Note: I wrote this originally on July 24, 2010--almost exactly 2 years ago. Not much has changed. And in light of what transpired a week ago in Colorado, perhaps it's still relevant. Let me know what you think.
OK, I guess today’s the day that I’m going to really take a flyer and talk about something guaranteed to make every bleeding heart love me and every passionate gun-lover despise me. Yep, I’m a great big stupid guy who’s going to talk about guns.
Now, I’m not going to get into the wording of the 2nd Amendment or the philosophical debate about what it really means. (Note that I used the high-faluting word philosophical because most people are as philosophical about this topic as a loud belch at a funeral).
I’ve got my own opinion but I’m not going to express it. Instead, I’m going to touch on a narrower aspect of it that drives me absolutely nuts.
Back in my younger days (in my mid twenties) I lived in Bismarck, North Dakota. In the fall, I dearly loved to go out with friends to hunt sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge and pheasants. Three or 4 times each fall I would spend a day or weekend out in prairie country outside Bismarck with friends walking the fields, enjoying the gorgeous fall weather, enjoy the comraderie and, with any luck, knocking down a few birds which would end up on the dinner table.
The second year I lived there, I saved my extra money for months to be able to buy a shotgun. For $75 I went to a sports shop and bought a brand new Mossberg 500 pump. It was as basic a shotgun as you could buy. I couldn’t justify the extra $15 it would have cost to upgrade to a Remington 870. But that shotgun was mine. I lovingly cared for it for years. I used it on many a hunt. I taught my kids to shoot targets with it and to hunt with it. And eventually I gave it to my son who still has it. That’s what it was, a full choke, 12 gauge hunting shotgun.
Every week an “outdoor” store runs ads in the Sports section of area newspapers with its weekly specials on firearms. That’s well and good. It’s the first amendment and commerce at its finest. Interestingly, often the ads are on the same page as ads for the Boston Clinic (erectile dysfunction and sexual performance) and "gentlemen's clubs". Now I’m not even going to make any Freudian suggestions about that but the coincidence is interesting.
Nope what drives me nuts is that the ads are for firearms which have virtually nothing to do with the “outdoors” or outdoor sports as I know them. Take a look:
(Note: Ad cropped to delete name of the store)
Take a look at the 2nd weapon down. It’s a Mossberg 500 but it’s not like any Mossberg 500 I’ve ever seen. I doubt that it would be much use out in the field hunting for birds. It’s got an elongated magazine tube and no stock. Hmmmm, I wonder what’s it’s good for? Oh, yeah it says “Persuader”.
I know what this is for. It’s for killing. People.
And take a look at the 4th panel. The “Freedom Package”. Limited Edition. “Call for Price”. I don’t even want to go there. Maybe someone has seen “Red Dawn” one too many times and called out “Wolverines!”.
I guess here’s my point of view. If someone needs a “Pistol Grip Persuader” to be safe then they need to do one of 3 things:
Change your lifestyle.
And if you think you need the “DDXV Freedom Package” to preserve your freedom, please let me know because I don’t ever want to get within range of you—especially since I’m guessing that most of these probably get converted to full, rock ‘n roll automatic with “handy dandy” conversion kits that are available online.
Now, I live in a not so nice neighbor in a fairly small city in California. Sometimes at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve there can be a short round of “guess that caliber” played with the revelers who have to fire their guns into the air in celebration. But I’ve never felt unsafe. I’ve never felt like there was a need for a weapon.
And I really don’t want to be part of a community where you have to have a “Persuader” or “Freedom Package” to feel safe or free. And I really don’t think that’s what those old guys believed way back when the Bill of Rights was attached to the Constitution either.