by Charlie Parsley
Attendance at the gun show was light. It was quite like a gun flea market: casual, folksy, quiet and uneventful. As gun shows are a regular local event, this particular weekend must have been nothing special. What is it that would fill the wide aisles of the Expo Arena Building at the Fairgrounds? A celebrity appearance? More girls in bikinis? Unleashed bunnies?
Sadly and surprisingly there were no bikini clad hotties giving out samples of anything. PR departments are snoozing on an untapped market.
A full ninety percent of attendees would apply to the profile of ‘redneck’ in the male category, the majority of them not being particularly pleasant to look at. Those few who fell between the fast food enhanced beer belly over-sized and the cigarette-thin profile of the tobacco smokers were of the ‘regular guy’ variety. None of them had their shirts off. A handful of teenagers were included as well as one African American guy whom we shall discuss later. The remaining ten percent of attendees were rednecks of the female type, children, old old guys in wheelchairs and security.
The guns available presented a variety of sizes, styles and colors from which to choose. Rifles appeared to be popular. Or perhaps, rifles were noticeably popular. However, pistols and/or handguns might have been present upon the patrons but not visible. Therefore handguns might have been more popular. The reporter does not know.
The reporter reporting herein failed in the reporting basics. No meaningful interviews were held with the vendors, as they were only interested in talking with you if you were really going to buy a gun. It seemed imprudent to strike up a conversation with a patron in order to ask them about their motivation for purchasing a gun. Yet extensive notes were taken.
A variety of additional supplies to the gun purchaser was presented among the guns such as holsters, flak jackets, bullets, pellets, knives, swords, brass knuckles, grenades, military patches, a variety of flags and bumper stickers, popcorn, instructional booklets for the guns and other ‘official use’ books, caps, boots, sunglasses, stainless steel and ‘diamonique’ jewelry, toy guns, action figures and beanie babies. Suspicions about the need or usage of beanie babies among the gun purchasers flared from wild speculation about the ease of concealment and unassuming camouflage of the beanie baby until it subsided with the boring realization that they were merely another object of collection.
As one may properly view the intent of purchasing guns to be not undissimilar from motivations of purchases of kitchen appliances, decorative glass beads, Elvis Presley photographs, or thimbles. These are the objects of collectors. The additional gun-related items available are such that appeal to a collector: military memorabilia, toys, ball caps, ugly sparkly jewelry. This returns us to the flea market atmosphere with its dry and desperate capitalistic concerns scorching the conversations.
For indeed there was nary a conflict nor raised voice among the participants. Observation revealed a total lack of activist presence in the capacity of NRA rah-rahism, hunting club membership outreach, political campaigning of any sort, coupons for fast food, cardboard ID lube trash containers, costumed characters or free beer. Furthermore, outside of the building in the parking lot was a complete lack of feminist activists denigrating the misogynistic male on male phallic worship going on inside or PETA protestors with red acrylic paint.
The reporter’s plan to pose as a ‘beginner’ in order to draw insightful advice or titillating suggestions utterly failed as this disguise is sadly no ruse. The wearing of overalls conceals any and all semblance of anything... unordinary... nearly to the point of invisibility. While this provides concepts for a sci-fi character storyline the reporter fears it contributed little to this report.
Gun purchase motivation may only be conjectured until meaningful polling is conducted. As polls are easily misconstrued, manipulated, sometimes unapplicable and generally disregarded, conjecture will stand as a reasonable alternative.
Guns are acquired in order to shoot bullets. There is however one exception to this rule: guns that are acquired in order to probably not fire bullets. These guns would belong to a person of ‘collector’ status, (see above) wherein ‘collector’ guns are acquired for reasons other than bullet firing: status, importance, joy, show-offishness, dumb-assness, military or family history relevance. Etc.
Returning then to guns that are acquired in order to shoot bullets. Bullets may be aimed at the following targets:
1) Targets. Of the paper or tin can variety. This would be the most benign use of a bullet. In this category the sport of gun firing, whatever that sport is named.
2) Critters. Such as squirrels, rats, opossums, raccoons, beavers, snatches, fuzz humpers and jay-jays.
3) Neighbors and relatives. In the unmalevolent and excusable sense of misfiring.
4) Hunting. Larger animals. Malevolent yet excusable.
5) Intruders. In a personal sense, such as burglary and thievery. Again, bullet use ‘with intent’ in this case is excusable.
6) Invaders. In the national sense. Russians, Germans, Canadians, Mexicans, Iranians, Turks, Pakistanis, French, Australian. Etc.
7) Road Rage. Not cool generally, but to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
8) General anger. Although we have heard again and again to use words in stead of weapons, the pen is mightier than the sword... sometimes nothing ‘makes a point’ like a gun. Malevolent usage in this instance is generally inadvisable and usually inexcusable.
9) Cash. Often the bullet factor is not necessary in gun usage for financial exchanges. When bullets are utilized in this instance it is generally unnecessary and inappropriate.
10) Other. (Various other reasons for firing bullets.) Fourth of July for example. Halloween. Christmas. Weddings.
This analysis is necessary to assess the gun’s purchaser through empirical observation:
Camouflage, body odor and facial hair = Hunting
Overalls and beer belly = Critters
Overalls, beer belly and wheelchair = Military Enthusiasm
Teenager (uninterested in knives or throwing stars) = dumb-assness
Baggy white t-shirt, Baggy jeans, purple bandanna, chunky jewelry, skewed ballcap with hand upon genitals at all times = Armadillos, to be sure
Conclusion: no particular conclusion. Will compare to livestock show in September.