My dad is a manager at a gun company. As in, the company designs, manufactures, and sells guns and assorted gun-related goods. His office is in the factory where a number of the parts are made at, which is why I’m living in Somanyfreakingtrees, Pennsylvania. Apart from my dad being in the gun business, simply being in the more rural part of the country means that most of the people around here own guns. Hunting season is huge around here and families casually go to shooting range on the weekend for fun. My dad’s boss regularly goes clay shooting with the town mayor.
Clearly, I have significantly easier access to guns than I did in Boston.
Now, I’m not all that enthusiastic about guns. I was never fanatically against them, but neither was I all for them. I’ve shot a shotgun and a bolt-action rifle before when I was around 11 or 12 during my very brief stint in the Boy Scouts, but I don’t remember it much. I enjoy action movies that have guns but I enjoy action movies in general. As for politically, I don’t know enough about gun control laws to have a strong opinion, although I do tend to lean more liberal.
It was in this state of ambivalence that my dad suggested we go to the shooting range behind the factory. I didn’t have anything better to do on the weekend, so I thought, why not? We packed up the shotgun and pistol that my dad owns and went out to shoot us some guns.
And holy shit, I had a fucking blast.
Is there something in human nature that enjoys violence? That finds destruction fascinating and utterly compelling? Is it strange that the roar of escaping air, the firm kick against my shoulder, the sheer power in my hands, made my heart pound and grin like a maniac? Is it wrong to enjoy it so much?
Look, I understand how dangerous guns are, I really do. But, I don’t think it’s shameful to enjoy something that is potentially dangerous and violent. Isn’t that why people love watching action movies so much, because you can vicariously feel that danger? And why people love watching boxing or MMA or football or any other violent sport? Apart from simply watching these things, that’s why people go skydiving or race cars or jump off helicopters to snowboard down a mountain or shoot up heroin, right?
Okay, one of those is not like the others. Who has the money to buy a helicopter?
What I’m trying to say is that I should be able to support universal background checks and recognize that there should be stronger laws to prevent the mentally ill from obtaining guns, but still be able to enjoy target practice once in a while. It’s fun and it may one day be useful.
In fact, I’m of the opinion that everyone should know how to safely use a gun, especially the moderate liberals that I happen to get along with the best. Why? Because of the freaking apocalypse.
Everyone seems to be obsessed with the apocalypse these days, with tons of shitty YA dystopian novels being churned out and shows like the Walking Dead and the Fear of the Walking Dead amassing huge followings. There are even people who wish that a zombie apocalypse would actually happen because they think that they would be one of the few survivors, because they’re fit and white and so very special. It’s cute.
Of course, if the apocalypse actually happened, most of those people would probably be dead. One thing that I found in common with a lot of these shows is that there are an awful lot of xenophobic rural communities or hostile societies of religious nut jobs. At first, I thought it was strange how there are rarely any communities of liberal hippies, smoking weed and having lots of sinful sex while defending their territory. But then, I realized what the shows portray is probably pretty accurate. Why? Because the rural communities and religious nut jobs are the ones who have guns and know how to use them.
And so, this is a plea to my fellow liberals. Learn how to use a gun. Because I really, really don’t want to end up in a desolate wasteland with only the Tea Party for company.
And hey, you might even enjoy yourself.
Note: Seriously though, guns are dangerous so be sure to burn these rules into your brain beforehand.