In case you missed the bravest piece of journalism since Brian Williams landed with the first wave on Omaha Beach, Gersh Kuntzman of the New York Daily News went on a field trip to shoot an AR-15 after the horrifying terrorist attack/hate crime killing spree at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. His goal? To see how scary and evil the inanimate object that can only hurt innocent people in the hands of evil bastards and negligent morons really, truly is.
(Never mind that an AR-15 wasn’t used in the shooting. Whatevs.)
So what was Kuntzman’s conclusion about the AR-15? That it kicks like a bazooka (a trait that, of course, makes an assault rifle easy to wield and thus gun down scores of people, obviously), sounds like a cannon (I admit they’re loud, though a TFM writer who is currently on active duty in the army disagrees), and just an hour with them can cause PTSD.
Reading Kuntzman’s piece inspired me to respond, you guys. Why? Because a few months ago I shot assault rifles for the first time at my cousin’s ranch. Turns out, my experience was even scarier than Kuntzman’s. We are brothers in fear, so I too must share my crazy scary story of firing a gun in a safe and controlled environment.
I gripped the AR-15 and immediately felt a cold rush down my spine. The chill entwined my backbone. Twas was no ordinary winter’s chill, and no happy memories of sledding down a snowy embankment was I reminded of. Rather, the chill was a ghostly, lonely caress — as though souls lost in time had joined me, the dastardly rifle acting as a lighting rod of despair, attracting all those mournful ghouls to weep in my presence, and of my present. They had been lost, somehow, and so too was I now upon placing my once innocent hands upon the black demon stick before me.
Fear not, though, fair reader. I am but a simple journalist, existing for what but to sacrifice my fair and noble soul for thee? And sacrifice I did. I did indeed. Indeedidly I doth sacrifice for thee. For my soul is neither fair nor noble on this day. The day since. The day on which the light touched the earth but was taken from me. The day I was reborn a rogue. Elaborate I shall, though warn of triggers I must, both literal and super literal, for those be the only two kinds.
A thousand souls wept upon my own fallen spirit as I nestled the hell pole into my shoulder. And though I looked upward to the goddess and begged for forgiveness, I knew my task had only begun to begun. Against all natural instinct I forced my finger to graze the trigger gently, though no gentleness did I feel in return. Nay, NAY, I felt nigh but violence pulse through me like dark lightning through a crucifix. And like a crucifix touched by the devil, I could feel my life begin to turn upside down.
“Go on and pull it,” the man behind me insisted, as though the safety of everyone standing behind me, if not a 20 mile radius, weren’t in jeopardy.
“Go’n,” he said again.
He cared not for life, a sentiment I would have revolted at if not for the power of the rifle consuming my spirit, driving me to destroy.
“Fire. Fiiiiirrrreeeeee,” a raspy, guttural voice insisted. Twas not the man’s though. But whose? With great fear I let my eyes investigate before the voice drew me to its source.
“Fiiiiireeee heheheheheehe,” it goaded and chuckled with the glee of a genocidal clown-witch. There and then I saw the source. Twas the blackness of the rifle itself beckoning me to unleash the hate inside my soul and the contraption itself.
“Releeeeeaaaasee meeeeee,” it squealed with a shortening patience, hungry for destruction like a vampire piglet fighting to suckle from a blood lactating teet.
My conscience begged me to flee. My fear — and duty to you, fair readers, who are oh so brave for even reading this (but not as brave as me I’m like really brave now) — compelled me to stay. And so I pulled that trigger, that latch of terror, that hang down of horror.
The metal beast boomed like a volcano. It kicked like a wild skeleton horse from hell. I lost control of my bowels but somehow was able to hold the rifle steady. The noises shook me to my core. Death does not always sneak in the night. Sometimes, He likes to make an entrance.
The sonic booms from the barrel preceded again, and again the jackhammering of the stock, which punished my shoulder and pushed my collarbone to the brink of shattering. Who could wield this power but a man strengthened by sheer evil? Then I realized… I was wielding the power.
