The current political landscape has changed me.
I'm a born and raised Republican. My grandfather must be going crazy over this.
As a woman, the Republican party has become too conservative, invasive and disgustingly hypocritical mostly in the way of "now that I've had mine (birth control, abortion, public assistance or forgiveness) I'm going to take it away from you."
I won't go into my own politics here other than to say women don't get pregnant on their own. Start holding men accountable for getting women pregnant, and make those consequences REAL. Then we can talk.
I'm identifying more as a Liberal than a Democrat, but mostly, I am a woman who has heard, seen and experienced enough to know it is time for change. Real change.
Back to the Tshirt.
I bought a gun. I've never been opposed to gun ownership, my family has a few. We're safe with them, we practice with them. But until last November, I personally did not own one.
I immediately signed up for classes. My decision to own comes with the goal of one day being secure enough in my training to carry the gun on me at all times. It may sound crazy, but I have my reasons.
So here I am in a class, Defensive Handgun 101, about a week before Christmas. Ownership, not just of the gun but of the bullets discharged when the trigger is pulled, are discussed. The question of, in the moment, when you are being threatened, can you, will you pull and use your weapon? The instructors were very informative and I came away with a lot of information to digest.
The class included an hour of range time with the instructors. The range master went over the rules. He finished and asked if there were questions.
Having sat in the front row of tables in the room and I had not had a chance to see my classmates until we were gathered around the range master in a circle. It was me, another woman, and about 15 mostly older, mostly heavy, white men. This description works for the instructors too.
Across the circle from me, surprise, surprise, is an older, heavy, white guy. He's round as many of them are in these parts. He's got bright white hair that glows against his sunburned scalp (and there is more scalp than hair) and it's going off in crazy directions. It looks like white fire burning on a big red clown nose. He reminds me of Nick Nolte's mug shot from a few decades ago, only this guy is older. Much older.
He's wearing a bright red shirt with white writing. It was Christmas so of course the colors, as well as the way the guy looked - short, fat, with white hair... - drew attention.
My hand went up and the instructor pointed to me. "What's your question?"
"It's completely off-topic so I won't mind if you don't want me to ask."
"No, go ahead," the instructor replied.
I point to the guy in the shirt. "You think your shirt is funny?" I read it out loud:
"3 Useless Things:
A Dull Knife
An Unloaded Gun
The group of men snickered. It wasn't a loud laugh, but it was enough for them to express their agreement.
"Would it be just as funny," I continued, "if I had on a shirt that said;
3 Useless Things:
A Dull Knife
An Unloaded Gun
And Old, Fat White Guys?"
The men started to snicker. As their brains connect the dots between the words of my question, I only wished I could have been videotaping the moment. Watching their faces change from the polite snickers - they were only prepared to laugh, not to listen - to confusion as they realized I'd just said something slightly offensive and specifically about them, was priceless.
I say slightly offensive because I can't imagine my t-shirt saying being any more or less offensive than his. Maybe I was pointing the finger at a group that is too sensitive for such things?
No one answered and all eyes were now on me.
I laughed and shrugged, "I guess not!"
Then I went over to my station and started loading my gun.
And, just so you know, I hit the target more often than the old fat white guy in the t-shirt.