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Adele Elliott: Shootout in suburbia

 

Adele Elliott

 

The Internet is blazing with videos of a group of gun enthusiasts flaunting some high-powered firearms at a Texas Jack In The Box. The incident was harmless enough, just an expression of their rights -- supported by the laws of that state -- to brandish non-concealed weapons in public. 

 

The fast food restaurant's employees served them, and then hid in the freezer until they left. Fort Worth police responded to the situation as if it was a robbery. Who can blame them? 

 

"I would estimate around 10 squad cars showed up, some with two per squad car. I believe we counted more than 15 officers showed up on scene," Edwin Haros (a demonstrator) said. 

 

"We're not breaking the laws," Haros said. "We're not here to hurt anybody. We're not trying to alarm anybody. We're doing this because it's our constitutional right." (ABC News, May) 

 

The well-fed, well-armed men then marched into a Home Depot store to exercise their rights. The guns were worn strapped to their backs in a jaunty manner. It was all just an ordinary afternoon outing. 

 

So many questions arise from this display of "constitutional rights." How many people in both stores were terrified? How much money was wasted on squad cars and personnel to determine that these men were not a threat? And, when did a semi-automatic Smith and Wesson become a stylish accessory? Is it like designer jewelry or high-end tennis shoes? Evidently, these men have peers who are impressed by this display of possessions (not to mention uber masculinity), assets that are, incidentally, dangerous. 

 

I see a new direction for fashionable companies. Perhaps Prada might design a line of stylish cases for the guns. Can't you just imagine shoulder straps from Gucci? Pity Coco Chanel; she died too soon to jump on this trend. 

 

This might be a great idea for Golden Triangle businesses looking for a way to boost sales. Someone in our area could produce a line of bullets printed with the logos of Mississippi State, images of local high school mascots, or his-and-her gun racks with quotes from the Mississippians who have made us so proud, like Faulkner or Tennessee Williams. 

 

"Having more guns in public increases the risks of gun violence, which is why 56 percent of Americans oppose laws allowing people to carry concealed, loaded handguns in public places." (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence) 

 

According to a Violence Policy Center analysis of news reports, concealed carry permit holders have killed at least 11 law enforcement officers and 319 private citizens since May 2007. 

 

"Over the years, states have made it increasingly possible for almost any adult to carry a concealed handgun in public, including on college campuses, in churches and in state parks -- places where people tend to congregate in large numbers and where, in a rational world, guns should be strictly prohibited. 

 

"Some states go even further by expressly allowing guns where they should not be. Nine states now have "carry laws" that permit guns on campuses; eight permit them in bars; five permit them in places of worship. In Utah, holders of permits can now carry concealed guns in elementary schools." (New York Times editorial, December 2013) 

 

To the New York Times and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence I say, "Ridiculous!" The concept of flattering accoutrements for guns just might be the thing to win over anti-gun folks like me. Inject trendy colors of the season and even I might expand my wardrobe to include a pink gun and a patterned holster with a touch of glitz. 

 

My new boyfriend, Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the National Rifle Association, says, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." That phrase is just as convincing as, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." To that I add: Guns may not kill people, but gun deaths are 100 percent the result of people with guns in their possession. Even an expensive and chic accessory won't change that.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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