Sunday, June 12, 2016


For years the most efficient delivery method for nicotine was a mechanically rolled cigarette. Neatly contained in soft or hard packs, when I was a young college student in the south, in 1970, you could buy a pack for 25 cents (a little less than a gallon of gasoline). The south was not only big tobacco country, it was big paper country. Whole forests were clear cut, only to go up in smoke between a pretty girl's manicured fingers. Every desk in my college had a 4 inch hole routed in the top. That's where the ashtray went. Good times.
   Nowadays I have no idea what a pack of cigs. cost. I stopped smoking about 20 years ago. I hate to admit this, but it was government regulation, along with the exorbitant price of smokes, that forced me off the the habit. I was too cheap to buy them, too embarrassed to bum them, and too lazy to stand outside the bar, in the cold, to smoke them. When I look back at my life, I can recognize some pretty stupid behavior. Smoking is right at the top of the list. It's stinky, unhealthy, expensive, and a completely worthless activity. Smoking tricks you into thinking you are doing something, when you are not. The cigarette is one of the most efficient, insidious and brilliant devices ever invented to deliver sickness and death, while simutaneously lining the pockets of corporate America. The only other thing that comes close is the gun.

  A well maintained, properly handled firearm will last generations. There is no built in obsolescence  when it comes to manufacturing a gun. A 100 year old rifle will hit the mark as well as any brand new gun, right out of the box. I have my old man's Parker 12 ga. (lent by my brother), in my closet. It was passed down to him through the generations. It will kill a turkey as fast as any. If it misses it is never the gun's fault. This manufacturing of an excellent product is a giant problem for the gun industry. Light bulbs, cars, electronic devices and almost every other consumer product manufactured on earth figured out a way to make a crappy product with a limited life span. What's the gun industry to do?
    Instead of focusing on obsolescence, the gun industry came up with efficiency. Guns became smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, and more accurate. Sure gramp's .33 could kill a deer, but a composite stocked, light, smooth action, stainless steel rifle with good optics could maybe serve you better. Maybe. It's not hunters that the gun industry is targeting with new product. We are fine with the guns in the closet. It is the so-called "recreational shooter", along with the concealed-carry crowd, that is driving the explosion in gun sales in this country. And the gun of choice is the AR-15, the most popular gun in America.
   This morning we all woke up to the news out of Orlando Florida. 50 plus people had been killed at a club in the wee hours of Sunday morning. An American citizen with two handguns and an AR walked into this club and began firing. It's an old, sad story. The military adopted the AR-15 (M-16) in the late sixties, during Vietnam. We needed a bullet delivery device as sturdy and efficient as the AK-47, used by our enemies. The AR-15 more than fits the bill. It's light, fast, accurate, has hardly any recoil, and packs a wallop. The bullet tumbles on impact. Slowly, through the decades, it has been marketed, sold and purchased throughout the U.S. The military (and ex-military) love it, recreational shooters love it, home defense "experts" love it, mass murderers don't leave home without it.
   And this is where my analogy with nicotine delivery ends. It's where time enters the picture. As many people that have been, and still will be, killed by cigarettes, it will take time. You still have a chance. The time between the muzzle flash and an innocent boy, girl, man or woman hitting the floor dead, can barely be recorded. The efficiency with which an AR-15 assault rifle can kill and mutilate a bunch of people on a crowded dance floor cannot be overstated. Legal or not, wielded by friend or foe, a properly maintained, well oiled group of firearms, like those that that citizen used to attack THE PULSE CLUB, and kill all those people are the best bullet delivery systems that America has to offer. Until the politicians put the community's safety above the rights of certain individuals to "recreate" with these lethal killing machines,  like 12 year old's playing army, or become Zimmermanesque vigilantes, afraid of their own shadows, the body count will keep rising. It's just good old American know-how. We know how to make a helluva death delivery system. If we don't have the political will power to ban these weapons, at least like cigarettes, we can demonize and make all assault weapons cost prohibitive. That would be a start towards delivering a bit of sanity into this insane mess.


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