Why I Got Kicked Out of the NRA Convention pt. 2


I zipped past quick before the red coats could stop me and merged right into the flow of traffic: I was a young teenager the last time I had been to a gun show. My stepfather was a gun enthusiast who occasionally drug me to these things – and not just as a spectator. Him and his friend ran a booth selling weapons which meant I had to spend the entire day with them sitting behind the table while men gabbed about guns….all fucking day about guns so you can see why I held no fascination or horror at this spectacle.  Granted back when I went these things didn’t have the sideshow antics they have now days. Ted Nugent in all his fury was there to sign autographs and strut his defiance (but I missed him by a day). The Honorable Rick Santorum, LtCol. Oliver North and that old buzzsaw Donald Rumsfeld also made appearance but that was back on Friday and this was the final day of the event…so what guest celebrity was I stuck with seeing?…Eddie the Gun Safety Eagle.

Eddie the Eagle is the friendly mascot of gun safety that parades around these shows teaching kids to stay the hell away from guns and find a grownup to solve the dilemma should they find one. This seemed like a mixed bag of frustration for any small kid attending this show because on the one hand you had Eddie telling then they should stay away from guns yet no more than fifty feet away they were playing videos on large screens that showed watermelons being split open in slow motion from high octane weapons, hard country rock overtures playing and muscled guys with tattoos of eagles giving the rough stare. What young boy jacked up on Mountain Dew wouldn’t want to emulate these heroes? The absurdity of this false sense for patriotism mashed into the need to own a firearm had me going. It’s just a fucking gun show folks. This could have easily been a boat show or a flower and patio show….it’s a huge arena where people peddle their wares. Granted you won’t find many things at the flower and patio show that can wipe out a crowd of people with semi-automatic precision but in my mind, it still just boils down to being the same gun show I saw years ago. People buying and selling guns. Vendors coaxing you to buy now and support the NRA because any day now the government will try to take away your rights to own and bears arms. Gun enthusiasts have been saying that at least since I was twelve; I am now fifty eight…I think the government, or whatever clandestine organization actually runs this country, have found a much more seductive way to take away our rights and freedoms and they’ll do it without firing a single shot.

I couldn’t help myself at this point. I went over to Edie’s booth where a few families were gathered with their wild pre-tween boys getting stickers and coloring books. One boy in particular was really jacked up on sugar, barely maintained by his single mom who was trying to get him interested in the merchgandise. I leaned over to him and said “Hey, what if someone shot the bird?” This stopped his jumping around and he took a moment to register what I had said, then started laughing and jumping up and down.
“Yeah, let’s shoot the bird!” He kept laughing as if I had made the most hilarious joke of all time. His mom turned and gave me a look, then tried to contain him but I just egged it on. I pumped my fist in the air and started chanting “shoot the bird, shoot the bird” and the kid laughed even harder. Now his mom was really upset with me and I suppose I can’t blame her but creeping jesus, the kid was already two hours behind on his Ritalin prescription. Not only did the mom start to lay into me but the people monitoring Eddie’s booth did as well and within a few moments there were red coats and troopers by my side to escort my ass out. They finally discovered that I had no entrance badge and were kind enough not to press the issue and have me hauled away to jail or something, but saw me to the outside of the convention center and warned me not to return.

So my intent is not to prevent people or encourage people to buy guns; that is another issue that would take a few posts to get into. My intent on telling what happened to me is to point out that these events sponsored and put on by the NRA are not much more than a decorative sales arena to buy goods, see iconic self proclaimed celebrities and eat pulled pork…..last thought to ponder………why did I not see even one African American attending?


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