Killing Them With Kindness – Retracted
We walked into the bar and were immediately surrounded by men with guns.
Card-carrying members of the NRA, in town for its annual conference.
(Really, some had the permit hanging around their neck.)
Isn’t there a law about carrying guns into a bar?
Anyway, I’m not sure why it caught me off guard. I mean, I knew they were in town. I’d been having lots of fun at their expense in the days leading up to this.
The 2013 NRA convention is here this weekend. 75,000 expected. So, if you’re a deer, or not a white person, you may want to avoid downtown.
— Allison Zapata (@allisonzapata) May 3, 2013
You guys have no idea how many deer I offended.
Of course, I needed evidence of the entire cliche.
With my poor husband melting into his chair next to me, I pulled out my iPhone.
“Babe, Don’t take a picture. Please don’t take a picture. ALLISON, STOP.”
Oh, please, relax! What’s the worst that can happen? You act as if they’re drunk and packing heat. Wait….
I posted one of the pictures later and, predictably, my trusty comrades began ripping my subjects a new one.
But, later on, as I was brushing my teeth, I felt a punch in the gut.
My conscious had shown up to ruin all the fun.
I took a long look in the mirror, and saw a drunk hypocrite staring back.
Me, the ever so vocal one on my hatred of hate and judgment of judgement, had posted a picture on the internet of someone I knew nothing about, and released the hungry hounds on him.
I ran to my computer, deleted the image, and quickly replaced it with another.
(And, by quickly, I mean like 20 minutes. I was seeing double, and typing was not an easy task.)
As I was falling asleep that night, I made a promise to myself: No more calling people stupid motherfuckers.
I would kill with kindness, instead.
* * *
The following day we took the boys to ride the train.
The flawless weather had beckoned an entire city of people to come out and play, and the park was more crowded than I’d ever seen it.
The parking lot was equally insane, filled with frustrated adults running over each other to find a spot.
Finally, I saw a family leaving, so I proceeded to do that creepy 1 mph stalker-follow, quickly turning my blinker on to shot gun the soon-to-be-empty space.
Yes! Finally, I found a spot!
Only I hadn’t, because some dude kicked his car into reverse, and clicked on his own stupid blinker.
Are you kidding me? THIS IS SO MY SPOT. This guy is blatantly stealing my spot. You can’t do the reverse move, that’s cheating. Babe, this is my spot, right? I mean, if someone had to call it, they would call it for me, right?
“Yes, Allison. He’s a jerk. It’s your spot. The imaginary parking judges would definitely call it for you. But, whatever, move on.”
(My husband’s mellowness always makes me look so unstable.)
Not ready to concede, I stood my ground, my heart beating louder than my blinker.
The spot-swiper looked at me, waved his finger back and forth, and mouthed,”This is mine.”
Oh, the rage.
Tunnel vision set in and all I could hear was my damn blinker saying – Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck You.
Finally, the poor car caught in the middle of all this began backing out.
It was go time.
The swiper and I attempted to turn into the space at the same time and, had I been cool with mowing down someone’s grandma, it would have been mine for sure. Sadly, though, I lost our little round of chicken.
I lowered the window as I rolled by, and burned holes into his face with my eyes. On the tip of my tongue, “Wow, your mommy must be proud she raised such a gentlemen…ASSHOLE!” But, my kids were with me, so I sucked it up and reluctantly moved on.
Then, the universe remembered my drunken kindness vow, and decided to put me to the test.
We approached the line to wait for the next train at the exact same moment as another family.
Not just any family, of course.
It was obvious by his demeanor, though, that he had no idea I was the chick who’d just penciled him in on her shit-list.
I guess he must have left his balls in the car, because he smiled warmly and motioned for us to move ahead of him.
I had seconds to decide how to react, and a million scenarios flashed through my head.
Should I kick him in the knee?
Should I twist his nipple?
Give him the wettest of all willies?
The fear on my husband’s face was growing.
That’s when I smiled.
Oh, no, please! After you, sir…
* * *
Since these events, one thought has been on constant loop in my head.
Did I kill anything with kindness in either of those situations?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of keeping it classy, no matter how difficult it is for a hothead like me. And, there are certainly situations when this approach can teach a valuable lesson.
But, where is the line?
You know, the line between being the bigger person and letting people get away with awful behavior?
My reactions to unsavory people are usually pretty passionate. But, why shouldn’t they be? Why in the world should I stifle my opinions when people are in my face shouting their own?
Because, it’s politically correct?
Because, it makes me a nice little robot-lady with impeccable manners?
I have no desire to act like lady, simply because that’s what some expect.
I have no interest in being a doormat, especially when I see other people being treated like one.
If what I say makes people cringe, then so be it. They’ve made me cringe.
The fact that I’m often a hypocrite – judging the judgers, condemning the condemners, being an asshole to the assholes – does not escape me.
Would using more kindness and less venom be a more effective approach?
Maybe. I don’t know.
I mean, sure, rising above can be a wonderful lesson for children, and great if you’re a believer in karma, but what happens next? They go on to act shitty towards someone else, because no one’s ever told them their behavior is unacceptable?
There is a time and place for kindness, and a time and place for telling it like it is.
* * *
So, ahem, in closing, I’d like to retract my retracted NRA picture.
Am I stereotyping?
But, if the American flag-covered gun-filled camouflage backpack fits, well….
No, not all gun owners are extremists. But, the ones who carry a gun just to prove a point scare the shit out of me.
It’s like they’re itching for a chance to use it. For protection, of course…always for protection.
These are the people I’m afraid will, eventually, become desensitized to guns.
What do I mean?
Consider what the outcome could have been in the Trayvon Martin case, had the shooter not been armed.
What would he have done?
No one can say for sure, but it’s likely he would have simply stayed in his car and called the police.
And, that young man would not be buried six feet under right now.
So, if these people…
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart|
|NRA Convention 2013|
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart|
|The Good, the Bad and the Crazy|
and, these people….
…don’t have a problem speaking out, then why the hell should I?
Their voice is no more important than mine.
And, this country is just as much mine as it is theirs.
If they insist on caring more about politics and profits than our children being killed with guns, then hell if I’m going to kill them with kindness.
*Drops the breakfast burrito and walks away*
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