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PROFESSOR MEETS GUN, Part 9: Suck My Glock
July 30, 2008 - 7:47am



UD got a cab ride to the Chantilly, Virginia gun show last weekend with her taxi driver friend, G. No way was Mr. UD going to drive UD to a gun show.

G., a working class woman in her forties, told UD about her alcoholic husband (he died of cirrhosis a year after she left him) grabbing his rifle one night and blasting her car when she got home late from a friend's.

The show took place at the Dulles Expo, a large, low-ceilinged, industrial space near the airport. As she got out of the cab, UD was surrounded by men cradling locked rifles.

Lots of people entered the Expo. The show was well-attended.

An NRA booth next to the ticket kiosk offered to pay your admission if you took out a membership.


The vast room was 99% men, most of whom wore wifebeaters with motorcycle or military messages on them, and camouflage shorts. Baseball caps carrying messages about love of country and love of Harley topped many heads, and tattoos of baroque complexity appeared on arms and legs and necks. Facial hair was big, as were beer guts. Deep southern accents prevailed.

This was not UD's world. She gazed about.

One guy she called Columbine Guy because he was young, skinny, pale, all in black, and carrying a very big gun. His fat nerd sidekick, also in black, had a police stick attached to his belt and fascist symbols on his shirt.

An old man wore his VFW hat plus a t-shirt that said Oliver North: American Hero: Duty, Honor, Country.

A punk couple -- her hair deep black, his belt heavily studded - walked arm in arm.

Guys recruiting for the State Guard wore khaki.

Large groups of Asians circulated.


UD wandered a bit among the long low tables loaded with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. One of the sellers was a sort of cave man, with rough shaggy hair, a beery face, and seen-it-all, pissed off eyes. He scrutinized customers with tired contempt: their ignorant questions, their stupid enthusiasms.

UD sat down at a little cafe in a corner of the massive room. She watched a guy at a table near hers buy a gun from another guy; the seller barely glanced at the identification card the buyer flashed.

Examining his purchase, the buyer said: "Somebody smuggling a ton of cocaine. That'd give me so much satisfaction. To nail him."


Wandering the tables again, UD noticed that although the guns were out there for you to handle to your heart's content, she wasn't touching any of them. Not one. By the time she left the show, she had touched nothing. ("Taboo," Mr. UD said later. "It's taboo for you." "You're a girl," said Jonathan, a friend who writes for the blog ChicagoBoyz. "It's because you're a girl.")

UD did handle some t-shirts. She bought one that says Suck My Glock.

Back at a cafe table, UD found herself in deep conversation with a recruiter who took a seat near her. He told her about the State Guard. She only knew about the National Guard. Then she asked him to talk to her about guns.

"You have to take responsibility for yourself. No one else is going to save you. I've got a lot of guns at home. I keep one locked by my bed, and all I have to do is key in four numbers to get it out and use it.... I live in the countryside, sort of away from other people, because I like to do a lot of target practice and it's real noisy and people complain. Target practice is relaxing. You concentrate so hard. Everything else disappears."

He lived in Virginia. "You must be pleased with Jim Webb."

"No. I'm not pleased with Tim Kaine either. I don't like politicians. Liars and thieves. The elites follow their own rules. The rules should apply to everybody the same."

He went on at great length about elites.

"You told me a moment ago," interrupted UD, "that you make a hundred thousand dollars a year as an electrical engineer. You're closer to the elites than to any other social group."

He looked hard at UD -- really looked at her, for the first time. "What are you? I mean, what do you do for a living?"

"I'm an English professor."

"What kind of literature do you teach?"

"English and American, twentieth century."

"I do a lot of reading. You should recommend some novels to me. Where do you teach?"

"George Washington University."

"That hospital saved my life. I had this big tumor in my chest." His hands went out wide, like a fisherman describing his catch. "The little country hospital near my house almost killed me doing a test -- put a couple of holes in my heart. I got myself over to GW and they fixed me up."

"Give me a hospital for urban elites over your local place any day."
"You said it."


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