Smile and Wait| For the Flash

     Gun ownership has been a social institution in Texas since Stephen F. Austin’s settlers made it through their first winter on a diet of bear steaks and venison. Without Samuel Colt’s revolver and Remington’s repeating rifle the Comanches and Apaches would never have been broken and the Wild West never tamed.
     Several of my family and friends own guns; they are collectors, hunters and veterans. A few of them are licensed by the State to carry a concealed handgun, which they sometimes do because of vague concerns about street crime or simply because of the coolness factor.
     Honestly, what could possibly give you more confidence than walking around all day with a nice heavy gun in your pants?
     I’m pretty sure it is written somewhere that Americans are guaranteed the right to bear arms, and I’m perfectly fine with that even if we no longer have to worry about some pompous, powdered redcoats trying to confiscate our muskets. Besides, most gun enthusiasts are upright, responsible citizens.
     Then there are people like Gale and Shelia Muhs of Dayton, Texas who on Thursday night opened fire on a party of off-roaders that had stopped for a bathroom break near their property. Sheila emptied one barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun into the parked SUV then handed the gun to Gale so he could take a turn.
     Four people were hit by shotgun pellets, including 7-year old Donald Coffey Jr., who died from his head wounds on Saturday.
     The Muhs have a hand painted sign hanging from their fence: TRESSPASSERS WILL BE SHOT. SURVIVORS WILL BE RESHOT!! SMILE. I WILL.
     This comes just a month after a Pittsburgh mother called police to report a fight with her son over his dog peeing in the house. Officers arrived at the scene to find dog owner Richard Poplawski waiting for them with a bullet proof vest and a machine gun. Three officers ended up dead on the sidewalk and another was injured.
     Richard put up a short fight against Pittsburgh SWAT before catching a round in the leg and deciding he didn’t want to play anymore. He gave himself up and agreed to take out his dog first thing every morning. Friends of Richard explained later that the promising young man thought the police and Obama the Terrible were coming to take his guns away.
     That’s the thing about some firearm fanciers; they don’t collect guns to hunt or shoot paper targets or to compensate for personal shortcomings. They buy guns and train with them because they hope that someday they just might get a chance to shoot a living, bleeding person.
     Just let one of them gangbangers try to break into my house!
     Wait and see what happens if that uppity President tries to take my assault rifle!
     Those kids won’t ride their bikes through my yard no more!
     These are people for whom the slogan ‘From My Cold Dead Hands’ is not just a bumper sticker pledge, but a bloody wet dream. It is the fantasy that runs through their head as they polish their gun barrels.
     And despite the fact the a sizable majority of Americans are against any new gun control laws, and no sensible President would even broach the subject, people like the Muhs and Richard Poplawski are hoarding guns and ammo.
     They sit in their basements waiting for the day when those government pigs try to take away their automatic rifles and bazookas. And that will be the day they get to act on all their warped patriotic daydreams. That is the day they go to war with their oppressors.
     Columbine and Virginia Tech and all the other massacres have taught us that it is near impossible to keep guns out of the hands of people who intend to do immediate harm. How can we possibly sort out all the lurkers like Richard Poplawski?
     As for the Muhs, if Donald Coffey’s grieving mother has anything to say, they’ll soon become familiar with another Texas social institution. We call it the lethal injection machine.
     Smile, Gale and Shelia. I will.

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