Thursday, September 01, 2005

We Shot Guns

My apartment is a disheveled wreck, half-way to clean and looking completely hopeless. Rather than buckle down and clean it up my inner demons are screaming at me to fuck around and waste time, and I am once again, powerless to resist.

Instead I am compelled to sit here at my hot laptop in the late humid heat and tell you all about my friend Eric's bachelor party, wherein a bunch of stinking dudes went to a filthy deer hunters' cabin in the woods outside of Lynchburg, VA and fired some seriously heavy weaponry under the influence of tequila, scotch and secret poisons secreted by our own testicles.

This is an image of me firing an AR-15 down the driveway, wildly missing the targets...

Shooting That Thing

I am pretty knee-jerk liberal and anti-gun, but I have to admit that they are pretty freaking fun to shoot. The weight, the slick metal and chk-chk-sounds they make as you lock and load them are somehow fulfilling, as though the machine is saying to you "if nothing in your life is at all reliable, I am. I am powerful and heavy, a vicious death-dealing instrument that will obey your commands."

From what I understand, this weapon is a semi-automatic, which means that it will not spit a hose stream of bullets, but will shoot as fast as one can squeeze the trigger. The weapons sort of crept into my brain and made me see everything as potential targets. Eventually, every item that moved or caught my attention sparked the same thought: "What would that look like with a bullet through it?" How would it react to getting shot?"

I could feel a J.G. Ballard sort of transformation taking place in my head, where in a distant but approaching fantasy realm I could sort of fantasize getting shot as a transformative, magical experience--my mind saw sprays of blood and bone chip in slow motion, almost abstract and beautiful I kept that shit to myself, though. Voicing that sort of thing is the BEST way to wreck the party...

Another distressing side effect I did not notice until later is that this particular AR-15 makes its handler's bald spot grow a bit each time he pulls the trigger. This picture must have been taken when the clip was nearly empty.

Here's a photo of my friend Eric holding up a cantaloupe he drilled with a .44 Magnum:

Right Through the Dome

When he shot it, the cantaloupe barely moved. It jerked slightly, sending a fine mist of lead-tainted fruit out into the forest behind it. It didn't even fall off the stump. We talked about it over breakfast the other day, and we all had the same thought: "Man, that looks TOO much like somebody's skull."

It was more fun shooting at old computer equipment...

Eric Tim

I did get to indulge a long-held fantasy of shooting an unresponsive keyboard so that it actually spun on the cord...

These are two of my best friends, along with Eric:

Loading Up

We all sat on the porch, furiously loading the clips and guns, drinking tequila and listening to Skynrd and laughing like hell. These guys are all super-liberal dudes, but look at them.

To see that picture, you just see a couple of red-faced white guys on some porch in the woods, loading up and joking about the coming revolution. Sure, we were shooting at photos pf Dick Cheney and Ken Lay, but is this how it starts? Maybe the Michigan Militia and Pat Robertson just got started out doing their thing as a joke, you know, sort of a "can you believe this red state shit we're actually doing," and it caught hold and they actually liked it. Just because you are doing something "as a joke," or with detached hipster irony, doesn't mean you're not doing it.

The gun experience was really, really fun. It was the sort of thing one would want to do with one's closest male friends, and we all had a blast. It was like we were all kids again, blowing up our GI Joes with fireworks, shooting bottle rockets at each other. Eric and I used to play "Civil War" out in a field, shooting bottle rockets at each other and missing wildly, much like Civil War gunners must have. We got to do it more for real that day, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

However, it demystifies William Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson for me. That gun thing is a fetishistic mystique those guys cultivated. The reality of it is, killing isn't cool. Burroughs ought to know that better than anyone else. Those guys are still brilliant artists, but after a heavy weapons session of my own, I see them as much more nerdy and faux-Nugent than I used to.

Having that fun means forgetting that these things are death-dealing weapons, and pretending they are remote-control hole-punchers combined with fireworks. I think that's what most responsible gun fans do, pretend to save the world from zombies or terrorists or the Klan or whatever while shooting at fruits and tin cans. And that's fine and really fun...but it requires that you forget that guns are for killing. And I'm honestly confused about whether or not that's a good idea.


At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff Jeff. That picture of Eric with the canteloupe/skull is very Arbus and terrifying, actually. That's not, however, old manget school Eric, is it? Looks too different, though the same skinny-ness factor. from Jeff your editor

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You redneck motherfucking cantaloupe killer. I'm a big fan of cantaloupe and I take great offense at this picture. If cantaloupes could shoot back, I don't think that you would have had the nuts to fire a round into one you piece of shit. If you're going to abuse God's little creatures, why don't you start with your own dick, you fucking pussy.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

"....Just because you are doing something 'as a joke,' or with detached hipster irony, doesn't mean you're not doing it...."

Right on. I moved from the D.C. area to Farmville, VA, for five years. At first, I was disgusted that I couldn't find a SPIN magazine in town, nor get a cup of coffee anywhere after 10 p.m. Then I decided to roll with it. I ate beef jerky, wore Dickies, and stuck Mack truck stickers on my car. When I look back at it, even though I was joking, I'm not sure people understood I was using redneck props to make a joke. Could they tell me from a redneck? And what was so cool about a city person donning redneck gear? How did I think that was an intelligent thing to do?


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