The Guns

Via the Crack Den, somethingAmanda said here caught my attention:

Gun nuts in genuinely rural Texas can afford to be a little more laid
back, because their geographic isolation somehow proves their bona
fides, butthese suburbanite twits have all that much more to prove,
because their shiny suburban existence just makes them feel even more

It’s the idea of guns as status symbols that interests me, because I grew up with and around hunters and I can’t say any of them spent a serious amount of time talking about their guns. These were guys who ate what they killed and in some cases that food was integral to feeding their families, and their guns were tools, like a tractor would be to a farmer. The guns had purposes and these guys were no more attached to them than they were repelled by them. They didn’t display them for their friends. Only assholes did that, posers, stupid-ass amateurs who got drunk in the deer blinds and fell out every season and broke their ankles and got themselves shot because they were acting dumb.

Which is why the gun fetishizers annoy me. Having guns for them is like having a really big gas grill for someone else, a way to say to the neighbors that you’re one of them, a way to say you’re part of something. An acquaintance once displayed a pair of matching Glocks, his and hers, and though I’m not gun-phobic I am show-off-phobic and it struck me as a cheap way of asserting power. Cheap, and unnecessary. I kept wanting to say, “What the hell are you going to do with that, really?”

My brother and I were never allowed, as
children, to see our father’s gun, much less load or shoot it. If we asked about it,
we were told very sternly that guns were not toys for children.Toy guns, for that matter, were also banned in our family. Shooting wasn’t funny and it certainly wasn’t fun. It wasn’t something you did lightly. It was work, not play. Maybe if you see it like that, you’re less likely to need to use it to pump up your ego, make yourself feel better, make other people scared.


9 thoughts on “The Guns

  1. We grew up with 2 guns, a .22 rifle and a 20-gauge double-barreled shotgun. No kid was allowed to mess with the shotgun, until the youngest kid was old enough (8) to handle it. We all learned how to shoot it well enough to hit a tin can at 3-4 yards — basically, we could shoot a poisonous snake.
    Funny thing is, we kids never did use it to shoot a snake. My mom shot a rattler once, and my dad blew the head off a moccasin once, but otherwise, we whacked the snakes with rakes or shovels, or just ran away, or once (when I was 12) hacked it to bits with a machete.
    One good use for a shotgun, is to prune a dead branch out of a tree, if you don’t want to take the risk of climbing the tree.

  2. Guns are as useful to urban living as a tractor is. The big difference is that many urban livers do buy a mini-tractor so they can play with it, like others play with model trains. That mini-tractor could perhaps seriously injure the urbanite, but it would take an extremely stupid one to be subject to that. But, even mini-guns are capable of killing people – in fact there is no other use for them in an urban setting.
    Now let me explain why I am sure the sun will rise tomorrow.

  3. Montaq,
    What about heavy duty Tasers and pistols that come in designer colors (so they can color-coordinate with your other fashion accessories)?
    My dad was a lifetime member of the NRA. I won a couple of awards for marksmanship. It was a firm rule that rifles were locked up. I enjoyed target shooting as a skill. Oddly enough, I feel no need to have rifles around the house today. Definitely don’t see the need to advertise by walking around town with a bazooka. (and I live in a hunting area – listed by Outdoor Magazine as the best Whitetail deer hunting. I’ve tried hunting. There are other things I like more.)

  4. I live in gunville. We are/were national leaders for murders and shootings. I grew up on a farmette with a 22 and a shotgun with a drunk/druggie for an available parent – like a fair quanitity of urban Baltimore children. Except their caretakers favor pistols and automatic weapons and heroin.
    Growing up, everyone, including me, shot the rifles with no training, no gun safety course and the guns were stored without locks. I hated them.
    We had these sheep – about 6 of them. One day, someone shot them all. I have always believed that one of the family did it – there was so much rage flying every which way. I am grateful it was the sheep.
    The primary purpose of guns in Baltimore City is to shoot people. Everyday, I look up how many shootings were in my local area and I count the dead on my own private scorecard.
    Fuck the NRA.

  5. Visiting relatives down south, I went to a hunt’n & fish’n superstore that opened up recently. Was flabbergasted to discover a kid-size shotgun with a pink stock for sale, apparently for young daughters of the hunt’n & fish’n folk.

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