personal reflections on human rights...and other stuff

Welcome to America: Guns for sale, for big kids and the lil' ones too!

I have fond memories of the US. As a child, my summer vacations were often spent by the beach in Maine. The Atlantic Ocean never seemed cold as a ten year-old. It still wasn’t for my children last week, but somehow my body is completely intolerant of the ocean’s frigidity nowadays.

Thirty years after my first trip to Maine, not much seems to have changed. I can still spend hours on the beach doing essentially nothing. I am primarily surrounded by white folks. Most adults are more than a few kilos overweight. Actually a lot of people, young and old, could take it easy on the Cheetos. Plenty of people drinking Budweiser and Bud Light, which I will never understand but realize that a Bud could be a refreshing beer-substitute on a hot afternoon. Everyone’s friendly, God gets mentioned more than I’d like to hear, plenty of tattoos to be seen, a huge number of SUVs that would easily squish my car, and you can drive to your local mall to buy yourself a gun.

Don't forget the ammo!
Last week my wife read through the local newspaper from Portland Maine. A circular from Cabela’s, the “World’s Foremost Outfitter,” fell out from the middle of the paper. The first page had a doorbuster sale this Saturday: save 40$ on a 9-mm Walther P1 handgun. Flip through the pages and find a handsome selection of guns on sale this week. Want a 12-gauge “Home Defense” rifle? Look no further. Need a Beretta? Save 50$. Looking for a new Glock, or a SigSauer “carried by elite military and law-enforcement professionals?” Come to the store. Too bad the Libyan rebels don’t have a Cabela’s in downtown Tripoli, it would be handy right about now.

There are circulars advertising guns in this country? Are you serious? I was shocked when I leafed through the pages. I know I shouldn’t have been, but I was. This was not my Maine, the one where I spent my summers by the beach. This was the gun-totting Second Amendment I'll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands-cheering America I was happy to look upon with derision. And I still do.

To be fair to the folks at Cabela’s, the circular did seem to promote the store more as an outdoorsy type of store than a gun store: there are more rifles for sale than handguns. But still. It was a circular that my anti-gun Canadian proclivities bristled upon seeing.

A lot of fun for only 50 cents. Come on kids!
As I leafed through the selection of guns and ammo, my mind wandered back to an episode at a campground in Maine five years ago. My two sons woke up early, ate their porridge and wandered over to the next campsite. A young boy about their age wanted to play guns with them. My younger son said to the boy, “We’re not allowed to play with guns.” They found other ways to play together until the boy’s mother called him over for a doughnut and Coke. I remember telling my sons that guns are bad. But then again, I played with toy guns all the time as a kid.

Coming back home from the beach we stopped at a grocery store in New Hampshire. On the way out, I noticed one of the vending machines for kids that advertised “Guns N Grenades” for only 50 cents. I bellowed a hearty laugh at the sight of it. But I didn't laugh because it was funny. 



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