The dining room of the old restaurant was relatively quiet during this particular lunch hour. Aside from the occasional clanking of silverware as patrons enjoyed their meals, the only real noise was the conversation being discussed by a group of nine at a table in the corner of the room. I, of course, was present at this table, but I had respectfully checked out of the conversation a few minutes prior.
“I just don’t think anyone should have them”, said a tall blonde teenager from Denmark as she sipped her Coke. “In our country, it’s much different”
“I agree”, spouted another woman, this one from Ohio. “It would make things -much- safer here”
And as if they could already tell I wanted nothing to do with the conversation, the father of the teenager turned to me and asked, “What about you Alex? What do you think about guns?”
Aw hell no…I’m not fixin to get into it with my guests. No way. Not today…
“I…will…bow outta this one”, I replied with a chuckle.
“Ahh, that’s right!”, he added. “You’re a hunter. But com’on, why not tell us?”
And without missing a beat, mid-chew of my sandwich, I fired back, “Because I like getting tipped at the end of the day”.
Everyone around the table busted out laughing and it was then that the woman from Ohio added to the group, “I just don’t know why someone -needs- an assault rifle? It makes no sense”
The whole table, including the German couple across from me (who’d been relatively quiet this whole conversation) nodded in agreement as they tore away at their lunch. But myself? I couldn’t really take it anymore. I had to say -something-
Just as the mother from the Denmark family was getting ready to say something else about guns, I lifted my finger while finishing my last bite and said “hold on…”
Suddenly, if the restaurant could have been any quieter, it would’ve had to be in deep space. It was absolutely silent as everyone looked at me, awaiting my response.
“Why do I -need- an assault rifle?”, I began as I looked around the table at my guests before finally locking eyes with the woman from Ohio. “May I answer your question with a question?”
She simply smiled and said “Of course”
“Back home in Ohio, the car that’s sitting in your driveway…Whatever kinda car it might be…How fast does its speedometer go?”, I asked.
“Umm…I’m not sure”, she began, glancing over at her husband with a shrug”. “Maybe like 120?”
“Okay”, I continued. “So tell me, why do you NEED a car that can go 120mph when the highest posted speed limit around you is only 70mph?”
She sat in silence, thinking about it for just a moment before answering, “Well….that’s different”.
“No…No it isn’t. You do not NEED a car that can go that fast. You WANT a car that can go that fast. Just as I do not NEED an assault rifle. I WANT one. The issue isn’t with the ‘weapon’, the issue boils down to the person and their intent.”
I looked around at my table as they quietly thought it over before continuing and pointing out to the 12 passenger van in the parking lot.
“Take a look at the van out there we’ve been riding in all day. I guarantee you, with evil intent, someone could cause just as much -if not more- damage in that big ol’ thing, than they could with my SKS and a 20 round magazine. If someone wants to go crazy and hurt a lot of people, they’ll find a way. Regardless of the ‘weapon’ involved”.
I could go deeper into the conversation, but I’ll save everyone from reading through that. I’d basically made my point. I did, however, later go in to explain in better detail my feelings toward gun control. And I should give the reader a full heads up; Rant mode – Engage.
There are an infuriatingly large amount of people out there that spout the same garbage about assault weapons and gun control. Most of these people know little, to nothing, about firearms aside from what the media tells them. “Guns are bad, guns are behind these massacres, guns are whatever“. So they end up believing and trying to push restrictions on something that not only does someone WANT to own, but it is their RIGHT to own. And before anyone starts spewing the usual crap about “rights” and how much firearms have changed since those rights were established, let’s not forget that when those rights -were- established, the whole musket and bayonet thing was cutting edge technology. The same thing the military was using. The same way our ‘assault’ rifles are cutting edge technology.
