There's nothing funny about children suffering from gunshots -- and, in the last few years, more than 7,000 American kids under 20 do each year. What's even less funny is that hundreds of these kids are killed by other kids. Not deliberately. But because the adult owner of the gun left a loaded weapon where kids could find it.
I have some personal experience with guns, none of it pleasant. As a Cub Scout, I once found myself in a backyard with other Cubs. They were brandishing BB guns. "Run," they said, and raised their rifles, so I did, and they blasted away. Decades later, I collaborated on a novel with a Mafioso. It hit some resistance from publishers, so he put a pistol to my head and encouraged me to say my prayers. (Speak no ill of the dead? Nonsense: I was thrilled to hear he killed himself.)
So when Bill Maher mocked a 34-page illustrated book for children called My Parents Open Carry -- "If mom and dad are both safe because they're packing, why, on the cover, are they using their daughter as a human shield?" -- my brain automatically recoiled and I refused to think about it.
Then I watched Stephen Colbert.
Again, it seemed too silly to take seriously. Consider: The book tells the story of 13-year-old Brenna Strong, who spends a Saturday morning running errands with her mom, Bea ("Be Strong") and her dad, Richard ("Dick Strong"). Just like thee and me -- only Mr. and Mrs. Strong carry handguns for self-defense. Openly.The authors' motivation:
We looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any. Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense.
Again, like a defective Glock, my brain jammed.
Then my wife told me that the book was one of the biggest sellers on Amazon -- and that a third of the 300 Amazon reviewers gave it 5 stars.
I wondered: How could that be? And before I knew it, I'd read all the 5-star reviews.
Yes, there were sincere reviews from gun enthusiasts, like these:
Teaching our children about the 2nd Amendment is of paramount importance in these days of mindless liberals trying to take away the basic God given right to protect one's family.
Why bother educating your children on the facts and reality they will face in life? Keep your heads buried in the sand, Libbys! Chicago Jesus and his storm troopers will be there in your moment of need! No need for you to learn how to protect yourself!
I would recommend this book to anyone that carries a firearm with kids ages 5-10.
But most of the 5-star reviews would be right at home on Gawker. Slapping 5 stars on top? Pure irony. Or snark. And they were sufficiently ironic and snarky that they were funny-in-a-black-humor-kind-of-way, and I decided that although these were totally offensive and non-PC, they were worth sharing because, these days, it's hard to find any kind of humor. So.....
The book was a great way to bring up a few difficult topics with my remaining child, such as why she doesn't have brothers and sisters anymore or a left ear. I can't wait for the sequel: "My Parents Accidentally Shot and Killed My Best Friend." In fact, the whole series is bound to change the way we look at this misunderstood group:
- "My Baby Brother Shot Me in the Face with My Parent's Gun."
- "My Dad Got Really Mad at My Mom But Fortunately He Had a Gun Handy So He Could Teach Her a Lesson."
- "My Dad Protected Us By Mistakenly Shooting a Trick-or-Treater in the Face."
Or my personal favorite: "My Parents Are Ignorant Throwbacks Committed To The Glorification and Perpetuation of Deadly Violence and the Reckless Endangerment of Everyone Around Them."
Sequel: "Heather Has Two Glocks."
Sequel: "My Dark-Skinned Parents Open Carry. Or At Least They Did Until the Cops Shot them Fifty-Two Times."
I read it along with "Sandy Hook Massacre: When Seconds Count, Police Are Minutes Away," and it really set me up for a cozy night in.
I was having a hard time explaining to little Billy why daddy needs to carry his AR-15 into Chipotle when he goes for burritos but now, finally, I have a book that helps. Looking forward to the follow up: "It's Okay, He Was Wearing a Hoodie."
Based on the gay porn 'stache and Max Factor eye-lights, Dad may be open about carrying his gun, but I think there's something he's not being open about.
A must-have for all those who think that mandatory wheelchair ramps are part of a United Nations' plot to turn America into a Marxist slave nation!
"Open Carry" isn't a verb. And I'll stand my ground and shoot in the face anyone who pretends it is.
But we shouldn't end this on a note of ha-ha, however grim. This one's the keeper:
I hear a sequel is on its way, and I have the perfect topic for the authors. "My Classmate Open Carried, Killed a Fellow Student, then Killed Himself, " a true story based on the events at Arapahoe High School on December 13th, 2013.
The authors can interview the kids who were traumatized by the sight and sound of bullets flying nearby. They can interview the children who had to walk through the bloody halls with their hands in the air as they exited the building. They can interview the students in the library who were trapped in the same room as the gunman, not knowing whether they would live or die and, as a special bonus, got to watch the killer shoot himself in the head, collapse and die.
Kids' books usually include pictures and the police have plenty to share -- the innocent and dying female student, her riderless horse attending her funeral along with 6,000 Colorado residents, the dead body of the male shooter, the bloody hallway, the damaged library, the emergency room filled with doctors trying to save the victim, etc.
It's time to get real.
[Cross-posted from HeadButler.com]
Follow Jesse Kornbluth on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HeadButler