N ew Mexico State, one of my alma maters, called the Aggies, uses the symbol of Pistol Pete as a mascot. He's also the same character used by Oklahoma State and University of Wyoming.

As the mincing tip-toe of political correctness creeps across college campuses it leaves in its Gerber baby food wake an homogenized landscape of, not diversity, but a beige sameness. It is as if the designer of the universal architecture of Waffle Houses was now assigned to stifle and subdue any malignant spots of individuality with the university system.?

To the point, after more than 40 years, the muffins of P.C. have disarmed Pistol Pete. It was deemed too controversial by those who know best. That, in a land where the First Amendment exists only because of the Second. In a country where the NRA is more powerful than the unions. In a state where people pay money to come hunt. Where the Spanish, Native American and cowboy culture rules. Where they invented the atomic bomb. Where humans still believe they have the right to defend themselves. Pistol Pete can't be shown with his pistols.

What a bunch of babies we have become. Maybe Pistol Pete should be wearing diapers -- hat would not unfairly intimidate our football foes like the Lobos, the Wildcats, the Bruins, and the Rams. Or he could be wearing a mortarboard and robe. We could choose an inoffensive name, more in line with the Ivy League teams -- the Yale Elis, the Harvard Elites, the M.I.T. Molecules, the Bryn Mawr Bunnies. How 'bout The New Mexico State Tassels?

Soon it will spread past the Atlanta, formerly called Braves and the Unarmed Pistol Petes to include such threatening mascots as the Raiders, Steelers, Giants and Oilers. Even the Red Sox and Orioles will be considered a threat to the spectrum sensitive.

We will eventually resort to numbers only, all drawn randomly, which will last until the cell phone companies cry foul. It will never end. Well, this has gone entirely too far. I can hear the indignant cries and whimpers of the politically correct whose main purpose, of course, is not to offend anybody, and now they've offended me.

Let me offer a compromise that will put both sides at ease: allow Pistol Pete to keep his guns but run a disclaimer like they do on cigarette packs that says "In accordance with the PCPP (Politically Correct Pompoms) Pistol Pete's pistol's are not loaded."

Whoa, that takes a load off!

Baxter Black, author, cowboy poet and former large animal veterinarian, lives in Benson, Ariz.

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