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NRA Crisis

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 Just how useful is your little Glocky-Wock going to be against a lunatic with an AK-whatever?

Another massacre, this time in Aurora, Colorado. Not by a foreign terrorist. By one of us. By one of the most fortunate among us. As we go distractedly about our business, three questions come up:

– Why does this keep happening?

– How can we protect ourselves?

– How can we stop it?

As I went about my own day, I passed by the gun shop in the mall I frequent. On the window was the sign of a protection consultant: “Refuse to be a victim” it said. In the adjoining window is an ad for the versatile Glock pistol. The shop is, of course, full of guns of all kinds.

All of this brings back a memory not quite a year old. A few weeks after I moved into my new house, a team of robbers kicked in a door when I was out and took a few things—an unused TV screen in a trunk, an old laptop, some alcohol. They dismantled my beds and emptied my dresser drawers looking for money and weapons I assume.

The incident didn’t bother me that much. It may have been teenagers. They didn’t damage anything but the door, and it must have been clear that a return would not have been fruitful, since I’m not inclined toward the techie stuff they can hock.

My brother was concerned, however, and soon he and his wife came up from Texas to visit and show me a weapon they hoped I would acquire. An accomplished hunter, my brother knows a lot about guns and has quite a collection. This one has a laser beam to aim with, and it is small and easy to handle. Fueled by a margarita, I succumbed to an Annie Oakley moment and committed to buy one.

The next day, however, I came to my senses. I would not own the gun; the gun would own me. I’d have to start going to a shooting range to get comfortable with it. And I would live with troubling questions. Under what circumstances would I want to carry it with me? In the meantime, where would I put it in the house to make sure it was safe and yet accessible? (If I had had it under my pillow when the robbers hit, they would now have a very nice, expensive new gun.) Could I actually shoot someone with it? Would my shadow come up so that I started hoping for an opportunity to shoot someone?

I ultimately decided that owning a gun would kind of ruin my life, and I declined to get one. I put the new carving knife I got for Thanksgiving turkey in the closet instead. I didn’t tell my brother, but I’m doing this for him.

I’m basically not a fearful person, but I see how profitable fear is in our economy. Insurance companies, security companies, investment companies, pharmaceutical companies, and on and on continually foment anxiety so that we will buy their products and services. And gun companies really have a racket. They not only create the reason to be fearful, they also manufacture imagined protection against it.

However, the National Rifle Association (NRA), their most powerful ally, is really stupid, if you can forgive me for being so blunt, in forestalling legislation to prevent the sale of automatic weapons. Passions are running high right now to acquire and tote guns everywhere, but I have a question for the inflamed: Just how useful is your little Glocky-Wock going to be against a lunatic with an AK-whatever? Hopelessness is looming, and the NRA needs to get on board with leveling off the playing field, or whatever the expression is. Automatics belong with guys who have signed up for uniforms.

After walking by the gun shop, I went on a little curiosity tour of the store where I sometimes rent videos. I had decided to count the number of videos in the main rental section that had guns on the covers. I wasn’t statistically impeccable in that I didn’t count the total number of different videos available. However, of that number, seventy-six had guns of some kind on the cover. (Swords are another big category.) I challenge you to do the same. Check it out, and you’ll be amazed. There are also more and more movies featuring women blasting away. Equal rights, you know.

So if we’re wondering what’s causing these tragic episodes, all we need to do is go look in the mirror. We love violence in all its forms. We find it vastly entertaining. And nothing is going to change until we change. I left the video store with no movie but with a resolution in hand. It starts here. I’m never again renting a video with a gun on the cover. If nothing else appeals, I can entertain myself.

3 Responses to “NRA Crisis”

  1. Paul Karlstrom

    Dear CeleryEllen,
    Thanks for the thoughtful reflection on the sad event in Aurora and the infuriating national situation regarding guns in America in which it must be viewed. Ann and I listened today to a well moderated, mostly civil, and intelligent (one side more than the other) discussion on local NPR that brought out in high relief the gulf between reps of the gun control forces (neither adequately strong nor effective so far) and the weapons/firearms advocates (hysterically defending our rights to assault weapons which they absurdly seem to equate with handguns: all weapons are the same and must be protected!) who stridently and self-rightously–as self-proclaimed “true” and “truly free”–Americans, insist that we are at risk of being stripped of our Constitionally guaranteed liberties (a debateable point). Yes, I agree with you that fear is a most persuasive weapon in our political environment (reaching a politically manipulated high water-point in the wake of 9-11) and is a key factor in the inflamed–and misleading–rhetoric of the powerful gun lobby. I think you made the right choice when you decided not to jump aboard by buying a lady’s Glocky-Wock. We’re not hunters, so we’ve never considered doing so. And we live in what was, when we moved here some 27 years ago, a very sketchy neighborhood with several shooting murders to its credit. Much better now (no place is 100% safe), but you get the point.
    Paul
    p.s. I love your blog. Keep it up, and I’ll try to make my comments brief.

    • celeryellen

      Many thanks for your thoughtful comment, Paul, and don’t worry about being brief. I always enjoy and am edified by what you have to say.

      And thanks also for the encouragement. I eat it up, of course.

      E

  2. Kate Heath

    I agree with your point about the fear factor. Even though I would like to be the person who knew what to do in a crisis, a little voice of realism tells me that I would probably give up the gun to the bad guys. Managing a situation likes that requires training.

    In the meantime, I live along without anxiety in the knowledge that the odds against being confronted by a gun are with me. And if I ever wind up on the short end of those odds, I will have had the the benefit of all of the years of not being afraid.