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Flatbush Flashback

American Riflemen

Yesterday, a reader, Debra Wheels, mentioned in her comment about my blog post, "America the Deranged," that maybe the best thing I can do about the insanity of as many as 300-million guns circulating in this country, and the National Rifle Association's advocacy of putting even more guns into circulation as a solution to the problem, is to continue writing about it.

Ms. Wheels may be pleased to hear that I am writing about it in the book I'm currently working on, Bobby in Naziland. Unbeknownst to me, as the slaughter was occurring in Newtown on Friday morning, I was editing a chapter that is, in part, about the NRA. That was what drew me to the organization's website and the website for its magazine, American Rifleman.

The Naziland chapter concerns two characters, military veterans trained in the use of firearms, who, in the aftermath of the Harlem and Watts riots of 1965, join the NRA. These characters believe that more rioting is imminent, and that the police aren’t up to the task of protecting them. So, they intend to take matters into their own hands, get some guns, and shoot anybody who attempts to loot and burn their homes or businesses. The likeminded NRA, through their magazine, encourages them to do so.

The chapter is primarily about fear and racism, two emotions that the NRA expertly exploits. But I was having a hard time coming up with a title for the chapter. Various plays on “The Right to Bear Arms” and “The Second Amendment” just weren’t working. That was when I took a look at the two NRA sites, and the title of their magazine jumped out at me. All I had to do was make it plural and I had the perfect chapter title: “American Riflemen.”

It was soon afterwards that I made myself a cup of coffee and turned on the news.

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