Crossfire

In 1992, the famous cartoonist Bob Mankoff published a classic cartoon where two men appear to be chatting at a cocktail party. One is saying, “The way I see it, the Constitution cuts both ways. The First Amendment gives you the right to say what you want, but the Second Amendment gives me the right to shoot you for it.” The cartoon holds up remarkably well 29 years later. Well, except no one was wearing a mask and cocktail parties have been illegal, or at least immoral, for the past year of social distancing. Prohibition did not last forever and I expect cocktail parties will be back in fashion before too long. Bob is still alive and in fashion as well. He could redraw the cartoon today to include more diversity amongst the party attendees. This would reflect how we are more sensitive about looking like we embrace diversity than actually embracing it. In the last 29 years, I have not had occasion to bear arms or even bare arms (my body’s affinity for skin cancer prompts the latter precaution). I am usually wary of the phrase “use it or lose it” but in this one instance, I would accept the application of that principle to my gun privileges. But both ends of the political spectrum seem more inclined to expand Second Amendment rights. The far right favors arming teachers in schools and the far left embraces arming bears in the woods to level the playing field. As always, I am caught in the crossfire.

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