commentary

Ellen Murphy — Packing the picnic basket with burgers, guns and potato salad

Updated: 2013-05-28T15:46:15Z

By ELLEN MURPHY

Special to The Star

Go figure. Just when I had the ice chest and sidearm dusted off for the first outdoor hootenanny of the year, the local libertarians are denied their request to picnic in public parks while sporting their constitutionally entitled gear. Now where can they make their point? Swimming pools?

Most of our area parks have swings and slides, and everyone knows that kind of equipment attracts collaterals, but how do you keep kids away from a picnic? And what food goes with guns, anyway?

Something that can take a whupping. Maybe this is the perfect time to find out if your teen is sharp enough to open a can of beans at 50 yards, or paces — what is the proper measure at which one annihilates objects placed atop trash cans?

Whatever the menu, make sure foods and ammo complement each other. And family togetherness is always good: parents, take this time to show the kids how to appear to be social while also displaying dangerous firearms in a public place. That’s a teachable moment.

Some picnics aren’t complete without a cold one in hand while you’re grilling the Plumpers with your everyday, or holiday sidearm in the other. Of course, drinking and shooting don’t usually go together, but hey, at this picnic, everything’s game!

Drink up! Just try to remember that drinking too much and then driving can be dangerous.

I sincerely can’t imagine why no one has thought of this combination of guns and picnics, before. Why don’t members of Congress, especially the cowardly ones who missed their chance to vote for necessary background checks and other appropriate gun control measures, adopt this as a blueprint for raising funds?

Maybe they wouldn’t necessarily enjoy being the main target — I mean, attraction — at a gun picnic/campaign stop. Although, that seems strange: if they trust the National Rifle Association’s testament that guns are safe as long as they’re not in the hands of the crazies, what’s the problem? Perhaps they don’t like picnics?

Come to think of it, except for the armed security they have around themselves, legislators don’t practice open/carry in state or federal senates or houses of government. Why aren’t legislators packing while they do business? If they think I should sit in a movie theater with a loaded gun waiting to shoot a shooter, shouldn’t they be armed in case they run across someone with whom they have a problem? I wonder why they don’t want loaded guns in their workplace….

If you can tolerate nothing but your right to carry a gun, consider this. My daughter was with a group of friends exiting the Paris Metro a few months ago, and witnessed a fistfight in progress between two strangers.

She hung back, while the young French men with her immediately intervened, separating the combatants. Later, my daughter told them that she thought they were nuts to intervene because what would have happened if someone pulled out a gun?

The French looked puzzled. They just assumed there were no guns, and that they could prevent the fighters from hurting each other. They weren’t being ironic, either.

Just imagine having that thought when something goes wrong. Instead of trying to disappear into the background, afraid there will be gunfire, because this is America and there’s a chance of a shooting, you could actually make the moral choice of stepping in to help.

The fantasy that the trained “good guy with a gun” will automatically be there and shoot the bad guy to death is a fairy tale with a really scary, badly written ending. If it were true that every single public venue has to be guarded by a “good guy,” then it’s not truly free, and it’s certainly no picnic.

Look, writing about gun control only invites hate mail. I know this because I wrote a column once about simply finding an unspent bullet, and it rained hate on me.

Don’t waste your time or energy on my attempt to show the silliness of a guy trying to prove his point by mixing these two incompatible things. Instead, please write these words down and stare at them until they make sense, or until you realize they never will: Gun Picnic.

Freelance columnist Ellen Murphy writes in this space once a month.

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