Steven Weissman

My sin was asking you not to cut in front of my son and me, and the other 10 people in the membership line, at Costco. You blew up and challenged me to a fight in front of my 3-year-old son. For the record: I am six feet and 220 pounds of sinewy MMA-trained whup-ass ready to spring. You are an overweight fiftysomething living the Joe Pesci Goodfellas dream. My wife asked me not to beat up any more guys like you, even if you insult my child and me by telling us we stink like the rest of our kind. I knew you wanted it, you fucked up, aged-out Zimmerman clone. I could tell by the way you kept reaching in your pocket, fingering the trigger of your gun while you followed me around the store, confronting me three times. Did you feel good intimidating my son to the point where he started screaming at you to "Shut up" over and over? The people of this city were so confused, they couldn't understand why the fit black man was asking the staff for help with a fat, balding chump like you. They aren't trained to see the gun you were carrying. I am. You're lucky the Costco employees intervened, because I am not that far removed from my old life—one where a phone call would have had a squad of highly trained, armed young men and women waiting for you and the gunfight you were challenging me to outside. With your small pocket gun and your Charles Bronson/Bernhard Goetz complex, you would have never stood a chance. Didn't you wonder why I never called the police? We know they won't help. They won't protect us. We read the papers and watch the news. Next time you threaten someone and feel secure because of your gun, realize this: We are young, armed, and smart. We are not afraid. We are educated and rational. We know the law and our constitutional rights. We are "liberals" who support the NRA for one reason: So when assholes like you present yourselves, we can protect ourselves. We train for this as a community. You were right about me—I am dangerous. You felt it in my energy, saw it in my eyes. But you are lucky—lucky I embrace the positive aspects of this city and its people, lucky my wife saved me from myself five years ago. But most of all, you are lucky because I want my sons to be free from the anger that consumed my young adulthood, to never struggle with these same demons that haunt me. You should have bought a lottery ticket, you punk. It really was your lucky day.

—Anonymous