I think we may need to return to dueling to settle petty personal disputes. But, as killing is currently a major social faux pas, it wouldn’t necessarily always need to be pistols at dawn. It could just be game of Scrabble where the winner gets their opponent’s thumb or a marathon where second place also means leaving town forever. The key here is satisfying one’s honor. After that, the rules of a duel need only be limited by a person’s imagination. Trying to decide which of your friends should be the maid of honor at your wedding? Perhaps it’s time they all entered a demolition derby together. Accused of leaving the toilet seat up? A quick trip to the hardware store can get you a pair of dueling hammers for under forty bucks. Someone drink the last of your juice? Pour a ring of gasoline on the living room floor, light a match, and dare them to enter your world of pain.
While dueling could theoretically be used to decide the outcome of every aspect of human life, it is probably best utilized to settle disputes between two individuals. This is my primary reason for wanting to bring it back. We exist in possibly the only period in history where it’s actually advantageous to be the victim. It’s like everyone is perpetually on trial and, when you’re on trial, it is almost always better to be the plaintiff than the defendant. If you don’t believe me consider which of the following sentences you’d rather say to a large group of strangers:
“________ threw my baby off a building.”
“I definitely never threw ________’s baby off any buildings.”
While neither are ideal, nobody ever wants to be accused. Even denying something first will immediately arouse suspicions against you. People often lack the empathy and critical thought required to cut someone a break. It’s so much easier to assume the worst at the mere suggestion of a misdeed. We don’t like to consider things like context or circumstance because it’s a lot more work. The implied notion that a person has done something wrong is often enough to damn them for it.
This week I’ve seen a lot of people publicly accusing each other of racism, philandering, and a slew of other unsavory elements. Some of these people made good points and while some had proof others had dick. But it seemed as if many were just looking to lash out because they felt badly or felt personally attacked. While I assuredly want to see evildoers brought to justice, slandering someone who is a little slimy doesn’t quite constitute that. Worse yet, many attempted to armor themselves up as appalled victims. This culture of outraged vilification and self-imposed victimization isn’t exactly healthy for anyone.
Allow me to explain a few things about life. Firstly, when someone uses hateful or insensitive language in the general sense, you are not entitled to anything as the offended party. It’s not feasible for ninety million apology letters to be mailed out when someone uses a sexist or racial slur. The hate-smith that drafted it for public consumption certainly isn’t going to put in the time to lick all of those envelopes and you can’t really expect anyone else to. So, unfortunately, being offended doesn’t guarantee satisfaction. My solution is to be proactive. Demand satisfaction via the art of the duel. This goes double if you have been directly aggrieved by someone’s actions or words. Instead of complaining openly about how wronged you’ve been, consider getting even by bludgeoning someone with a flail behind the football stadium as the setting sun glistens off the bleachers. When their broken limbs force them to yield to your might, you will finally have a captive audience at which you can calmly air your grievances.
Does it feel better to illicit sympathy from a bunch of strangers or does it feel better to smash someone’s skull on a beach with a rock as per previously agreed upon rules? I don’t think I could possibly be alone in thinking it is clearly the latter. Maybe it’s whatever primitive DNA is left in me, but I’ve definitely had fantasies about telling someone “Sir, you have invaded my character and I demand satisfaction” before heading outside and shooting them right in their smug face with a blunderbuss.
Civilization is still anything but civilized. If we are going to keep having wars, we need to seriously consider bringing back dueling. We can’t send our poor and uneducated masses off to their deaths over and over again and not allow the gentry to occasionally stab each other in the neck. A historical precedent has been set for Christ’s sake. Dueling was endorsed by the majority of this country’s founding fathers, has an extremely low civilian casualty rate, and would absolutely add a touch of class to a world riddled with reality television. The twenty-eigth amendment could very well read “every United States citizen has the inalienable right to duel and be dueled with on this, or any other, planet” if we can finally get our act together as a country. Write your likely lazy and uncaring congressperson today.