Dec 22, 2021

Merrie Olde England, Guns and Grappling

An important one-sided conversation about a genuine issue

By Ed Goldman
Do you love the word “grapple” as much as I do?

It’s not exactly an onomatopoeia. That’s a word that sounds like what it’s depicting, like “sizzle” or “plop”— and not, despite how it sounds when spoken aloud, what two-year-old boys yell to their mothers when nature calls and they can’t quite reach the doorknob on the closed bathroom door.

Edgy Cartoon

In Living Colour

Yet “grapple” still evokes imagery of animals in close combat, like wild bucks tangling up their antlers in each other’s. Can’t you hear it? Grapple, grapple.

It’s also a good word for what members of the United States Supreme Court do as they wrestle their way to the complete cessation of gun control laws. Recently, the Gang of Nine even referenced an English law from 693 years ago (that’s almost 84 centuries in wild-buck years).

“The Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether the Second Amendment gives Americans a right to carry a loaded gun when they leave home—and some justices are looking back to the England of 1328 for an answer,” according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times. 

This is a pretty neat trick, considering the first firearm was invented 36 years later (in 1364) by the Chinese, according to various sources— as well as this column’s very senior firearms historian, Ivana Hughes-Blanks.

In light of the murder of schoolkids, postal workers and next-door neighbors, I’d say I’m not sure why this argument about gun laws persists. But you and I know the multi-pronged answer to that: (a) gun manufacturers; (b) gun owners; and (c) the lily-livered, money-grubbing, largely amoral gasbags we elect and re-elect to public office year after year. (Please be assured that the preceding sentence was bi-partisan, multi-partisan and possibly trans-partisan. I hope that covers and annoys everyone.)

Well, if we’re bound and determined to hang onto ancient British law when it comes to the “right” to bear arms, maybe we should just admit we made a mistake in 1776 by declaring our independence from British rule and start accepting some of the customs and traditions we rejected. These would include:

  • The right to skip dental appointments for the rest of our lives;
  • The right to prefer scones over bagels, bangers and mash over burgers and fries, a boring British actor like Colin Firth over an obnoxious American actor like Adam Sandler, and “telly” over “idiot box”; 
  • The right to see as a superior world leader a nonagenarian woman with a handbag welded to her forearm and 36 Corgis rather than a septuagenarian man with obvious hair plugs and no internal censor;
  • The right to deliberately mispronounce French words and wear plaids, stripes and polka dots simultaneously;
  • The right to misspell words like “honour,” “colour,” “realise,” “tyre” and “tunne” while pairing plural verbs with singular nouns (as in the Brits’ version of the classic American tune, “Hail, hail, the gang are here”);
  • The right to call our backyards “gardens” even if all we raise there are crabgrass, dandelions and bee-loving/child-panicking pussy willow trees.
  • The right to call what would be a “private school” in America a “public school” in the United Kingdom—except for Scotland, where men wear skirts, thereby disqualifying them from this discussion.

Okay, let’s end here. Onomatopoeia.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


Especially at this time of year, smart business leaders know that by being enthusiastic about giving, they increase the chances of keeping their employees happy—and in turn, their companies thriving.

Feeling happy is intrinsically important. Compensation and recognition are crucial to our lives—no doubt about it. And, as business leaders, we will be happier, our employees will be happier, and our customers happier if we share the wealth, from the top of the food chain on down. Even Ebenezer Scrooge finally found that out.

This isn’t just an optimistic notion. It’s been scientifically established that giving makes our body release endorphins, which makes us feel happy—and we’re happiest when we give more. Our own happiness also inspires others to be happy and give more.

In the process of giving, we discover that every moment counts—and that true giving comes from the heart, without any expectation of reciprocation or applause.

Now—right now!—is the time to give. Build giving into your business budget. Think about Scrooge (when he reformed) and give to your employees and your neighbors in need.

A friend in the Sacramento community informally predicted that 2022 may be the year that nonprofits either make it or break it because during the pandemic, grants and public funding started drying up. Funds are tight, needs are heightened, and it’s altogether expected to be a tough year ahead.

I’m very proud that Golden Pacific Bank is a community leader in giving—not just financially, but also with our hours and hours of service and sharing. Over the years Golden Pacific Bank has provided money and services to more than 100 local and deserving non-profit organizations. We have been publicly recognized for this effort—including when, in 2020, Golden Pacific Bank won the Sacramento Business Journal Corporate Citizenship Award.

Giving is one of the best investments you and your company can make toward achieving genuine happiness while being a light in the communities you serve. It’ll also make you—and a lot of other people— very, very happy.

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