Monday, September 1, 2014

Bullets and Burgers

It's such a tragedy - for this little girl, as much as for the man who was killed - and it's just completely nuts, isn't it?

Bullets and Burgers - just a fun little vacation stop, where your children can play with military-grade weaponry. What could possibly go wrong?

We've gone completely batshit crazy over guns here in America, and there are two nearly-contradictory parts to that. The first is that everyone needs to carry a gun at all times so you can fight off the 'bad guys' - or the government, or the UN black helicopters, or whatever.

It's fear-mongering to the extreme, where cowards are made to feel that they and their families are under threat every minute of every day. The police can't be everywhere, and if you can't put your hand on a gun instantly, at a moment's notice, you're dead meat.

But the other part to this, the other NRA-backed meme, is that guns are perfectly harmless. Heck, guns don't kill people, don't you know? Only people kill people.

Every time an unarmed black kid is shot to death, we hear the same thing, that fists are dangerous. Yeah, Trayvon Martin was minding his own business, when a gun-wielding vigilante accosted him for 'walking while black.' But when Martin fought back, that was all the excuse needed to (legally) shoot him dead.

But guns, well, they're not dangerous at all. Why worry about idiots bringing assault rifles to your restaurant? Heck, they're just patriotic Americans, not complete losers compensating for their inadequacies.

I always thought this was bizarre. If it's so easy to kill people without a gun, then why do you need to carry your gun with you, night and day? In fact, we could save a lot of money by not arming our military, too. Fists would certainly be cheaper, right?

But no, you've just got to have your gun, huh? Yet, at the same time, it's perfectly harmless, too. Your gun - which you desperately need for self-defense - wouldn't hurt a fly.  Guns don't kill people. In fact, guns are just toys. Come on in to Bullets and Burgers - and bring the kids!

Two days after this tragedy, the NRA was again tweeting about how much fun your kids would have at the shooting range! Apparently, these fun-with-guns tourism businesses are making money hand over fist:
Tourists from Japan flock to ranges in Waikiki, Hawaii, and the dozen or so that have cropped up in Las Vegas offer bullet-riddled bachelor parties and literal shotgun weddings, where newly married couples can fire submachine gun rounds and pose with Uzis and ammo belts. ...

The dusty outdoor range calls itself the Bullets and Burgers Adventure and touts its "Desert Storm atmosphere."

Similar attractions have been around since the 1980s in Las Vegas, although the city has experienced a boom of such businesses in the past few years. Excitement over guns tends to spike when there's fear of tighter gun restrictions, according to Dan Sessions, general manager of Discount Firearms and Ammo, which houses the Vegas Machine Gun Experience. ...

The businesses cast a lighthearted spin on their shooting experiences, staging weddings in their ranges and selling souvenir T-shirts full of bullet holes. ...

"We have better safety standards for who gets to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park," said Gerry Hills, founder of Arizonans for Gun Safety, a group seeking to reduce gun violence. Referring to the girl's parents, Hills said: "I just don't see any reason in the world why you would allow a 9-year-old to put her hands on an Uzi."

In 2008, an 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun expo near Springfield, Massachusetts. Christopher Bizilj was firing at pumpkins when the gun kicked back. A former Massachusetts police chief whose company co-sponsored the gun show was later acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.

No one was even charged with a crime in this latest incident. A man is dead, and a nine-year-old girl gets to live with the memory of blowing his head off by accident. But hey, she won't forget that vacation, huh?

This stuff is just so completely insane. If you really can't live without your Precious at your side, ready to defend you from the scary rest of the world, then why can't we at least recognize these things as deadly dangerous weapons, not toys.

On the other hand, if guns really are perfectly harmless, despite the daily drumbeat of shooting deaths in America, why do you need to carry one with you at all times? If you can just as easily be killed in a fist-fight, why aren't your fists the only weapon you need?

The NRA pushes both of these memes, because gun and ammo manufacturers want to push as much of their product as they can, any way that they can. They don't care if it's contradictory.

Heck, they don't even care if people die. (In fact, that increases fear, which increases the demand for their product. It's win/win.)

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