Almost eerie this afternoon, reading American Rifleman magazine at Bob's barber shop: decorated to look like an old west sort of a place with old nostalgic gun and ammunition posters and antique guns displayed on hooks. I had been attracted by a picture of a beautifully engraved Benelli shotgun on the cover. I have little interest in owning one at twenty five hundred bucks, but it would be nice to hold and maybe shoot a few clays with such a piece of fine Italian craftsmanship, but I don't have the time or the venue these days.
But then there were the editorials by people such as Wayne LaPierre: mad dog drooling rage about gun grabbers and how gun control is there just to penalize good people for the sins of others. I don't know what that means, but it's Wayne LaPierre. He and the Magazine of the NRA have no other purpose than to outrage, infuriate, inflame and incite and everything seen through the filter of his insanity has the same purpose and one unifying creed: Life is better with guns and owning guns is the one and only measure of freedom. Anything and everything he writes contains the same carefully arranged sequences of inflammatory code words, honed and perfected to manipulate his flock as skillfully as any Preacher on Sunday morning TV, to achieve a transcendental ecstasy of anti-government, anti-Liberal, Anti-Obama paranoia.
Coming home on this stiflingly hot and humid December afternoon, I felt the need of a shower but not because of the weather. I turned on the news and of course there was our latest shooting -- our uninterrupted, obsessive flood of words searching for relevance, desperate to package and reissue those code words to express and stimulate the sentiments of their constituency: high power, high caliber, military style, assault weapon, semi-automatic yada, yada and all the rest. That real modern assault weapons are small caliber and lower power than hunting rifles doesn't matter since the words are not there to inform but to frighten, to enlist and to frame reality to further the mission of each and every disparate group of activists. We'll hear all about checks and shows and magazine size and even "style" before we know who did what to whom why and with which. It can wait until we're done preaching.
Who are the shooters and how many are there and why did they do it? Is there really an increase in gun violence or is there a concentration of focus? What kind of gun control would have helped if these are Jihadis? is a group of three likely to have the same modus and motives as the disturbed and suicidal teenager? We don't know anything as of the time I'm writing it, but we know what to say: gun grabber, gun nut, high caliber, high velocity, armed citizen, gun control, military style, armor piercing waiting period gun show background check registration full metal jacket. It doesn't matter except to Pavlov..
I heard a young woman on TV the other night yelling about the police. "They've got sniper guns! They're using sniper guns.!" They were tear gas launchers, in fact but it doesn't matter, Neither side is talking to anyone but themselves and in a language of their own and no substantive dialog is possible, nor is there even a common language.
And meantime people are dead and bleeding and we don't know who or why or how many.. Meantime the salesmen on all sides are offering their packaged wares. Want facts? have suggestions? Want to know what's happening? Hell no, you gun nut, gun grabber, freedom hater, murderer!