Friday, March 31, 2017

Woo pig blam

There could be worse ideas, I suppose. Open Flame Night at the explosives factory, perhaps. Blindfold Ironworking Week. Skydiving For Acrophobes.

But letting college football fans (in the South, no less!) carry concealed firearms into a rockin', full-to-bursting stadium on a lovely autumn afternoon?

That's full-on loony right there.

But by passing a greatly expanded concealed carry law, the state lege in Arkansas just made it OK to do that, at least theoretically. Arkansas Razorbacks players, far saner than their lawmakers, are terrified at the prospect. So is SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who is pushing for Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville to be exempt from the law.

The NRA, home office for firearms hysteria, is opposing the exemption, of course. No doubt it would be a terrible infringement on Billy Bob Drunk's Second Amendment rights to ask that he leave the guns at home when he comes to cheer on his Razorbacks.


I'm remembering a different Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, one that is now almost 50 years gone. It was Dec. 6, 1969, and No. 1 Texas was playing No. 2 Arkansas in what was touted as the Game of the Century, on account of 1969 was the 100th anniversary of college football.

Texas had James Street and Steve Worster and Darrell Royal's fearsome Wishbone offense. Arkansas had Bill Montgomery and Chuck Dicus and the legendary Frank Broyles. And, oh, yes: The President of the United States would be there.

Richard Nixon, noted football crazy, showed up as the game was starting, dropping from the leaden sky outside the stadium in Marine One. It was a simpler time, then; the president sat outside with the rest of the unwashed, not in some fancy enclosed suite.

It was also a saner time. Very few people would have dreamed of bringing a loaded firearm to the game -- and if he had, he'd have been looked at as the dangerous wacko he'd have been. This is because, in 1969, the Second Amendment meant you had the right to keep a hunting rifle and maybe a handgun or two around the house. It didn't mean you felt some obligation to arm yourself like the 82nd Airborne, to lug your ordnance into Wal-Mart to buy a gallon of milk, to scream "They're coming to take our guns!" every time some lawmaker suggested it might not be a bad idea to tighten background checks.

I'm trying to imagine how many Secret Service heads would explode if, in 2017, President Donald "Donny" Trump suddenly decided he wanted to take in a game in Fayetteville. I'm guessing it would never happen. Donny's too busy playing golf and Making America Filthy Again to care about football -- or baseball, considering he's snubbing the great American tradition of throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day, presumably because he doesn't want to risk embarrassing himself/being booed.

There are a lot of words you could use to describe that. Coward comes most readily to mind.

Not going to Razorback Stadium anymore, however, might simply be prudent. I mean, what could possibly go wrong if a bunch of hardcore tailgaters decided to carry Glocks into the stadium, just in case the terrorists decided to hit a Razorbacks game?

The Arkansas state lege, and its gun lobby masters, no doubt would say you wouldn't have anything to worry about. After all, sports fans -- especially college sports fans, and especially college football fans in the South -- are widely known to be rational and sober on these occasions. Why, just ask John Higgins about that.

John Higgins, who was one of the refs in the Kentucky-North Carolina regional final last Sunday.

John Higgins, who is now receiving death threats from lunatic Kentucky fans who think he somehow did them wrong -- even though, in most of the examples they point out, Higgins actually got the call right.

Yeah, boy. No worries about those people packin' at a game. No, sirree.

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