9 Signs America’s Gun Obsession Is Getting Worse
It goes beyond open carry activists displaying their firearms in restaurant chains. Even the NRA seems perplexed
Noir — a weekly program aired by the National Rifle Association as part of its efforts to reach a younger audience — has run two segments that fetishize an assault weapon as an attractive woman.
Over the past year the NRA has launched a number of initiatives to engage with women, minorities, andyounger Americans. Noir, a Sunday web series hosted by popular gun blogger turned NRA News commentator Colion Noir, is packaged for a Millennial audience, although the show has been widely mockedby critics as a phony and out-of-touch attempt at messaging.
A segment during the June 15 edition of Noir opened with a black-and-white scene of a stylishly-dressed woman standing in an alley. Doing voice-over work, Noir appeared to describe the woman, ranging from her clothing (“Her Jimmy Choo’s can’t be comfortable, but you’d never know it”), to her intellect (“Chess, yeah it’s a men’s game, but when she plays, men pay”), to her actions (“Flirts more than you can handle too. She’s the kind to tell the bartender how to make her drink”).
In the final shot, the woman is seen holding a Heckler & Koch MR556 assault weapon and Noir reveals he was talking about the firearm the whole time:
NOIR: Why is she alone on this dark street? On this cold night? You care, but she doesn’t. Her Jimmy Choo’s can’t be comfortable, but you’d never know it. Unaffected elegance. Too cool elegance. Not for you elegance, you say. There’s got to be something wrong with her; that attitude, high maintenance, hiding something. She’s taller than you can handle. Flirts more than you can handle too. She’s the kind to tell the bartender how to make her drink. And Chess, yeah it’s a men’s game, but when she plays, men pay. Say you don’t like her, until she looks your way. She’s not easy and she’s not flawless. But she’s never wasted her time thinking about it. She is the HK MR556.
As Noir explained in the following segment, “It’s like the words really do mean what I’m saying in the video. The HK MR556 is that gun that if — it’s like that girl who’s unbelievably attractive, she has this presence about her that seems untouchable and she’s not apologetic about her beauty. But because of that it’s easy to — and she’s largely out of a lot of people’s leagues.” One of his guests took the comparison further, responding to Noir’s description of the “heavy” and “expensive as hell” gun by saying, “sounds like some of my recent experiences in Vegas like this past weekend … you still want to have fun with them and they’re a little dangerous.” Noir’s co-host Amy Robbins laughed, saying “Oh my god.”
Earlier this season Noir used a similar format of objectifying women by reducing them to descriptions of assault weapons in an advertisement for manufacturer Daniel Defense. Gun manufacturer Mossberg and Daniel Defense are the two primary sponsors of NRA Freestyle, which airs Noir and other NRA web series and is the home of the NRA’s lifestyle blog NRA Sharp.
The Daniel Defense advertisement, which aired during Noir earlier this season, also features a voice-over of Noir as he seems to describe a woman. At the end of the ad, however, it is revealed that Noir was instead describing the M4-A1 assault weapon:
Hey, hip cool millennial hipsters! Noir, the NRA’s hip cool new web series for the Youngs, is going all Lifestyles of the Sleek and Carefully Waxed in this exciting ad touting the merits of a Perfect Companion:
She knows that she’s made it… comfortable alone, steady among others… she leaves you sad for all of the moments you missed, but grateful for the thrills ahead … because hidden underneath, is an adventure. She is: the Daniel Defense M4-A1
Hahaha, you think he is talking about a LADY, but he is actually talking about a GUN! Seems pretty classy, just a few days after a guy used a gun to get revenge on women who he treated as objects.
Because The Purpose of Semi-Automatic Weapons Is To Kill People, They Deserve To Be Banned
In our town, guns never appeared to be an issue — until my daughter’s fourth-grade classmate was shot.
Last year, when my daughter Nina was in third grade, she invited her friend Sophie* over to play. This was Sophie’s first visit to our house. Her mother, Eliza*, stood in our foyer while we discussed a pick-up time. Then, as an impatient Nina started tugging Sophie up the stairs, Eliza asked me, “Do you keep guns in your house?”
I stared at her, taken aback. My husband and I have had no contact with guns of any kind; we don’t know people who hunt or otherwise enjoy firearms. Most of our friends have little affection for the Second Amendment.
So when Eliza asked me whether we kept guns, it seemed ludicrous. We’d sooner keep a boa constrictor! I could see she was serious, though, so I assured her that ours was a gun-free establishment. As she walked back to her car, I thought, “I’m glad I’m not that overprotective.”
In the four years we’ve lived in Belmont, MA., guns never appeared to be an issue. Our town is known for its excellent schools, cozy small-town setting with easy access to Boston, and well-heeled residents including our governor, Mitt Romney. Our police officers spend most of their time handing out speeding tickets and tracking down “missing persons” who wander off the picturesque grounds of McLean Hospital, an expensive mental health facility. We occasionally read about shootings in the Boston Globe, but those incidents seem far away.
Consequently, I forgot all about Eliza’s startling question until a few months ago when I went to pick Nina up after school. She came running to me, her cheeks flushed. “Mom,” she gasped. I expected some heartwarming news: Had the class bunny rabbit had babies? Had she snagged the part of Wendy in the school production of Peter Pan? “Henry got shot!” she blurted. “He’s in the hospital, but he’s going to be okay.” Henry was a new boy who’d just joined Nina’s fourth-grade class. I didn’t know anything about him, but the fact that her 9-year-old classmate had been shot in Belmont was incredible news.
That night, there happened to be a PTA meeting scheduled. After routine matters like the fourth-grade graduation ceremony were discussed, the meeting was adjourned. But many parents, including me, stuck around hoping to learn more about what had happened to Henry. A few parents knew the families involved.
“So I heard this boy was shot,” someone said. “What happened, exactly?” It turned out that Henry had been visiting his cousin, a Belmont sixth-grader, when the older boy decided to show his young cousin the unlicensed handgun his father kept in his closet, inside an unlocked briefcase. He didn’t know it was loaded; the gun accidentally fired, ramming a bullet through Henry’s arm in two places.
One woman pointed out that Henry’s uncle had once owned a restaurant. “Maybe,” she wondered aloud, “he got the gun to protect himself from robbers.” The other parents and I looked at each other, shaking our heads. Even if he had a good reason for owning a weapon, which seemed questionable at best, the fact remained that keeping a loaded, unlocked gun in a house where one’s own children and their friends might gain access to it was grossly and inexcusably negligent.
I turned to Eliza, who was standing nearby, and confessed that while I’d thought it bizarre when she’d asked me the gun question, I now understood why she did: Our children could have been in that house. Eliza confided that having grown up in Minnesota, where hunting is popular and guns are commonplace, she’d known several children who’d been killed or maimed in gun accidents. “My dad and brother are hunters,” she said. “But they always keep their guns unloaded and locked up, with the ammunition locked away elsewhere. Unfortunately, not everyone is that careful.”
She knows what she’s talking about. Last week in our town, gun violence erupted again, with far worse consequences. A father of three, ages 20, 18, and 13, was furious with his wife because she’d told him she wanted to divorce him and move to Florida with their youngest child. While the couple argued in their bedroom, the man locked their door and got out his semiautomatic pistol. He shot and killed his wife before blowing himself away. Their two younger children were home at the time; they broke down the bedroom door to get to their parents and found a bloody scene.
Despite these recent bursts of gun violence, Belmont is still considered a very safe town; the crimes that occur here are well below the national average. Apparently, it’s only when you — or your children — go inside the houses that you need to worry: You never know who has a loaded gun. This is true, I’ve learned, no matter where you live.