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    Monday, August 08, 2022

    How long until we see a gun at a local sporting event?

    Let's talk about guns today, shall we? Guns. Guns, guns, guns. Seems all the rage now.

    On one side of the house divided, we have the All Guns Are Bad persuasion, forgoing nuance for a character assassination of poor Gus from Griswold, who might like to hunt, shoot skeet or just go to the range.

    Then we have the apostles, quoting the Second Amendment verbatim and knowing one more fact than the rest of us about Constitutional interpretation, as if they'd just played 18 with the framers.

    Now we add another platoon, the Supreme Court, the erstwhile guardians and interpreters of the Constitution, who have devolved into another partisan political production. Its rhetoric tethered to the recent decision to strike down a New York gun law was a better fit for the blatherers on Fox News or MSNBC than a law journal.

    All of which leads us here: There will never be compromise. Never. Because compromise is no longer the objective. Our intentions and ambitions are to devalue and discredit the other side, get a pound of flesh if possible and revel in being right. And as the previous paragraphs suggest, we are all wrong.

    Acceptance of the futile gun conundrum hearkens one of my favorite bumper stickers: "Since I lost all hope I feel much better."

    And so I ask the following question: How long until we see a gun at a local sporting event?

    Make no mistake: There are plenty of guns at local sporting events. We just haven't seen any. Yet. Please don't be naïve enough to think that all 1,500 people at a big high school football game or a gym full of folks at the basketball game all arrived unarmed.

    Let me also suggest that gun-toting is equal opportunity and non-discriminatory. There are just as many folks from the country, for example, inspired to carry a gun in public as the big, bad city.

    The question: Are we prepared for a gun at a game?

    Because the time is coming.

    And for those of you who believe "it could never happen here" ... look around. Society is becoming more volatile. This past school year at local sporting events, there was a bottle-throwing incident between student sections, a fight in which spectators from the stands spilled on to the floor ending a basketball game early and a kerfuffle after a girls' basketball game whose residual effects still echo in Ledyard and Colchester.

    I saw two adults pushing and shoving each other in the stands at a varsity lacrosse game. Athletic directors tell me that unrest in the crowds encouraged them to escort umpires and referees to their cars after games. I witnessed numerous incidents where administrators and sometimes the police threatened to remove spectators from the premises. Recently, an athlete from St. Joseph of Trumbull was arrested for stabbing an athlete from Fairfield Prep to death.

    Perhaps we'll disagree here — if that's even allowed anymore without reflexive moral outrage — but is it so farfetched to think that as society grows more volatile, future such incidents won't lead to a gun?

    I'm thinking, for example, how fans are spread out at a high school football game. They're not just in the bleachers but along the fences that surround the field. It's a significant area for security and police to patrol at night, not to mention space for various unglued members of society to start trouble.

    Or a local gym in the middle of winter, where people are shoehorned. Most entered the gym with puffy winter coats, leading my mind to wander ... and wonder about what weapons could be concealed in them.

    I suspect many of you will view this as alarmist. I'd suggest that you don't see what I see. I'm around people of all backgrounds regularly. And they're getting angrier. All of them.

    Crowds help make sports great. We've certainly had many examples around here over the years. But sports produce unique emotions. Fans are close together and often prone to, as one sociologist wrote, "take on collective moods and actions of the assembly." Throw in the influence of alcohol or other substances and the only thing that's predictable is that situations remain unpredictable.

    Happily, school's out now for a while. Vacation offers opportunity to reflect and prepare. I just don't want any administrator to remain naïve enough to think that the guns aren't coming. The guns are already here. We just haven't seen any. Yet.

    And in absence of leadership and compromise, the guns aren't going away. Ever.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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