Sunday, 15 September 2013
Gun licences for the blind. It was a radical piece of legislation, one that drew immediate and vociferous criticism, the press and media went mad but we pushed it through. We had a point to prove about equality and human rights. It's a basic question sheathed in the right to bear arms and to protect your property according to the second amendment. Why cant a blind person own and, as they need to, use a gun? You might think, as many did, well it's just plain stupid and obviously dangerous. Maybe so but how dangerous? Is it as dangerous as a young man high on drugs sitting behind the wheel of powerful car? How about a kid with a switchblade and a crystal habit to feed? An alcoholic mother waiting at home for her errant husband to return, sitting still just stroking the muzzle of a pistol? The terrorist looking up bomb recipes on the Internet and mixing up rough amounts of the contents in building full of families and businesses?
Of course I would take that view, if I had to have a view, here alone, listening and scratching. Fidgeting and dozing, I choose my mixes of behaviour carefully, deliberately and at times randomly. Slowly slipping on a fine whisky from clean crystal glass. My feet up, relaxed and listening to the familiar pattern of my own breathing in the still of a long summer evening. Maybe I hear a noise, a click, the sound of cloth rubbing against the wall, maybe I sense and change in light, a slow darkening, perhaps a smell speeds past and traps itself like some temporal spirit in my nostrils, a tingle in my spine unknowable and creepy as a feeling of danger flushes across and pumps the blood from here to there. Instinctively I reach down, down into the drawer in the unit by my hair and clutched at the gun I find my fingers wrapped around the grip. I unclick the safety and wave the barrel out into the grey night. The silence is heavy and continuous...only broken by a scampering sound and the noise of a tussle, stamping and pouncing. The cat has caught a mouse and I return the gun to the drawer. The cleaner will fix up whatever mess remains tomorrow, it's her day to come around. Of course I am almost completely blind and teetering between the worlds of chaos and personal panic and a drunken and reflective serenity. Any man of my age might say that, any man of my age might well handle a gun, as I regularly do.