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Hullabaloo


Sunday, September 18, 2016

 
This would be sad if it weren't so dangerous

by digby


This is a story in the Washington Post about a Trump voting open-carry advocate:

Jim Cooley carries his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into his home after getting it repaired in Winder, Ga. Cooley, who also owns a 9mm handgun, almost never leaves his home unarmed.

“You want to come to Walmart?” he asks his wife.

“No,” Maria says.

“Pretty please?” Jim asks.

“I’m not going to sit there and have the police called on you. I mean, I don’t want to see that crap,” Maria says, knowing what a trip to Walmart means. She knows her 51-year-old husband has two guns inside the house, and this afternoon it won’t be the 9mm, which he straps on with a round in the chamber when grabbing lunch at his favorite fast-food restaurant or visiting a friend’s auto shop. It’ll be the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, which he brings when going somewhere he thinks is dangerous, like the Atlanta airport, where he’s taken it loaded with a 100-bullet drum, or Walmart, where he thinks crowds could pose easy targets for terrorists.

In a country of relaxing gun laws where it’s now legal to open-carry in 45 states and there are 14.5 million carry permits, every day seems to bring a new version of what open carry can mean. In Kentucky, it’s now legal to open-carry in city buildings. In downtown Cleveland, people carried military-style rifles during the Republican National Convention. In Howell, Mich., last month, a father went openly armed to his child’s middle-school orientation. In Mississippi, it’s now legal to open-carry without a permit at all. And in Georgia, which has passed a “guns everywhere” bill and has issued nearly 1 million carry permits, Jim Cooley is staking out his version of what’s acceptable as he keeps pleading with his wife.

“I got to get soda.”

Maria sighs. She worked the night before assembling air-conditioner compressors at a nearby factory, and in a few hours, she knows she’ll have to leave for another third shift.

“Yeah,” she says, giving in. “I might as well get this travesty out of the way.”

“What travesty?”

“You carrying a big ol’ rifle in the store, scaring the hell out of all the Walmart shoppers.”

“There’s no difference between carrying a rifle and carrying a handgun,” he says.

“You tried that last time, remember?” Maria says, stepping into a pair of flip-flops and running her fingers through her hair. “And what happened? Barrow County sheriffs. Three or four of them.”

“They can’t tell me what and what not to carry,” Jim says. “You know I wouldn’t listen to them anyway.”

“Well, you go one way in the store; I’ll go the other,” Maria says. “Then when they say, ‘Ma’am, do you know this person?’ I’ll say, ‘No, I’ve never seen him before in my life.’ ”

He places a lit cigarette into an ashtray, walks into his bedroom, reaches behind its door, picks up the AR-15, snaps in a magazine with 15 rounds, and slings the rifle around his left shoulder so it rests against his torso.

“Ready?” he asks.

“Yeah,” she says, grabbing her purse and following her husband out the door for an afternoon trip to Walmart to buy soda.


He thinks he needs this semi-automatic gun to feel in control of his life. He is sick and poor and cannot work anymore and this makes him feel whole. I feel sorry for him.

People say that this is Democrats' fault for failing to focus on the economic needs of men like him. But the truth is that Obamacare would have helped him. (His illness hit before it was passed.) But nothing would have made him able to work full time again at any kind of good paying manufacturing job or long haul trucking, even if the jobs were available.

On the other hand, his wife who does work might be helped by the kinds of policies the Democrats are pushing and which the Republicans --- the anti-government party with whom this gun-lover identifies --- would like to starve. Literally the only thing they offer him is permission to carry a $500.00 AR-15 to Walmart to make himself feel better.

He's being used. But you can't tell him that because his pride and his gun is all he has left.


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