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Indulging in America’s gun fantasies

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  • Indulging in America’s gun fantasies

    Indulging in America’s gun fantasies

    Emotional triggers

    By Joan Wickersham | GLOBE COLUMNIST DECEMBER 13, 2013

    THERE THEY were, just below Martha Stewart and Paula Deen and Allure in the magazine rack at the supermarket: the gun periodicals.

    I bought three.

    Back at the place where I was staying — this was in upstate New York, a week ago — I pored over the ads and the editorial content, trying to understand what they were saying, and to whom.

    First, they want you to buy a gun. It will probably not be your first gun; it will be an addition to, and an improvement on, the gun or guns you already own. It may deliver “precision firepower,” and allow you to “be victorious.” It will fit almost any need, including “tactical applications.” It may allow you to “wield the power of an entire arsenal.” If it’s a rifle, its optics can help to “deliver consistently repeatable accuracy at extreme distances and in stressful situations.” If it’s a .357 Mag six-shooter, it will “deliver the message loud and clear.” If it’s a handgun, it needs to be light enough to bring with you any time you leave home, “where presumably [you] have more substantial firepower at the ready than a concealable handgun.” If you’re a woman, you can get something lethal in pink.


    Then there are the accessories. You may be “overseas on a covert op or here at home as part of a tactical team,” in which case you’ll want a silencer, to help you “get it done — quick and quiet!” Consider purchasing 30-round magazines for your Kalashnikov pattern firearms, or ammunition that “will not clog when piercing thick or heavy clothing.” You may want to order a day planner called “Hidden Agenda,” which has a storage compartment for your firearm and additional magazines. And don’t forget to stock up on concealed-carry underwear.

    In addition to merchandise and specs, you’ll find tips. If you’re going to use a handgun to shoot at a car, you’ll need to learn where to aim to “enhance bullet penetration through doors” and “ricochet bullets across hoods and trunks to hit targets beyond.” Look for a good tailor who can alter your pants and reposition your belt loops to accommodate your holster. Learn how to cope with the stress that follows having shot someone, even in self-defense. Training in advance can help, since “the repetition serves to desensitize you to the employment of your skills, so that if you have to employ them for real, you will be ready.” But still, you may have a tough time of it psychologically, since “society will not let you feel good after you have killed someone even if the person you killed was a raging madman trying to murder you.”

    Post-Newtown, post-George Zimmerman, when so many people are baffled by America’s gun culture and the failure of Congress to push back against the gun lobby, maybe we can learn something by looking at the gun periodicals and the stories they tell, both explicit and implicit. The gun books are full of the fantasy of being the aggressor, of wielding power (the Kalashnikov upgrades, the silencers). But there’s also the fantasy of being the protector. There’s talk about hunting and competition, but the real story is about an America whose currency is violence and whose message is shoot or be shot. In this story you are Clint Eastwood, or Rambo. You need to be prepared — for a burglar, for someone else’s road rage, for an attack that will require you to ricochet bullets across trunks, for the end of civilization (“My wife has more freeze-dried food than I do, and my son has more ammo,” says an article titled “What Gun is in Your Bug-Out Bag?”). One of these days someone is going to threaten to use deadly force against you or your loved ones. Maybe you’ll need to use your AK-47 or Sig Sauer P226, or maybe brandishing it at the guy who is pointing his AK-47 or Sig Sauer P226 at you will actually prevent a gunfight.

    The only person I’ve ever known who died of a gunshot wound was my father, who shot himself with a handgun he’d had for 20 years; he bought it to protect his family. The really dangerous fantasy is thinking that despite, or even because of, all this deadly firepower, no one will get hurt.

    Joan Wickersham’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Her latest book is “The News From Spain: Seven Variations on a Love Story.’’
    Well, you can't fault the research method. Whenever I need a lot of insight into women's issues, I head straight to Cosmo, Woman's Day, and Self. Based on that, the main issues confronting women today involve belly fat and becoming (or remaining) relentlessly sexually available to both friends and strangers while being an involved Mom and triathlete.

    Gun owners who buy those magazines are doing it for the entertainment value just as women are entertained by Vogue. The gun owners don't imagine themselves having a Special Ops career just as the women don't imagine themselves buying a $15,000 buck casual handbag.

    Boston Globe
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    According to this logic everyone who buys a car that can go faster than 70 mph is a street racer.
    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

    -John Locke

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by scott View Post
      According to this logic everyone who buys a car that can go faster than 70 mph is a street racer.
      This just such a poor way to make a point. If I advocated Zero Population Growth, I wouldn't base my argument on the editorial and advertising content of Parenting or Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        I saw a conservative message board one time where they had an entire section devoted to quoting and discussing the most outrageous examples of partisanship they could find on a liberal message board. This is kinda like that.
        Enjoy.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
          I saw a conservative message board one time where they had an entire section devoted to quoting and discussing the most outrageous examples of partisanship they could find on a liberal message board. This is kinda like that.
          Since the op-ed isn't about conservative message boards, it kind of isn't.
          "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
            Since the op-ed isn't about conservative message boards, it kind of isn't.
            I see. It isn't about women's issues either, but feel free to make comparisons.
            Enjoy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
              I saw a conservative message board one time where they had an entire section devoted to quoting and discussing the most outrageous examples of partisanship they could find on a liberal message board. This is kinda like that.
              Fortunately we have you and Billy Bok to post the most outrageous examples of liberal partisanship on this board so we don't have as far to travel.
              We are so fucked.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Norm dePlume View Post
                I saw a conservative message board one time where they had an entire section devoted to quoting and discussing the most outrageous examples of partisanship they could find on a liberal message board. This is kinda like that.
                It's really not, but go ahead with your narrative. It's too bad you're just here to troll.
                "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                -John Locke

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a great public service liberals perform, decreeing what people think, feel, and are motivated by.

                  Thank Gaea they're here to tell us what we think.
                  “I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
                  I aim with my eye.

                  "I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
                  I shoot with my mind.

                  "I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
                  I kill with my heart.”

                  The Gunslinger Creed, Stephen King, The Dark Tower

                  Comment

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