The width of the brush

In 1992, Mattel introduced “Talking Barbie”. Each doll repeated four phrases randomly selected from a pool of two hundred seventy possibilities. One of those phrases, “Math class is tough”, was considered so offensive that Mattel was pressured into removing it from the pool of phrases, and offered to replace any doll that had the phrase in its selection.

There are groups of people who feel that children are influenced by the toys they play with. They believe that a plastic doll that only remotely resembles an actual woman promotes an unattainable body image. So does a purple dinosaur, and dinosaurs had trouble with math as well. Little girls don’t want to be their dolls, they want their dolls to be their friends. Having a friend who has difficulty with math might make a little girl feel a little superior to the busty blonde doll, or it might make a little girl who is having trouble with math feel less isolated. Instead, the reasons males typically score higher in math tests doesn’t get discussed.

Of all the anti-defamation leagues out there, the blondes have the most difficult job.

It is all too common to paint an entire group with the same brush. Stereotypes exist to allow us to move quickly through life. My car can go 120 mph, but I only drive the speed limit, and on nice days I may stop beside the road and enjoy the scenery. We can slow down in our appraisals of others in the same way.

In Florida, a man (Mr. Dunn) was on his way home from his son’s wedding, and stopped at a convenience store for some wine before returning to the bed and breakfast where he was staying. He pulled in next to a car full of teenagers listening to loud music, and while his girlfriend went in the shop he got out of his car and asked the teenagers to turn down their music.

The exact words that were exchanged will never be known, but Mr. Dunn states that Jordan Davis, a seventeen year old passenger in the car, said “you’re dead”. They were Mr. Davis’ last words, because Mr. Dunn responded with gunfire. As the car full of teenagers tried to drive away, Mr. Dunn continued shooting. When his girlfriend came out with the wine, they drove to the B&B, he walked the dog and they ordered a pizza. The next day when he heard on the news Davis was dead, he was so upset he took a nap before driving home.

Mr. Dunn argued he was not guilty because he was simply defending himself. “My intent was to stop the attack, not necessarily end a life,” he testified. “It just worked out that way.”

When emptying a .45 caliber into a car full of kids it often works out that way.

His attorney said “My client did not wait to become that victim,” he said. “My client did not wait to either get assaulted by a weapon or have someone potentially pull a trigger”. How ironic.

Were that true, perhaps he should have stayed in his vehicle instead of provoking an argument with a group of teenagers. It appears that was the path to preventing someone from pulling a trigger.

Mr. Dunn is a grade A wanker. A weak insecure man who carried a gun to make himself brave enough to start fights which he could only get out of by using the gun. He was found guilty of attempted murder for the three other teenagers in the car, but the jury could not reach a verdict on the murder charge.

Reasonable, thoughtful members of society who wish to carry a firearm will now be equated with this irresponsible murderer. People with a blind aversion to firearms will use this incident as evidence that no one should have a gun. People who blindly support gun rights will use this incident as evidence that Mr. Dunn rightfully used a firearm for self defense (that is not what the verdict infers, but I’ve already heard it said). Both sides of the issue painting the other with broad brushes.

We have the capability to be the most articulate species on the planet, our minds are capable of detecting infinite subtleties, yet by and large we reduce the issues we face to stark, digital elements. When an issue has nuances we don’t wish to consider, we paint over them with a broad brush.

 

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One comment on “The width of the brush

  1. This is freshly pressed worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

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