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Commentary: The gun show

The only "gun" show I've ever attended is the one hosted daily at the Gold's Gym in Westminster; sponsored by the guys exercising their rights to bare arms; some of whom can also be overheard debating the merits of their right to bear arms.
I can only imagine what that conversation is like in an NFL weight room; where the "guns" and egos, and unfortunately, the gun collections, are bigger.
Professional athletes are often accused of living above the law; of being afforded a status, both social and financial, that excuses them from the social contract by which the rest of us are bound.
Professional athletes, particularly NFL athletes are often quite literally larger than life figures. Some of them seem to live their lives that way too; enjoying certain freedoms in and to excess.
I'm 35 years old and have never owned or shot a gun. Why would I? I watch TBS' 48-hour Christmas Story marathon each Christmas; and, wouldn't you know it, but for being saved by his glasses, that Ralphie really would've shot his eye out.
I break everything I touch. I'd Plaxico myself in the leg for sure if I ever had a carry and conceal permit.
Thursday is July 4th; Independence Day. While most of us will spend Thursday "celebrating" the holiday that celebrates our collective Independence by enjoying a cookout in lieu of being at work; to some extent, taking for granted the freedoms afforded us by the sacrifices of others. Aaron Hernandez will spend the day continuing to get accustomed to his lost independence; as he is being held without bail, accused of shooting a man to death.
Less than an hour from Fort McHenry, site of a battle during the war of 1812 from which was born our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner; and, less than an hour from Gettysburg's host sites for battles of our Civil War; the Mason Dixon line our northern border - it seems the idea that "[A] Well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" hit pretty close to home, a few hundred years ago.
I will leave constitutional interpretation to lawyers and judges much smarter than me to opine about; similarly leaving to folks who are much more impassioned about the topic than me, any narrative or conjecture about the pros and cons of the present-day validity of the right(s) conferred by the Second Amendment.
I could probably make some sort of constitutional interpretation-based argument for either side of the debate. But, the short version is, I don't hunt; I live in the suburbs; I'm not in the military or in law enforcement; and I don't anticipate being called to arms to defend the Country, the State or my home against any sort of invasion or uprising, foreign or domestic. So, I've never seen the need to own a gun. [As a former athlete with an above-average "gun" of an arm, I prefer instead to keep a box of hand-grenades next to the front door to fend-off the South in the event that they really do try to rise again.]
According to a documentary by the production company, Vice, gang members from Chicago's south-side neighborhoods have begun calling the city ChIraq. In as real a moment of art imitating life imitating art in the documentary - a former gang member basically quoted John Witherspoon's character from Friday; stating that back in his day, they settled disputes by fighting, with their fists. They won some; they lost some. But, even in defeat, they lived; and the winner didn't face murder charges.
Twenty-one people were shot in Baltimore last weekend. How long 'til Baltimore ditches the "City that Reads" moniker for a more truthfully reflective "City that Bleeds?"
I get a kick out of the tank-topped guys at the gym who abuse their right to bare (their) arms. But, professional athletes' insistence on continuing to abuse their rights to bear arms is not just silly; it's sad. Maybe carrying a gun is like wearing a tank top; both are better left to trained professionals. Average Joes should leave the baring of "guns" to the pro athletes; and, pro athletes should leave the bearing of arms (and the firing of guns) to trained professionals.
To remix Johnny Cash, "[D]on't take your guns to town son; Leave your guns at home Ballers; Don't take your guns to town."
Matt Laczkowski is a former Division I athlete and a coach who now writes a column each Monday. Reach him via email at coach@with-character.com.

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