Saturday, September 24, 2005

At the Glock Mall: Shopping for guns with Jordan's brother Nathan

At age 11, Jordan's brother Nathan finally stood up to their abusive father. As a result, Nathan spent the next five years of his young life at various "behavior modification programs" and "brat camps" throughout northern California and Utah. So. What is Nathan like now that he is back?

Here is a kid who has had a goodly chunk of his childhood stolen away from him. What do you think he might be like after experiencing something like that? What would YOU be like if something like that had happened to you? Watchful? Untrusting? Paranoid? All of the above? If you guessed "all of the above" you would be right.

Nathan is always thinking that there is someone out there who is about to jump him. And he is always looking for ways to protect himself.

Me too.

"Look," said Nathan. "If some robber comes in your window, you gotta be prepared. You gotta have a gun. You gotta be able to protect yourself and your family." Nathan, I'm not afraid of robbers. But after I read that the Bush bureaucracy had deployed heavily armed Blackwater mercenaries to New Orleans -- "Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences" -- I started to become more afraid of our own government than of robbers.

Maybe I too should look into getting a gun.

"Just for argument's sake," I asked Nathan, "just assuming that I might maybe want to buy a gun, where could I purchase one?"

"There's a gun shop or a dealer on just about any street in Oakland," he replied. "And they sell them at the Sideshows too. There's a Sideshow tonight. You could get one there...." he added hopefully.

A Sideshow is what we used to call a drag race back in the fifties. No, thank you. I'm too old to be doing donuts, spin-outs and wheelies in my 1990 Toyota Tercel. We went off to a gun show instead.

"Here! Look at this one," said Nathan. It was a 22-caliber pistol dressed up to look like a Glock. "And if you had a Desert Eagle, you could blow someone's arm off." I don't want to do that. What else do you got?

We looked at antique derringers like the kind Mae West used to have. "I want a derringer," I said. "I could wear it in my sock. Then if those Bush idiots start to drag me off to the concentration camp, I could hide out in the hills and shoot rabbits with it." The derringer looked good.

"No, Jane, forget that," said Nathan. "If some dude comes in your window and starts to rob you, you need something like THIS." He pointed to a 9mm Ruger. I reminded him that he had been to my house and I obviously had nothing to steal. But what if those evil Bush bureaucrats stole my identity -- and my Social Security? Would I have to meet them on Main Street at high noon? I'm not afraid of that. Even I could outdraw those weenies. Humph.

Nathan was on to the next booth. "I got to get me one of these," he said lovingly as he held a M-something-or-other in his hands. And he handed me an AK-47. We looked like Grandma and Clyde.

Is being at a gun show going to get me in trouble with George Bush? Nah. He's too busy arresting African-American grandmothers in the Big Easy to worry about me.

But I worry about him.

At the end of the show, we bought nothing. We had both seen a lot of action movies and thought that guns looked cool but we both sort of decided that guns, like children and pets, came with big responsibilities that we just were not ready for yet -- and if our own government didn't know how to use guns responsibly, apparently this was a hard skill to learn!

In the end, we decided that to be in a position to take a human life was entirely too heavy a moral issue for us no matter how many times we saw it happen on the TV news and we let our dreams of Glocks and AK-47s slide.

Nathan and I had a great time at the gun show. And we argued all the way home. "It's the bad guys you have to be afraid of," said Nathan.

"Nah," I replied. "It's the Bush brothers' government."

PS: Unfortunately, Nathan's adventures that day didn't end when I dropped him off home. He got in an argument with his father later that evening -- why do people have to fight with their kids? Can't they just read John Gray's book, "Children are from Heaven" and get parenting right? -- anyway, Nathan ran away from home, Daddy called the police on his son yet again and Nathan turned himself in. Can't anybody get parenting RIGHT around here? How hard can it be? No wonder kids grow up and cause wars and kill people with guns.

PPS: Another reason not to have guns -- if I shot another human being, I wouldn't be able to get into Heaven.