In The Matrix, Neo (played memorably by Keanu Reeves) saves Morpheus by breaking into a heavily fortified facility guarded by special agents. When asked what he’ll need to pull off this longshot rescue, Neo says, simply: “Guns — lots of guns.” It could serve as America’s new national motto. In God we trust? No — guns. And lots of them. Somewhere north of 300 million guns are currently in private hands, enough to arm each and every American, the tall and the small, with at least one firearm.
So it’s not surprising when Donald Trump references Second Amendment rights. (It seems the only amendment he knows.) He likes to assert these “rights” are in danger of being curtailed, but gun sales are still booming and there are no serious efforts at gun control.
As one of my friends whose barbed humor I enjoy put it: “There is only one amendment — the second amendment.” Mull that conundrum for a moment.
Back in World War II, America was known as the arsenal of democracy for all the weapons we supplied to allies like Britain and the Soviet Union. Now it’s just an arsenal.
The brutal truth is we’re stuck with all these guns. There is no political will to buy them back, even military-style assault weapons, and indeed what will there is centers on selling more of them. Back in 2017, several articles appeared noting how black women were buying guns in increasing numbers. Last week, NBC Washington ran a report on women of color becoming licensed gun owners in increasing numbers, partly as a response to police violence. “Peace of mind” is bought with a gun. Talk about racial and gender progress!
Speaking of the police, small wonder that America’s cops are edgy. When we talk about police violence, which is all-too-real and all-too-deadly, a factor we should consider is the reality that America is awash in guns, making every police call a potentially deadly one.
So, as much as Trump tweets about “LAW&ORDER,” what really rules America is money — the money to be made by selling lots of guns and ammo, as well as the cultural ammo you can always count on when hippy-dippy liberals like me start rattling rhetorical sabers about gun control.
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but an AR-15 trumps both in this man’s America.
I’ve owned guns myself and have shot everything from a pellet pistol to a .44 magnum, but I’ve defunded my modest gun collection, so to speak. I decided happiness is not a warm gun and that there are amendments other than the 2nd one.
For once you start shooting bullets, there’s no way to recall them. And, as far as I know, the only guy able to dodge bullets is Keanu Reeves as Neo.