I’m hoping to write up something about the shooting at the Stoneman Duglous High school but have not been able to finish it. But I’ll plod on and cover it next week. In the meantime I’ve been wondering how it is that the debates over guns has become a right and left issue.
Perhaps this is the biggest coup ever by the National Rifle Association to identify itself with the right side of the political spectrum. I’ve noticed that if someone writes something critical of the present gun laws some of the responses to him or her are that the person is a leftist. Many of these don’t stop there but call the person a “snowflake.” Now that’s a term I did not grow up with and appears of recent vintage. I wanted to find out its meaning and how it became associated with those who were unhappy with the present gun laws.
I went to the Merriam-Webster dictionary and learned the term as been applied to people in the early 1860s as those who were opposed to the abolition of slavery. In other words in today’s American patois we’d call those persons Pro-Slavery.
Then over 100 years later during the 1970s it was a derogatory term, according to the dictionary, “for white people or black people who were perceived as acting white.” That sort of threw me. I wondered “how can a white person be perceived as acting white?” You can figure that one out.
The dictionary also mentioned as I learned in my wiretapping days that part of the word, “snow”, referred to cocaine. it did not mention that it was commonly bought with “bread”. Nor did it mention why it decided to talk about the word snow in an article on snowflake. If it wanted to be consistent it would have told us about the slang meaning off the other part of the word “flake”. Now that’s something that has been around for a long while and needs little explanation.
Merriam-Webster did give us an updated version of the meaning of the word snowflake. It is “used to describe a person perceived as overly sensitive and fragile in a mocking way.” Now that I think of it isn’t the right-wing Boston Herald columnist one that often uses that term. His popularity didn’t save his paper from going under though.
I began to wonder how the NRA people started to think that those who want to changer the gun laws are somehow not manly. (Can I say manly anymore?) Perhaps I should strike that and say the NRA members believe those who are opposed to the present gun laws are not courageous or strong. But haven’t we learned the opposite is true.
Haven’t we seen that it is actually the weak and feeble who use guns. Those who have been with me a while know how Martorano and Whitey Bulger armed themselves to give them courage. They confronted people without guns who they would not have confronted in a mano-a-mano situation. They liked to shoot them from behind.
My experience is the toughest guys I knew never carried. They didn’t have to do this. They were aware that you don’t take fists to a gun fight but most encounters don’t require guns and they felt no need for them. (I exclude policemen who are required to carry because of their job and the loose gun laws that often put them up against guns. Of course one of the sad requirements that police officers carry guns is they sometimes in a moment of despair use them on themselves.)
I’m not saying people who kill others with guns are “overly sensitive” since they certainly aren’t that but are self-centered. But they are “fragile” because of their need for a gun to feel tough. Perhaps then if we correctly correlate factors we should understand that guns don’t equal tough people but perhaps the opposite. Where then on what side of the political spectrum are the snowflakes?