I found the reaction to John’s story about guard duty in the Army interesting, because the gun nuts are so wrapped in their defensive cocoon that they’re calling John a liar over a plausible story about his time in the Army. I’ll just add that I had a roommate in college who was an ex-Marine, and he told me a similar story. When he was assigned guard duty, he was issued a shotgun and some shells. His instructions were to stay awake, keep the shells in his pocket, and that he better have a very goddam good reason if he ever loaded his shotgun. So, aside from the fact that John isn’t a liar, his story sounded reasonable to me, because it makes sense that a situation where there’s a 99.9% chance that nothing will happen should be one where firing your weapon should take some extra, thoughtful steps.
It’s an interesting foray into the mindset of gun nuts to try to understand why John’s story makes them so uncomfortable. My guess is that the “guns don’t kill people” mantra taken to its illogical and fetishistic extreme would dictate that carrying around a loaded gun isn’t dangerous at all. I guess they didn’t grow up in the rural Midwest, where every year we’d hear a story of some kid who accidentally killed himself or one of his friends messing around with his Dad’s hunting rifle.
The other piece of gun nut arrogance or craziness is the notion that guns are some sort of defense from the government. When I lived in a small college town, one of my friends was an Army ROTC instructor, who was an active duty Major in the Army. After the Oklahoma City bombings, we had a conversation about survivalist gun nuts. Before his ROTC posting, my friend had commanded a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. I remember him wondering what the fuck these nuts thought they were going to accomplish if they had a real skirmish with the Army. He knew what his unit could do, and he knew any band of civilian insurrectionists would be utterly destroyed by them. That’s such a completely obvious point, but apparently these idiots think there’s some kind of Red Dawn scenario where the largest military on earth wouldn’t roll over them if they have a couple of assault rifles in their flabby inexperienced hands.
A lot of this arrogance comes from winning a bunch of fights against weak opposition. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I think the fight this time is going to be different.