Things That Go Boom

Gun Control.

Now your heart rate is up. Might be you think that guns ought to be outlawed. Hey, I’ve heard the arguments. I can empathize. I don’t want to have to worry about toddlers doing Big Wheel drive-bys in my neighborhood, either. Heaven knows I hate it when I get car-jacked at gunpoint by nine-year-olds.

Or adrenaline might be flooding your system, Hulk-ing you out, because anything, especially gun control laws, besides the D—-d Commie liberals prying your weaponry from your cold dead fingers is the equivalent of burning the flag with tinder made from the ripped-up Constitution.

Sure, it’s possible that you fall somewhere in between those two extremes. But if so, what, are you crazy? Don’t you know you have to take an extremely polarized view of any given subject being discussed at the water cooler? Who’ll die next on Game of Thrones, sure, but especially on the Big Three: Abortion, Gay Rights, and Gun Control.

It’s the American Way. Like eating too much fast food or watching far too much reality television programming.

Your assault weapon of the day.

This is the evolution of the slingshot.

Anyway, I’m not here to tell you that we need more or fewer laws. That’s what I vote legislators into office for. I’m too busy watching Honey Boo-Boo and her pet pig to mess around with research and studies and Congressional reports and all that.

No, I’m here because of a question, and the question is: Why the heck do so many hunters say they want to kill their quota of deer with an assault weapon?

I’ll admit, on the surface it sounds good: “Hey, here’s this legitimate reason I own this monster gun. You want me to be able to feed my family, right? Right?”

But, realistically, there just wouldn’t be that much food left. Come on, we’ve all seen The Expendables, right? Extrapolate.

I mean, you might as well use a rocket launcher. An assault weapon is just going to make that poor critter explode. You might have enough antler left to put something up on your mantle, or at least make a handle for your Bowie knife. But that’s an iffy chance, at best.

So, what hunter would do that? Plus, I’d think they’d feel awfully silly stalking around the woods with one of these awkward-looking guns, what with the extended stock, the extended clip, the handle on the top, the multiple handles on the bottom–all that. I know I would. I feel silly enough when I’m stalking around the woods with a bow. And it’s not even a compound bow.

Yet this argument is the main one you hear in the news, at debates, and on the interwebnettubecloud for why people should be allowed to own assault weapons.

I say: not a very good one.

No, the truth of the matter is that we want our assault weapons because, well, we’re human–male or female, liberal or conservative, city-folk or country-folk, gang-banger or suit, dog fancier or cat-fancier. Whatever.

And here’s a primal truth about humans:


We like it when stuff blows up.

Don’t believe me? Why wouldn’t you believe me? For instance, there’s fireworks. We like fireworks. Lots of things blowing up, there. When you’re a kid, the best fireworks are the ones you sneak out to the back lot, put beneath a can, and light at the same time you start your panicked dive for cover.

Those are the ones that go BOOOOOOM! when they go off and blow the can into pieces, or high into the sky, or both.

Then, later, when you’ve found what’s left, you can Ooooh and Ahhhh and say, “Holy Moley!” (indulge me) “Look at that, Maw! Blew the sides right off the can!”

Then there are all those television programs about blowing stuff up: Mythbusters, Explosions Gone Wrong (not, as I originally hoped, Explosions Gone Wild, but still), Explosion Lab, The Detonators, Destroy Build Destroy, The A-Team.

Or what about all those explosions in movies? Not just in the Michael Bay ones, either, but even in period pieces where one might not expect to see airships blowing up people buildings and each other in 17th Century Europe. I’m looking at you, new version of The Three Musketeers. If another remake of Little Women comes out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that goody-two-shoes Meg has been recast as a demolitions expert.

Anyway, back to the guns. I just watched a movie called The Mechanic. At one point, the professional assassin, played by Jason Statham (aren’t they all?), is training his protege and they take some assault rifles out into a field to do some shooting.

For an entire scene (albeit it was also a montage), all they do is blast targets apart with high-velocity rounds. In slow motion.

It was awesome.

Guns: they’re for protection, they’re for sport, they’re for hunting; they are, yes, for killing. They are also, and we seem to so rarely admit it, for making things go BOOM!

So, go ahead, make whatever arguments for or against gun laws that you want. But let’s be honest, too.  That “Look at what it did to this can, Maw!” moment? That’s why we want guns.



[Image: galil_ace.jpg by Jsvasque (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons]

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2 Responses to Things That Go Boom

  1. Liam says:

    There is truth in what you say. I think any discussion defending semiautomatic rifles is disingenuous if it doesn’t address the sexiness factor.

    But a couple points of clarification. The common “assault rifle” people own, the AR15, is nearly always of the small caliber variety: 7.56, 5.56, and even .223. While they’re often packed with higher pressure for farther range, they’re less “powerful” than most handguns and are usually used for plinking and varmint and small game hunting. So – called “assault rifles” are rarely used or justified for hunting. Most owners admit their use is for home defense (usually because of their looks… A .380 pistol does more damage at close range, and a shotgun ridiculously even more damage), and competitive target shooting.

    In fact, your depiction of the sexiness factor, including how they’re (inaccurately) depicted in films, is ironically why they’re pointlessly demonized by politicians. Because so – called “assault rifles” are erroneously made to look so destructive and deadly in movies, when they’re generally less powerful and deadly than a common Remington 700 or a Ruger 77, both of which never thought twice about for banning.

  2. Trust you to bring a comedic take to a touchy subject. I’m too amused to be offended!

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