About 10 days ago a coalition of various gun enthusiast organizations announced that Jan. 19 would be a holiday: Gun Appreciation Day. I’m not kidding. I guess the next logical step will be for Hallmark to put out a card for the occasion saying something like, “Have More Fun, Own A Gun.”
This column is not a typical liberal gun-owner bashing. I’m not calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I’m barely going to mention that there are 300 million guns in America, making it easily the most heavily armed nation in the world. Others can discuss the fact that America has the highest homicide rate caused by gunshot than any “developed” nation.
The main reason I was horrified when I heard about this new holiday was not because of my position on gun control. My dismay about Gun Appreciation Day has to do with bad taste and insensitivity.
It’s only been a month since the horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., and some people decided it would be appropriate to have a Gun Appreciation Day. One month! How thrilled all those parents of the murdered children must be. Can you imagine someone celebrating Flood Appreciation Day a month after Sandy hit New Jersey? I don’t think they’d get a bear hug from Gov. Christie, do you? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How do you think it would’ve gone over in November for people to celebrate “the positive things about cancer?”
The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups wisely were silent immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. However, they just couldn’t control themselves for more than a few days. Larry Ward, one of the organizers of their new holiday, explained the reason for getting back to vocally opposing gun control soon after the tragedy. “We had a week when it was just one side,” those who want gun control. “People need to understand there’s another side.” After one week? Is that the length they feel the mourning period for murdered children should be?
As usual, there were declarations from some gun enthusiasts that there would have been no mass killing if only the teachers had been armed with guns. When I heard this I thought about when I was in elementary school. I was a loudmouth kid who often got on my teachers’ nerves. If they had been armed, I might never have made it to high school.
Guns are as American as apple pie. In fact, you can buy guns and apple pie at the same place. Walmart is the largest seller of firearms and ammunition in the nation. There’s just a bit of inconsistency when it comes to their philosophy. Don’t you think that if Walmart sold a new crib that ended up causing injuries to babies that they’d stop selling that crib immediately? However, guns and ammo are just too important to Walmart’s profits for them to stop selling weapons for even a little while.
Last Tuesday, protesters demonstrated at a Walmart near Newtown, Conn., objecting to the assault weapons that Walmart sells. In response, a spokesman said the demonstrators were misinformed. Kory Lundberg said that Walmart sells assault-style weapons in less than a third of their stores. That comes to over 1,300 stores. No wonder we didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They’re all at Walmart.
Gun Appreciation Day isn’t the only inappropriate response to Sandy Hook. A month to the day after the shooting, a new app from the NRA was released for use on the iPhone and iPad. It’s called the “NRA: Practice Range.” It allows players to shoot at targets with a variety of guns. One of these weapons is the Bushmaster AR-15, the gun used by the shooter in Newtown. But what am I complaining about? It’s been a whole month since the shooting.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Home Improvement” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his website at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.