Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Catch .22

When you do 90% of your shopping at garage sales, it tends to make you a bit naïve about the real world of consumerism. I'm sure I'd be the worst failure ever in the history of The Price Is Right, what with my impossibly sheltered exposure to reality. A brand new Cadillac Escalade, Bob? I'll say $10,000!

Well turns out it's not just my idea of what things cost that's warped. Last night we went to Academy Sports to pick up a few necessities for our upcoming vacation: water shoes, sunglasses, swimsuits, that sort of thing. I strolled down the beach accessory aisle, contemplating the potential of SpongeBob boogie boards and Jumbo Castle Molding sets. At the end of the aisle, I took a right, and found myself suddenly in front of a display of items not on my list.

Other than that living-under-a-rock thing, I have no excuse for how shocked I was. I'm fully aware that the Second Amendment is alive and well in America, I just didn't realize it was subletting space next to the yoga mats and soccer balls at my local sporting goods store. I get it that hunting is a sport. I can even buy in to the idea that it's necessary and noble, although my husband will never see me naked again if he ever pulls into our driveway with a bloody deer splayed across his Subaru.

But handguns? PINK fucking handguns?! Really? REALLY?

Not one for playing it cool when completely over-reacting is an option, I grabbed my six-year-old by the arm and yanked him out of the aisle like it was on fire. They may as well have been selling freshly severed human heads. But then I couldn't help but wander back, over and over, while my husband kept my son a safe distance from the clearly hazardous unloaded weapons. Eventually I struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter, Max, who is probably writing about me in his blog right now, too. I needed to know why the pink. Why the intentional effort to make lethal weapons look cute. He told me what any normal woman would have instinctively known, "Women like to accessorize." Then he laughed and added, "And when the manly men come in and make fun of them, I just tell 'em, 'Well wouldn't you feel foolish if you had to tell somebody you got shot with a pink pistol?' "

Oh Max, I think feeling foolish would be low on his list of pressing concerns.

So then I asked about the ridiculously adorable Deringers on display. These fun-sized versions of the weapon that John Wilkes Booth carried into Ford's Theatre to do his part for the Confederacy are now, apparently, all the rage with ladies who lunch. According to Max, the infinitely concealable Deringer is the way to go, especially in the summertime, if you don't want your piece messing up your silhouette. Linen can be so unforgiving.

I had to ask Max, how many ordinary citizens are there walking around Arkansas with these things lurking amid their Kroger cards and Altoids? At first he said thousands, then shook his head and corrected himself, "No, tens of thousands." At which point another employee walked over and really blew my mind, "No, it's more like 300,000."

I'm not going to rage against the Second Amendment. I understand that people have the right to bear arms, and to protect their families. But I don't think our founding fathers could have envisioned The Real Housewives of Little Rock accessorizing their ensembles with pearlescent pink .22s. Just as toy guns should not be made to look real, real guns should not be made to look like toys.

The Children's Defense Fund offers this chilling statistic: In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. If you must own a gun, at least have the sense to pick one that looks scary as hell. Then lock it in a box painted with zombies and tarantulas and bury the box in a pit full of pythons.

And don't invite my kid over.
. .


Judy said...

Poor Max! Just kidding.....I totally agree with you Suz. Deplorable. Your blog was interesting though so some good came from it. :)

blupencl said...

Many, many, MANY people have guns, Susan. Not PINK ones, but guns.

You need not move out in the country any time soon. :)

Nurse To Be said...

I agree 100% and love your take on it. I can totally picture your overreaction scene and I would have done the exact same thing. I despise guns!

Paul Bennett said...

I agree about the pink handles--ugh! Such a stupid sexist idea. But as for the fear of guns...

Teaching kids about guns is more effective than gun lockers when it comes to gun safety. I was raised around lots o' guns(my dad was a Marine), so I grew up knowing gun safety. I played with toy guns, but I never used guns as toys. Why? Because I knew their operation and danger, and because they weren't forbidden enticements, begging to be explored. They were just guns.

It's true that firearms are used in thousands of child homicides--the second-highest cause of death in that age group. As for accidental firearm-related deaths: In America in 2007, 121 children (ages 1-18) died from firearms accidents, almost the same as those who died in falls (122). More than five times that number (645) died from accidental poisoning that year. (source: Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html)

If we'd teach our kids gun safety the way we teach them kitchen safety or pool safety or car safety, we'd probably reduce that number to almost nothing.

bloorondo said...

I completely agree that just as toy guns shouldn't look real, real ones shouldn't look like toys.

But I also agree with Paul...that teaching gun safety is the way to go. I grew up with guns in the house--most were stored unloaded, but at least one was loaded. We were taught to treat them exactly the same way. My Dad taught me how to use a gun, and I had my first shotgun at about age 12.

I think the boogeyman approach is counter-effective...that it inspires in the uninitiated child a dangerous curiosity in guns. Among the greatest lessons we can teach our children are lessons in responsibility.

Stephanie said...

"Although my husband will never see me naked again if he ever pulls into our driveway with a bloody deer splayed across his Subaru"
- best blog quote all day!
I was raised in a hunting household, but am totally against guns. I do not believe God gave me the right to take anyone else's life. I know, I know: bleeding heart liberal. Actually, I'm not. Just a spiritual girl (and maybe a little liberal).