“Woke up this morning, got myself a gun.” Ever since I half-jokingly floated the idea that we should purchase a firearm to my husband, the Sopranos’ opening sequence has been stuck in my head.
Only I didn’t. They were all sold out. And even if you managed to snag the last gun in the shop, you would have a hard time getting ammo, which sort of defeats the point. As it turns out, when Americans get scared, they buy guns. The fact that the thing they’re scared of is a virus — which I’m pretty sure you can’t shoot — is entirely irrelevant. It’s a safety blanket thing.
But it also goes deeper than that, in a way that I think it’s genuinely hard for people outside the U.S. to properly grasp. If there are two things that are fundamentally tied to the core of the American psyche, it’s guns and cars.
Show me what you drive, and what (if anything) you carry, and I’ll tell you what kind of Yankee you are. Much more than the house you live in, your family, your pets, the way you vote, or even your job, these two things are wrapped around the core of America’s identity. For the most stark and depressing proof of that point. look no further than the “protesters” in places like Michigan. They all drive the same sort of car, and they pack (a whole lot) of the same sort of guns.
As “transplants” (I’m American, but that is only one of my four nationalities, I wasn’t born here and lived most of my life in other countries, while my husband is an expat Brit with a hard-earned Green Card) Tom and I have a different perspective on the whole thing. Cars and guns are interesting and sometimes useful objects you have to engage with in order to fit in. We had to learn to drive in order to get around and function, but our choices were entirely determined by finance and practicality.
Guns are a bit trickier. Nice guns are nice objects, and it is fun learning the skill to shoot, although I have no wish whatsoever to shoot living creatures with one. I also don’t think it will actually make us any safer, but it’s still hard to resist the herd mentality when everyone around you seems to be in such a rush to kit up.
In the end, the Walking Dead and other nuggets of pop culture wisdom teach us that a Samurai sword or even a sharp stick might end up serving you better in a post-apocalyptic scenario (which I believe the decision to rush into relaxing social distancing restrictions will bring us a step closer to) than a fancy firearm.
So we bought a couple of very nice axes, which are beautiful and very useful for cutting firewood, as well as cracking open zombie heads if it ever comes to that.
And I’ll wait until the cool guns are back in stock to get one. I always fancied a Magnum, it used to be my weapon of choice in Resident Evil, and it’s also Rick’s gun. It kicks like a bastard, but learning to handle that will be part of the fun.
I suppose that tells you something about my mindset after all. Maybe I’m finally turning American.
#QuarantinedThoughts is a random series of ramblings and reflections brought about by a mild case of cabin fever. The author currently resides in an Oregon field with her bewildered British husband and “The Red Headed League” a family of Staffordshire Bull Terriers named after Sherlock Holmes characters.