When I was 12 or 13, I joined a group called the Explorer Scouts and their membership was comprised of both males and females. There was a weeklong trip into the woods where the group stays in cabins and it seemed like a great potential for rookie nookie.
The smell, the old man had already referred to it as “brimstone,” seemed to not only infiltrate my nostrils, but also into my eyes causing me to well up. The old man was distracted, barely paying attention, and I peered to the paper that seemed miles away from me. While the image was of four concentric black rings, the innermost of course solid, when I focused instead on the three white circles that made up the space in-between, I spied a speck of black in the center left quadrant of the middle white ring. My first shot in life was kind of on-target.
“It’s the Ammo shortage since Obama took over,” he said shaking his head, and then with empathy,
“It drives the prices right up, especially for recreational shooting.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked, ignorant to the gun community-at-large.
“Well, Obama doesn’t like guns and God knows what he’ll ban, but no one is taking chances. The military, the police, guys like you and me, have all been buying up the bullets faster than the companies can make them.” He placed another box of Winchester .380 rounds in front of me and rang them up. I handed him a twenty dollar bill, he returned a five to me.
I placed a call to the Remington ammunition and components plant in Arkansas to get to the bottom of the shortage posing as the spokesperson for a group looking to open a gun club and range. A kind woman named Patty told me that I could order as much as I wanted. She informed me that the company was doing well, despite the poor economic times they had their “best year ever.” I was informed that while it was once a three-shift operation, they were now working “around the clock,” and that by the first of the year everyone would be able to earn double-time overtime.
“No,” I lied.
“Well, you see since Obama got elected, it is only a matter of time before he bans assault weapons again or starts banning handguns. A lot of our customers are buying as much ammo as they can and, I don’t know why, but the price is going up. We still have great deals, you want to reserve some with a credit card just in case?” The man waited in silence, a master pitchman, letting the silence build with the fear and tension that might build if I actually believed this swine.
As any Gun enthusiast knows, what happens in the sporting goods stores and gun clubs across the country bears little effect on the Hajj like pilgrimage to the anything-goes gun show, a whirlwind of arms dealing. I walked into a sea of denim and camouflage clad people milling about tables with all sorts of weapons, ammo, and accessories. Yet it seems the shortage has stuck here as well, the boxes were not piled as high and the selection of weapons and rounds, and the amount of deals offered, were not as varied as they once had been. As I browsed the tables examining the other wares offered, I was stunned to see an SS-style knife, complete with swastika, for sale at a table. As I traced the outline of the swastika with my finger, the very fat man behind the table began telling me about the knife and his other “World War II” collectibles, mostly from the losing side though.
“But did this knife ever slay a Jew, I wonder?” I mumbled. The fat man looked at me uneasily, a question he had apparently never considered. I walked off shaking my head. The was not the last piece of Nazi paraphernalia that I would see for sale that day, nor was it the most disturbing item being sold.
It was there that I laid eyes on the T-Shirt that asked the question that started this column, “What would Jesus Shoot?” The answer, on the back, is “An AR-15.” I spoke to the man selling the shirt and was amazed to discover that this shirt was designed WITHOUT irony in mind.
My friend was also wearing a t-shirt that read, “Marriage is SO gay.” For the most part of the day, most of the folks that read the shirt either didn’t get it or completely misinterpreted the meaning of the shirt. Said one mulleted man (or woman?) “Ha Marriage sure is gay. Single is where it’s at!” As I haggled with the man selling the shirt, I saw him notice her shirt and I could tell he GOT the joke: that she was wearing a pro-gay marriage t-shirt to their tea party. He chased after us to give her a free t-shirt, implying she should put it on immediately. We left the gun show with a heavy heart and no guns or ammo. Our beloved firearm pilgrimage had been taken over by extremists.
The huge moustache on the other side of Glenn Beck spouts off both that “Police can’t protect you,” and that the President was going to impose a 500% excise tax on guns and ammunition, a complete lie.
When it was over, it was discovered that Poplawski feared that Obama was going to take his guns. He shared videos of Beck’s program talking about FEMA concentration camps, where the normally reasonable Ron Paul validated his nonsense for what is surely a political move. You can practically see him compromising his integrity by saying the concern is justified.
The segment I profiled earlier about guns and that the police weren’t protectors aired only 5 weeks before the shootings occurred.
(Originally Published on Matt's Naked Word in 2009. Edited for formatting/typos 2016)