Dear City Council,
My name is Michael Sullivan, and I own a beautiful 1943 M4 Sherman tank.
My neighbors are complaining that it’s “dangerous” or “it knocked a large tree into my living room,” but it’s basically just a large SUV … albeit with a slingshot. You’ve heard their side of the argument, so let me explain the benefits of owning such a grand machine.
One night at 3 a.m. a robber approached my house. I climbed into the tank, which I use to protect my family, and I fired a shell at him. Now you’ll ask, Michael, wasn’t that your son coming back from the prom? And I’ll say, yes, because it was, but the tank is so old that the shell didn’t even hit Jeremy.
And then you might ask, Michael, didn’t that shell hit your neighbor’s dog? Yes, it is also true that the shot killed Scout, but we are all forced to make sacrifices for freedom, and we’ll always remember what that golden retriever gave for his country.
My frightened neighbors won’t listen to the obvious solution –- everyone should get a tank! There won’t be any crime if we’re all terrified of each other.
Remember the Cold War? Everyone was scared, so neither side pulled the trigger. Now you might say, Michael, is it worth it if we’re all constantly terrified? To which I say, terror is another one of those costs of doing freedom.
The truth is that tanks don’t kill people, people kill people.
So yes, I killed Scout, but he was a dog, not a person. When I told the Johnsons I’d buy them a new dog, their five-year-old son pointed at me and yelled, “Monster!” which I thought was a good name for a dog. So I got the Johnsons a dog named Monster.
Cars kill people, so why not ban cars? You might ask, Do you really think cars are a problem? Does our economy rely on the use of tanks like it does cars? No, of course not. But, are tanks awesome? I think we can all agree that the answer is yes, and that if I were single I could totally make Jen the postwoman fall in love with me.
If the government can repossess your tank, what next? Your semi-automatic rifle collection? Your chainsaw security system? Your three-year-old Siberian tiger named Hans who you keep in the basement so that your son Jeremy has a hard time getting to the liquor?
My father and I used to go hunting in the tank, just like he did with his father; it’s a family heirloom that lets us know where we come from and where we’re going. My mother’s last words were, “Don’t tread on me!” to remind us that the government shouldn’t interfere with our right to own a tank. Now you might ask, Michael, didn’t your mom say, “Don’t tread on me!” because your father was accidentally running over her with the tank? To which I say, no. Yes, she died in that terribly scarring accident when I was five. But no, I’m pretty sure she was talking about the government.
I know you want me to address what happened with my son’s friend Tommy. He came into my house while I was away on business, went into my key drawer and decided to take the tank for a spin around town. You might ask, didn’t Tommy blow up the east wing of the mall? Yes, but it was before the mall even opened, and Jen was safely at work in the post office.
Our four fathers, or at least three of the four, agreed that Americans should be able to protect themselves with whatever we can get our hands on. It is our duty to keep the government in check with military grade weapons, like my tank that fires explosive shells. You might say, Michael, there are other ways. Please, just listen to us for once. To which I say, I don’t have to listen.
I’ve got a tank.
E.A. Weiss is a writer in New York. Follow him @EAWeiss.