There is a cowboy machismo to having a concealed carry license in the United States. There is no doubting this. I was recently in a conversation with some people in my social circle about a trip to Arizona. One of my acquaintances suggested I would not like it because it is an open carry state. Everyone is openly carrying he opined.
“I mean your such a pacifist and all, you would not like it,” he suggested.
I literally fell to one knee laughing so hard. Most people there were just casual acquaintances. In cocktail conversation I guess I can sound that way. Perhaps he even felt I was likely a libtard, but family members there knew differently. They knew what was about to follow would be VERY interesting, though.
I stood back up and said, “Really? Goodness that means everybody is going to be SOOOO very polite to me! I think I might enjoy it.”
He gave me a quizzical look as if he did not understand. “Well, do you think I should put the .22 in the window rack or the shotgun. I mean the Mosin would be very impressive, but it is not too practical. I am a crappy shot or the .22 would make sense, so I think I will put the shotgun in the window rack. I am not sure about my sidearm though. I have a 9 millimeter automatic which is nice. The .45 will stop anything but it has quite a kick. I will carry my five shot .38 Smith and Wesson revolver. It is light and easy. I can shoot right from hip and hit things so don’t talk shit to me…mufu!” I pointed my finger at him and laughed.
He laughed and everyone laughed. He asked me about my guns and I told him about them. I told him how I had been raised by a police officer. Our family outings during the summer often involved shooting off an arsenal of different weapons. I admitted it made me kind of an oddball to have no military training but so much experience with guns. The air was thick with testosterone, but for me I felt my testosterone levels falling.
Why would my testosterone levels fall? Well, because my manhood and my machismo are heavily wrapped up in NOT carrying. This used to be a “thing” among certain men of a certain stripe in America but it has been lost. Forgive me, but I am going to let all my toxic masculinity hang out here, because NOT CARRYING fills me with testosterone. I literally feel my testicles swell when I have the confidence to take on ANYTHING…unarmed.
It has something to do with having been raised by a cop I imagine. He would never go anywhere without a shoulder holster on. He literally never left the house without being armed. I remember asking him once about it rather directly.
“Does it not feel a little cowardly to always be armed? I mean what are you afraid of you are a brown belt in karate?” I asked him.
He responded,”Police officers make enemies easily. Maybe somebody I put in jail five years ago just got out and he is looking for me right now.” I shook my head knowing those were true statements which made sense.
I on the other hand was not a cop and as I grew into adulthood my dabbling in the world of illicit drugs meant I never would be. Also, as I got close to my twenties, I realized I was a young healthy adult male. Most people did not want to deal with me in hand to hand combat. The testosterone was pumping fully through me now. It was heady for a scared little white boy who had regularly been bullied in school. My middle school was rough and there was plenty to be afraid of.
It was this incredible rush to realize in adulthood, I could physically best 90% of the people I was walking by on the street. This is part of toxic masculinity. You do feel these things and they do give you confidence. You are blessed with this incredible strength boost only a young man gets to experience. It is real power and you can break things in anger without even trying.
In any case, my toxic masculine self embraced this physical power. It felt cowardly to need a gun when I was so much more physically powerful than the people around me. I played a lot of basketball and was regularly faced with beastly men who could squash me with a look. Still I could walk out there, anywhere, and compete. I was quick with a wicked unblockable fall away. If I had the ball in my right hand and you gave me the drive to the baseline, I was going to get that shot off. Now making the shot was another thing, but I made it enough. I made it enough that some really big boys would decide they did not want to give me the baseline.
Oh, to be that quick and young again. I cry a tear as I write about things which can never be again. I write this stuff so this page is literally dripping with these kinds of arrogant testosterone-fueled ideas. I think this essay cannot make sense unless you understand the level of machismo which still courses through me. You have to believe in my toxic masculinity for you to understand how “carrying” makes my testicles shrink. It makes me feel like I am no longer a man that I need to carry this thing around, because I can no longer take care of myself. I no longer have a wicked unblockable fall away which I can splash on giants.
Of course, being on a basketball court means you see a lot of VERY BIG young men. You KNOW you cannot best them in a fight…most likely. Still YOU KNOW, you are going to make it an expensive victory. There are punches thrown and fights but everyone is young and strong so they are usually pretty short skirmishes broken up by older men. We are learning about our physical capabilities as young men.
It was just me in those days, but then I got married. Now I had a family to provide for so I cannot afford to lose to figure out my physical capabilities. Delivering an expensive victory to another still means bad things for your family, because it is a still a LOSS for you. You start to think you should get a gun.
