The best friend I ever had (to me a brother) died about three decades ago. I have watched his son grow into adulthood and now into grey hair like me. Just turning sixty he recently traveled down to
and purchased a Bushmaster. He also has
a concealed carry license. I ask myself
why? Is he afraid or does he need that
to display his manhood? Portland
Then I remember: we are not so unalike. We started out the same, but somewhere in my later life I took a different turn – became a different person. I changed.
There was a time that I bought whiskey by the gallon, carried a pistol, hit on the wives of all my friends…bellicose, loud and obnoxious – I could fill pages with the outrageous things that I did.
But about age forty I made a total life change. I retired from the Navy, married a beautiful, intelligent women; we attended college together and then moved to
and taught school in the Indian and Eskimo villages. Now I try to be the man she wants me to
be…but that earlier train wreck is still there, just under the surface. Alaska
So, how can I judge a friend? We are in different worlds and have different perspectives - but I understand him – I have been there.
A man defines who he is by his appearance and how he presents himself. It is in the male DNA that we are part of a pecking order – and we try to distinguish ourselves in the pack. Mankind has moved past the primitive days where physical prowess defined the alpha: where the top contenders competed; the wanna-bees puffed up and made noise; and the rest fell in line to follow. It was always about who got the pick of the females.
Most men watch violent movies, violent TV shows and competitive sports. We still vicariously see ourselves in the action hero role – and it is still about getting the pick of the females and the respect of other men.
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Male psyche hasn't changed; but today we distinguish ourselves by more than just physical presence. We can now be defined by money, intelligence, education, position and skill as well as physical prowess. Many, or maybe most men, are just satisfied not to contend, but to lives independently. This day and age we have that option.
However, our DNA still wants to define us. If we don’t have the money or the power or the position or some notoriety or the necessary self esteem, then we can apply for a carry permit and show up at the bowling alley or the ball game or the grocery store packing.
Again, I don’t mean this to be judgmental: after all I dress up in leathers, ride my motorcycle and get a thrill at the power between my legs – that badass rush at riding in a pack of fifteen or twenty bikers.
As men we are who we are, and that's our excuse; but it is still true that most of the harm inflicted on society comes from some primitive strain still embedded in the male DNA.