Existentialists claim than in moments an eternity may exist. Before the afore scribed moment my innocence was erased in a rape of fire I would have greeted the notion with a raised cappuccino and a cheers. Perhaps suggesting that were it true I may finally find some time to restore that old brass umbrella stand I found some hobos using as a number-two only toilet.
No longer, fair readers, can I raise a cheers to my hobo toilet antiquing project upon the idea of extended time. I have been trapped in time, now. My very aura ripped to shreds by a prism of violence, into which the white light of my innocent, gun-free soul entered, and from it only shades of red — of blood — exited. For as the bullets left the instrument of genocide I was embracing as though it were a child (hell’s child, methinks), I fell into the void.
And there, I sat, upon a dead a Viet Cong, sawing off his ear with a bayonet and saying to a man called ‘Slim’ that I, “Can’t wait for that good sideways Saigon pussy.”
And there, I stood, manning a machine gun in the belly of a bomber plane, watching London below me burn, shouting in German, “Your Limey babies will burn with the Jews and the Marxists” to the cheers of my Luftwaffe brethren.
And there I lay, quietly and still, lining up a boy no older than 16, his head peaking out of the trench, curious, but thrilled at the great adventure before him. The only thing that could wipe the excited look from his face was my sniper’s bullet, and it did. Right out the back of his skull in an explosion of pink and red and youth lost.
And then I found myself in a strange land. A future place. Giant, glimmering, terrifying machines which possessed a might not known yet to man (save for the AR-15) raced past me firing their pulse cannons and heat rays at the well entrenched Clagarian lines. I shouldered my own assault laser and scanned the horizon. A Harzjinger class shock trooper darted out from behind a wall. I captured him in my sights. Computer displayed his information on the HUD. His name was Golphart Rectuminus. Father of 13. Volunteered as a deacon of the Q’trun Temple in the Xqptzasss province. Still I fired, and as the trooper’s skin melted off his body and his skeleton disintegrated, I knew that thirteen more Clagarian children had been orphaned that day.
And so I fell through the ages, burning, pillaging, killing, and conquering until the very mouth of hell opened before me, and the great lord Satan beckoned me in. His fire was warm. It welcomed me like a hug from a good friend in a wooly sweater. I wanted to join the Dark Lord and dance in puddles of blood with his demon mistresses. All the violence of all the ages swirled about me.
Satan, he the great god of death, turned to me and opened his mouth to speak. His breath smelled of sulfur and suffering.
“Guns are cool. I like guns,” he said to me.
It was then I knew, amongst all the violence of all the ages that have passed and have but yet to come, that guns were super duper wrong and bad and I hate them because I’m a good person.
I could call Gersh Kuntzman a pussy, but it’s cheap and I happen to think quite highly of vaginas. The truth is he’s just a shitty journalist. His article is nothing but a series of lies and exaggerations, made for no reason other than to stand out in the sea of anti-gun pieces written after the horrifying events Orlando. Even he knows this. (He really does.) I’m sure he’s genuinely anti-gun, but he still knows his article turned the drama up to 11 for #clicks. And, fuck us all, it worked so he learned zero lessons about good, responsible journalism.
I don’t hate the pro-gun control crowd, uninformed and jaded by narratives as the majority of them may be. I think wanting less easy access to guns is a reasonable thing to want, though I don’t agree with it in a broad sense. (However I do think certain new restrictions should be put in place, like the type that prevent a two-time member of the FBI terrorist watchlist from buying lots of weapons so easily, or maybe at all. Doesn’t bother me because I’m not ever going to be suspected of being a fucking terrorist.)
But why don’t we maybe express these opinions, you know, not like a lying, emotion manipulating asshole looking to score extra clicks for minor personal gain by taking advantage of people’s genuine fears and tears? I swear to God I get more upset at how poorly people argue and express their opinions than I do at the opinions themselves these days. Gersh Kuntzman isn’t a pussy. He’s a manipulator and a whore..
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