Welcome to the Gun Show

     My uncle, an ex Marine and retired police detective, taught my brother and myself how to shoot.  We’d drive into the desert and set up targets–phone books and soda bottles at first, and eventually paper rifelry targets once we achieved proficiency. 

      The first gun I learned on was a .22 bolt-action rifle from Walmart.  It was a Ruger.  It was a thing of beauty.  I was a very good shot–better than my brother, though that could be due to the age discrepancy.  Shooting is the only sport besides swimming that in which I’ve possessed a natural affinity.  

      Everyone in my family owns guns, including my father, that paragon of positive mental health and good parenting.  Technically he should be disallowed from carrying because he’s been institutionalized, but my home state is very, well, gun-happy.  They are not going to let a few domestic violence charges and suicide attempts impede an honorably discharged veteran from exercising his God-given right to bear arms.  

      Laugh or cry?  Laugh or cry?  Laugh, so you don’t have to cry!

      My mother, a tiny blonde lady who volunteers to clean her Church on Fridays, owns a shotgun.  I have handled this weapon with my own two hands.  If you shoot someone with it at close range, it will blow them in half. 

        My Uncle rolls around with an armory in the back seat of his car.  The good news is that he doesn’t drink and he is actually quite responsible. And a very good shot.  As long as the car doesn’t catch on fire, nothing bad will happen.

         My first gun was a .32 Smith & Wesson long-nose revolver.  It is a thing of beauty, with a lovely wooden grip.  My brother bought it as a gift for my birthday.  We got it from a pawn shop by the grocery store. I had to sign a paperwork saying that I had not formally renounced my United States Citizenship and that I did not intend to use the gun to kill anyone, and that was that.  I was 19 years old.

        The people in my home state are armed like Arabs.  You know when you seen crazy Arabs on the news, shooting at the sky whenever they’re at a wedding?   Or a funeral?  We’re like that.  Shoot when you’re happy!  Shoot when you’re sad!  SHOOT WHEN YOU’RE ANGRY!

        When Obama was elected, the town sold out of ammo.  My brother, an otherwise sane and intelligent young man, is convinced Obama is coming for his guns.  I cannot convince him otherwise.  He votes Republican because of the guns.  My family are otherwise Roosevelt Democrats. 

      My brother hunts.  I honestly do not like to think of the number of animals he has shot out of the sky.  There are taxidermy specimens all over his house, including a bear he killed with a crossbow.  Poor thing (the bear).    

    I completed an 8-hour course in formal firearms training to earn a concealed carry permit.  It was taught in my living room by a retired marine who, for reasons which remain obscure to me, brought along his German Shepard.  The class cost $185. Then I could pack heat anywhere I wanted, except for campus and government buildings.  And I was drinking at the time.  GUNS IN BARS!  GOOD IDEA!  WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

         Did I ever tell you that half the professors in my Department had concealed carry permits?  It’s true.  We couldn’t wear the guns to school…but we had them.  We’d talk gun shop in the faculty lounge.  My Chair was a civilized, cultured man with a beautiful house decorated in a nautical theme.  He was a ferocious Right-wing hawk and there was a picture of himself shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld on his desk.  He owned an arsenal that he showed off to me when I visited his home for the annual faculty BBQ (I brought my famous homemade man n cheese with bread crumb topping.  I hadn’t developed the anorexia yet.  I saved that for the Ph.D. program). 

        My brother wears his gun to Walmart.  He wears his gun to bars (at least he stops at 2 drinks).  He wears his gun to Dunkin Donuts.  He wears his gun to the hospital (but not to the VA hospital–that would be illegal!) Why not?

          I have a photo of my Uncle in Vietnam, moving sandbags.  He has a rifle on his back.

          I have a photo of my father shooting a massive piece of artillery at the Army base in Frankfurt.  A true Cold War classic, this photo.  Especially since he’d hang with the Fam on his off-time. 

         Laugh, or cry?  Laugh, or cry?

         Laugh so you don’t have to cry.

6 thoughts on “Welcome to the Gun Show”

  1. Fuck all of your readers who have yet to bless this post with comments. I love you for posting this, it reawakens my latent optimism for the future of America. I love the fact that the second there’s one more mass shooting, before the first screams for further gun control bleat out, there’s already a mad run on gun stores which can’t possibly keep up with the demand. Widespread gun confiscation cannot happen in America without armed insurrection. Tell me I’m wrong?
    Margo, you came from a truly great family (excluding your father), they may be left wing economically, but in terms of lifestyle they are right wing to the core! I bet they have total distain for the identity politics of the modern new left and I fucking salute them for it!

    Here’s one question, why is it that every attractive, educated female, no matter her background, universally abandons her heritage and culture to embrace fucking Trotskyism, or some similar left wing ideology? I wish women were more right wing! I absolutely have hope for you that you may return to your senses and move radically further right, at least in time.

    I want to say how jealous I am of you Americans, and you specifically, I was born in 88′, they took all our guns in 96′. Gun ownership is almost completely illegal in Australia, I dare you to envy us, tell me if the slightest twinge of it creeps up. Tell me you want this piss weak faggotry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4WgWYjavEc
    I have further advice, but I’ll leave it at, and link you to one more video to hammer home my message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7s9CLSWIVY

    I really like you Margo.

