Tuesday, May 31, 2005


The gun show hit town last weekend, so I thought I’d check it out, since I’ve never seen one. What the hell. Might as well see what this bruhaha is all about. The show was held in our downtown convention center in one of its colossal showrooms, where they sponsor all the big events, like boat shows, trailer home shows, Hummer shows and Benny Hinn shows.

Boy, that place was packed! Like one of those megachurches. Thousands of people flooded every aisle and the aisles were three football fields long. We’re talking hundreds of booths and sellers from all over the country bringing in every kind of pistol and rifle and shotgun imaginable. And assault weapons, too—you bet! The only place you could find more fire-power was in downtown Fallujah.

A Jolt To The Senses

The first half-hour, I wandered around in a daze, the same sort of shocked state of mind I’ve experienced walking into a casino in the middle of the night. Everything was lit up with spotlights and colored lights, there were guns aplenty, and lots of folks buying them, not just one or two, but sometimes three, four, or even more, guns at a time. I saw guys walking around with a pistol on each hip and a different rifle in each hand. It wasn’t just men buying the guns, either; lots of women buying them, too. I saw an old gal sitting in the café area, sipping a cup of coffee. Two Winchester pump shotguns lay on the table in front of her. This wasn’t some defenseless little Southern belle, but a big stout broad wearing a cowboy hat and steer-hide boots. The belt on her starched Wranglers featured a buckle the size of a pie plate. She looked like she could hold her own in a fist-fight with just about any man you could throw at her.

Age didn’t seem to matter, either. I saw quite a few white-haired gramps and grannies strolling around with guns slung over their shoulders. One little old lady smiled politely and winked at me as she walked by. Then, I noticed she was practically dragging the floor with an extra long-barreled .357 magnum pistol, the kind used by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies (“Go ahead—make my day.”) I couldn’t imagine what would happen if she actually had to aim that thing at someone and pull the trigger. But I don’t think anybody wanted to find out.

The Sporting Look

There were even booths that didn’t sell guns at all, but only accessories for guns, like holsters for pistols and zipper bags for rifles and assault weapons, and ammunition vests and butt packs and SWAT uniforms and costumes for militia groups, such as the ones that like to hunt wetbacks along the Texas border in their spare time.

Yeah, as much as the guns, themselves, clothing has become a big deal, a huge money-maker. Because if you’re going to outfit yourself with an AK-47, you don’t want to be walking around in a powder blue leisure suit or even a pair of Levis, an Isod shirt and yuppie deck shoes. No, sir, it’s all about image. You want to feel as if you’re in a movie by Jerry Bruckheimer. You want to look like a genuine urban assault commando or a soldier of fortune or just a good ol’ boy/weekend warrior protecting the homeland against invading foreign hordes. So, after purchasing your 32-round AP 9 assault pistol or your Colt AR-15 rifle, then you simply must stop off at the outfitters, and get yourself a brand new pair of neoprene-soled combat boots, with matching black or camouflage nylon pants. (If you’re a fan of the hit TV show, Cops, then you know the look I’m talking about.) Those pants come with deep leg pockets--good for carrying extra handfuls of shotgun shells—and you got your sheath-knife strapped to your leg, and the pants leg draws up tight at the ankle for that cool storm-trooper look; you can get your para-military style shirt and your fancy vest with all the little nooks and crannies and hook rings and secret zipper compartments for your hideaway bullets and your backup glock in case you get in a tight-spot with a bunch of sunburned dehydrated Mexicans.

More on this later. Stay tuned, including an exclusive interview with a gun nut.


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