I did in fact get a gun when we bought our first house. It was in a “transitional” neighborhood. There were some real rough streets bordering us. I traveled for business, so my young wife was there alone. I bought a gun. I showed her how to use it. I took her to the range. The gun was for her, so my machismo remained intact. That is why I own a five shot .38 revolver. It is easier for a small woman to hit stuff with a lighter weapon.
Still as I got into my thirties and my jumpshot began to fade. I started to worry I would no longer be able to “discourage” ne’er-do-wells. Off to the dojo, I went. I had a cowboy sensei named Lance Baker, who taught me Kosho Shorei-Ryū Kenpo. It is a great and straightforward way to fight. I loved it. I really had no idea I would like to spar and fight so much. I frankly did not care that much about all the other stuff, I just wanted to fight. My machismo remained intact and in fact swelled.
Most physical confrontations can be talked through and deescalated if you want to do it. That is something I learned over the years as my hands became lethal weapons. I knew just exactly where to hit somebody to kill or disable them. It feels a little scary because the testosterone still makes you think violent thoughts sometimes. I recall someone walking up behind me at the ATM. I thought they were going to do something to me, and I stiffened ready to deliver a hard back fist. As it turned out I had dropped a five dollar bill and he was just trying to tell me. I was glad my sensei had made me do more than just spar or I probably would have hit the poor man. That terrible toxic masculinity again.
A few years later, another a drunk man came up to me and started demanding I give him money while I was pumping gas. He was belligerent when I turned him down. He was drunk though. As I stood there watching him gesticulate and curse me, opening after opening presented itself for a poke to shut him up or a front kick to end the whole affair quickly. I did not really want to do long term damage to him, so it was likely going to be a punch.
Suddenly, a gruesome image appeared in my mind. I am going to get this guy’s blood and saliva all over me, IF I punch him in the face the way he deserves. Toxic masculinity was only checked by the fact I did not want to get his bodily fluids on me, so I pulled the nozzle from the gas tank. I pointed it at him and said firmly, “Buddy, if you do not leave me alone I am going to spray this gasoline right into your face.”
He looked into my eyes and he KNEW and then he said,”hey, hey, i just need some change man. Its cool, its cool.” He stumbled away, waving his hands. I immediately got in my truck and drove away shaking. It was a new thing for me to think so clearly about consequences and not be able to allow toxic masculinity to deal with other toxic masculinity directly.
Somehow I felt a little less macho. Still I was knew I had done the right thing. Cold cocking the drunk fool might have been fun for the “toxic man”, but for the family man, it had no meaning. Nonetheless, I make sure to this day to do some push ups every once in awhile, so that if I deliver a blow, it still might discourage someone in a situation like the gas station where I do not have a handy way to discourage another toxic male.
My machismo really knows no bounds though, even as it is reined in by fatherhood. My toxic masculinity could lead me to believe I could best any “mammal” in California. Rattlesnakes are sneaky ankle biters I fear deeply, but I used to tell my sons, there was NO MAMMAL I really feared in California. Mountain lions just seem too small and pretty easily discouraged by an ADULT FULLY TOXIC MALE human. I admitted bears were a different story, but they were not really interested in confrontations. Show bears some respect and it will be fine. Still when we went camping and hiking, I would carry my “Walking Tall” baseball bat…just in case. No gun though, I still felt my full toxic masculinity.
I feel so stupidly macho that I have NEVER carried in the woods, because I do not hunt. I will carry a baseball bat, but that is it. I feel like bears are smart and I am smart. We are not going to get mad at each other was what I always told myself.
I recall feeling a bit foolish once trying to face down a mama bear who was coming into our campsite. I felt duty bound to turn her with her cubs. If she ravaged the campsites, she would be euthanized. Up I went to edge of the campground with only a baseball bat.
This was a bit different though than any other bear encounter I had had. We had always been mutually respectful and gave each other ground. Now, this mama bear made her way down the slope toward the campground. There was a whole lot of free food because all the other campsites appeared to not have occupants present at the moment.
A big mama bear and she has cubs and she is walking toward me. I did start to feel my resolve waver. I started yelling at her, so the cubs stop walking but she kept coming. My family is only twenty yards behind me so even though I think about giving ground as she comes closer I do not want to bring her closer to my family.
I keep yelling and she keeps coming. I start thinking to myself it would be better to have a gun. I also think to myself what would you do with it? Would I really shoot a mother bear in front of her cubs? Well, I KNEW I WOULD were I pressed and scared. And boy I was scared now. With my family behind me I did not feel I could easily retreat. However, I realized if I had a gun before I shot her I would definitely fire warning shots hoping to scare her through the noise. As she keeps coming, I take the bat and I start banging on a bear box. I literally start beating the hell out the box and yelling at her.