    1. Dear Anon;

      Is this some sort of joke…? You know this blog post was very heavy on the sarcasm and irony, yes…?

      Or are you being ironic with me, and I’m too dense to see it?

      Women go left-wing because 1) they do most of the child-rearing and the familial household stuff, and this makes us much more sensitive to the needs (and suffering) of others; and 2) we are not violent assholes. Unlike men. Because Patriarchy (and biology, I guess).

      Thanks for reading. I guess.

  2. Strange. I come bearing good news and bad news.

    The good news.

    I have, but 10 minutes ago, watched an interview with an American professor called Spitzer.

    80 million Yanks have guns. That is actually *down* from a few years ago when 1 in 2 of you had guns. This may be the effect of people’s reaction to the regular shooting sprees that kill so many innocent victims.

    The 80 million who have guns must own more than one, because the total number of legally-owned guns is more than 300 million.

    Also, a little-known factoid. In the so-called ‘wild west’ at the end of the 19th century, only around 10% owned guns. The rest didn’t.

    Now the bad news.

    You lose in gun murders every year the equivalent of three 9/11s (most of it black on black). But nobody dares to point this out because thanks to bastards like erstwhile Australian, now born-again Yank, Rupert Murdoch, and his organ-grinder’s monkey, Ailes, many Americans are now living in a state ot total cognitive dissonance – or as Marx would have called it ‘false consciousness’.

  3. There is something kind of magical about guns. What makes them so beautiful? Perhaps it is that they instantly instill its holder with some God-like powers. The power to take a life, the ability to project power from afar, and the ability to make those around us quake in mortal fear. That power can bring your subjugates to their knees. As the saying goes, everyone is a black belt in a Smith & Wesson.

    Of course, those are the worst of the God-like powers. The ability to create life, lift others up, heal, inspire art, and generally bring out the best in oneself and our fellow mankind are not powers that guns possess.

    But they are fun to shoot. I own no guns, nor would ever allow any at my home, but I’ve shot everything from a .22 pistol to sub-machine guns. It was fun. Holding all that power in ones hands is exhilarating, and a little scary. One slip could mean someone’s life, even at a range.

    I’ve heard that guns bought for protection often end up being used against their owner. I think situations where having a gun benefits their owner in a way that makes a real difference are very few; by the time you know you need the gun, it’s too late. I think the 2nd Amendment has been badly misinterpreted (“well regulated militia”?) and that the framers of the Constitution had no idea what guns would become. I think the idea of an armed citizenry repelling a foreign invading army (or aliens) a la Red Dawn is ludicrous. If the Chinese or Russians ever invade, knowing that 300 million guns exist in America, they’ll just bomb us all to hell and then move in the troops in overwhelming force.

    I think guns should be much more regulated, and that some types should never be allowed to leave the gun range, ever. That said, owning a gun for hunting, for use at a range, or for protection in high risk situations may be okay. Otherwise, no.

    1. Hi Downlow! Thanks for this great comment!

      I agree with everything you said 100%.

      Shooting is an incredible power rush, and, yes, it is fun. I completely understand why so many men, especially young men, gravitate towards guns. I see all these photos of young guys posing with their guns like they were Dirty Harry or someone and I think they look like dummies, but I understand why they do it.

      I can also say that I slept much better when I kept my pistols behind the headboard of my bed…even though, as you say (and as my Uncle, who was a cop and in a position to know), believed them to be nearly useless for home defense.

      Gun culture–the gun nuts–are sick. I’ve been to several gun shows. I don’t think most Americans, even gun owners, have any idea how repulsive and paranoid gun culture really is. Those people, the Black Helicopter crowd/militia types, are ugly in the extreme. Just ugly people. Morally twisted. Selfish and stupid and paranoid. I would be surprised if they even read Tom Clancy. Probably just Guns & Ammo magazine and Soldier of Fortune. Maybe Field & Stream.

      And yes, the idea that these moron white trash (and I say that as self-identified white trash) could defend themselves or the nation from a major invading power or our own rogue government is the silliest thing ever. They live in lala land. I interviewed some of them once when I wrote a paper about domestic terrorist groups.

      There is something artistical and almost spiritual about target shooting as a sport and riflery. I used to be on a competitive shooting team (can’t do that in NYC). Did some Biathlon (cross-country skiing and riflery), too. I suck at downhill skiing because I’m too risk-adverse, but am better at cross-country.

  4. Hi Margo

    My father was a hunter. He owned a deer rifle and two shotguns. I went out with him a couple times and although I like nature and being outdoors I decided it wasn’t for me, but I don’t have any moral or ethical problems with hunting. He once told me that firearms are nothing but tools each made to do a specific job no different than a hammer or a socket wrench. He was a Korean War vet and I don’t know what he made of these yahoo’s running around with military style weapons. Sometimes I wonder if he was on to something. That if we could remove all the myths and romance that surrounds firearms and show them for just being tools with no more romance and power to them than hammers or wrenchs maybe we would have less gun violence in this country.


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