Pistols at Dawn

Say Hello To My Little Friend!

“Pistols at Dawn” by Peter Carlson was seriously funny and shed a lot of light on dueling. The only two duels I had ever known of were Hamilton vs. Burr, and the one with Washington and his giant swords. The way Carlson worded his article was witty and blunt, informative while enjoyable.

“Jackson pulled out a pistol, Sevier, who wasn’t carrying his pistol, ran behind a tree” (Carlson, 38). The story of the almost duel/ongoing dispute between Andrew Jackson and John Sevier was the best recount of a duel I had ever read. They reminded me of a Jane Austen novel called Mansfield Park. Sevier reminded me of Tom, the obnoxious, crude but altogether cowardly brother, and Jackson reminded me of Edmund, the honorable but sometimes too serious brother, trying to protect his Fanny Price. To me, Sevier sounds like a kid who thinks he knows everything.

I’m pretty happy that duels aren’t popular anymore because the whole fiasco involving Taylor Swift and Beyonce, then it would’ve translated to Barack Obama and Kanye West would have ended up having to duel; not to mention Lady Gaga would be a mass murderer. Still, the overabundance of slander and insults thrown around amongst “friends” is inexcusable, and incurable, because, as we all know, words can hit harder than a pistol, and slice deeper than a sword.

In some ways, other than proving stupidity and pettiness, duels proved a man’s chivalry and bravery. Now, people murder in cold-blood and without giving the victim a chance to fight back and survive. At least in duels, there were no victims, only participants.

We still have a lot to learn about being good to one another; and, being the selfish creatures we are, learning how to speak with love and not venom or jealousy will be especially difficult. It’s odd but the more I learn about the past, the more I regret living in the present.