Speaking of ‘assault’ rifles (and pointing the finger at the other side for a moment)…Fellow Gun guys, can we please stop correcting people and the term “assault” weapon. Yes, I know, the assault weapons ban was horseshit. Yes, I know they hold onto that term every time they talk about gun control, so it’s alright to be bothered by the term when it’s used by some politician. But for simple table conversation with your average Joe, you and he both know what’s meant by “assault” rifle. There’s no need to explain how that weapon has never, nor will ever, be used to “assault” someone. I swear to God if I see another one of those stupid posts online about how “I left my gun alone at home all day and it didn’t assault anyone”, I’m going to vomit. We know. Everyone knows.
So can we all please be real with one another? For like three seconds? And realize the actual issue here?
PEOPLE! PEOPLE ARE THE ISSUE! SWEET CHRIST IS IT THAT HARD TO SEE?? Take any of these massacres that have happened. School shootings, movie theaters, whatever. Take a look at the gunman….IT’S NOT LIKE NO ONE SAW IT COMING.
I’m not sure why exactly, but for some reason our society has felt the urge to completely and totally overlook or ignore mental illness. At best we medicate, then probably over-medicate. Is it because it’s not a physical ailment? We can’t see it so…Here’s some pills…It’ll make you feel better? Or is it that we’re afraid to tell a parent “Sorry…Little Billy’s got a couple screws loose” and instead we just give him a few pills to make him “Normal”. Well what happens when he stops taking said pills? I personally don’t know what needs to be done to address mental illness and instability, but we’ve got to start doing something better than what we’ve been doing. And for those people who -know- an individual could be mentally unstable, it’s their responsibility to monitor and make sure they don’t just have firearms laying around the house for easy access.
But Alex, what about the religious crazies?
I’m so glad you asked…
We happen to live in a pretty sweet country where we’re free to worship whatever God or deity we choose. It doesn’t matter if you want to worship God, or the Sun, or Tom Cruise, or -whatever-, you’re free to do so as long as it’s not hurting anyone else. However, one of the most dangerous things in the world is a person (or people) who are willing to harm others in the name of their religion. I doesn’t matter whether or not they’re Christian, Muslim, Jewish, whatever. The moment someone becomes a religious fanatic and willing to take another life for their religion, they’re an absolute danger to society. Lock em up. I realize it’s difficult to point out, especially since religious preferences are often secretive or not publicly voiced, but there’s a good chance -someone- out there knows about it. Speak up.
All of this “harm” I’m talking about is, of course, related to firearms. Let’s all not forget there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Remove a crazy person’s ability to access firearms and they’ll still find a way to cause harm be it a bomb, or a vehicle, or whatever. It still boils down to the person and their intent.
So what about the rest of us? Those of us who aren’t, in fact, evil? There’s gun related accidents year round, right? I’m all for better education prior to purchasing a firearm. In order for most of us to hunt (depending on where you live), you have to pass a hunter education safety course. During this course students learn the basic fundamentals of firearms and their safe handling. I personally don’t think it would be unnecessary to require someone pass a similar test before purchasing a firearm. I’ve seen guys at the gun range who’ve shown little to no knowledge of how to safely handle their gun. And gun safety isn’t very hard to learn, or even teach for that matter.
There are a shocking amount of people out there who simply know nothing about guns. The only thing they do know? Whatever’s been spit at them from the media: Guns are dangerous. I’ve taken several people shooting for their first time and almost every time they pick up that pistol or rifle for their first time, the initial reaction is the same: Fear. Why is that? It’s so bothersome to me. Is it because it goes *Bang*? Is it because people have been killed by them before? Or is it just a twinge of fear because it’s something completely foreign? It bothers me to no end that this same person who’s terrified of a gun in THEIR OWN HANDS, is the same person who will step onto an airplane without thinking twice, or eat a meal cooked by a total stranger, and be totally OK with it. What should you be more afraid of? I don’t blame the person at all. I blame society and how it’s all been portrayed. It’s frustrating beyond all belief.
And speaking of frustration, let’s dive into a whole new can of rage-inducing worms. Shall we?
Oh here we go. Unless you literally live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard or read some sort of news blurb about some guy killing a lion, or rhino, or elephant, or whatever. Then, inevitably, there’s a massive backlash of people ranting a raving about how horrible this individual is for killing this animal. So on, and so forth.
