The right has never cared about the safety of youth. If it did, it would stop giving them guns.

gun rights, gun control, American gun, U.S. gun, 2nd Amendment
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This year, Tennessee passed a law banning drag shows in public spaces, including drag story hour in public libraries. The bill defines drag shows as “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” in an “adult cabaret performance.” The bill makes it a criminal offense for any drag artist to perform on public property. Other states across the country are proposing similar legislation.

While young people and their parents have enjoyed drag story hour readings for years in schools and public libraries, many conservative groups fraudulently justify suppressing these events as being “prurient” (of excessive sexual interest) and as being dangerous to young people.

If the political right were actually concerned with the physical and emotional safety of youth as it purports to be, it would support effective firearms safety measures, since gun violence today remains the number one cause of death for young people ages 1-19, at a rate of nearly 5 in every 100,000. Black children are six times more likely to die of gun violence than their peers of other groups.

But since we live in a nation in which many on the patriarchal Christian white supremacist right interpret the Second Amendment of the Constitution as giving them unlimited rights to access the firearms of their choice, the banning of drag shows and discussions of issues of race, sexuality, and gender in schools and communities have become their main priorities in their so-called desire to protect children.

Recently, the firearms company, Wee [as in little people] 1 Tactical introduced its JR-15 .22 caliber fully functioning military-style long rifle for toddlers and children. Originally, the company included on its website promotional cartoons with a skull and crossbones sucking a baby pacifier in green for boys and with pink ponytails for girls, but it has since taken down these images.

Under a picture of a young girl staring intently into a rifle sight is printed the banner headline, “A Great American Tradition: A Small Piece of American Freedom.” The announcement proclaims: “Since our nation’s founding, families have passed on a love for hunting and shooting sports from one generation to another. Parents and guardians wishing to preserve this tradition have taken the responsibility for introducing children to the safe, responsible use of firearms. The JR-15, a 22LR sporting rifle, is designed to facilitate that, making a young person’s first shooting experiences safe and instructive.”

The platform claims that though the JR-15 “functions like a modern sporting rifle,” best of all is “its small size, lightweight rugged polymer construction and ergonomics are geared toward smaller enthusiasts.”

And just in time for the holiday season, the Scottsdale, Arizona gun club now offers its members the service of sending out their Christmas cards with pictures of family members, including infants, posing with Santa while holding pistols and military-style automatic weapons. Fa la la la la, la la la la. Joy to the world?

And after the Pulse shooting – in which a shooter murdered 49 and wounded another 53 people at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016 – a gun store announced what at first appeared a sick and extraordinarily insensitive stunt. But it turned out it was real: The owners of Second Amendment Sports of McHenry, Illinois decided to raffle off an AR-15 military-grade assault rifle to “benefit” the victims’ families of the Pulse shooting.

An AR-15 is similar to the weapon of mass destruction and death used at the Pulse nightclub. Raffle organizers eventually canceled the contest, but not because of the outrage they received on the insensitivity of the event. Rather, they realized that a raffle conducted by a for-profit company might be declared illegal in their state’s judicial system.

Second Amendment Sports’ dangerous raffle represents only the latest installment in the volatile and explosive gun culture of the United States. For example, in 2015, Spike’s Tactical shop of Apopka, Florida began marketing its special AR-15 assault rifle – which company spokesperson, Former Navy SEAL Ben “Mookie” Thomas, claims was “designed to never be used by Muslim terrorists” – as part of the shop’s continuing battle in the Christian Crusades.

On one side of the rifle, shop employees laser-etched the Knights Templar Long Cross of the original Crusaders when they marched to reclaim the Holy Lands from Muslims in 1099 CE. On the other side, they engraved Psalm 144:1: “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

Called “The Crusader,” the rifle includes a three-setting trigger safety control branded “Peace,” “War,” and “God Wills It.”

“Mookie” Thomas originated the idea for the rifle, stating, “Off the cuff I said I’d like to have a gun that if a Muslim terrorist picked it up, a bolt of lightning would hit and knock him dead.” Unfortunately, owners, employees, and customers at Spike’s Tactical seemed to have forgotten that the Christian Crusades represent one of the most horrific, shameful, and tragic scars on Christendom.

In another installment in the booming gun culture, Bergeron’s Restaurant in Louisiana, billing itself as the home of “God, Gumbo, and Guns,” began offering a 10% discount in 2014 to any customer who brought a gun with them to lunch or dinner.

Said restaurant owner Kevin Cox: “Show it to me out of your purse, out of your back pocket….Show that you have one so if something goes wrong here today, I know you’re here to protect me.” Cox criticizes gun-free businesses like Chipotle and Target: “You make a gun-free zone,” he argued, “that’s where bad people with guns are going to go – dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Since instituting the discount, business has increased by approximately 25%.

Giving new meaning to the term “hunting for a wife,” Jewelry by Harold owner in North Liberty, Iowa last year gave a husband-to-be a voucher for a new Remington 870 rifle with the purchase of an engagement ring priced at $1,999 or higher. Shop owner Harold van Beek stated: “So say: I’m hunting deer, and here is a diamond ring, dear.” To apply for this “deal,” one must be eligible to own a gun in Iowa, and not have been convicted of a felony.

In its attempt to pull in shoppers a couple of years ago 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 Nations Truck Sales in Sanford, Florida where a few years ago 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 have it.”

According to the company’s cofounder, Clem Parnell: 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.”

I would ask, though, have so many in fact given so much for the right of infants, toddlers and children to own firearms, 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 an assault rifles?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, gun-related violence has reached epidemic proportions in our country by snuffing out the lives of upwards of 48,820 people and wounding many more in the most recent year, 2021, for which we have estimated numbers. Each year, over 100,000 people are affected in some way by gun violence. Many of the guns used in these killings reach military-level weapons power, guns which currently remain legal.

Wee1 Tactical, Second Amendment Sports, Bergeron’s, Jewelry by Harold, Cabela’s, Holy Smoke Bullet Urns, Nations Truck Sales, and gun clubs 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”? What about the part that reads “well regulated”?

This drag performer called bingo at her local county fair for years. Then came the backlash.

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