A-Team” and, more recently, “The Dark Knight Rises” have all spoken to a culture that feels increasingly disillusioned about the traditional due process of the court system.

Of course, you guys probably already own those on home video, and get off on their main characters’ hypermasculine, hyperaggressive weapon-toting Americana. Also note the fact that all of these characters are male, because we all know women can’t become
vigilantes, right?

You may know this, but if you don’t, I’m here to tell you:

You just love actually being the vigilante.

You love the fantasy of bringing immediate justice to a world that you view as falling apart. You love feeling superior to the dirty cops paid by the government who don’t even do their job correctly. Most importantly, you’re OK with the idea of everyone (kids and adults alike) being taught how to handle a gun “just in case.”

Hmm, “just in case.” That sounds like fear and maybe paranoia to me. Why would I want to trust a paranoid guy with a gun? Oh wait, you blame gun violence on people with mental illness (a ludicrous statement) when YOU’RE actually the one with the “illness.”

Except, I understand that it’s not even an illness. It’s simply sadness.

Sadness because, at your core, you feel the world is passing you by. You feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop society’s accelerating changes. This makes you feel worthless.

And so, you begin to hate change. You begin to think of the world as an inherently terrible place to be, and you consequently start living for an imagined afterlife in which all of your earthly problems can dissipate. You start to think of things as solely black and white to compensate for your confusion about the world around you.

You put your faith in “God,” and lose faith in yourself and humanity.

And that’s why you remain ignorant and naive of peoples’ ability to regulate their violent impulses when presented with a weapon that causes more sadness and insecurity to the people affected by it. The cycle of negativity continues.

But there is a way out. And it’s realizing that God is not a guy from another dimension who watches over all of us with a loving (and sometimes vengeful) eye.

“God,” is humanity.

So if you really want to put your faith in “God,” put your faith in your fellow human being. Put faith in me. And I will put faith in you. Together, we really can achieve “heaven on earth.” And this heaven won’t need to consist of guns.

Take my hand in yours.

Or else I will be forced to take matters into my own hands.


Ryan Hoffman

Staff Writer and Usually Peaceful Guy

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