A Note by a Redneck on Guns and Gunlike Products
In case y’all need a reminder: I am a redneck, and I come from a long line of rednecks. My mom just returned from my great aunt’s funeral. Post-funeral, the family brought out the wine and beer and gossiped about a cousin or somebody who stole another cousin’s husband—you get the gist. That was yesterday.
Being a redneck and all, I’ve been planning my spring and summer hunting and camping trips. Last year, my sister and I went on several weekend jaunts to various beautiful parks in Tennessee. We trekked Hobbs Cabin in Savage Gulf. We tracked our mileage to 22 miles in twenty-four hours, lugging way too much gear because we didn’t realize the campground was at the end of the trail. Fools, we were.
I like camping. I like hunting. This spring, I’m planning a hunt-in in Alabama’s Bankhead Forest. I’m clearly not an expert, as our dumbassery in Savage Gulf proved, but I enjoy shooting guns, eating squirrel, and plan on rolling into the wilderness with my crossbow and a magnesium flint stick.
Crossbow. Not a rifle, shotgun, or assault rifle. I fully intend on eating well, and if I can’t bag a turkey, I’ll fill up on fish and squirrel. All with a badass looking crossbow and a fishing line on a tree branch, because that’s all I need to kill one animal in the woods.
My thoughts on gun control have vacillated wildly over the years. Before Sandy Hook, I was my radically liberal self but pro-gun and nihilistic about stopping mass shootings. I subscribed the idea that we can’t stop evil. I am no longer eighteen, the age when I thought those things—and I thought those things until I saw babies that had been shot in their school on the news. Even in high school, I was pro-reasonable gun control. Seeing those babies at Sandy Hook made me adamant about even unreasonable gun control.
Do I want a stockpile of M4 Colt Carbines and magazine clips for when this shit goes Walking Dead? Hell yes, I do. I want a Shit Hits the Fan arsenal. I want MREs, enough hemostatic gauze to heal a small army, a stockpile of doxycycline, grenades, grappling hooks, and the works for when our dumb asses get nuked. I also recognize that I currently have none of those things and will never need them. All I need to survive is a lighter and a crossbow.
I say all of this to reach out to the fellow redneck that can’t imagine having their guns taken away. I, too, love guns. They are fun as shit. Babies being killed? I can’t stomach it, and my fantasies of mowing down a herd of zombies will never materialize. The government has drones. We just don’t need assault weapons, and there is no such thing as a responsible gun owner.
What? How can that be! I am so responsible with my— shut the hell up. There is no such thing a responsible gun owner. Before these mass shootings, I bet your ass all of the perpetrators were “responsible” gun owners. They would’ve killed someone and gone to jail before their mass shooting if they weren’t responsible. They were calculated and methodical, which are characteristics of every gun owner, good and bad.
Arming teachers? Are y’all serious? My hometown county in Alabama has just passed legislation to essentially form an armed force in schools made up of volunteers that take on security detail. Several Alabama legislators have proposed bills that will allow teachers to carry weapons after forty hours of law enforcement training. The absurdity of this cannot be understated. My visceral reaction is what happens when the teacher leaves the gun in their desk and a nosy third grader takes it? What happens when a racist-assed history teacher shoots the “rowdy” black kid in class? What happens when the coach loses his marbles? This is reckless, ill-conceived legislation that keeps politics in the NRA’s back pocket, and I won’t inundate you with the coverage you’ve already heard. As a future educator with basic knowledge of long guns, I cannot stress how much I detest any human being who can’t see through this idiocy. This is one of those moments where politics is equal to, not absent of, morality.
I’ll keep this brief: yes, Mayor Barry screwed her security detail in a cemetery. Yeah, there might be nudes. Sure, they traveled on taxpayer’s dime and yes, I know, they made a job for the security guy’s relative. It looks terrible. Obviously, I’m not going to condone embezzlement or illegal government funding appropriations. I’m going to say this carefully: Nashville. Needs. Public. Transit.
Impeach her ass after we vote on the Transit Bill. Please, Jesus, just let her hang on until May. I don’t care if she was screwing DJT in her office on piles of embezzled money at the moment: Nashville, as a city, will be set back at least a decade if we don’t get public transit in the works. I’m not a politician so I get to have corrupt ideas. You may wonder how and why I’m so passionate about this, but think about it—the city I’ve spent the last eight years is no longer navigable. It takes hours to get across town, and I’m “affluent” enough to have my own car and mostly able to afford gas. If y’all want her to step down, make sure the Transit Bill will still be voted on, and I’ll lead the resignation procession.
Things I’m Watching, Reading and Listening To
Currently, I’m reading William Gay’s Little Sister Death. Since I’m only familiar with his short stories, this novel is odd—I’ll review it soon but check out what I thought about his collection I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down.
I’ve been watching Survivorman on Amazon video for a few days now, and I’m already two seasons in. It has me thinking about subsistence economies and Steven Stoll’s Ramp Hollow, or how we need to reframe economies to include subsistence-geared labor. As a rural-minded leftist, I think urbanization-focused poverty solutions aren’t tailored to fit all types of poverty, and it’s throwing me into a tailspin of reconsidering the definition of poverty at all. Yes, I know Survivorman is a show by a Canadian wilderness dude and filmmaker, and on a topical level has nothing to do with poverty. But thinking about how he finds food, water, shelter, and safety in the wild out of nothing but a multi-tool and a string adds tangible value to arguments about reinstating some facets of subsistence as we phase out of capitalistic urbanization. We’re not phasing it out, unfortunately—but the rural poor have made a fine meal out of squirrel and poke salad for decades. We have more to learn from survival than we think.