If there was one moment in the last few years which reminded me of how fuck*d up this country has become over guns, it was when Sleazy Don introduced one of his guests at last night’s SOTU address, an 81-year old from Pittsburgh, Judah Samet, who just missed being inside the Tree of Life synagogue last year, but also just missed being incinerated in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945. 

              Now the idea that Sleazy Don, who somehow couldn’t distinguish between some college kids running around a Confederate statute and a bunch of Nazis yelling anti-Semitic slogans at Charlottesville, would cynically use this man’s life to promote his warped views of American values isn’t bad enough. What’s worse is the fact that this schmuck New York landlord has gone out of his way again and again to push messages supporting the idea that walking around with an assault rifle is a good thing.

              If it were the case that a gun will really protect you from being the victim of a violent crime, then go ahead, buy your gun, go to the range, practice shooting it all the time and just make sure that the target you are using actually moves – do all those things in a regular (let’s say weekly) way and maybe, just maybe you’re ready to defend yourself with a Glock or an AR-15. 

              But the truth is, you’re not going to do all those things and sooner or later, usually sooner, the gun will wind up in a drawer, or under the mattress or somewhere else where it shouldn’t be found. And then what do you do when the gun is found by your four-year old who then shoots you in face?

              My point is that the gun industry exists to fulfill the fantasies of lots of grown men who grew up watching Dirty Harry or Bruce Willis movies, and the gun makers, knowing they are selling a product which nobody except cops really need, is very adept at catching and channeling the feelings created by cultural motifs that celebrate the positive role of guns. Is there any guy who doesn’t feel an emotional surge every time Old Glory is hoisted at the top of Mt. Suribachi or as Virgil, Morgan, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday walk towards the OK Corral?

              Two weeks ago the gun industry held its annual trade fest, the SHOT Show, at Las Vegas, with the theme of this year’s show being ‘Gear Up.’  What kind of gear are they talking about?  What this means is any product connected in any way to military-style weapons, in particular assault rifles which used to be known as ‘modern sporting rifles,’ but since Trump came along, sporting guns are out and tactical guns are in.

              One of the featured items at the FN booth was the assault rifle pictured above. It’s a civilian version (meaning it shoots in semi-auto mode) of a design model known as a SCAR, which stands for Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle, which is carried by combat units just about everywhere, particularly special ‘ops’ units whose job is to get in quickly, kill as many as they can, and get out again. Now if this gun doesn’t evoke the greatest fantasies of all, I don’t know what does. Think about how we got our hands on Osama bin Laden, okay?

              You can own one of these pieces for the paltry sum of $4,500 bucks. And what you get for that mere bag of shells is a gun that is considered – ready? – the non plus ultra sniper gun. Now why in God’s name does anyone need a sniper gun?

              The shooter who walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue didn’t have an FN SCAR, but he did have an AR-15, which does exactly what the SCAR does except at a much more reasonable price. And the fact that Trump continues to promote the violence caused by such weapons while telling us that surviving a mass shooting is what makes America ‘great,’ has to rank as about the sickest commentary on gun violence that has ever been made.