I won’t be naming any specific cases here. At all. Primarily because I see one of these articles pop up on Facebook, and immediately know it’s just going to piss me off. Not because of the hunter, but because of the absolute stupidity and ignorance that gets spewed from those opposed to the act. So I pretty much -never- read the articles.
So here’s the breakdown. Guy goes to Africa. Pays a ranch or preserve to go out and hunt whatever animal it is (big $$$ mind you). Downs his animal. Then posts the pictures of it online where the masses can start screaming “off with his head”. He does everything legally and by the books (remember I’m not pointing out specific events, just as a whole). So what’s the problem? Why do people get so upset?
I get it. I really do. No one -likes- to see a lion or elephant get killed. In a perfect world, I’d be totally fine if they weren’t EVER hunted by us. But we don’t live in a perfect world now do we? Sadly, harvesting these animals on occasion is necessary. But Alex, why? Why does someone -need- to kill a Lion? How would they like it if -they- were the ones being hunted? Why should any animal like that die by the hands of a hunter? Why?
Again, I’ll have to answer a question with a question: What makes the world go ’round?
Money. Money makes the world go ’round. Argue with me please if I’m wrong. But it’s a sad reality. Money gets things done. Money makes everything go tick. Unfortunately when it comes to species conservation, money is the primary driving factor. Everything costs money. When a hunter goes on a legal hunt (especially over in Africa), he’s paying big bucks. A -lot- of that money is going directly to that preserve or ranch in the form of species conservation. The ranch has to pay taxes, or requires more land for its animals, or needs things burned or mowed or -whatever-. The ranch needs money. And why do we need the ranch or preserve? For things like poachers, or urbanization. That rhino is probably not going to exist if there weren’t people out there protecting them from poachers. That lion certainly isn’t going to be doing all that well if its habitat is paved over. We need these ranches and preserves. And what keeps them going?
Money. Money from hunts. I know. It sucks. It’s a pretty terrible thing that -this- is how we have to try and protect these species, but do you have a better idea? Where’s the money going to come from?
So again, rich guy goes out and kills his trophy, posts his picture online, and Sally Two-Cents on Facebook goes absolutely ape-shit on this guy and is screaming for his head. Well, here’s where I have a MASSIVE problem with Sally Two-Cents.
I know seeing that dead Lion is upsetting. I realize it probably wasn’t what you were hoping to see while you scrolled through your Facebook news feed and waded through the incessant baby and engagement pictures. I also know that you now want to kill this hunter, and the nasty comment you left on this stranger’s picture has 1367 ‘likes’ from other drones like yourself. But I’m writing you to ask a very simple question. How much money have you put forth for species conservation this year? Since you seem to be against this type of hunting, how much money from you wallet have you donated for the preservation of Lions? Now think about how much this man who shot a lion has given to conservation. (He paid approximately $30,000 just to pull the trigger, FYI). So please forgive me for my wild assumption here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’ve contributed a whopping 0$ to this species and its conservation. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Sally, but…
YOU DON’T GET A SAY! Until you fork over as much, if not more money as someone else, you have no right to be upset. The day that you, or an organization -does-, then by all means, don’t kill that lion. At that point you will have proven that you do, in fact, care about this animal and its species’ future. But until that time, please shut up. You bitching about this is no different than if I started ranting all about Obama after I didn’t actually vote in the first place. No difference whatsoever. So please keep your outrage to yourself until you decide to step up.
Someone who’s sick of reading your crap
I could probably go on, but I won’t. Just know that it’s kind of a sad reality, but a reality none the less. And it’s upsetting to see just how many people know nothing about how the world works in this aspect.
