Monday, August 25, 2008

An observation

Just back last night from a weekend spent mostly out of town. Sunday afternoon we wound up watching a parade, of your usual smaller-town summer festival sort, and aside from my usual peevish comments about how fewer people every year seem to remember that you're supposed to stand, take off your hat, and put your hand over your heart for the color guard at the beginning of the parade, and about how annoying I find recorded music in parades — if I have to watch one more float roll by covered with a bunch of Wiscorgeous girls flanked by signs proclaiming them the North Cowchip Pepper Festival Junior Royalty, with all the girls doing synchronized hand-waving to the crowd while the speakers blast out "The Macarena" — well, I'll scream, but no one will hear me, because the music will be too loud and the equalization will have added an ear-splitting overemphasis to the high freqs.

But never mind that. What really made an impression on me were all the kids stomping along in their white martial arts outfits. I had no idea this town had so many karate schools, tae kwon do schools, kung pao dojos, and whatever the heck else they have. But there they were: wave after wave of semi-rural gomers in their white pajamas, throwing synchronized punches and kicks in the air, while their parents clapped and cheered. These were followed by another group twirling and thrusting bo's that were covered with some prismatic reflective stuff, so they were really shiny and eye-catching in the sunlight, and then later on a "float," if you will, which featured some young guy throwing punches and kicks at what looked like a heavy bag on a stick. But the real high point of all the kung foolery was a fetching young woman who came along at the end of her school's group with a genuine steel katana in a scabbard, and every fifty yards or so she'd whip it out and do a flurry of stabs, slashes, and parries in the air, all the while shouting things in what was either guttural Japanese or fluent nonsense, after which the crowd would cheer.

And I found myself thinking: The Kid just finished his Minnesota firearms safety certification class last Thursday, and scored a perfect 100% on the written test. (Not that I expected any less.) I wonder how this crowd would react if Oakdale Gun Club was to put a group of thirty or forty hunter safety students in this parade, and have them all marching along in blaze orange hats and vests, carrying real rifles and demonstrating safe firearms handling?

Or better yet, how about The Minnesota Concealed-Carry Precision Drill Team?

"Hey! That's just a bunch of ordinary people walking along! They aren't wearing funny hats or matching shirts or special badges or anything, and they aren't doing anything with their guns. In fact, I don't even see any guns!"

Exactly the point.