Jarvis Arms the Homeless

Sit at Panera with friend, Jarvis. Jarvis is a staunch gun owner and the founder and chair of Committee to Arm the Homeless.

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He chooses his words carefully as he explains his group’s purpose: “As our homeless are undoubtedly the segment of our population most vulnerable to physical mayhem, we feel that it is incumbent upon us as a society to provide these individuals with firearms so they might protect themselves against the more insidious elements among us.”

”But arm the homeless?” I ask. “Do you think that’s realistic?”

“Please allow me to answer your question with a question,” he explains. He pauses momentarily and in the silence I overhear three women at the next table discussing literacy and problems in their community. A young man in the adjacent booth is commiserating with a friend about his inability to understand women. “My wife yelled at me this morning for peeing on the floor in the middle of the night. She said I missed the bowl completely. I said at least I didn’t get any on the rim.”

Jarvis looks intently at the point of my pen as he continues: “Do you think this is less realistic than allowing a nineteen-year old mental case to purchase a military-grade weapon in order to murder innocent high school students?”

In addition to being a gun owner, Jarvis is a hard-core left-wing hippie from the sixties. Back then, he was so aggressive he would pass you in the turn lane. Today he’s mellowed but he hasn’t lost his edge.  He draws an analogy: “Gun owners are like pot smokers. They won’t admit it. They’ll say, ‘Where is marijuana in the constitution?’ But the constitution is a made-up argument by the weapons industry to sell weapons. The issue is about human dignity and personal rights: the right to own a gun for my protection; to choose my own form of health care, to get high with the mood-enhancer of my choice.”

But even Jarvis knows there are limits to his freedom: “Don’t push drugs on kids, don’t drive when you’re smelling colors, and if you grow it for sale, you grow it organically for best medicinal purposes. And don’t let nineteen-year old mental cases purchase military-grade weapons.”

Jarvis excuses himself, adjourns to restroom. Passes woman by beverage station struggling to neatly seal iced tea cup lid over cup with one hand while holding young son’s hand with other.

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