Richard in NY*· Gold Bullet member
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tuco, at the risk of sounding servile, I have been one of your biggest fans since I first found your site back in 1998. You created what for me has been my home on the internet. The one place where I am most comfortable and the place from which I derive the most satisfaction. When you stopped posting daily five years or so back, I genuinely missed your presence. I never found myself in disagreement with any of your posts and I viewed you as a kindred soul. Please trust me that this sympatico, Vulcan mind-meld deal is or me, a rarity."3 members whacked today. Hope that serves as a lesson"
I would say the same exact thing about Vic, with one minor exception. Eleven or twelve years ago he posted that you could remove the plum coloration from the bolt carriers of the imported, re-arsenaled Tokarevs by soaking them in toilet bowl cleaner. It's heartbreaking when you discover that your hero has feet of clay. Vic never posted that tip again, and over the years I have convinced myself that it was a momentary lapse of judgment, an aberration in an otherwise sterling record. Or perhaps it was only a bad dream!
Your quoted post (from Vic's warning thread) however, has unsettled me.
I genuinely do not know whether my presence here on the board is compatico with the new directive that you both have established. Rationally, I feel "safe" because I do not believe that I have ever received an infraction for expressing my opinion. (Disclosure: I did receive one for responding to a purchaser's post on one of my ads and the mod considered that an unfair "bump", but I don't believe that's germane to this discussion.) But irrationally, I feel at risk. I feel constrained and no longer free to express my opinion. It's a very uncomfortable feeling.
Rationally, I also remind myself, that I frequently render assistance to members, new and old, who are in search of information. I try to post interesting topics and share important facts and observations. I never hesitate to congratulate someone on an admirable acquisition, but I also rarely hesitate in meeting head-on a foolish proposition or statement when one is posted. So I find myself wondering, am I one of the endangered few. Does the sword of Damocles waver over my head?
I'm sorry if this sounds melodramatic. Despite my flippant allusions, I am sincere and my concern is heart-felt. I ask not because I am fishing for complements, I'm not that insecure. Clearly, as anyone who has read my posts can attest, I march to my own drummer and I have never sought admiration by appealing to the masses. I am a contrarian by nature, but a reasoned one at that. My online "persona" is identical to my real life personality. There is nothing I have ever posted that I would not say in person to the intended recipient. Nothing.
Some are guilty of letting their fingers tap the keys without first tapping their brain cells to compose their thoughts. I'm not guilty of that sin, but I must confess that sometimes I put too much thought into a forum topic. I am also guilty of sometimes failing to follow-up when I state that I'll come back later to a particular thread to post my opinion. The problem is that so very often, the topic in question is too large and unmanageable to address in a few lines or sentences. More times than I can count, I have spent hours ruminating over an issue and charting in my mind a response that could cover dozens of footnoted pages. I have to remind myself that few if any care enough about my views to justify even a fraction of the time it would take to compose some of the replies I am tempted to post.
Opinionated, yes. A blow-hard, hopefully not.
I am certainly more of a strict censor of my words than anyone else could possibly be for the simple reason that my words have far more significance to me than they could to any other person. I am guided by my own sense of propriety and sensibility. I believe that a person can legitimately be judged by their words and opinions, so I take great care when expressing my opinion lest I be judged lacking. I may attack someone's ideas, but I don't believe that I am guilty of sinking to personal attacks.
I am not afraid of anyone's opinion and I will gladly entertain a contest of words and beliefs. With anyone. What could be more civilizing than the free expression of opinion and a contest of ideas? If you believe in something, how can you not feel compelled to promulgate those beliefs or defend them from attack? I believe what I believe strongly and adamantly and I endeavor to justify my opinions rationally and intelligently. There is far too much false bravado online and I hope never to add what already exists.
Tuco, Vic, I am not trying to be a pain in the neck. I respect you both too much for that and I like this place too much. I just don't know whether I can continue to freely express my opinion or whether after all these years, I have to change. I hate uncertainty. So I have to ask:
Is it safe?