The National Rifle Association.
See, nothing comforts the poorly endowed man's fragile ego like stroking the barrel of a handgun while surveying the contents of his home.
But eventually, he must leave his castle.
And then, he's disturbed by the feeling of nakedness he experiences as he enters the wilderness. He's plagued by violent fantasies featuring him as a helpless victim in unfamiliar landscapes. Scary Black Man overwhelms him again and again in these fantasies, catching him not only unarmed but uncovered as well, revealing what little firepower he's actually packing.
Legally, our fellow of little hungitude could strap his manhood to his belt, showing all who cared to gaze upon him what a massive piece he has. But again, his underdevelopment doesn't give him those kinds of balls.
He yearns for, more than anything else, the confidence of the man who walks the Earth knowing that he truly is carrying concealed.
That's where the NRA comes in. Since 1871, it's been dedicated to easing the fears of small men everywhere. For years, the NRA has fought for Missourians' right to carry their heaters under their clothes. If white men could carry firearms surreptitiously, went the logic, rapists and robbers and murderers wouldn't have the temerity to assault them, because they might be armed.
But the voters of Missouri saw through this. States with and without the right to carry concealed handguns had all experienced the longest decline in violent crime in the country's history. Murder rates, particularly in the biggest cities, had reached lows not seen in a generation.
No, concealed carry wasn't about crime. It was clearly about small pricks.
But the NRA has a long memory, if nothing else. It took note of the people and organizations that had opposed its expensive electoral debacle and added them to its national blacklist. Take a look for yourself (www.nraila.com/FactSheets.asp?FormMode=Detail&ID=15), and you'll see how much its Missouri defeat still galls the organization.
The blacklist has garnered much attention lately. The curious wonder why the NRA is pissed at poet Maya Angelou, actor Steve Buscemi, chef Julia Child, newsman Walter Cronkite, NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and singers Lennie Kravitz and Bruce Springsteen. According to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the list is provided for the NRA's, um, members, so they can shun those named. "Our members don't want to buy their songs, don't want to go to their movies and don't want to support their careers," LaPierre said recently.
But little has been made of Missouri's startling prominence on the NRA's enemies list. Besides celebrities, the blacklist contains the names of 44 "anti-gun corporations." More than half are based in Missouri, including Hallmark Cards, American Century, the Argosy Casino, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, as well as the Royals and the Chiefs and, in St. Louis, the Cardinals and the Rams. When the Strip asked an NRA minion why that was so, this side of beef was told candidly that the strong Missouri showing was a direct result of 1999's defeated Proposition B -- opposition to the NRA's ill-fated referendum automatically gained the 25 companies enemy status.
Having failed with voters, the NRA began greasing the hairy palms of Missouri's legislators, who, like so many crack whores jonesin' for another fix of NRA cash, overcame Governor Bob Holden's veto this summer with a two-thirds majority vote approving concealed carry in the state.
Finally, a victory for Missouri's small peckers.
So imagine the fury unleashed when, just a day before the new law was to take effect, the statute was held in limbo by a lawsuit. It had been filed by various people, including Alvin Brooks, KC's City Council mayor pro tem.
The lawsuit's argument is weak -- an 1874 state constitutional provision appears to bar concealed weapons, but a closer reading should convince judges in the state supreme court, where the case will inevitably end up, that the jack-holes in the legislature do, indeed, have the right to regulate concealed carry. The Strip expects to begin wearing a bulletproof vest any day now.
Meanwhile, since he dared to hold up the NRA's juggernaut, Brooks, who is black, has received some fascinating e-mails.
"Your only involvement with the community is with African-Americans in bad parts of town," wrote one man who signed only Michael J. "Sure, the majority of criminals will not approach an old black man, but when they see me, a young white person who lives in a nice place and possibly has nice things and maybe money ... I become an easy target."
Brad Gentry threatened to gather up other angry gun owners and file a class-action suit against Brooks because they had spent so much money on required training in anticipation of the new law.
"I suspect your urban constituents consist of many criminals and crime bosses who donate to your campaign coffers," wrote tendoublem.
"You, sir, should be held responsible if anything should happen to a person who would have qualified for a concealed carry permit," wrote Kent. "It totally disgusts me that you are willing to continue to put the honest law abiding citizens of Missouri at risk."
"Your lawsuit is an attempt to hijack the will of the rest of the state ... in order to bend it to the will of your limited urban viewpoint," snarled Layton of Rocheport.
But the most persistent and unhinged correspondent has been Frank Brady, a hospital consultant, who began his letter-writing campaign with a short, spirited note pointing out, he claimed, that "the people ... most victimized by white liberal 'disarm the victim' laws are hard working, law abiding, black residents of the urban core." The next day, Brady sent a much longer rant, under the subject heading "Enough!"
"I believe that you are an incipient tyrant, Mr. Brooks. You are also a liar and a fool." When a Brooks assistant asked Brady to cut out the name-calling, he responded: "The terms you [objected to] are descriptive adjectives and they were quite properly applied to the vile, putrid, perversion-pushing, baby-killing socialist lunatic filth to which they were applied."
Whew. Brady must have gone home and stroked his handgun a little, because by the time the Strip got him on the phone, he sounded a lot more composed.
In fact, he claimed that he'd only written the first of the messages. He said the others had been sent by someone who had commandeered his e-mail account. But this lean cut of meat wasn't sliced yesterday, and it wasn't hard to see that Brady wasn't telling us the whole truth. The last of his e-mails, which contained clear references to the nastiest , contained his correct phone number and this message: "I look forward to hearing from Mr. Brooks."
Brooks did call, Brady says, and the two had a "sharp" debate.
To his credit, Brooks also bothered to contact other complainers who had left phone numbers, a move that surprised them, he says. "All I can say is, there are a lot of Timothy McVeighs out there," Brooks tells the Strip. Several of the e-mailers and callers made comments about Brooks and "his side of town." He found them "very racist."
But getting back to the highly excitable hospital consultant, Brady, we wondered if this gun lover would suggest to his clients that concealed weapons be allowed in a house of healing. Wouldn't it be better to follow the part of the new law that allows businesses, public and private, to mount a sign forbidding weapons on the premises?
"I'd tell them, if you think putting up a sign is going to prevent anyone from doing anything, you're smoking something," Brady answered.
The Strip was stunned. Did Brady actually advocate carrying handguns into hospitals?
"Well, sure," he said. "Don't you? If you were attacked in a hospital, I think you'd want to protect yourself."
This beefsteak can only hope doctors are more vigilant after the law is put into effect. They should probably get in the practice of patting down patients, even as they're about to go into surgery.
Particularly if the procedure is the enlargement sort.