On November 19, GQ editor Jim Nelson launched a tirade against the NRA based on an experience this past summer in which he admittedly confused the sounds of fireworks for a mass shooting.
Nelson appears to been worked up from accepting highly exaggerated figures on mass shootings–he claims there have been “305 mass shootings in America this year alone”–so the sound of fireworks launching and exploding in the air seemed to him the just another mass shooting that gun control proponents claim happens every day.
Similar highly elevated numbers on mass shootings have been attained by others who discard the FBI’s definition of a mass shooting–a shooting which results in four or more fatalities–and replace it with the much lower threshold which considers “four or more people shot in one event” as a mass shooting. All four people could walk away the from the scene under their own power or the shooting could be a gang-related shootout on the streets of Chicago or part of a home invasion in Baltimore or St. Louis, yet Nelson and those who share his calculation methodology would look at all of them as if they were an actual mass shooting like Umpque Community College, the DC Navy Yard, or the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech University.
So Nelson writes that he was at a theater this past summer watching a film in which a “15-year-old virgin [was kissing] the much older mustachioed creep who was dating her mom.” He sensed a divide between those who were sexually aroused and those who were morally disgusted. And it was at the height of this divide that he began hearing booms and pops coming from the theater next door–or should we say, the theater which he thought was next door.
He said he kept trying to figure out what movie the patrons in the next theater might be watching when suddenly it dawned on him–there must be a gunman next door.
Nelson wrote: “The noise was coming toward us. Another round. Unmistakable. Holy sh*t, it’s a shooter. This was right after that psycho had shot up a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, with a gun he picked up legally and easily at a pawnshop.” He started imagining headlines to go with the mass shooting he was sure he was now part of. He ran headlines and scenarios through his head and then he thought to run. That was it–he was going to run! Then silence. The pops stopped and in due course he realized he had been listening to a fireworks display that was taking place outside the building, not in another theater.
But damn the NRA! It’s time to fight “the gun lobby.” It’s time for presidential candidates to fuel the movement by being willing to carry out the fight.
Maybe it can build to something bigger: a rejection of the nation’s Eleventh Commandment, handed down by Charlton Heston and the NRA, that every act of gun violence is the price of freedom and that any impingement on the right to bear arms hurts God’s feelings.
A much more rational approach would be to A) quit spending the day hyped-up by reading exaggerated mass shooting numbers and B) be prepared–not paranoid, but prepared–by carrying a gun for self-defense in a manner that complies with the laws in the state in which you live. There will not be any need to draw that gun in the event of a fireworks display, but it will be good to have the gun on your person should someone with evil intentions approach you or your family at a movie theater, a restaurant, or in poorly lit parking lot.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.