In the news recently, there has been a heated discussion around something other than whether we should “lob” targeted strikes at Syria. Yes, there has been discussion as to whether blind (legally so) individuals in the state of Iowa should be allowed to get gun permits. On one side you have, those that argue blind individuals should not be discriminated against. On the other side you have those that argue it is a matter of public safety. At the end of it all, seems that most individuals in Iowa are ok with the Iowa sheriffs handing out gun permits to the blind based on the principle of fairness. As long as they can meet the same criteria that everyone else does, a blind person, according to public opinion, should be granted the right to protect themselves just as much as the next gal and girl.
While reading the articles and debate around this gun permit issue, I was smiling because the phrase “only in America“ kept spinning through my head. I also was smiling because I flashed back to a college event that still cracks me up. Some may be offended, others may be just as amused.
On a cold snowy bleak winter day in college, we were freezing and looking for trouble. Both seem to go hand in hand. As does heat and trouble. You may have heard of the infamous correlation of increased ice cream consumption and increased homicide rates? There is an obvious explanation for that (spurious) association but I will let it stew out there in your brains. Either way, extreme temperatures cause extreme behaviors, in my book. That day, way-back when, snow made us stir-crazy and in need of entertainment.
We left our warm dorm rooms and headed across the quad to the dining hall. We were standing around kind of being obnoxiously loud and stupid. Ok. Not kind of. We were saying completely ridiculous politically incorrect statements for the hell of it. We were a mixed racial group of stoners, party people, and jocks that loved to make fun of one another. As my friend was flicking his cigarette butt to the side, it bounced off the jacket of one of my fellow psychology classmates. Ouch. My other friend simultaneously yelled “watch out for the blind girl.” Double ouch. Probably was not the coolest thing in the world to shout out. That snowstorm and ice was really doing a number on our collective brain capacity. Although not necessarily fair, most of the college students referred to her as the blind girl as that made her unique in our environment. We all knew who she was as a result.
I started to head over to her asking if she was ok. As I neared her, she bent down and full on threw a snowball at my chest. I was in shock, took a step back, and as a queen of inappropriate affect just started to laugh really hard as if I were on ‘shrooms. The cigarette thrower then lobbed his own snowball at her. Then she threw one back. It became a full on five against one snowball fight. But, she started it!
Was it wrong that it was five against one? I must say she had very good aim; probably having honed her hearing in such a way that she could aim at where we were laughing hysterically. We were all knocked down by her. She definitely gave as good, or better than, she got. Was it wrong to have engaged in a snowball fight with a blind person? Let me think about that. I think back then, in the beginning moments, I thought it was a bad deed. But as we laughed and kept getting sillier I no longer thought it was wrong. Why not? She was just as capable, engaged and as much as part of the experience. Individuals passed by giving us a look of disdain. Eventually it was not a five person against one snowball fight. It became each person for themselves with everyone being a target for all others. Pity those passersby for not realizing that all you need for a snowball fight is good aim, a sense of humor and fast reflexes. Snowball fights know no boundaries and neither should we. In the heart of winter, I learned a good life-long funny lesson from the psychology of snowball fighting.
And by the way, we never called her the blind girl again. How does this relate to the gun permit issue, I leave that up to you dear reader. This was merely but an anecdote.