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Sunday, January 23, 2005
Operation Senior Moment
An Open Letter to Senior Citizens: How the Second Amendment Can Improve the Quality of Your Life and the Lives of Those Around You

So my grandmother was telling me again the other day about a friend of hers from the beauty salon she goes to. My grandmother is completely smitten with this woman. The first time she met her friend, when she found out she was in her 80s, my grandmother asked to take her photo, she was so impressed. Says she doesn't look a day over 65. The woman's still working as a financial analyst. And she's a movie buff, so she brings my grandmother a couple videotapes each week from her collection for my grandmother to watch.

So last time she saw her friend, my grandmother asked her how her holidays had been. Her friend said she had a nice time visiting her daughter back east. She mentioned that her daughter has long been pressing her to move back east closer to her. My grandmother said she should do it. Her friend, however, said she can't because she has another daughter here who she needs to be near.

The problem, my grandmother's friend explained, is her daughter's husband. He beats her. Beats their 11 year-old boy. He's a violent drunk. I guess before he got married, he was drunken sod. But before they married, he sobered up. He stayed dry for a while. But within the last could years, he's started to drink again. His behavior has deteriorated.

Recently, he was arrested on a D.U.I. He was sentenced to a sort of house-arrest. He can go to work. (He's some variety of blue-collar slob -- my grandmother thought her friend said carpenter.) But he wears must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle. And he must be home by 6pm every night. The amazing -- and perhaps most troubling part of this whole story -- is that he has two mistresses. And this presented a dilemma: to whose home should he be confined? His family's? Or one of his crackhead mistresses? I gathered from my grandmother's account that the court left it to his discretion. And after long deliberation, he decided that he would choose his family's home as his primary residence of detention.

My grandmother's friend told my grandmother that he had given her daughter her most recent black eye after her daughter had hung up on one of the mistresses who had called their house. My grandmother told her friend, "Your daughter must leave him. He is going to kill her." Her friend said, "I know. But she won't leave him."

I told my grandmother, "This is what you should do. You should tell your friend that she must shoot and kill her son-in-law." This was not an idle proposition. Indeed, it was nothing short of inspiration. Lives were in danger. Civilization was at stake. Still, my grandmother balked. But I reasoned the case for her.

"There is a war on terror. We are in the midst of an ongoing war on terror. This war may never end. And yet we must fight it. For the good of the country. For the good of the world. For the good of Rudy Giuliani's security consulting firm. And what front in the war on terror is more important that the domestic front? By conservative estimates, we have probably killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians in a war that was, at its outset, only even marginally connected with the war on terror. This man threatens the life of a sorry, pathetic, vulnerable woman -- his own wife! He threatens the lives of other -- including you and me -- every time he boozes up and gets behind the wheel of what I am sure is an oversized truck. We should deploy a Special Ops force to kill this menace. They should haul him in and attach electrodes to him in his most sensitive parts. But since they are mostly engaged overseas, I think your friend should do it."

My grandmother doubted that her friend would accept the mission.

"You must convince her. Look, you said she's 80 years-old, doesn't look a day over 65. This would be the crowning accomplishment in a long and fruitful life. Experts say elderly people should do crossword puzzles to keep the minds sharp, light exercise to keep their bodies healthy. What better exercise, mental and physical, than killing this wretch? Nothing concentrates the mind, I imagine, like plotting murder. Or manslaughter really. I don't think there's a jury in this country, outside perhaps Texas, that would convict your friend. She doesn't even have to kill him. Just shoot him in the spine."

"Just think of the fun it would be for her. She could research firearms, visit the shooting range, get really cool sunglasses, plot her legal defense. That would be months of exciting work for her right there. Meanwhile, he son-in-law will be regularly beating the shit out of her daughter and grandson, making her project all the more necessary and gratifying, once she finally executes it. And then the trial -- she'll love it! She loves movies, she loves celebrity. She'll be an instant celebrity, a folk hero, the star of her own courtroom drama. She'll be bigger than Scott Peterson and Martha Stewart combined.

"Indeed, I think more old people in this country need to take up a project like this. Find some monster in their family -- some violent, disgusting drunk of a son-in-law, some deranged, worthless slob of a grand-nephew -- and plot his or her murder. Or not even murder. Like I said, they could just severly debilitate them, though then there are the social costs involved with paying for their disability benefits. No, just have them kill the deadbeats. They'll be doing us a service. They'll be doing themselves a service. Half of old people probably spend their days watching Court TV or reruns of the Rockford Files or Matlock. The rest of them are just throwing away their Social Security checks on the mean red-state thrills of slot machines. Instead they could be doing something profound, real, and patriotic. They could be the new shock troops in the war on terror. And if they go to prison -- well, for some, their care will likely be better there than what they're receiving now.

"What is the use of a second-amendment in this country, if old people can't go out and get a gun and shoot a drunken, violent carpenter half their age?"

My grandmother still thinks it's wrong and that it would do no good -- her friend's daughter would probably just blame her mom for ruining her life. "Then shoot the daughter, too." My grandmother thought that was a better idea. I told her to talk it over with her pastor and maybe bring it up with the members of her bridge group.