• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Liberal Gun Nut

My father and I, at his house in the Catskills, playing the Goldman Sachs-Mini 14 game: We tramp out into the hardwoods, among the butterflies and the mosquitoes, with the rifle, a Ruger Mini-14 .223 banana-clipped at 30 rounds.  Fast action semi-automatic, modeled after the M-14 military issue, but short-barreled, carbine-style – a rifle meant to be hidden under raincoats for shooting up the town.   Which, being good liberals, we would never do.

Instead, he shouts “GOLDMAN SACHS! ON THE LEFT!” and I leap to it, emptying the magazine, firing from the hip, the muzzle jumping, flaring yellow, the barrel heating, the casings ejected in zinging arcs, the rounds, traveling 3,100 feet per second, splashing dirt and chipping at the wood pile and terrifying the squirrels.  “LEHMAN BROS!” shouts my father, which for a moment throws me – the Bros. being defunct – but then instinct kicks in and I let go with another volley.  And so on.   Good fun, very satisfying.   The goal, obviously, is to fire as many rounds as fast as possible – preferably with stopwatch marking time – into the imagined banksters running about in the woods, their mouths gagged with a wad of twenties.

Liberal progressives are supposed to hate guns, the “gun culture” meant as code for the secure ghetto of the bubbas and the rednecks and the “conservatives” and Second Amendment nutjobs.  I beg to differ.  I know left-wingers, anarchists, socialists, antiwar activists, Democrats, Naderites, anti-corporatists, and antiglobalists who are armed to the teeth, who love their guns, play with their guns, clean them, talk to them, know how to use them, train with them, go hunting with them, kill meat with them, and get together sometimes for shooting parties to knock holes in color photos of corporate criminals.   These are people who read the Nation, Harper’s, the New Yorker, listen to Amy Goodman as gospel, have books like “The Shock Doctrine” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” at their bedside, and even visit lefty propagandists like CounterPunch.  Smart, well-read, many of them college-educated, ranging in class from broke and living in a desert tent or trailer park (often by choice) to semi-comfortable and settled in the lower or middling middle classes.  Some are off-the-gridders, growing their own food, electrifying their homes with sunlight and wind; some are journalists, artists, businessmen; one of them, an Internet radio entrepreneur, ran for governor of Vermont last year on a ticket whose main platform was “the destruction of the American Empire.”

Consider my father, owner of that bankster-slaughtering Mini-14.  Here’s a guy who voted for Obama (regretting it every day), who in a recent letter to the president wrote:

“This nation must not reduce its assistance to our tens of millions of poor citizens; it must not cut Medicaid or Social Security or Medicare.  To cover these costs we must increase taxes on all Americans – especially the rich, the Two Percenters who have doubled their wealth over the last generation by draining the wealth of the great mass of low, moderate and middle income folks.  The behavior of the government toward the rich – allowing the Two Percenters to fleece everyone else – is not only morally obscene; it is bad for business.”

A proud liberal, a believer in the possibilities of good government, my father also owns shotguns, hunting rifles, .22 plinkers.

Or consider my friend Travis Kelly, a writer and political cartoonist in Grand Junction, Colo. – self-described “member of America’s most closeted and underestimated minority, liberals who own guns” – who wrote a piece for Hustler magazine recently along the same lines as this article.  Among the reasons for his being pro-gun (he owns a lot of them): A friend of his, along a lonely stretch of Texas highway a few years ago, was kidnapped and nearly raped.  Luckily she had a pistol in her pocket, a little .38 revolver, and with it plugged her attacker in the stomach as he was unbuckling his pants.

“And the lesson is: the police cannot be everywhere all the time, they are not omnipotent, and we don’t want them to be,” writes Kelly. “There are times when the individual must be responsible for his or her own self-defense.  Guns are the great equalizers, against larger predators.”

This is a guy who also pens cartoons for Hustler showing a teeth-clenched Uncle Sam getting fucked in the ass by the grinning pantless CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Within the “gun culture” vilified by progressive liberals, in other words, there is a progressive liberal subculture that is heavily armed.  Apparently, this is not to be spoken of, probably because it’s not supposed to exist; it’s supposed to be closeted.  Talk to the typical Manhattan progressive – I know a lot of them, living in New York – and mention you own guns, and weirdness ensues.  You might as well be explaining the pleasures of pederasty.  I deal with a lot of editors of progressive publications who have never held a gun, much less shot one, and would think it unseemly, uncouth, by god uncultured, to do either.   Some of these folks think no American should own guns, that the guns should be outlawed altogether, to which I respond with Utah anarchist Ed Abbey’s remarks on this matter.

“The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and the military are the weapons of dictatorship,” said Abbey.  “The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an ‘equalizer.’ Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed – but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny….If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government — and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”

In Abbey’s country recently, in the canyonlands of southern Utah, I shoulder a backpack for a few nights of solo-camping in the La Sal Mountains, strapped with a brand new and lovely .40 calibre FN Herstal semi-auto pistol, 14 shot.   Black bear country – they’re getting uppity these days – and you at least want to pretend to be safe.  At 12,000 feet, in the hot shining height, I shed clothing, except for boots and the pistol and make the final 200 feet of ascent up the scree slope working on my tan.  I fire off six rounds into the air, Palestinian-wedding-style, upon reaching Pilot Mountain.   Why not?   It’s wilderness, a free country, not another human being for 20 miles in any direction.  Naked on a peak with a .40 cal., happy as only the free can be.

This too is the redneck’s dream – though if there was a road up Pilot Mountain, pity the fool, he would have 4×4’d it.

Let’s not forget that the liberal and conservative gun nuts might someday meet on that mountaintop, on the occasion when the rifle again is needed to defend the democracy.

Christopher Ketcham, a freelance writer who splits his time between Brooklyn, NY and Moab, Utah, is writing a book about secession movements. Contact him at cketcham99@mindspring.com  

More articles by:

Christopher Ketcham is the author of  “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West” (Viking-Penguin).  He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
Nyla Ali Khan
The Sociopolitical and Historical Context That Shaped Kashmiri Women Like My Grandmother in the 1940s
Louis Proyect
Does Neo-Feudalism Define Our Current Epoch?
Ralph Nader
S. David Freeman: Seven Decades of Participating in Power for All of Us
Norman Solomon
Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Police and Her VP Quest
Maria Paez Victor
Venezuela in the 2020 Pandemic
Ron Mitchell
Defending Our Public Lands: One Man’s Legacy
Nomi Prins 
The Great Depression, Coronavirus Style: Crashes, Then and Now
Richard C. Gross
About That City on A Hill
Kathleen Wallace
An Oath for Hypocrites
Eve Ottenberg
Common Preservation or Extinction?
Graham Peebles
Air Pollution Mental Illness and Covid-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Unearned Income for All
Evan Jones
The Machine Stops
Nicky Reid
Proudhon v. Facebook: A Mutualist Solution to Cyber Tyranny
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
What is a “Native” Plant in a Changing World?
Shailly Gupta Barnes
Why are Our Leaders Still Putting Their Faith in the Rich?
John Kendall Hawkins
In Search of the Chosŏn People of Lost Korea
Nick Licata
How Hydroxychloroquine Could Help Trump…Politically
Jill Richardson
Tens of Millions of Are Out of Work, Why on Earth is Trump Trying to Cut Food Aid?
Susan Block
Incel Terrorism
Mitchel Cohen
Masks and COVID-19: an Open Letter to Robert Kennedy Jr and Children’s Health Defense
May 28, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail