Run – he’s got a big gun!

Hot night, summer in the city, back o’ my trigger finger gettin’ itchy… In these enlightened (not!) days of milk and honey on our city streets, there is something to be said about people who embrace the conCept of heavy personal armament – usually, this is something like:

What is the compulsion that drives gun freaks? What is the driving desire that enslaves these people to potential instruments of death?

Well, I’ll tell you. No matter how moral, how strong in your belief that life is sacred and unnecessary property damage is bad for you, it’s hard to hang on to these high ideals when you’re holding several pounds of bucking bronco submachine-gun spitting 9mm lead at wooden targets that look like they’re being put through a shredder.

There’s something about the stench of cordite, the hot flare of the brass fountaining out of the ejection port that reduces most people to a psychotic frenzy. My guess is that it’s like a more destructive form of primal scream therapy.

A good example of this is Sanka thingy – can’t remember his last name, the Asian chappy who present Def II’s “Rough Guide” series with Magenta (luv those sunglassed) DeVine. On a trip to the USA, he visited a gun range and, after saying how sad it all was, wasted a slew of targets with gusto and a grin that Charles Manson used on Sundays. Go figure.

The typical weaponeer is perhaps best described with this formula: 2 parts Train Spotter, 1 part Moralist, 3 parts Honourable Samurai and 5 parts Gung-Ho Nihilist – the Train Spotter part is the bit of them that can quote muzzle velocity, rounds-per-second, bullet grain weight and all that.

My collection of guns is limited – some are real, some not, I won’t tell you which…break into my house one night and find out for yourself. Recently, I purchased a Heckler and Koch MP5K submachine-gun. It’s a nifty little thing, just small enough for me to hide under my jacket, with a banana clip that holds thirty rounds of 9mm ammunition. It’s sitting next to me as I type this, a product of that German stormtrooper engineering. It weights just over 6 1/2 pounds and it has a cyclic rate of fire of 800 rounds per minute, just over 13 bullets per second. You’ll see this weapon in the hands of terrorists in ‘Die Hard 2’, and under the expert control of the T-1000 in ‘Terminator 2’. Black plastic, ABS probably, all smooth and precision maintained…

Are you scared yet?

When The Fall Of Civilization comes (survivalist talk here), the gun owner will be ready, able to waste slews of the hordes until the ammo dries up or the Commies/Dinks/Muhfuggers/insert cultural minority here have been pushed out of East Cheam. This is the coda of the weaponeer, the justification for ongoing escalation of urban warfare (“I built this cruise missile to stop them kids from playin’ ZZ Top…”). Are we too far down to stop it? Answer yourself, by looking towards Los Angeles, Bangkok and Yugoslavia…

But, meanwhile, the little voices still talk. The neighbour with the loud stereo, the kid with the dog that pisses on your flowers, that git who sneered at you when you were at school. And it’s so eay, so simple, to turn out the lights and track them walking past your window, sunlight glinting off the scope. All you gotta do is pull the trigger.

Given the chance, I’d carry a gun at all times – I’ve been mugged at knifepoint and it’s left the scars on me – but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have one. That’s how it ends.

Given the chance, I’d line up my fears and shoot ’em till I passed out from orgasming, but for now I walk the streets, safe in the knowledge that guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.

Of course, back on the firing range, once you put on the amber glasses, and place the ear defenders on your head, your stream of consciousness becomes a blare of hot lead and brass, like putting a Paul Verhoeven film on fast-forward. All the thunder, the smell of napalm in the morning, the blood, the thrashing, and the almost sexual release as the target evaporates under a hail of fire, bullets with more acronymic names than a US defense contractor, the fire, the screaming, the brass fountain…

Then again, perhaps it’s just me.

Keep that powder dry.

Jim Swallow