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With ammunition for all


When Utah made its move to name an official state gun, that’s when I finally saw the light.

It was a big leap, because only a couple of weeks earlier, a different news item had reinforced my behind-the-times thinking. Quoting the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a columnist claimed that more than 1 million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968.

That would be almost 24,000 a year, which is faster than we lost our soldiers in Vietnam. It’s 65 per day. It seems as if you wouldn’t even have to live in St. Louis to notice a thing like that, but apparently it’s true.

At first, I took this as a problem to be solved. But then came the news that Utah wants to move gun ownership beyond acceptance to reverence. And then, just by chance, I saw “Killers,” an Ashton Kutcher frolic that lightheartedly blends romantic comedy with barrages of fatal gunfire.

The light clicked on, and I realized that gun ownership is no longer the issue. No matter what politicians might say, America has made its decision: We are a society of trigger pullers. Life is short, so expend ammunition while you can. It’s time to move on and establish open seasons and bag limits.

A million killings make it clear that murder by gunshot has become an essential part of our social fabric. We like to say that jazz and baseball are the great American contributions to culture, but it’s safe to say that Smith & Wesson is outselling Wynton Marsalis. And sure, you can defend yourself with a 32-ounce Louisville Slugger, but you’ll get pretty winded in the process. A gun really does save a lot of time and energy.

Eventually, guns will be so much a part of life, we’ll feel uncomfortable without them. You’ll find baskets full of derringers for guests to use at social events. Parents will beam with pride as their child crosses the stage to receive a high school diploma and a complimentary sniper scope.

But for now, Utah will simply honor a handgun called the Browning M1911, invented by Utah native John Browning in 1911.

By that logic, Iowa could name the Duesenberg automobile – once manufactured in Garner – as the state’s official antique luxury car. A Duesenberg seems awfully valuable to use when you want to kill someone, however, so we still should single out a gun.

Some model of a 12-gauge shotgun would make sense, honoring our outstanding pheasant hunting. It’s kind of old-fashioned, though, and a bit awkward to lug into a restaurant. Something cooler would help us update our image – a fine Glock product, perhaps.

If people considering a move to Iowa checked us out and found that our state gun is both light and accurate, they’d soon be packed and packing and on their way.

Anyone still having doubts about giving our official stamp of approval on this issue should consider another reassuring detail. I was encouraged to learn that although many, many residents of this great nation get shot in the head, a fair percentage of them survive. Why? Because our surgeons get so much practice. It’s the good old law of supply and demand.

One article quoted a California trauma neurosurgeon as saying that a bullet to the brain “for us, is almost a weekend occurrence, and some of them survive.”

That’s the positive, can-do attitude we’re going to need as young “Grand Theft Auto” players grow up, land jobs and start to acquire their very own arsenals.

We’re also fortunate that America’s gun owners constitute a “well-regulated militia.” A million deaths might sound a little excessive at first, but imagine what would happen if guns ever got into the hands of random goofballs and losers. That could be a problem.

Jim Pollock is the editor of the Des Moines Business Record. He can be reached by e-mail at jimpollock@bpcdm.com

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