Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ray Guy

Hearty, neon-lit, back-slapping congratulations to newly-minted Hall of Famer Ray Guy. He's the first player admitted to the Football Hall of Fame as a punter, and it's an honor as deserved as it is overdue.

I'm mystified why it took fifty-plus years for the Hall of Fame to recognize a punter. It's ludicrous that the National Football League would establish the position and then ignore those who excelled at it.

If you've ever been a football fan and watched the game, the notion that kickers and the units they perform on (called special teams) are inconsequential is ignorant. I've forgotten how many times I saw momentum shift after a well-placed punt pinned the opposition behind its ten-yard line and saved a stalled offense's bacon.

It's a game-changer in the same sense that an interception, a fumble recovery or even a touchdown is. And Ray Guy changed a lot of games.

Don't think a punter or special teams are important? Ask the coach of the team that struggles in those areas. None other than Hall of Fame coach John Madden said Ray Guy was often their “best defensive player—by far.”

It's no coincidence that the Chicago Bears 2013 defensive woes occurred after losing special teams coach Dave Toub. Under his tutelage, the unit was regularly one of the NFL's best, and masked many weaknesses.

But this is about Ray Guy, not the Chicago Bears.

Knowing the worst outcome of a failed drive was a Ray Guy punt left the Raiders offense free to operate wide-open, in the same sense that a basketball guard can gamble on defense when he knows there's a powerful, shot-blocking center behind him.

On a team as dominant as the nineteen-seventies Oakland Raiders were, that was not insignificant.

Now that the Football Hall of Fame has finally addressed its arrogant and exclusionary history of denying punters (and while I'm at it—place kickers) admittance, here's hoping it can look back and give those who contributed to the game it celebrates their rightful due.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Getting Concealed Carry-ed Away

People buy guns for two reasons. They want to kill or be a hero. Sometimes they want to be both.

They fantasize about home invaders, preferably minority ones. “I was defending my family!” they rage in response to some vile court-appointed defense attorney's questioning as a sympathetic jury of their peers looks on.

Afterwards, they are found innocent by reason of self-defense.

Of course, the reality is far different. Kindly ignore the fact (and it is a statistically-verifiable fact) that as a gun owner you are more likely to have that gun pointed at you than you are to point it at a drug-crazed home invader intent on raping your daughter.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, twenty-two times more likely.

But the Brady Campaign probably strikes you as a bunch of knee-jerk libtards spouting off about the same crap they always spout off about. But analysis after analysis tells the same story. A gun in the home is more likely to be used on you than by you.

Unfortunately, fantasies are like Bruce Willis. They die hard.

And thanks to the fear-driven campaign to permit concealed carry, those fantasies now have a new stage upon which to play: everywhere. Why limit your role-playing to the bedroom? Why not take it out in public where it belongs?

I mean, shouldn't a population that becomes murderously angry at being demoted or not getting laid or even being cut-off in traffic not only be armed to the teeth but have unlimited freedom to squeeze off a round or two if these touchy feely types feel threatened?

Sounds like a considered and sober strategy to me.

Here's a hint of what's to come.

In Crestwood, IL., a customer approaching an AT&T store noticed an armed robbery in progress. He was able to alert potential customers behind him and keep them from entering the store.

So far so good, right?

But instead of dialing 911, our wanna-be cop (who is fully licensed and approved for concealed carry) decides to play hero. He watches the felon exit the rear of the store and gives chase. He fires his gun, unaware that a police officer has responded to the scene. The officer consequently has to abandon his pursuit and take cover, unsure of whether the felon has an accomplice.

You can see where this is headed.

Live crime scenes are by their very nature chaotic. Even the best and most well-trained professionals get confused and disoriented and make mistakes. Imagine what untrained-and-armed amateurs bring to the table.

If you need a recipe for disaster, here it is.

Instead of just one bone-headed wanna-be cop, imagine six. As the false sense of security offered by concealed carry drives its popularity in our frightened and twitchy population, this is what law enforcement will confront. (Assuming, of course, police are even summoned. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see the concealed carry set eventually assuming the role of jury as well.)

Thank god for the Affordable Care Act. We're going to need it.