Gun Truth

We have a gun lust. Guns make us (especially men) feel empowered, even when we are mostly weak. Guns make small men feel they are someone to be reckoned with — and I’m not referring to physical stature. Guns give impotent (sexually or existentially) men vitality and make them feel formidable.

Contemporary America makes legions of us feel inconsequential, insignificant and powerless; but we saw Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Die Hard, etc., back in the day. The big heroes with the big box office solved their problems and got the girl or righted the wrongs or avenged the injustices with guns — big guns. And this example still inspires us today. Even if we’re beset by nothing more than being asked to live up to our own ideals. We desperately want to be heroes — but how can we do that if others have suffered due to our sense of entitlement for decades?

YIPPIE KI YAY, MOTHER-F_CKER! Gun in hand, we’re suddenly fierce. WE’RE GONNA TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK! Anybody who don’t look like us or believe like us is the disease and we’re the cure. Women who scorn us or insult us or reject us — they’re enemies, practically criminals, ’cause we’re good, god-fearin’ red-blooded American, billy-badasses—if they don’t want us, desire us, need us, there’s something wrong with them — not us. Right?!

Persons of color who don’t drop whatever they’re doing and grovel at our feet, obey our every command? THEY DIE and we face no consequences because WHO ARE THEY to question our authority, our badge, our flag, our anthem, our privilege?

People who protest against the ridiculous lies we hold dear, call out our hypocrisy, our inanity — GO AHEAD, MAKE OUR DAY. We’ll show up at voting booths with guns. We’ll show up at town halls with guns. We’ll show up at the Home Depot with guns. We’ll show up at schools with guns. We’ll show up at churches with guns.

It is intensely sad that we feel guns empower us. It is perversely sad that we think guns reinforce our manhood. But what’s really sad, really pathetic and really telling is that so many of us are really only dangerous with a gun.

We are intellectually meek. We are imaginatively bankrupt. We are inexcusably ignorant. We’re a sad, dangerous gaggle of spoiled, misinformed children. But give us the girl, the good jobs, the bigger houses, the golf course and the perpetual, unchallenged right to feel good about ourselves . . . and we’ll leave you alone.

E.R. Bills is a writer from Aledo, Texas and the author of Black Holocaust: The Paris Horror and a Legacy of Texas Terror (Eakin Press, 2015) Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional and Nefarious (History Press, 2013). He can be reached at: erbillsthinks@gmail.com. Read other articles by E.R..