Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I might catch some flak for this..

...but Leonard Pitts might be on to something here:

Gilbert Arenas somehow managed to take a disaster and make it worse.
It happened last week in Philadelphia. Every team has its pregame rituals: Some chant, some dance, some box or high five. With his career and even his freedom hanging in the balance for a misadventure with guns, Arenas stood at the center of his team's huddle, made his hands into pistols and pretended to shoot his teammates.
it is difficult to think of these two guys whipping out guns like something out of Dodge City and not see shadows of all the other men of the same heritage and age group who once were here but now are gone because they regarded guns in the same profoundly unserious manner. Because they saw them not as tools of hunting or self-defense but, rather, as toys — as argument settlers and point makers, as extensions of their personal reproductive gear, as a means of demanding respect.

I'll grant that the "extensions of personal reproductive gear" bit was a gratuitous one, but the point about Gilbert Arenas and his teammates seeing guns as toys instead of tools is well-taken. Of course I bet some wise-asses (and even Arenas, his teammates and defenders) would probably say "it's a tool for demanding respect," but any real man knows that respect is not a demanded thing, but a commanded thing, something you earn. Now, if Leonard Pitts and like-minded souls would try to look a little deeper and see that such incidents aren't reflections on gun owners as a whole, and that we don't feel like we're compensating for anything (more of my thoughts on that here), then we might actually start to get somewhere.