Arizona is a state of cowardly little white men with handguns. They need their guns to prove their manhood. Without them, they have nothing but fear.
This is one reason why Sand Land remains so benighted. Any illusions you may have had that we live in a civilized state should be completely disabused by the passage this week of gun legislation here in Cactus Country that says you don't need to bother with having a CCW permit on you if you plan to pack heat sub rosa.
Now you can have a loaded .38 special tucked in your jacket and you're totally within the letter of the law. Even if you know squat about handgun safety.
I'm less concerned with the so-called criminal element having handguns. We should be more worried about the paranoid ofays who feel like they have to have a gat on them or within reach so that, if there's the possibility they'll face a fistfight, they can kill their opponent before he lands a punch.
The self defense laws in this state are such that they have the chance of skating after they off you. And if there are no witnesses, so much the better, as in the case of Harold Fish, the ex-high school teacher who killed a man in the Coconino National Forest in 2004.
What did the man, Grant Kuenzli, do to deserve death? He advanced on Fish, after Fish fired a warning shot at Kuenzli's dogs, which had been running toward him.
So Fish avoided a fistfight with three hollow point bullets. Plenty of gun nuts both inside and outside of Arizona think that's just fine. Know why? Because that's the way they wish to settle disputes, with a firearm.
Fish was convicted of second degree murder and caught ten years. Since then, his case has been a cause celebre with NRA types. An appeals court overturned the conviction, and Fish is a free man.
Should he be in prison for taking another man's life? Fish had other options that day. He chose the most deadly one.
The Coconino County Attorney has declined to retry him.
This is exactly what the gun wackos want: the right to use deadly force to avoid physical altercations of any kind.
Not that I'm necessarily for brawling in the streets, but you have to admit death is a less likely result. Also, there is a certain psychology at work with some who carry openly or concealed. I have seen it in the nativist camp, where these grizzled old white extremists try to provoke their enemies with guns on their hips, itching to blast someone.
Now that we have a free-for-all, in the interests of self-preservation, I suggest everyone be armed, from the barrio to the burbs. From coffee shops like the Free Trade Cafe where liberals sip lattes to the meetings of Hispanic civil rights group like Somos America, you must have a gun to protect yourselves from angry white cranks, hellbent on proving they posses a Y chromosome.
Of course, a real man doesn't need a gun, but that logic's lost on such goobers. The only thing they understand is firepower. I think it's better to wear it open on your hip, just to make sure they get the message.
Guns can be expensive, so for those who can't afford it, maybe we need a nonprofit to make grants for gun buys. Call it "Lethal Weapons for Liberals."
Is it absolutely insane that we have to live this way? Of course it is. But that's the way the peeved homunculi that run this state want things. And until the balance shifts back toward sanity, there's no other option.
On a side note, NRA boosters often call up the comparison to Vermont, which also doesn't require CCWs and has a low crime rate. They usually overlook Alaska, which allows folks to do likewise and has a much higher crime rate than the Green Mountain State.
Arizona's violent crime rate is fairly high already, according to FBI crime stats, though not as high per 100,000 people as Alaska. If you think we're going to become Vermont because of this law, I'd like a toke on what you're smoking.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.