Last week, the floodgates of listerv mayhem were unleashed when it became known that a gun shop was coming into Life in the Boomer Lane's quiet middle-class and decidedly liberal Democrat-majority neighborhood. Emails began flying back and forth with more speed than tiger-stripe mosquitoes exhibit when LBL is sitting on her front porch in the evening. Opinions were all over the map, with the extremes being, "I will throw my body across the threshold of the store to prevent anyone gaining entry," to, "Thank goodness our neighborhood will finally have a living example of what makes this country great."
The gun emporium will occupy the space vacated by a women's gym and will join several popular mom and pop businesses along the strip: a restaurant, a flower and gift shop, an art framing store and a hair and nail salon.
Life in the Boomer Lane has, for the most part, stayed away from this hotbed of controversy. But she admits that this recent reminder of the penchant for Americans to own and carry firearms calls for some explanation. She hereby gives it to you.
A note to readers: LBL writes satiric humor. She takes topics to their ridiculous extremes. While this blog is open to anyone who has nothing better to do than to read marginally amusing content, LBL requests that she not be subjected to comments with all of the reasons why gun ownership is the most important right we have ever had in the history of the planet. She has heard it all before. The NRA does a much better job than you do of promoting gun ownership in this country.
She hereby publicly states that your penchant for firearms doesn't mean that you don't love your children and grandchildren and pets. It doesn't mean that you aren't kind to your mother and remember her on Mother's Day. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt your heart when you have to kill insects in your home. It doesn't mean that you aren't a law-abiding, responsible person who gives money to those people who stand on medium strips with signs and money jars. In other words, LBL thinks you are probably a good, decent, caring person who she would be perfectly happy to have to dinner, but not to run into in a dark alley some evening.
When God created the United States with the help of a bunch of white dudes, he gave us the right to bear arms. This was because we didn't have a national army, so we had to depend on local militias of loyal citizens armed with squirrel guns. After awhile, when we beat the Brits, we didn't need a militia anymore, since we created a real army. That said, there were a lot of people living in places in which they actually needed rifles in order to put food on the table.
A national gun lobby was created shortly thereafter, to make sure that people got to keep their guns. Their original motto was "If It Was Good Enough for God, It's Good Enough For Us." Because Americans were chosen by God to have their own country, and because they are extremely plucky and creative, they took God's word at face value and started assembling arsenals of assault weapons in their homes. Soon, America became a country of loyal, gun-toting citizens, who justified their ownership of assault weapons as a natural and logical extension of owning a rifle to use during deer hunting season, or protecting their suburban homes from foreign marauders or anyone else of whom God didn't approve.
This all worked pretty well until people, including a popular Conservative President of the United States and a lot of school children, started to get shot at. A few misguided folks started making noises that maybe it wasn't such a great idea that there were so many guns around that were accessible to everyone at a moment's notice.
While all this was going on, gun ownership continued to rise, and loyal citizens started to pack heat. Gun manufacturers and gun distributors made a lot of money and had a lot of gun shows. Now, one-third of Americans have guns in their homes. One online gun emporium announces that they sell "finely-tuned fighting machines for use against all enemies foreign and domestic."
While LBL knows that the above is a corruption of the wording in the U.S. oath of office pledge "defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic," she isn't quite sure what this means in this case, since most people aren't allowed to toss their own finely-tuned fighting machines into a suitcase and fly to wherever it is that foreign enemies live. And the domestic variety, unless they are actively engaged in enemy-defining behavior, are pretty darn hard to recognize.
Depending on which source you read, we are either at the top of the international heap in gun ownership and pretty close to the top in murder rate (i.e.: more guns equals more violent crime) or we aren't. Research on the side of "we are" is abundant. Research on the other side is either endorsed by the NRA or funded by the Crime Prevention Research Center, an objective group founded by John Lott, a popular gun rights enthusiast.
The debate would have been quelled a long time ago, but it continues to rage, thanks to being funded by the gun lobby. LBL suspects that if there weren't a very large buck to be made (and shot at, on occasion), most gun sales would revert back to hunting rifles and whatever is used for target practice.
If the NRA were being honest, they would stop all this nonsense about second amendment rights and adopt the following motto: "Guns are probably really bad, but we sure do like them." (With slight modification, this tag line could also be used for industries selling cigarettes, sugar, bacon cheeseburgers and gasoline.)