I’m being woke about sexism and guns

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blankI submitted a column over six weeks ago that continued on my theme of income inequality (look for it soon) but I asked the editor to run this one first because the topics are so current.

So where to begin? Let’s start with the least controversial topic of “being woke.”

As a 60-year-old white man, I probably shouldn’t even be using (or knowing) that term, but I really like it. Considering the demographic of the Winters Express readers I don’t need to worry about getting called out for appropriating urban slang; more likely I need to explain it. In a nutshell, being woke means that you are aware of and vigilant to what is (or should be) socially unacceptable.

That leads me to the topic of sexism. More specifically, sexual harassment and/or misconduct. Once again, as a 60-year-old man should I even be going there? Statistically, I am the problem, personally not so much. First let me explain that as a human male, I have been aware of and sexually interested in females since I was a pre-teen. I remember finding and reading erotic books that my dad had in his desk and also looking at by best friends’ fathers’ collection of Playboy magazines when I was just 10 years old. By age 13, I had Playboy pinups all over my bedroom walls and my head was full of unrealistic fantasies.

I won’t go into any more of my sexual history — just wanted to make the point that I have always enjoyed the female form. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first thing I notice about a woman is her body. Does this make me sexist or a bad man? I’m only doing what comes natural, but I’m also “woke” to the fact that this makes women uncomfortable, so I try to be sensitive and not obvious as to where my eyes instinctively want to go.

This brings me to all the high profile harassment claims that are all over the news. Do I believe the accusations? Hell yes. As a man, I know that historically, when given an (perceived) opportunity, a lot of men will try and take advantage of women for very basic sexual gratification. And that’s just everyday guys; if it’s a man with power and an overinflated ego, then women watch out!

So how do we fix the problem? Well, I think what we are seeing right now is a good start. Thanks to the “Grabber in Chief” it’s now easier than ever to talk about it, expose it, and for men to start taking responsibility for it. That’s what I’m doing. I work with mostly young women and I’m very aware of all the sexist things I shouldn’t do. I don’t touch, I don’t leer, and I don’t make sexual comments or jokes. I keep it professional, plain and simple.

OK, now let’s talk about guns.

It’s gotten to the point that with so many mass shootings, we can probably all start playing the six degrees of separation game. Let me start.

This last shooting (as of the time I write this) at the church in Texas was at first just another tragedy in the news. Then my mother-in-law from Michigan called to tell my wife that both parents of the husband of our niece who lives on a military base in Okinawa had been killed in that shooting. Even though we never met them, they were still family, and it becomes more than just a news story. It’s just a few degrees of separation.

I’ve never owned a gun and I’ve only shot a 22 caliber rifle when I was a kid at YMCA camp (I wrote a column about that) and once as a teenager I shot a 450 Magnum (my ears are still ringing) when I worked for a guy who thought he was cool and carried it around in his briefcase. In high school, my best friend jokingly pointed his dad’s shotgun at me and to this day I don’t know if it was loaded or not, but I still remember the feeling I got in the pit of my stomach, and it wasn’t a good one.

In the United States there are hundreds of millions of firearms; anywhere from one-third to one-half of all households have at least one. There are so many that I don’t think there is any way to put the genie back in the bottle, so how do we regulate them? I have a very simple solution: Follow the wording of the Second Amendment and require anyone who owns a gun to be a member of a “Well Regulated Militia.”

For archives of Edmund’s columns please visit www.whatsthepoint-edmund.blogspot.com.

 

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