So, yeah, this is the first Pith post I’ve written where strangers have written me to express concern that I might be shot. My friends and the Butcher do sometimes worry. The other day the Butcher wanted to go over where I keep the emails of the people the police should contact if anything should happen to me.
I don’t feel afraid, though. I can’t decide if that’s dumb or if I’m just numb to internet danger after years of trolls. Maybe I can’t recognize real threats anymore because the assholes have thrown off my calibration.
I fear dying.
I fear dying having done only this with my life and feeling like I really have nothing to show for my time here.
I fear being hurt by people who say they love me. Not hurt feelings hurt. I fear what happened before happening again.
I fear that I’ll never experience myself as a successful writer.
I fear disappointing my parents.
But this guy doesn’t really make me fearful. And again, that may be stupid on my part. It does make me wonder.
I wrote about the Radnor Lake Rambo for Pith today. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how, if his crusade is not about publicly escalating his one-man terror-fest until he works up the guts to shoot someone, it’s about demanding the right to be thought of as harmless, no matter what social cues he’s giving off.
You see this come up in other situations, where men get mad when they know they’re just being nice guys by doing something–say following a girl home (to make sure she makes it), or offering to buy a woman a drink after she’s made it clear she no longer wants to talk to you–that sets off the “this guy is trouble” red flag. Like they’re really pissed that they’re not being thought of as harmless.
There are other instances, but you get the gist. And people try to make the argument that, hey, you might be harmless, but you’re doing this red-flag activity and we are not psychic so we have no way of knowing if the guy on campus with a gun is a good guy or a bad guy or if the guy following us home is a good guy or a rapist or if the woman flirting with our partners is friendly or has ill-intentions.
But you can’t indulge in mildly bad, scary behavior and still be treated like you’re harmless. That’s a really weird thing to ask of the world.