Just days after Lincoln Reese, my three nephews and I left Vegas this March, a nutcase on a bus opened fire, killing a guy and shutting down the Bellagio casino where we placed most of our basketball bets. Luckily, the weirdo only had a pistol.
Then last month, a truly evil loser opened fire — this time with monster guns modified to act like automatic rifles, killing 58 and wounding 500 — on that same Las Vegas strip we so giddily patrolled. Now, one of my nephews owns and absolutely loves semi-automatic weapons and we’ve had a couple spirited debates about the necessity of such mass destruction tools.
What he fails to take into account is it’s the very thing that may undermine the second of what was to be our annual March Madness dream trips. His worrywart wife has seen enough and threatens to put the kibosh on our party — just one more innocent victim of easy-to-get, rapid-fire toys.
Now don’t read me wrong … I’m far from a liberal reacting to every shooting with cries of gun control. I have my own .357 that offers security, and the day they outlaw guns is the day they shoo my hungry cats off my body and peel my revolver from my cold, dirty hands! Can I get a “Yeehaw?”
I hail from white-tail deer country where quail (aka “bob-whites”) walk gingerly and rabbits often dye their hair white, pretending to be household pets. Heck, Elmer Fudd grew up near me. So before you brand me a tree-hugger, bear in mind, we Pittsburgh steel mill boys are rarely accused of political-correctness. In fact, I coined the phrase, “Keep the women barefoot and pregnant.”
But what would a guy like me — a law-abiding citizen with no dreams of criminal notoriety — want with a gun capable of dropping 180 shoppers a minute? And it’s not just me; I’ve heard several otherwise Second Amendment fanatics questioning that same thing lately.
I know what the founding fathers said, but come on: We’ve all heard the clichés about those muskets that ruled the day and took minutes to reload. If you’d have warned our wig-wearing founders about AR-15s, they’d have chuckled and said, “Yeah, right, and someday horseless carriages will go 100 mph on cruise control. Give me a break!”
I realize many advocates fear the government suddenly, violently oppressing the people, but after 45 presidents, not one has expressed the slightest desire to slaughter their constituents. Past history seems to indicate America is too great, too Godly, too busy living the dream to roll that way. We tend to weed out those kinds of tyrants with frequent elections.
Sure, rapid-fire wielders will survive nuclear winter and foreign invaders intent on removing our heads longer than me and my .357, but how long before they question their grand plan? Might they soon say, “Dang, this mountain life isn’t anything like the movies. We’re low on food, my little girl has frostbite, and there’s really nothing to shoot at.”
My head might be perched on a post well before that, but with our electrical grids destroyed, thus no TV, I’d much prefer reaching heaven before the survivalists living on skunk meat and melted snow.
Back in my roofing heyday in the 90s, I shingled Jim and Madonna Zumbo’s mountain, A-frame roof, giddy to work for an accomplished author (not unlike myself) featured every month in the nationally adored “Outdoor Life.” But Jim committed the monumental sin of posing that common sense question of whether budding serial killers really should have access to weapons of war not afforded the police. The NRA strongly suspected commie subversion and made sure hometown icon Zumbo lost his job quicker than an M-16 can obliterate an ASPCA convention.
I guess I’d just prefer a maniac on the second story of the mall brandish a shotgun, or better yet, a musket, than a machine gun. I’d at least like to have time to grab the guy next to me for a human shield.
Ah, but you know me better than that. Were I really in the crowd of a mass-shooting, I’m sure I’d be hailed as a hero, telling the attractive reporter, “Nah, I don’t see myself as a hero; I just did what any other man packing a .357 would do in the same situation.”
And then I’d invite her and Jim Zumbo out for a frothy Colt-45.