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I was driving down the highway one Saturday afternoon when I saw a giant billboard with a gun and an American eagle on it. The gun and the eagle were staring directly into oncoming traffic. The combination was mesmerizing. It was the most American thing I’ve seen in a long time. The gun seemed to be saying “DON’T BE A PUSSY” and the eagle was screaming “STICK YOUR DICK IN AWESOME!” A lesser man probably would have lost control of the vehicle and died like a bitch, but I simply popped a boner and smiled.
The sign read: GUN SHOW THIS WEEKEND AT THE CONVENTION CENTER.
I immediately cut off the GDI in front of me, and turned down the road that lead to the convention center. It was an unconscious reaction. I didn’t even realize what had happened until I turned into a parking lot packed full of pick up trucks with confederate flags and bumper stickers that read: FUCK OBAMA, DON’T TREAD ON ME, and PALIN IS A MILF.
I stood in line and bought my ticket for $8. When I passed through the turn style a cop standing to the left asked, “Do you have any firearms on you?”
“Not yet,” I replied.
The cop smiled and nodded with approval. As I ventured forth, I turned around to see the man behind me take an AK-47 out of its case and present it to the officer. The cop opened the chamber to make sure the gun wasn’t loaded and then handed it back.
“Have a nice day,” said the cop.
Fucking awesome, I thought.
The convention center was packed with hundreds of people milling about. There were rows and rows of tables and booths. It was like a farmers market, but without all the shitty hippies. It was a sea of assault rifles and patriotic paraphernalia.
I wandered down the rows, passing tables of pistols, shotguns, rifles, knives, swords, axes, tazers, brass knuckles…every possible handheld weapon you could imagine. Oh and they had beef jerky, the most delicious beef jerky ever conceived. Rumor has it, baby cows are marinated in the tears of PETA protestors and then humanely put down with Chevrolets.
I stopped at a table with a bunch of tacticool looking stuff on it. I picked up a Saiga 12 gauge, shouldered it, and aimed it at the ground. It had a pistol grip, red dot sight, and a 20-round drum magazine. The zipper on my pants began to break. There was too much pressure.
“That’s a fine weapon right there,” said the man behind the table. “One of the best choices for turning the phrase ‘fuck shit up’ into an understatement.”
I smiled, set the shotgun down, nodded to the man, and moved on.
The next booth was the zombie apocalypse booth. Imagine a Hot Topic that sells assault rifles. There were ironic t-shirts, bumper stickers, signs, and bright green AR-15’s covered in zombie blood. It was the fraternal equivalent of the kid that didn’t get balled because he’s a legacy. Even though the guy was selling firearms, he was still one weird motherfucker. His eyes lit up as I passed by his table.
“Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse?”
“I don’t give a shit about the zombie apocalypse,” I replied.
“It’s a metaphor. It can mean anything. An economic collapse, a bio-plague, a terrorist attack. Are you prepared to survive if the grid goes down?”
I’ve seen his type before. The fear weevils that spout off conspiracy theories, hoping to scare you into buying whatever bullshit they’re selling. Now I don’t necessarily believe in conspiracy theories, but I do have an assault rifle with a thousand rounds of FMJ ammunition under my bed. You know…to help me sleep.
“I think I’ll be fine if the grid goes down,” I said. “A one-inch group at two hundred yards is all the insurance I need for the end of the world.”
“So you’ve got a rifle? Excellent! What about accessories? Infrared lasers? Tritium night sights? Face stabbers?”
I had already blown him off and was headed for the next table, but when he said “face stabbers” I couldn’t help but stop.
“Face stabbers?” I asked.
“Yeah, dude. It looks like a flash hider but it’s really a four-pronged tactical blade that attaches to the end of your barrel so you can stab zombies in the face. You know…to conserve ammo.”
The practical side of me was immediately offended. Who the fuck would need a face stabber? How ridiculous is that? Bayonets would be far more effective. This guy was just capitalizing on doomsday conspiracy geeks and the unfortunate trendiness of zombies. He might as well be making snuff films with Jacob and a pack of rabid wolves for all the fruity Twilight nerds. Face stabbers are bullshit.
However, there was a certain part of me that got a little chubby at the notion of stabbing Twilight fans in the face with my rifle. It’s like, you’re not even important enough to waste a bullet on, so I’ll just stab you in the face…bitch.
“I’ve also got tazer swords. It’s a sword that’s rigged with five hundred thousand volts of electricity. The battery is in the handle.”
My testicles quivered as I watched an arc of blue lightning shoot up the blade of the sword he was holding. It was terrifying. I couldn’t explain why, but I wanted it. It was the most impractical toy I had ever seen, but there was something intoxicating about the sound of crackling electricity coming out of a sword. It sent little tingles up the shaft of my now fully erect concealed weapon.
Fuck. What was I thinking? How had he infiltrated my mind with such ridiculous notions? Face stabbing? Lightning swords? I had to get out of there. I sought solace in the next vendor.
There was only one gun at the next booth and it took up the entire table. It was a Barret .50 cal with an $11,514 price tag. It’s a twenty-two pound behemoth that excels at Chris Browning vehicles from two miles away. It fires the same bullet that P-51’s hazed Nazis with in WWII.
The Barret M82 is more of a cannon than a rifle. Calling it a rifle is like snorting a line of what you thought was cocaine, only to discover that it was actually crystal meth mixed with gunpowder and PCP.
“Can you even shoot that monster anywhere in this state?” I asked.
The man just grinned and shook his head from side to side. It was a piercing grin, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. It was the grin of a man who hangs onto reality by a single thread. For me, that thread is alcoholism. For him, that thread was a cannon.
It all suddenly made sense to me. All the liberal bullshit that goes on between people who don’t own guns. All the questions that don’t have answers. Why would anyone need a cannon? You can’t even legally fire it in this state. Why the fuck would anyone want it? To shoot down helicopters?
And then I understood the simplicity of the question. It’s a question that defines America and sets us apart from every other nation in history. Why would someone want to own a face stabber, tazer-sword, assault rifle, or cannon?
The answer is simple.
Because we can, and it’s awesome.
You know…because this is America.