Right Wing Nut Jobs & Surrender Monkeys

I’m feeling a little stiff so I roll my shoulders to dispel the tension bunching my trapezius muscles. Then I take a deep breath, insert a magazine full of nine millimeter bullets into the butt of a Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol, rack the slide to chamber a round, and point the muzzle at my target.

“Just like I taught you,” my friend Phil says. “Remember – sight picture, trigger control.”

“Squeeze the trigger so it’s a surprise when it goes off,” I reply.

“You got it.”

I grasp the pistol in a two handed grip, line up my sights, take up the slack on the trigger, and squeeze straight backwards.

BANG! A small hole appears in the middle of the paper bad guy.

“Not bad,” Phil says.

I fire several more times. A spent shell casing bounces of the partition separating me from the other shooters at the gun range and lands in my hair. It’s still hot after slinging a piece of lead 1250 feet per second. I ignore it and keep firing until the slide locks back on an empty magazine.

“You’re out,” Phil says.

“I forgot how much fun this was,” I say, brushing the shell casing out of my hair.

“Wait till you shoot the AK-47,” Phil replies. “Then you’ll be having fun.”

Phil and I go shooting once a year. He brings the guns and I buy the bullets. Afterwards we hit a nearby Hooters for burgers and beers. The guns we’re shooting today represent a fraction of Phil’s personal arsenal. How many guns does my friend have? Let me put it to you this way – if brain eating zombies ever start wandering the earth, I’m going to Phil’s house.

“I can’t wait,” I say, ejecting the empty magazine from the Sig and replacing it with a full one.

“Try and group your shots closer this time,” Phil suggests. “Your last shots were a bit wide.”

I thumb the slide release, returning the weapon to battery with a crisp metallic snap. “Okay Obi-Wan,” I say. “Watch this.”

Just as I raise the pistol to fire I hear a man though my hearing protection shout, “You can’t leave a dog out there!”

Keeping my weapon pointed downrange, I turn towards the direction of the voice. Several shooting ports away an older man wearing a NY Mets hat is talking to a chubby fellow wearing a yellow polo shirt.

“You can’t leave a dog inside a car in this heat!” the guy in the Mets hat says. “He’ll die!”

“He’s okay,” the chubby guy retorts. “I left the windows open. He’s got water.”

“It’s the hottest day of the week,” the Mets fan says, his voice rising. “You know how many cops come in here to shoot? They see that dog in your car and they’ll arrest you.”

“He’ll be fine,” Chubby Guy says dismissively. “I’m only gonna be here an hour.”

“Whatever pal,” the guy in the Mets hat says, walking away. “It’s your dog. But don’t be surprised if someone calls the cops on you.”

I feel my stomach tighten. It’s an unseasonably hot October afternoon. Chubby Guy’s dog might not survive an hour inside a sweltering car. This guy’s taking a risk with his pet so he can go shooting? What a moron. Unbidden, the image of Buster suffocating inside a roasting car fills my mind. My hands tighten around the pistol I’m holding. I feel like giving this idiot a piece of my mind. Then I remember a small detail – a gun range is not a good place to have a confrontation.

“Can you believe that?” I ask, turning to look at Phil. “Leaving a dog in a car in this heat?”

“I’d like to lock that guy inside a car,” Phil replies, his voice chilling. “Preferably the trunk.”

I shake my head. Phil and I came here to enjoy a little male camaraderie and blow stuff up. Now I can’t enjoy myself. It’s hard to have fun when you know a nearby animal’s suffering because of another person’s stupidity. Aggravated, I snap my pistol back on target and empty the magazine into the paper bad guy’s head. This time my shots don’t go wide.

“Now that’s a tight group!” Phil crows. “Your anger has made you powerful.”

I place the smoking pistol down on the gun port’s counter. “Your turn Phil. I need a break.”

“Okay,” Phil says. “Could you get me a Coke or something? I’m getting thirsty.”

“No problem.”

I walk over to the soda machine in the back and feed it several quarters. After the machine dispenses two ice cold Cokes I lean against the wall and pop one open. As I take a pull from the bottle I watch Chubby Guy as he unpacks his firearm from its travel case and hangs up a target. The other shooters in the place are giving him quiet, hard looks. Chubby notices and starts looking uncomfortable. As his eyes furtively dart around the shooting range he doesn’t find a sympathetic face. Many of guys who shoot here are hunters. Most hunters have dogs. I once knew a guy who trained Hungarian Vizslas. Trust me. Hunters love their dogs. The opprobrium in the place is palatable.

No one says a word to Chubby Guy. No one has to. Eventually the psychic assault from a room full of armed men channeling the spirit of Travis Bickle finally gets to him. The inconsiderate dog owner takes down his target, packs up his gun, and walks out the door.

“Good riddance,” the range officer, an R. Lee Ermey look-alike, says loudly.

“Good thing the guy left,” another shooter says. “Lou’s probably calling the cops on him right now.”

“Lou does things like that,” the range officer replies.

Suddenly I remember when a man parked his car in front of The Bistro on a hot July day and left his dog inside. A middle aged lady eating lunch by the front window got so upset that she couldn’t enjoy her food. Despite her husband’s entreaties to calm down, she called the police on her cell phone and complained. Before the cops could arrive, however, the man came back. Not willing to let the man escape punishment, the lady ran outside and verbally castrated the dog owner in front of a dozen onlookers. Stunned, the man slinked into his car and drove away.

I hate to generalize, but the politics of the people who ate at The Bistro could best be classified as left of center. The politics of the people at the gun range? Hmmm. Judging from the ditty about Nancy Pelosi I saw in the men’s room, I’d have to say they’re right of center. My old customer from The Bistro would probably think the men at this gun range are violence loving, small penis compensating, neoconservative, right wing nut jobs. To be fair, all the men here would probably consider her a wimpy, NPR listening, latte slurping, liberal surrender monkey.

