I don’t like guns. 

Never a recreational hunter and not constantly fearful for my life, I can’t apply any narrowly tailored, gun-toting exceptions to my life.

My childhood communing with nature began and ended in the Audubon Zoo parking lot. My dad knew as much about care and maintenance of a gun barrel as he did about care and maintenance of an 18th century whiskey barrel. Shooters and coopers were equally foreign.

And to the fearing element, I am a New Orleanian. Of course I’ve had a gun waved or held in my direction. Opting in to this experience means opting in to all of this experience.

Once, when trying to find the back parking lot of Resurrection Church, I took a turn down the wrong side street and instead found a dead end. As I executed my driveway u-turn, a homeowner came racing out. It seemed he needed street access quickly. To encourage my granting the right of way, he waved his silver sidearm. I happily obliged, offering a hearty olé as he tore down the street. 

And then there was my memorable local tv news moment. Who knew holding up a priest in a safe room would garner an all-day, on-location, live-feed fuss? 

There I was, dutifully in my office, 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, when the exterior door chimed open. 

It wasn’t the pastor behind door number two. It was two soon-to-be acquaintances, carrying their tools of crowbar and pistol.

I’ll spare a whole telling. The TP can handle that—slightly better than ‘DSU (of course, you lead with the parishioner who collects aluminum cans in the back of his bicycle!).

Other than a new-found awareness of sensationalized news production, the aftermath of my safe-room stare-down taught me something more: a gun is never going to help me. Pardon me, gents. Let me just reach into this drawer…and blast you to smithereens! That wasn’t in the script.

Pre-existing moral qualms, meet practical realities.

And I know. I get it. Guns don’t kill people; people do. Agency law, being what it is.

I tried that line out yesterday on my cucumber, assuring it the knife wasn’t to blame.

It sure beats karate-chopping a salad into being, though.

Another one: Guillotines don’t start revolutions, but they sure help getting the ball—and other things—rolling.

Anyhoo, guns ain’t for me. And neither are kittens.

Way to bury the lede, bro!

I’ve stroked a feline about as many times as a Luger. In this world of choices, I’ll always select dog poop over cat droppings.

It might surprise you, then, that like every other non-sociopath out there, I fell in love with the Louisiana cat video. If you haven’t seen it, my words won’t reproduce the right level of delight.

I like the video for the same reason I like jokes and sports: the unexpected. This Jack Hanna of do-gooders thinks he’s helping one itty-bitty kitten turn from highway living. And out from the Louisiana roadside jungle, hops eleven more!

But I wouldn’t still be thinking about this if it were just Lisa-Frank cutesy.

More than being surprised, I like being right.

And more than disliking guns and kittens, I dislike stereotypes.

And the kitten story fulfilled me on both fronts.

Once I read the first graph of the NPR story, I knew what was coming:

As Robert Brantley was driving down the backroads of northeast Louisiana on Tuesday, something caught his eye. The professional shooter was going about 40 miles an hour as he headed toward the shooting range, but he thought he had seen a kitten on the side of the road.

He was heading to the shooting range… this video is so cute it will infiltrate popular American society… NPR is running it…

I betcha someone is going to have a problem with a story about guns and kittens!

Turns out, I don’t have problems with the two together (well, I probably could think of some problematic storylines…but not here!), just problems with them separate.

And, it turns out, some did have problems with the world-bending video.

As Mr. Brantley detailed later in the NPR piece, “I work in the gun industry, and … some people have took that negatively. And a lot of people, which I’m very thankful of, has said, like, ‘Wow … I’m surprised you’re not such a violent person’ or ‘You still have compassion and stuff.’”

I’m surprised you still have compassion and stuff.

I mean, did they think a gun owner would make the u-turn and mow down the kittens? Is that the kind of bloodsport they associate with us Louisianians?

Also, hat-tip to NPR for maintaining “some people have took that negatively,” making sure their ivied audience can go to sleep knowing there’s still a regional divide that one kitten story won’t bridge.

I’m not too big on guns or kittens. Actually, I would love a world with many, many fewer. But when they flip the safety of someone’s thought process?

You could say that’s my narrowly tailored exception. To appreciation, if not true love.


Apparently saving kittens is a thing. Does this mean I have to like French men, too?! Sacré bleu!

And we do have some bad Southerners, too. I don’t dispute the always present ghosts. Randy Newman can say it— just not all them stereotypers. And failures in thinking ain’t just ours. That’s a human hangup.