Here’s an open secret in gun culture: We’re defending a constitutionally protected hobby, and we know it.
I’m a gun owner and have spent countless hours of my life sitting in a cabin in the woods, talking about guns with other gun owners. We talk about how gummint is threatening to take away our guns. We talk about the relative merits of open carry and concealed carry. We love it when someone brings a new gun to try out at the range — and we do, in fact, mutter “Get some! Get some!” when firing a new, powerful weapon.
When we’re really getting into it, we talk about how if it wasn’t for folks like us, we’d still be British subjects, and we cite the latest story in Guns and Ammo magazine about the 80-year-old lady who blew away the young punks who tried to break into her home and how, if she hadn’t had a gun, she probably would be dead, or worse.
There’s a lot of sense in keeping weapons around for hunting. Deer and other game generally don’t let you sneak up and stab them to death. I never bothered with a hunting license, but lots of the guys also talk about kills, sharing meat with poor families down the road, tradition, and how beautiful the woods are just after the snowfall.
There’s some sense in the home-defense argument — even if the statistics don’t bear out the safety of keeping a firearm in your home. That’s because people generally trust themselves not to screw up, leave the gun where a kid might get it, or become so depressed that we off ourselves.
But we also know that if home defense and hunting were the only arguments we had, someone might note that we don’t need military-grade weaponry for either, so it’s really important to blow smoke about how we’re the last true defense of freedom against tyranny.
That, however, is complete and utter BS. It has been since the Wright brothers.
Look, whenever one of us starts popping off stupid about fighting a tyrannical government, ask us how the hell we’re gonna stop a cruise missile. Ask us how we’re gonna shoot napalm out of the sky.
Their response will be to minimize the argument and say that we doubt the government will ever go that far, which means, I suppose, that the tyrannical government of our imagination will choose to fight fairly against our plucky army of revolutionaries in the best spirit of American freedom.
That argument is just so cockamamie that it needs to be dragged out on the street, tarred, feathered, and driven from the town square.
Truth is, we don’t want to give up our military-grade weapons, because they are fun — and screw you. Our good time on the weekend is more important than keeping your kids alive and unmaimed. We are, in the end, a bunch of selfish a-holes who lie to ourselves and to you about being great American heroes — but really, we just like to shoot stuff. We don’t know you or your kids, and we’re selfish to the end.
Stop treating us like responsible Americans. We’re not.
Michael Tallon is a writer and magazine publisher from upstate New York, currently living and working in Antigua, Guatemala.