High Noon in America
Since gun control is such a hot topic, the elite think tank the Project For a New American Decade (PNAD) has come up with a modest proposal to add to the national conversation. We think it’s worth a try.
First, we do the obvious, most sensible things: we establish universal background checks and dignified mental health services for those who exhibit a need for it. The third leg of the current gun control imbroglio — banning AR-15s — is a bit trickier.
When our beloved founding fathers walked this land, a lunatic with a gun had to dick around for five minutes to re-load his musket in order to shoot more than one six-year-old. Something like an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine would have been science fiction to them. So, I propose we make AR-15 assault rifles and extended ammo magazines illegal and set up an obligatory buy-back of the weapons with certain incentives to sweeten the deal.
As the first incentive, everyone who obeys the law and turns in an AR-15 gets an ounce baggie of the finest, most mellow marijuana known to man and a weekend get-away at selected resorts around the nation. There will be great gourmet food, hands-on sex therapists of one’s gender preference, a little Sandbox 101 emphasizing the need for social cooperation, and continuous showings of the The Big Lebowski.
Of course there will be recalcitrants. This is America and we’re a nation founded on recalcitrance. So for those determined to disobey the new law and not participate in the buy-back, an Option B will be offered. Instead of the soothing ganja, the outlaws get a free bottle of the finest tequila, and instead of a resort get-away, the activities will be brought right to their residences. Instead of The Big Lebowski, they get noise, lots of it.
Giant psy-war sound trucks will pull up in front of their homes and will play the adrenaline-inducing soundtrack of Killer Elite starring Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro, a film about macho male movie stars running around with AR-15s on fully-automatic. There is a senseless plot about hired killers killing members of a British military assassination team for an Arab sheik, but fortunately the stupid story doesn’t get in the way of the actors running around blasting away with their AR-15s and wasting other human beings. The movie’s motto is: “May the best man live.” (Plot spoiler: After all the gun mayhem, Statham and DeNiro live happily ever after. But not together!)
With the Killer Elite soundtrack pumped up loud, all instincts for negotiation should be discouraged, allowing for an apocalyptic firefight in which all the weapons that the choosers of Option B insist on owning can be put to their designated use, the killing of other human beings. To add to the right mood, unmarked black helicopters will circle the house. Videographers will film everything so the fun can be relived later in the comforts of one’s living room via the reality TV show Guns, Guts and Glory.
The point of having an Option A and an Option B is it gives each AR-15 owner a choice about what psychological posture to living and dying he or she wants to take in face of the quite reasonable social need to control lethal military weapons. There’s the life-force route or the death-wish route. Freud and other fancy, boffo shrinks like to call the former Eros and the latter Thanatos, nifty Greek words for the deeply submerged human tendencies toward Life and Death. Which motivates one the most? Or, in terms of pop culture, which film — The Big Lebowski or Killer Elite — speaks to one’s deep-seated inner drives? When stress settles upon you, do you want to abide like The Dude or do you want to kill somebody? Option A involves engagement with others and enjoying life; and when the buzz is over, it’s about getting on with life’s challenges in a cooperative manner. As the cultural icon Rodney King put it: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Option B is essentially a suicide-by-SWAT-team pact.
The part of the proposal that some may not like is that the government wins with both Option A and Option B. Either way, when the dust settles, the government will be assured a monopoly on the most efficient lethal weaponry — something they have already, of course.
However, Option B does present the potential for such an incredible conflagration of violence between both sides of the machismo axis — gun-fetishist outlaws and SWAT-geared automatons — that, if we’re lucky, both sides might mutually decimate each other enough that it could open up political space in America, which could be filled by all the people who took Option A and chose the enjoyment of life over mutual-assured-destruction.
It’s possible that once all the post-Option B funerals are over, America would be so disgusted with machismo lethal-weapon violence that a sensible alternative based on mutual respect for other humans beings might be possible. Yes, it is a long shot, but it may be worth the gamble. This way, America could get beyond the polarized, hostile stalemate of the current moment. We could call it High Noon in America. The nation would be like Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly riding off into the sunset in a buggy.
But let’s be realistic. We know violence rarely follows anyone’s plan, and there’s the issue of collateral damage to consider. And, sure, there’s the adjunct matter that, despite all the time and deep thought PNAD thinkers have put into this proposal — as was the case with our neo-con friends and the Iraq thing — it’s possible that it’s all half-baked and the violence might unintentionally overflow the banks of our grasp of reality, flooding into ordinary American communities minding their own business and also into those resort get-aways where everybody is blowing the fancy stuff and watching The Big Lebowski. The newly disarmed, peace-loving sybarites enjoying their Option A weekend get-away would not stand a chance.
If this unforeseen spillage occurs, the get-away movie will have to be changed to Dr. Strangelove. The point would be to turn that chuckle-headed nightmare into a new midnight cult movement along the lines of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Grown men could fight over who gets to play the iconic Vulcan General Jack Ripper who stands up like a real man to Washington appeasers by drinking grain alcohol and rainwater to preserve his American exceptionalist bodily fluids.
As Armageddon approaches, those still standing and the wounded still able to carry a tune could take a few more bong hits and close the weekend out with a rousing sing-a-long of the Thanatos theme song:
we’ll meet again
don’t know where
don’t know when
but I know we’ll meet again
some ….. sun-ny ….. day
JOHN GRANT is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper.