Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Because drunks aren’t dangerous enough…

(...or the blind leading the blind into a blind)

Why is it all the idiots seem to congregate in Texas or Florida? Or is it just that Texas and Florida elect more idiots than everyone else? (You don’t have to have someone from the Bush family as governor, but it helps.)

We are so fortunate here in Texas to have such forward-thinking, innovative legislators. Legislators who understand that there are some issues that just rank low on the list of priorities. Like the fact that half of them (including our own governor, a new Dubya starter-kit if ever there was one) are in the pockets of the energy industry (TXU in particular), ensuring that Big Energy’s agenda is our agenda no matter the health or environmental costs (you can never have too many coal- and nuclear-power plants, after all). Or the fact that our governor has his own private/personal investment project called the Trans-Texas Corridor...a “transportation” system that should make Boston’s Big Dig look like a completely legitimate and trouble-free public works project (after the governor and his partners pocket their advances, of course). Or the fact that Texas has one of the worst illegal-immigration situations in the country, with no policies planned or in place to improve things. (Not to worry there, though...Dubya’s gonna build us a wall from Brownsville to El Paso. That’ll fix it.) Or the fact that we have one of the worst education systems in the country. (That’s why we created the state lottery, which has been nothing if not effective and efficient. Besides, our collective stupidity helps perpetuate the notion that anyone can grow up to be the president because the man currently holding the job can barely speak English, himself.) No, those problems will take care of themselves.

But how do we deal with the fact that blind people can’t hunt in Texas? Did you know about that? I’re as shocked and appalled to learn of this unfair and unjust situation as I am. How can any society consider itself truly free when blind people can’t legally hunt? I mean, if there’s anything we can learn from nature, it’s that all creatures (when in season, of course) deserve the opportunity to be blasted into smithereens by everyone...not just people who are privileged with sight. Oh, how I curse the evils of bigotry and inequality when I picture a blind person sitting at home thinking, “Lord, why can I not be free to go out and shoot at things I can’t see? Why can I not experience the exhilaration of the hunt – stalking my prey...well, having someone there to tell me where to aim...waiting for that perfect moment of confrontation between man and beast when instinct takes over and I discharge my weapon straight in between the eyes of...whatever it is I’m shooting at? And then become one with nature’s glorious circle of life as I stumble through wherever it is I’m at toward the general vicinity of wherever it was I just shot so that I may stand victoriously over whatever it is that somebody tells me I just killed? Why, lord, can I not experience the beauty and majesty of hunting just because I can’t see my hand in front of my face...?”

Well, thanks to the Einstein intellect of Representative Edmund Kuempel, a Republican from Seguin, this intolerable lack of freedom may soon be a thing of the past. Yes, here in Texas – where last year we tried to make online hunting a legal addition to the brave world of sport hunting (if you can’t shoot and kill critters by remote control from the comfort of your own home or office then, really folks, what’s the internet for...?) – we now have a bill proposed that will allow blind people to hunt.

Sez the esteemed legislator, "This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great." Visually impaired people are allowed to shoot now with the aid of a sighted person, he said, a requirement that would continue if the sights were legalized.

"I've seen this on TV before, when they're taking target practice," Kuempel said. "When they aim the gun, the guide tells them, aim two inches higher or two inches lower and you're on the target, and you're off and running."

You can read the full story here. Unless you’re blind, of course, in which case you’re probably out registering for a hunting license. (Which begs the additional question...Are hunting licenses printed in Braille...?)

Well, sheeyit, Mr. Kuempel. If the idea is to “open up the fun of hunting,” why stop there? Or is it because you have to? That perhaps there are no other people left on the face of the earth who cannot legally hunt? How about Def Leppard’s drummer? Surely there’s a way we can strap some sort of contraption onto his back that will allow him to pull the trigger of a rifle with his tongue or something. Or how about Stephen Hawking? It’s criminal to think that a man of his intellect can’t somehow have his wheelchair thingy fitted with a new button that will make a bazooka rise up over his shoulder and allow him to blast an object to kingdom come just by blinking twice. Call Halliburton...those motherfuckers can come up with anything.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I have anything against blind people. I don’t think I do. Hell, some of my best friends are blind. Okay, that’s not true. For one thing, it’s impossible to not make jokes considering the subject. Common sense tells most of us: gun + blind person = bad idea. Hell, Dick Cheney shot his best friend in the fucking face and, as far as we know, he has two working eyes. Though it’s possible he has to carry an emergency heart with him in a wagon or something. (That could be classified.)

The point is...Jesus, who am I kidding – there are countless reasons why this is so embarrassing. But among my main objections is...I mean, let’s stop to think about all the ways we could be working to improve the lives of people who are blind. Maybe helping them to see, for example. But even if we’re not quite there yet, couldn’t we be working on ways that might allow the visually-impaired to use the senses that have been enhanced through the lack of sight to benefit themselves and us as a whole somehow? Or find more or new endeavors that will enable them to, I don’t know...overcome problems they actually have? Or are you seriously implying that the inability to hunt is one of the larger tragedies to befall blind people? I don’t grieve over the fact that I will never be tall enough to dunk a basketball or talented enough to play catcher for the Minnesota Twins. I’m having a hard time imagining that blind people are sitting around bitching because they can’t hunt.

The reality, to my mind, is as harsh as the condition. You’re blind? I’m don’t get to hunt. Just like you don’t get to drive a car or fly a plane. That’s your lot in life at the moment and it sucks. It’s not your fault, it’s certainly not bad, but it is what it is. You’re deaf? I’m don’t get the job answering phones at the 911 call center. Nor do you get to be the Village Voice music critic. It’s not fair, I know. But it is what it is.

Why are we spending any effort trying to get another fucking gun in another fucking person’s hands? When we could be using that effort in a manner that benefits humankind somehow? Perhaps I’m oversimplifying, but that’s what I want to know.

(Parenthetic full disclosure and peripheral rant: I am, indeed, a crybaby, tree-hugging, bleeding heart [unlike Cheney], vegetarian, animal-rights, walking-stereotype of a liberal who has never nor will ever understand the “sport” in hunting. Ted Nugent can suck my fucking dick. You want to prove how beautiful the “contest” between man versus animal is? Go out there barehanded and see who wins the fight. Yes, humans evolved partly by way of hunting animals for sustenance. Yes, it’s entirely likely that I am the one who’s violating human nature by not consuming animals. I understand the Circle of Life and the Darwinian concept that life on our planet is dictated by the “survival of the fittest.” [Ironic that so many of the pro-gun, pro-hunting folks are often also the folks who consider the theory of evolution evil and believe the earth is six thousand years old.] But at what point do we back off the “traditional” operating procedures for humanity when we’ve turned everything else about our existence inside-out a hundred times? How “traditional” are factory farms and industrial agriculture? Are we honoring and respecting “nature” every time we make a call to Pizza Hut? My point being we choose the traditions we wish to honor and we do so usually for our own selfish reasons. And I’m no better than anyone in that regard.)

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Anonymous wendy said...

Love this description from the news article...
would permit legally blind hunters to use laser sights, or lighted pointing instruments.

Sounds pretty technical.

10:50 AM  

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