I smile. Despite the gulf separating card carrying members of the ACLU from card carrying members of the NRA, it’s nice to know they can occasionally agree about something – in this case the welfare of an innocent dog. There’s hope for this country yet.

I walk back to the shooting port and hand Phil his soda.

“What are you grinning about?” Phil asks.

“I’m just thinking about how people in this country are more alike than different,” I reply.

“Huh?”

“Forget it Phil. Just hand me the AK-47.”


Comments

Right Wing Nut Jobs & Surrender Monkeys — 14 Comments

  1. While Americans unite to protect a dog, they are tragically indifferent to the damage caused by hunger, crime, disease, war. We convince ourselves that the dog is helpless while human victims control their destiny with free will.

    Meanwhile, we’re completely sanguine about killing a few million cows, chickens and pigs each day for our dinner plates.

  2. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, dead animal muscle…….. I love it!

    Seriously though Pixel, the thought is “The animal had no choice in its fate, and can do nothing to change its situation, whereas the human may or may not have caused its own misery, and there ARE programs around to help them if they want it. If they don’t want it, then why should we care?” It may not be true in all, or even most cases, but it’s the thought. It’s why people don’t care about cons/ex-cons. Remember “I am not my brother’s keeper” is a common attitude.

  3. just pixels, c’mon you talk about being indifferent towards things like hunger and disease, you know what cures these things?!?! cows, chickens and pigs!!!! more meat= less hunger and disease. problem solved

  4. Humans have been eating cows, chickens and pigs for millions of years. We’re not about to stop.

    Now excuse me while I go eat my steak.

  5. “Keeping my weapon pointed downrange, I turn towards the direction of the voice.” First, bravo to you for remembering safety on the range lol.

    And Pixels, if God didn’t want us to eat cows, pigs, or chickens, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat and given us the knowledge to learn how to cook ‘em. Plus he would have created our bodies to have the ability to survive without the much needed proteins.

  6. Dave,

    The UCLA doesn’t support NAMBLA. They support freedom of speech, regardless of whether they agree with the speech. Historically, freedoms are taken away first from people that most of us dislike. When our rights are stripped away, they come for regular people. That is also why you should be against torture of terrorists. If that is allowed, they won’t stop there, before long anyone the government doesn’t like will be tortured.

  7. I am slightly horrified to see words like “tragically indifferent” applied to Americans when it comes to hunger, crime, disease and war. Americans, from what I’ve seen in my “tragically indifferent,” not to mention short, lifetime, are all too AWARE.

    People, within the nation and internationally, put a ridiculously high standard on American charity. The burden is heavy. We’re only human. Yes, some of us are self-righteous assholes, but even the assholes contribute in their own way.

    I’m a college kid, so I’m probably seeing an unusually generous slice of the American populous, but the people that I know throw countless hours of (freely and happily donated) labor, time and money toward helping those without our good fortune.

    You know what else I’ve seen? American kids wearing themselves thin, breaking down in hysterics, torturing themselves with guilt. It’s a terrible shade of survivor’s guilt. Whenever these hardworking, well-meaning kids experience any kind of difficulty, someone always throws their ‘good fortune’ in their face. It disgusts me.

    What? We’re above the poverty line, so we’re not allowed frustration? We do things for ourselves, so we’re bad people? We don’t have other people on our minds every minute of every day, so we’re “tragically indifferent?” Stop begrudging us our luck. We are AWARE. It’s not our fault and it shouldn’t be considered a fault AT ALL.

    I come from a family of hard-working Ecuadorian immigrants (and we’ve been screwed over plenty in this country) and I’m getting a good college education on pure scholarship so believe me when I say I’ve had first-hand experience with hunger and crime and disease (though I’m lucky enough to have seen no war) AS WELL AS upper-middle class college life. I’m not saying the less fortunate don’t deserve the same things or don’t have the same rights as the more fortunate, and I’m not saying that no one should be held responsible, but the fortunate should not be BLINDLY or GENERALLY blamed for anyone’s situation.

    So some skeezy guy skims off the top. So some organization doesn’t stand for everything you want them to. So some American salivates over a steak. Yes, we engage in vice, every degree of it, but I think the virtues we hold to are worth something too. You’ll tell us that doing the things we SHOULD be doing deserve no acknowledgment because they SHOULD be a given.

    Don’t give me that crap.

    I’m not saying we deserve thanks, but don’t deny our efforts; don’t tell us we’re “tragically indifferent.”

    Yes, you’ll call me overly dramatic. Go ahead. You accuse us of not doing ENOUGH, but we could much more easily be doing NOTHING AT ALL. As much as we’d like to, we can’t fix everyone’s problems.

    We’re not fucking perfect, but we are trying. We are doing some good. More than most. And when we self-destruct trying to please everyone, don’t you point the finger at us when the world collapses around you.

  8. I think justpixels was referring to the fact that many of the cows, pigs, chickens we eat are farmed in horrible conditions… we freak out if we see a dog in a hot car but we don’t consider that the hamburger we eat comes from a cow that barely ever saw the light of day and lived in a tiny pen covered with its own feces, chicken with feet that grow around the bars of its cage, etc. and all of them being injected with hormones, daily.

    Out of sight, out of mind…

    Also, random guy? The crop land used to feel those bajillions of pigs, cows, chickens we eat? Could be used to grow much much more grain than you could ever get protein out of it. And THAT would go much farther feeding the needy (especially in other countries… think about the costs of exporting livestock/meat versus the cost of exporting grains).

    If most Americans had a regular sized hamburger instead of a quarter pounder when they went out to eat, etc. we’d have plenty of food leftover and would take care of that pesky obesity problem too… just my two cents!

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