guest post by Warren J. Blumenfeld
Editor’s Note: This piece is printed with permission. We provided the images and links.
In its attempt to pull in shoppers on so-called “Black Friday” (the day following Thanksgiving), the camping and outdoors superstore, Cabela’s, handed out envelopes to the first 800 people over the age of 18 who lined up in front of its stores before 5:00 a.m. for a chance to win a Browning A-Bolt Medallion .300 WSM rifle with a Cabela’s 50th anniversary gun case worth $875.
And maybe it’s not too late to go down to Nation’s Truck Sales in Sanford, Florida (where Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman) where last year they offered each customer a brand spanking new assault rifle with the purchase of a truck. Stated General Sales Manager, Nick Ginetta: “We started on Veterans Day. Hey, so many have given so much for this right!”
I’ve heard about people being shot from canons, but for those who want to remain active hunters well after they have “bought the farm,” now their wishes have come true. Be the first on your block to kill long after you have died. For the sum of only $1250, your loved ones can have you cremated with a pound of your ashes stuffed inside genuine bullets, resurrecting you as live ammunition.
For that measly sum, you can metamorphose as 250 shot shells, 100 rifles cartridges, or 250 pistol cartridges. For only $100 extra, until you come alive again as a killing apparatus, your bullet ashes can rest in peace in a decorative wooden coffin-like box.
The company, Holy Smoke Bullet Urns of Stockton, Alabama, has taken quite literally Shylock’s claim in Shakespeare’s 1596 Merchant of Venice: “The pound of flesh which I demand of him is deerely bought, ’tis mine, and I will haue it.”
According to the company’s founder: “You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.”
Wow, in this way, you will obtain virtual immortality in the elk antlers hung over your family’s fire place or in the stuffed duck sitting on their living room side table.
In addition to the decimation of wild game, the company offers this alternative to traditional burial as a means to “continue to protect your home and family even after you are gone.”
So just think of it; now you can kill a home intruder by shooting them right in the gut with your Great Uncle Henry or Aunt Gert!
I would ask, though, have so many in fact given so much for the right for us to turn our bodies literally into killing devices or for the right to own a “free” assault or hunting rifle? Do we really want “the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.” Do residents of our nation really need so many guns, assault rifles and others?
The very first thing that caught my eye as I entered the grounds of the Iowa Republican Party Presidential Straw Poll last summer were three young children, I would guess between the ages of 4 -7, wearing day-glow orange baseball caps with “NRA” [National Rifle Association] scrawled atop, and round stickers announcing “GUNS SAVE LIVES” on their small tee-shirts.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, gun related violence has reached epidemic proportions in our country by snuffing out the lives of over 30,000 residents and wounding approximately another 60,000 annually. Each year, over 100,000 people are affected in some way by gun violence.
Should any limits be imposed on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Certainly, Cabela’s, Holy Smoke Bullet Urns of Stockton, Alabama and Nation’s Truck Sales of Sanford, Florida hold the constitutional right to market their devices of death, but what type of messages are they communicating? Are we really “free” as a society when our right “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Politicians, primarily Republicans in Congress, have proposed the passage and enactment of a “Balanced Budged” amendment and a “Marriage Protection” (only one man and one woman) amendment to the Constitution. Instead, I propose we reevaluate the political right’s obsession with the so-called “freedom” to bear arms because it is not only “criminals who kill people” as Second Amendment advocates claim. Contrary to the NRA’s assertions, guns in the hands of anyone, in any and all stations of life as the studies demonstrate, kill people.
Less-than-one-full-term Governor Sarah Palin advised “Commonsense Conservatives and lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
Well, as someone who loves this country, I would remind Palin that over the millennia, even mama Grizzlies did a great job protecting their young without the use of firearms – and so can we!
Warren J. Blumenfeld is associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press); and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) andInvestigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense).