Understatement of the day, courtesy of Gail Collins:

There is, of course, a cultural divide between the crowded parts of the country and the nearly empty parts when it comes to guns. Residents of rural areas see them as a natural part of daily life. Those of us who live in the crowded places tend to regard them as a problem.

The column cites some interesting stats about public attitudes toward gun control. But the rest is devoted to criticizing Washington Wizards basketball player Gilbert Arenas for having an inappropriate sense of humor, in contrast to that safer role model Tiger Woods, who has an unusual libido. The implication seems to be that black men who shag a lot of call girls are less threatening than black men who make stupid jokes about guns and gambling debts. At least I think that is what Collins means by quipping:

The second thought is that the average Tiger Woods fan is a middle-aged guy who is frequently too tired at night to behave badly if he wanted to, and that we have spent the last month worrying about the wrong role model.

Emphasis mine. Honestly, there are so many below-the-surface white fears of black power here that I don’t know where to begin. Look, I think Arenas behaved stupidly and inappropriately; the NBA should make it clear to him that guns in the locker room is a serious matter, a point Arenas seems a little dense on. That said, the NBA risks overplaying its hand, much in the way Woods’ corporate sponsor defectors have overreacted to his (admittedly comical) long list of dalliances. Arenas is really guilty of having an out-of-bounds sense of humor, plus being young and foolish. Woods is a cad. All else is corporations defending their public image against ignorant fears by touchy whities like Gail Collins.

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