She stopped. She looked at me and then back at her cubs. She looked back at me and literally said, “Harummph” snorting some saliva at me. “Grrr”, she shook her head at me. I felt I heard her say, “On my worst day I could rip off your fucking head and stick it right on that piece of wood you are threatening me with. You are a tiny piece of shit I could knock aside with my paw, BUT I have cubs, sooo…I will be on my way. Harrumph” she said again and turned her big shaggy body back to her cubs. They made their way around the campground.
One might think I would be flush with testosterone at that point and perhaps I was. I had faced down a real live big mama bear with a piece of wood in my hand. It felt different though. It felt like we had communicated with each other and UNDERSTOOD each other rather than threatened each other. “I have cubs too,” she may have understood. I was not going to give ground for the same reason, she did not come forward and engage. We both had cubs. It was this communication between us which I took away. This restraint that she had showed because SHE had the power and I had a stick. To this day I believe I would have shown the same restraint and only fired a warning shot. It is this belief which makes me feel macho. That I would not have shot her despite my fear.
My sons are grown and no longer cubs to be protected. They in fact probably protect me. I used to sleep with the doors and windows unlocked when they still lived here. Anybody breaching the door of my house was faced with three physically fit male humans and a very intimidating junkyard dog. Laker is gone now. My sons have grown and moved out too. I have to go through a lock down regime every night. My testicles shrink every night as I lockdown in fear of my failing physicality.
I no longer feel macho. I am an old man now. Most people can physically best me. I keep my guns locked up still, but now I think about it a little more. It seems a dangerous world. I think perhaps I should go get the concealed carry permit.
I resist though. My toxic masculinity still wraps my machismo in PHYSICALITY. It is also abundantly clear that most of the conceal carry crowd are ‘fraidy cats who are scared of their own shadows. Perhaps they should be afraid too, I think as they are often skinny, pasty and unhealthy looking to me.
I think to myself if they had some REAL TOXIC MASCULINITY, they would realize what pussies they look like to REAL MEN. Men who understand the power in their fists and feet, but choose to try to deescalate rather than get your blood on their hands. Men who understand the damage they can do and exercise restraint, the way that mama bear did. I am not afraid of you, “Harumph”.
Frankly, if I kill you, I kind of want to make sure I see your eyes bug out of your head as I choke the life out of you for whatever transgression has caused me take the action rather than put a bullet in your brain. Shooting you seems a little too easy. The ease perhaps causes one to lose the proper checks on one’s temper, too.
I commute on my bicycle through some rough neighborhoods. I have thought about carrying through there but one time I was riding along minding my own business and a group of punks spit on me. The red mist descended.
I chased after the punks. They were in a car and I was on a bicycle and pretty old, so they made the light and I did not. I realized as I slowed and the red mist lifted. I realized if I had a gun in my pack at least one of those punks would be dead. My life would be a lot different. I do not like getting spit on, but I realized my machismo actually saved me. The machismo which believes the street lore that it is a bad idea to underestimate an old man on a bicycle, so there is no need to carry.
As I get older and the concealed carry movement grows and more states become open carry, I KNOW everyone is going to be polite to me, if I join in. I know they will think I am macho with my Mosin-Nagant, but my testicles will shrink. I will have had to compromise. I will put away my toxic masculinity and leave the Home of the Brave, for the Hovel of the Fearful.
There was a time when the machismo of NOT CARRYING was clear in America. A whole generation had fought in WWII to come home and NOT CARRY. The list of the best westerns ever made was regularly topped by The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Now if you go on the internet this movie is rarely even in the top 25 let alone listed as number 1.
It is the best western to tell the story of America though. Jimmy Stewart gives a magnificent performance. However, it is John Wayne who oozes toxic masculinity throughout. He says and does things in this movie which will remove any doubt in your mind America once believed in “The Indisputable Machismo of NOT Carrying!”
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) - IMDb
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards " Cast overview, first billed only: When Senator…
To my liberal friends, I am sorry but it looks like we are returning to the Old West. Everyone who is anyone will be openly carrying. However, you need not worry about any conservatives tweaking your nose or calling you a libtard any longer. If they follow you home, this what you do:
Yell, “Go away zombie!”
Fire ONE shot into ground.
“Next one at your face zombie”, stated firmly.
Then point revolver at face of zombie(s)
You will know what to do next. They are scary but actually spineless. You just have to explain the 2nd Amendment applies to liberals also. Also, adding “motherfucker” anywhere in each of the above statements doesn’t hurt either.
My toxic masculinity requires me to add this ->
Guess what mofos! Civilians are getting ready for the boogaloo, too! Are we gonna dance? Or are we going to show each other a LITTLE respect? Are we going to understand we all got some cubs to protect and the little ones need peace not war?