Last year you may recall that the self-certified ophthalmologist, Rand Paul, derailed the nomination of Vivek Murthy to become Surgeon General because Murthy actually believes that guns are contraindicated to good health. Now it looks like the nomination may go forward again, and to rev up support for Murthy, the States United campaign and MSNBC put out a statement blaming the NRA for a possible Ebola crisis in the United States, the logic being that any lapses in the CDC’s response to Ebola can be blamed on a lack of leadership, which can be blamed on the Senate’s failure to confirm Murthy, which can be blamed on the NRA.
Not one to ever back down from a good argument, the NRA called the charges against them “outlandish,” and went on to say that “gun control supporters will use any human tragedy to advance their anti-gun and anti-NRA agenda, no matter how ridiculous and desperate it reveals them to be.” So what Philip Cook and Kristin Goss call The Gun Debate once again becomes the gun argument with both sides appealing to emotions and fears rather than evidence-based information, aka, facts. The fact is that there’s no connection between an airport security guard who didn’t check a boarding pass and the absence of a Surgeon General in Washington, DC. There‘s also no connection between Vivek’s views on gun violence and whether Americans need to protect themselves from crime, terrorists or anything else with guns.
Speaking about terrorism, yesterday I received an email from a company marketing a product which appears to be a “must have” accessory for my AR-15. It’s a handy little gadget called a Field Survivor Tool that stores in the rifle handgrip and allows me to adjust my sights, tighten the rails, fix the ejector, clean the bore and gas key, all for only $79.95. And what’s really important about this little gizmo is that, according to the manufacturer, it’s “the one tool necessary for every AR to keep you safe in COMBAT or in play at the range.” Combat? I bought an AR so that I could go into combat? I was drafted in 1968. That’s when I would have gone into combat.
On the other hand, maybe there’s a new definition of combat that, like many millennial cultural expressions, has passed me by. Take a look at the website of the Michigan Militia, some of whose members were interviewed by Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine and I quote from their Home page: “We are on yellow alert, which means a situation is probable. This is due to threats from ISIS and a completely unsecure border. There are reports that some form of attack is imminent on the Southwestern border. Check your gas tanks and water containers.” What are they planning to do? Drive from Michigan to the Rio Grande to protect the homeland?
But you don’t need to cross the United States to get into combat. It’s a situation that could flare up at any point during the day. Here’s some advice from Ted Nugent, who avoided military service but knows a good combat situation when he sees one: “Those who carry guns had better gun & ammo up no matter where you go, carrying at least 10 spare mags or 10 spare speedloaders because the allahpukes are confident they will once again methodically slaughter walking cowering whining cryin helpless sitting ducks capable of zero resistance.” Gun and ammo up and don’t forget the handy Field Survivor Tool for just $79.95.
Want a brilliant satire on current gun culture? Take a look at this video produced by a kid from Texas named Ike Stephens. He’s a gun guy for sure, but he knows a good marketing pitch when he sees one. And with all due respect to advocates for gun control like States United, what they seem to miss is there are lots of grownups out there who really wish they were still kids but can pretend to be soldier-boy using real guns. How do you connect concerns about gun violence to those kinds of folks? Because if Ebola did start ravaging the United States, I guarantee it would re-start the demand for AR-15s.