Sunday, November 16, 2008

Uppity Black People

Ever been to a real gun show? One of my best buddies took me to one a few weeks ago. You know, I am a dude from the South, so guns are a part of life. I have had some kind of gun since I was around 9 years old and you aint any kind of a man if you never killed a deer. Not out here. So I've hunted deer and birds, shot a few coyotes and a few other lifeforms. In fact, we are still so close to our agricultural roots here, where many families still butcher their own meat, the animals they raised and fed everyday as food animals, that killing a creature is expected. Not only kill it, but kill it and don't be squeamish about you freakin pussy! Do not embarrass your Mom by acting like a a little baby that's freaked out over pulling the head off a chicken you plan to eat tonight! Later you can pluck it, cut out it's guts and eviscerate the rest of it's body so it will fry up nice in a pan.

Yeah, killing is part of farm life. From your best friend cow dog that gets run over by the hay truck, to the Mama Cow you worked all morning to help deliver a dead calf only to see the cow can't be saved either. Two very common times a growing boy in Oklahoma gets to use his ever present gun, often kept behind the seat in the pick-up, clean, loaded and ready.

Now not all of Oklahoma lives that rustic charm I just described. In fact, the majority of the population have done their best to move the hell away from real farm and ranch life because to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Farmin' is tough!"

But the ideals never leave. Kill to eat. Live off the land. Protect your property from coyotes (which will kill calves when pack numbers increase) or other predators. Kill, kill without compassion or remorse. Know you are in the right in whatever you decide and kill kill kill. The army LOVES farm boys.

And redneck fathers love acting like they are still on the farm, even if their family has been living in town and working other jobs for generations. So my buddy, a computer programmer, the son of a baker, takes me to a gun show so he can get adequate firepower for his 10 year old son. And it is a scene dude! Acres of nothing but killing machines! They have knives and swords (what kind of a fool brings a knife to a gun show?) little toy guns, giant assault rifles and automatic weapons. They cost around $500 each and the ammunition was expensive.

But that building was so packed with rednecks, BUYING all the guns they could afford, that you can barely move around in that HUGE Expo center in Tulsa. It was wall to wall white guys buying everything in sight.

OK this was my first gun show. I went to see what one was like. I had no interest in buying a gun. I am the great disappointment to all father's of the South. I don't like to kill things. That's why I don't hunt or fish. I have done both quite a bit, and it took me years to get past the conditioning to realize I just didn't enjoy killing and mutilating the corpse of some animal. But I will gladly eat meat! I am not ridiculously liberal after all! But the point is, I didn't want a gun, I went to hang out with an old friend and see what a gun show was all about.

It was amazing and frightening how many people want to have a gun, and the variety of guns available. (Yes, I am sure I am now watched by Homeland Security just because I "signed in" to win a free TV... my paranoia tells me "That's how they track you!")but I went, I saw and I remembered.

Now there are reports that it was not just Tulsa. Gun sales have increased all over the country since Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States. And THIS is insane! A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the older generation was raised in fear of black people. I wrote that they would need help making the adjustment and accepting what those of us raised in desegregated schools learned from the beginning. We are all the same. But these were not older men at the gun show. This was a healthy mix of ages from little kids to old men. All white.

The press is playing this up. It must be about a black dude getting himself elected as President. But I wonder... Could it also be that when the economy goes bad then crime increases? Could it be the news of gang related drive-by shootings that are happening more and more all over the state? Could it be a reaction to the fact that it is fall which means Deer season? It seems there are many other explanations than saying the white people are up in arms over uppity black people. I mean, don't you think?

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