Two-Thirds Can't Be Wrong

Recently I sent an e-mail to a friend that included a picture of a nice young woman shooting a colorfully-attired AR15.

For those not fully up to speed on gun jargon, an AR15 is the semi-automatic version of the rifle the U.S. military has used for several decades. Semi-auto means that each time the trigger is pulled, only ONE cartridge is fired and only ONE bullet heads on its merry way in a linear path from the barrel, in contrast to a fully-automatic gun which can shoot multiple cartridges per trigger pull and is found in every TV show from CSI and West Wing to reruns of the Golden Girls nowadays.

AR15s are expensive guns ($700 and up) but their modularity makes them a natural for hobbyists. Despite the so-called Assault Weapon Ban a virtual cottage industry has sprouted these past few years offering people the option to buy the rifles with various caliber conversions, various sights, left-handed models, special triggers for precision target shooting…all sorts of things to let each owner personalize his or her firearm. The manufacturers had to take off the flash hiders and the bayonet lugs to comply with the "ban," but otherwise anyone could still get the exact same gun during the whole ten-year period. Even magazines over ten rounds capacity remained fully available because only new production was banned.* All previously produced "high capacity" magazines were still sellable, and there were literally tens of millions of them. The only change was that their prices went up a little.

Returning to my e-mail, my friend responded to the picture with a "What's up with that?"

I figured my response was so insightful that I should share it.

Hi Paul,

What do you mean, “What’s up with that?” Didn’t you get the memo?

There's a new strategy because “2/3rds of all Americans favor renewing (and extending) the ban on Assault Weapons (and all other scary things, to be defined by cosmetic features, but let’s not go there again).”

The key is to make the guns less scary-looking.

It was on Comedy Central's The Daily Show the other night, didn’t you see? He had a segment on the ban’s expiration (Jon Stewart was hardly kind to gun nuts, but hey – they’re nuts – so who cares about u2018em?) and reported how many of the "banned" guns stayed on the market because their makers altered the guns' cosmetics. Sure enough he showed a picture of a rifle with pink furniture. [Editorial note: Furniture on a gun refers to the shoulder stock, handguard around the barrel, the grip, and things like that.]

Paul, that's the new idea. We have to make the guns less scary-looking so that our non-gun-owning neighbors will fixate their fears on things that other people think are important (and not things WE think are important). That’s modern Democracy in Action and By Heaven what we need is a lot more Democracy!

To this end all gun owners are pledging to put colorful bows on their guns, and dress them up in lace and “Sunday Best” clothes, or put pictures of Barney the Dinosaur or Powder Puff Girls on them. So **naturally** they need to take those ugly, scary-looking black stocks off them and replace them with pink, purple, red, maybe even puce, chartreuse, emerald, and lavender furniture. I really like the lavender idea, because maybe some enterprising chemist can add something to the cartridge propellants and make the burned gunpowder smell like lilac.

If you're behind the curve on this I can understand. But you MUST do your duty and run out to buy something to dress up your old warhorse of a battle rifle [Paul owns a WWII vintage M1 Garand, and it still has an evil bayonet lug!] so you can carry it in the next parade in your spot beside the Girl Scouts and Brownies. We won't have succeeded until Soccer Moms are pushing their daughters in your direction, telling them to ask if they might carry your rifle for a while.

Wow, I just had another epiphany!

While you’re at it, help me spread the truth about how people are using books, yes BOOKS, to learn how to do all sorts of dangerous and nefarious things. For God's sake, people learn chemistry and PHYSICS (!!) from books, and these form the very foundation for creating Weapons of Mass Destruction! Science books might as well be the terrorist's Bible, and publishers should all go to jail for aiding and abetting the Enemy.

Maybe then “2/3rds of Americans” will agree on what this country needs most – a good spate of book burning. After all, when 2/3rds of the populace wants something, wasn't it Rousseau who wrote about the General Will, and how it's always right? Two heads are better than one, and 2/3rds of whatever sample size the pollsters used must be far, far smarter than you and me.

In fact, I like this whole idea so much I think I’ll write it up and submit it to Lew Rockwell for publication. He can get the word out, we'll start a mass movement, and then everything will turn out great. All we need is a majority in the next poll.

Your Bud, Dave

*A couple states also have their own prohibitions on certain sizes of ammunition magazines, but that's another story.

September 17, 2004

David Calderwood [send him mail] a businessman, artist, and author of the novel Revolutionary Language, selected January 2000 Freedom Book of the Month at [No, that's not an "assault rifle" on the cover of the book. The picture originally came from (the rifle is their M1A) and the manufacturer ground off the bayonet lug from under the front sight turning it from a scary "bad" gun into an All-American "good" gun. You could have purchased one during any of the past ten years (except in The Peoples' Republic of California). The 20-round magazine was also available via military surplus, though the prices for them doubled during the so-called ban.]