Now then…What’s next…
*Casually flips through a list of topics that induces high blood pressure*
*Steps away from the computer for six days in a fit of rage*
Those two words. Those two words sum up what is, in my opinion, the biggest issue with our society today. Our PC culture has become so sensitive to anything and everything that it’s nearly impossible to say or do anything without -someone- getting butthurt. It’s completely and totally insane. Everyone’s suddenly offended by everything. Actually, you know what it probably is? It might not be that people are more easily offended, it’s that suddenly I’m supposed to not only acknowledge you’re upset, but also CARE. I don’t care. The world doesn’t care. The rebel flag flying in my neighbor’s yard? If you don’t like it, don’t look at it or fly one yourself. That gay couple down the street that just got hitched? If you don’t like it, don’t marry a gay guy. Just mind your own damn business. Worry about yourself for a change. Do people really have nothing better to do than to get upset or offended about what some sports commentator said on ESPN, or that kids say the pledge every morning in school? Toughen up. The world’s not about to stop spinning just because your feelings got hurt. You’ve every right in the world to call a black guy African American, or a Christmas Tree a Holiday Tree. But don’t think for a second that I, or anyone else, has to as well just because certain terms offend you. Get over yourself.
I passionately wanted to rage about several other things in this post, but I honestly feel myself beginning to stroke out. I’ve developed an anger fueled twitch and typing is proving to be somewhat difficult. I will, however, finish on a slightly lighter note.
Today’s country music.
Need I really say more? I don’t even really listen to country music and I know that most of the garbage that gets aired on the radio nowadays isn’t really country music. It’s poppy, or best case scenario, it’s “Bro Country”. What’s Bro Country, you may ask? The song is probably about drinking a beer with the tailgate down, a girl in jean shorts in the bed of the pickup, and a can of dip. Toss in a bonfire reference and a pair of boots and BAM! Bro Country. I don’t really care what you want to listen to. Like…At all. But we should probably change the term away from “Country”. When I think Country Music, I generally think of artists like Waylon, or Merle, or even George Strait. I don’t really think of Luke Bryan or Rascall Flats. Again, I don’t really listen to country (anyone that knows me knows I enjoy a good facemelting Pantera session), so this is from the outside looking in, but have any of you every been to one of these line dancing “country” bars. Lemme set the scene for you….
I’ve got my brand new Justin’s on with a pair of faded Wranglers that I almost ripped hopping out of my lifted truck that’s never actually been offroad. I’m probably rocking an arguably too-tight fitting Molon Labe shirt (or something along those lines) and I’ve got a spotless Yeti hat fit snugly on my melon head. I’m now your standard “country” guy.
The girls wear their cowboy boots with short jean shorts and some sort of attractive top (I’ll never deny they don’t look good). They all pretty much know every move to every song on the dance floor, and the night wears on until eventually most of the “country” guys have gathered enough courage with the help of about 5 Bud Lights to join the fray on the dance floor. And they’ll play song after song of today’s “country” music, with an occasional hip hop song thrown in for good measure.
Did I miss anything?
Again, I don’t really have a problem with it. I just always find it hilarious and mildly entertaining. When I’m in these places I can’t help but look around and wonder how many of these people actually know how to drive the tractors in these songs? Or have ever even seen a cotton field? Or skinned a deer? Or can drive a stick? Or any of it. It all sorta cracks me up. When I see most of these people, I see the country version of Malibu’s Most Wanted.
Finally, I was going to dive into a deep rage about man-buns, and hipsters, and all that. But I just don’t have it in me. I will say this…
Man buns. Ya’ll. For real. There’s like 110% chance if you’re reading this, you aren’t a Calvin Klein underwear model. Unless your girlfriend -really- digs the doo (meaning she wants you to be somewhat similar to said models), you probably aren’t pulling it off.
Hipsters. Will ya’ll PLEASE STOP RUINING EVERYTHING? Beards, glasses, flannel, PBR, craft beer, all of it. Find your own thing to ruin. Stop taking over everything good.
If you’re still with me and you’ve managed to read this far, then I applaud you. This has been far different than any post I’ve ever done, but I think it’s good to vent occasionally. As difficult and infuriating as this was to write, I’ve gotta admit I feel quite a bit better. Stay tuned! I fly back to Colorado in two short weeks to guide for the Elk season again, and I can’t wait to see the stories that’ll come out of it.