We toured the Alamo yesterday. As we walked the grounds, we happened across three volunteers who demonstrated the multiple steps of loading, tamping down, and firing the arms used by the defenders of the Mission against the overwhelming forces of Santa Anna. The process was cumbersome and posed a special risk for the humble pinky. The leader of the trio explained that the men of that era were trained to use the pinky to tamp down the charge, so that if the firearm discharged prematurely only the pinky would be lost.
Remember the Alamo, but remember the pinky, too! Its sacrifice helped secure the American West.
Highway billboards are the prototypical form of impulse purchase advertising. You’re traveling down the road, you see a billboard for a restaurant at the next exit, and you decide in a split-second that it’s time to pull off to get a cheeseburger.
That’s why it’s jarring and unnerving to see gun sale billboards sprouting up on the stretch of I-71 between Columbus to Cincinnati. Are drivers really making spur of the moment decisions to buy firearms when they see a brightly colored “Guns” billboard? Unlike the vast majority of highway billboards, which advertise the availability of fast food, gasoline, or a place for the weary traveler to stay for the night, guns don’t seem to have any connection to the routine needs of a highway driver — unless the guns sales are motivated by the aggressive driving of their fellow motorists. If that’s the case, I need to be a lot more worried about the jerk who has been tailgating me for the last five miles.
According to statistics maintained by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which give you a rough sense of gun ownership in American states, Ohio isn’t one of the biggest gun purchasing states in the country. In 2012, there were 45.65 NICS checks for every 1000 Ohio residents; the highest NICS check state, Kentucky, had 535.78 (!) checks for every 1000 people. Still, I’d like to think that Ohioans who are buying firearms are being thoughtful about what seems like a very significant decision, and not impulsively buying a gun because a passing billboard put the idea in their head.
Only his second day on the job, and already Richard has a clip under his belt.
It’s an interesting piece about Gander Mountain, the outdoor and firearms retailer, opening a big new store in the San Antonio area, and more broadly about the increasing demand for guns and ammo in San Antonio and across the country. I knew that many Americans are arming themselves to the hilt and packing heat as they walk the streets thanks to concealed carry laws, but I had no idea that female-only shooting clubs were a new trend.
The San Antonio Express-News has a very user-friendly website if you want to keep track of Richard’s work on the business beat this summer. Well done, Richard!