By John Connor
“Connor is taking a sabbatical for an undetermined time. He ain’t being lazy, and he asked nicely and all so I’m letting him do it. In the meantime, we’ll keep Guncrank going. We’re running his all-time favorite column — Little Lizzie — in this issue, and down the road, we’ll still cover “Guncranky” type topics. But I promise we won’t try to pretend we’re Connor. Lord knows, nobody can do that!” —RH
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that question, I’d have, uh … as many guns as his firearm-festooned Editorial Immenseness, Roy-Boy. That equates to “a dumpster fulla dollars,” by the way.
It’s been asked of me by all flavors of folks in all slices of society, with attitudes and expressions ranging from angry-arrogant to curtly-contemptuous, to brainless an’ befuddled. My answers to it have sorta formed three phases in my professional gun-carrying life. During that first and longest phase, I answered all of ’em sincerely and articulately, in great detail, often following up with stacks of historic and legal documents. After many years of that, I concluded that only a semi-significant sliver of people even heard what I was sayin’. The rest had already made up their muddled minds, and were only waiting to blast me with rancid political rhetoric.
Finally, I just got sick of it, and moved on to Phase 2. If those asking seemed to have IQ’s over room temperature and teensy open spaces in their minds, I gave ’em S & A: “Sincere & Articulate.” The more harshly-bleating sheep, however, often got exchanges like this:
“So,” queried Snidely Snotworth III, lookin’ down his un-busted but needed-bustin’ nose, “Why do you think you have to carry a gun?”
“Well,” bellowed the Brutish Neanderthal (that would be me): “Because you’re not QUALIFIED to carry one. You haven’t got the skills, the judgment, the sense of responsibility, or the courage for it.”
This answer often popped out after I’d just returned from some Heart-Of-Darkness where every living soul knew that the difference between slaves and free people is having the means and determination to defend their lives, property and liberties. That meant having guns and guts and God-given rights. Most of those people would quite literally die fighting for the freedoms so many Americans casually give away, and proudly bear social responsibilities those sheeple* won’t even recognize.
*“Sheeple”: Sheep-like people, many of whom deny the existence of wolves, and vote to pull the teeth of the sheepdogs who protect the flock.
Then I matriculated to Phase 3, where I started having some fun with the Snidely Snotworth types. When they asked the Big Question, I’d go all hunchy-shouldered an’ secretive, then lean in close and mutter, “Because of the voices, ya know?”
“The VOICES?” — sniveled the Snidelies, suddenly scaredy-cattish.
“Oh, yeah, the voices … They told me to be, you know, prepared for when the killer clowns come …” I’d furtively goggle around. “The voices say the killer clowns are comin’ … They’re cannibals, some of ’em, and …”
About that time the Snidelies would be skitterin’ away like mice on polished marble. One even tripped over his tasseled loafers and did a face-plant in the foliage. I’d say I felt bad about that, but … I didn’t.
Yeah, I know, the “killer clowns” answer might not have been “helpful,” but it did just as much good as giving S&A answers to the sheeple, and it was a lot more fun for me. And I know too that talking about it with you folks is what we call “preaching to the choir.” You already know why we carry these cannons. But sometimes, just sometimes, we all need a little reminder. That includes me, and I’ve got one to share with you. One that got me where I live.
Life, Liberty & Little Lizzie
The Connor Clan has been nomadic, and we’ve lived in a number of places. In one of ’em, we shared a side yard and friendship with a young woman we’ll call Miss Maine, and her knee-high daughter, Little Lizzie. Miss Maine quickly bonded with the Memsaab Helena, and it was obvious she admired more than the Memsaab’s fashion sense and exquisite coffee. Clearly, Helena’s Amazon-warrior spirit and skill with arms impressed Miss Maine mightily, and much of their time and talk revolved around that fierce self-confidence — and guns.
As for Little Lizzie, the munchkin almost duct-taped herself to the Mem’s leg, especially when she was gardening. She followed Helena everywhere, but always, always, kept glancing back to check on her momma, as though she were the worried parent.
There was something guarded, something hurt and defensive about both of them, and that fearfulness extended to me for a while. They got over it, thank God. Then I sorta became a moving bunker for ’em, representing cover and protection. Finally, we learned the story.
Miss Maine had been attacked — brutally and viciously. You don’t wanta know the details. As with so many such crimes, it wasn’t really about sex. It was about hate and domination, cowardice and cruelty. And an even younger Little Lizzie had witnessed it. I like to think the Memsaab and I helped them to recover emotionally.
Then one day Lizzie came and snuggled into my shadow, visibly disturbed. That morning her kindergarten had put on “Frighten The Munchkins Day.” Some schools do a pretty good job of alerting children to predators — don’t go with strangers and that kinda thing — but others, in my opinion, do more harm than good. All they do is terrify the tots and give ’em no operating options. Lizzie already had twin tears glistening, ready to fall when she grabbed a tiny fistful of my trouser-leg and asked, “Connor-Sir, will you a’ways be here? Wouldja be here … When the bad mens come?”
My knees cracked on the sidewalk as she slammed into my shoulder, shaking with sobs as the hot tears came, splashing my neck and searing into my soul. “’Cause I’m a-scared!” she choked, and clutched me tighter.
Oh, GOD! Who would not — who could not — fight without fear, suffer without sense of sacrifice, and kill or die deliberately, using the most effective means available — to protect life, liberty, and a Little Lizzie? For God’s sake, who?
Those who would not are no better than the predators.
Maybe in Phase 4, when somebody pops The Big Question I’ll just smile and say, “For life, liberty, and Little Lizzie.” You guys can fill in the details.