Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shot at Redemption

The consensus among 2nd Amendment screamers seems to be, in their rampaging defense of so-called “assault rifles,” that the framers didn’t put that amendment in there so good ol’ boy Americans could protect their homes and property from the occasional bad guy, breaking in to steal a TV or some Sudafed. It’s there so they can protect their homes and property from Uncle Sam – should he decide to become tyrannical and oppressive. I mean, even more than usual. After all, it did happen once before, and lots of folk in the south are still pretty ticked off about their “property” just being set free like that. The gub’ment had ‘em some nerve back then.

Things were a little different back in 1787, when those long-haired founders penned the Constitution, and then a couple of years later when they added The Bill of Rights – which includes the “right to bear arms,” only after what they must have considered the most important amendment, the first one, which says this: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Then came what I suppose was the next most important thing on their minds: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Note, that doesn’t say anything about what kind of arms the people should have the right to keep. Muskets were a pretty big deal back then. And since then, there has been some difference in opinion regarding the meaning of this document between Joe Bumpersticker and Uncle Sam. The language of the amendment seems to indicate that such a right is there so the people can band together into a “militia,” if necessary, to hold off foreign invaders. But Joe Sixpack seems to think it’s there in case our own government gets a little too big for its britches and needs to be booted out. Like, for example, when their guy isn’t elected president. Enter the long clip semi-automatic rifle.

They’re not really necessary for scaring some meth head away from your door – or even shooting one if he doesn’t take the hint. Any pistol is good enough for that job. No, these beauties are just in case “Red Dawn” comes from our own military and we’ve got to mount up on our trusty nags and four-wheelers and head for the hills where we can hide out and make nightly raids on the United States Military (an organization that everybody seems to be pretty fond of, for now) and take our country back! Because the movie, you see, makes us believe that is possible. But since they’ve already made it very difficult for us to own truly automatic weapons, and tanks and stuff like that, this is the next best thing. It’ll just have to do.

Of course, these things also make it remarkably convenient for nutbags to stroll into a theater or a school and gun down a bunch of people if they take such a notion. But that real threat sure shouldn’t influence anybody on how we choose to deal with our fantasy threat. These things look cool. They make our gun cabinets and our jeans look fuller. And, by God, we want to keep them.

So, we’ve got us a gun culture, and there ought to be a way for folks other than the weapons manufacturers and the NRA to profit from it. I’m envisioning a day, very soon, when there will be a big 2nd Amendment Rally, like Woodstock…only, not… probably in the middle of Texas. Maybe they’ll call it “Gunstock.” All the bullet-belted, trigger-happy Rambos will load up in their pickup trucks and head out there, proudly displaying their armament and their rebel flags. There’ll be some whiskey drinkin’ and performances from a handful of real cowboy recording artists who support the cause; and campfire dancing by many wobbly-legged and heavily tattooed women. They’ll break up into smaller groups and have philosophical discussions about the Bible supporting their cause and what kind of weapon Jesus would carry, assuming he’s not actually in attendance. Maybe they’ll burn some effigies of Barack Obama and Piers Morgan and discuss the resurrection of the Confederacy, and fiery speakers will get them all worked up into a frothy mixture of patriotism and inebriation. A swell time will be had by all.

Then, on the last night of the festival, somebody’s big ol’ mudder pickup will backfire when they start into town to get some more ice and set off the biggest massacre in American history. Some bright entrepreneur will make a fortune gathering up and selling all those spent cartridges – and I plan to be that guy.

Meantime, I’m gonna jaunt off to the local armory and pick me up a couple of these little beauties, just in case the Decepticons decide to take over Northwest Arkansas. You think I’m joking? This ain’t no cartoon. It could happen! I don’t want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.

© 2013, Rick Baber

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