Letters to Holly

Wednesday, February 2

Reacting With Hesitance

The boy inches closer to crawling. He grasps toe-and-knee motion, but he has yet to keep his arms locked. And when he does arch up with straight arms, he doesn't bring up the knees. But instead of rolling, he's now dipping a shoulder and lurching forward, plowing into the floor. Every "step" is a crash landing. He had his last round of flu shots Monday, and he faces more vaccinations, to my surprise. I thought he was done.

I finally learned to plan for quick meals when it's my turn to watch the boy and put him down when Your Sister is at yoga. I'll make stir fry tonight, and it should take maybe 20 minutes total. Your Sister made dinner last night, and I chomped down on a clove, filling my head with a puffy cloud of fragrance and rage. I had to eat more than my usual number of cookies to buy the flavor. 

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The local paper sometimes runs long letters to the editor under the classification of "guest columns." The latest issue contains a column written by the husband of a teacher who works closely with Your Sister. He's on the local police force, and he's run for local office at least once. He wrote about gun-control laws and ranted against "liberals' who want to constrain civil liberties. It's an explosion of faulty logic, probably cobbled from comments made by talk-show hosts. For instance, he used a catchphrase I've seen a lot lately: "if guns cause murder, I can blame misspellings on my pencil."

I was tempted -- very tempted -- to rebut in a letter, but I hesitate because of the wives. I don't think this guy can respond well to negative feedback or critical analysis of his comments. In fact, I suspect he's hoping for opposing letters to give him both a fresh target for anger and an tacit invitation to fire back in his own response letters. I don't see him handling criticism on his stance very well, and that would inevitably bleed into the friendship between Your Sister and his wife. Your Sister wants me to write anyway, and I said I would depending on the conversation created by the subsequent letters. We both dread their quality -- half-cocked, hysteric, and snarky shotgun blasts of bad analogies and heated rhetoric. It's gonna get ugly. I'm sure the letters page editor wet himself with joy when the column was submitted; it's gonna lead to months of reaction letters and removes the worry of filling white space.

I'm also concerned about how the author was identified. Instead of simply providing his name and town, as is normal, he gave a small bio including his job. His comments then stem from a public figure and officer of the law, not a private citizen. Some of his comments become troubling when said with badge in hand. The implications of an officer speaking out against the law while he's presenting himself as an officer bother me as much as the faulty logic.Will he selectively enforce the law? Your Sister made the good point that a political candidate complaining about the legislative process sounds more like an anarchist than the patriot he wants to present. I think what churns my innards is his implication that the true victims of Tucson are gun rights.

We talked about the letter and its weaknesses and the prudent way to respond for hours. I'd post a link to it on the paper's site (and use the link to sketch out my own response), but it's been down all day.

Speaking of sketching, I put pencil to artboard for the first page of the comic, and it went well. Drawing bigger is a relief after dozens of small sketches. I almost finished the page after a shift in the early morn and while Your Sister prepared for bed. I almost, almost drew a whole page in one day. That's encouraging. And this was a complicated page. A number of other pages might fly by.

Picture of the Day
Maybe they need copy editors for maps. Did no one notice that long, Nile-looking object to the left of Israel?

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