A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dear Mrs. Nathan's Mom

Dear Mrs. Nathan's Mom,

I have to start by thanking you for posting a comment on my blog. I've been a little out of practice with this thing, and haven't posted in it since March. Your comment reminded me this blog existed, and I'll be updating it more regularly in the future.

I notice in your comment that you don't offer any arguments for the safety of giving a blind kid a gun; you actually create a pretty decent argument for your son to never, ever be handed a loaded firearm. First, let's clear up a few things.

1) Your son does not have super-sensitive hearing: This is a myth. Your son pays more attention to his hearing no doubt, since his vision isn't up to par, but his ears operate exactly like yours and everyone else's.

And what's your real argument there? That your son can hear where a deer is accurately enough to tag its kill zone from 100 yards away? He might enjoy reading the Braille version of Daredevil comics, but those human echolocation powers are still fictional, ma'am. Although, I have to admit I would read a comic called "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (of Innocent Bystanders)."

(By the way, your son scoring well on his hunter safety written test doesn't really have anything to do with his vision, does it? I've taken that course as well.)

2) Legally blind is still blind: For the purposes of this conversation, anyway. The American definition of legally blind is at least 20/200 vision in the best eye with the best correction. That literally means the deer I can pick out at 200 feet would have to be six strides from your son before it was that visible. In case you've never been hunting, deer don't get that close.

Your son isn't allowed to drive a car. He can't read his rifle's safety manual. Why should he operate a firearm? How can he possibly safely do so? And I'm guessing his gangbanging career is just shot, so to speak.

3) Your blind son is not a sharpshooter: I used to live near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, which houses one of the two sniper schools used by the Marine Corps. Let's say the military ignored its rule about not accepting the legally blind (something to do with them not being able to safely operate firearms, grenades, artillery, Humvees, maps, etc.) and let him go toe-to-toe with actual sharpshooters. His legally nonexistent oculars are going to serve him better than the 20/20+ military-trained eyes of actual snipers?

At what point did you slip into the delusion that your son is a superhero? I'll tell you what, the day your son fights off a group of burglars or saves an infant from the burning building that not even firefighters can get to--firefighters with properly operating eyeballs mind you--then I will personally buy him a rifle. No bullets, though. I figure by the time he navigates his way to the store I can get myself safely out of range, out of state, or do whatever I need to do to get away from a walking definition of the phrase "firing blind."

Mrs. Nathan's Mom, if you're going to go around Googling your son's name and reading random blogs then you've got to expect to find some that disagree with you. You've also got to expect some of those people to be assholes about it. (If you didn't expect that, then I'd like to formally welcome you to the Internet. Wikipedia is useful, and Yahoo Mail is the best.) I considered post-scripting the above with a list of things that I was better at than your son (e.g. dodgeball, darts, reading, checking the expiration date on milk, etc.) but they all seemed pretty obvious. Obvious to everyone but you, of course.

And finally, just so you know, finding things I don't like and then writing about them is actually my chosen career, so this attitude has already and will continue to take me far. I don't really foresee myself taking a hard fall. Mostly because I can see where all my furniture is.