Tuesday 18 August 2015
To whom it may concern, and to tender hearts it may not:
Spent twenty-two years in the armed forces. Did tours in Nam with Marine Corps battalions in the late sixties as a Squid. Shot at and missed. Shit at and hit. Ops normal. Usually, the Corps only packed Squid corpsmen along. A precious one they adored and worshiped. The Corps gave their ilk a constant succor because they were everybody’s guardian angel. They wrapped their bodies tight around them like thick blankets, willing to take bullets without murmur. Sucking chest wounds meant nothing. Sometimes, they packed along other Squids for grins and giggles, mostly to keep as pets, somebody who had to carry his own gear because nobody else in the battalion gave a shit. I was one of these mal treated fucks. I felt honored. Not so with them. So anyway—though a miserable failure, mere pogey bait, I did my best, even in the bush, to keep my boots at a high sheen, my camies starched like cardboard, ironed to hard edges and corners, did my best to blend, to pretend to be exactly what they wanted me to be, and though not knowing my ass from my elbow, doing my best to fart around doing Tactical Air with a prick 27 radio (PRC-27) carried on my back with spare batteries, and my ruck and shoulder harness with all my play toys, all of it, every bit and piece of it, heavy like a mother fucker. The weight of it drove me deep into the viscous, red mud, so deep my boots were almost sucked off with every fucking step I took. Handled AO Clearance for aircraft flying near by, Save-A-Planes, Medevacs, and so on and so forth. Understood what was called the concept, a thing impossible for civilians to comprehend. A thing so complex and mystical it be must smelled, imbibed like absinthe till totally absorbed, till it touches every cell in one’s body, and that can only be done in particularly special situations, in particularly special places.
For me, guns are elegant machines. They have a peculiar beauty. I have read tomes about their history. I made two trips to Moscow and to St. Petersburg for work I did after I left the Navy. There is an incredible display of guns in the Kremlin Armory that covers their entire history. I could have spent a year in that room. Guns are all designed to kill. There is no other reason for them to exist. I appreciate hunters, as long as it is not for trophies, and the meat from their kills is not wasted. Target shooters, too, are fine with me. I do not object to them at all. I have, since leaving the service, not held a gun in my hand. My intention is to never hold one again. While I find them beautiful, I despise their purpose. Fact is, they are things that will never go away. They will only improve over time. That can be easily read in their history.
Looking at pictures of smirking assholes bearing more weapons than they can use, almost more than they can carry, I have, as many, come to believe their guns are extensions, along with the Idaho Potatoes they stuff in their crotches. I carried far less firepower when I pushed through razor edged elephant grass facing the sure thing. I am with all my Brothers and Sisters in this matter. But I can promise you all, in this country, these metal sculptures are here forever. Money to build and promote the guns hanging round the necks of those smarmy fuckers is endless. It flows murky, like the mighty Mississippi River. It flows through the veins of all now and future generations of these shallow motherfuckers. That is the simple and forever truth of it.
To read more of Sigurd’s letters, click here.
To read more of our authors’ letters, click here.
The majority of people who actually use a gun in the U.S. do not kill anyone. They use them to deter others from robbing, raping, or killing them. If you define the purpose of a gun to civilians by what the vast majority of civilians use it for, then deterrence is way bigger than killing. Way bigger.
So the idea that guns are solely designed for killing is not entirely accurate. A more accurate statement is that for many people a gun is designed to have the _ability_ to kill so that one does _not_ have to kill. There is a difference.