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2013 Gun Show Comes to an End. Good Riddance.

posted Tuesday December 31st, 2013


One year not long ago, I resolved that every day I’d write down or photograph a reason to love Phoenix. Another, to quit complaining about the heat. The first worked better than the second, though after each I resolved to quit resolving.

Then I passed a display in my favorite nail salon and made one more resolution. I’m sure the sweet little rhinestone-encrusted gun pendant had been there the last several times I’d visited, which only made it worse that I didn’t notice it til the last week of December 2012, a time when images of guns (and what people can do with them) was fresh in most of our minds, post-Newtown.

It took my breath away and I stood there, purse dangling from my hand, polish wet on my toes, wondering, “Who would wear that? Why celebrate something that can kill people?”

I have never felt comfortable in the presence of any type of gun, never held a real one in my hand, and have written about gun violence and related topics, most recently after the Tucson shooting.

See also: My Isolated Opinion

But it took Newtown, for some reason, to shake some sense into me when it came to the gun imagery that, it turns out, is everywhere.

I started an Instagram account January 1, devoted to sharing an image each day (or close) of some sort of gun depiction. I had trouble naming the project, as @gunshow, @gunshow2013, and just about every version of a name involving “gun” were already taken. So @2013gunshow it was — clunky but it worked. I had no trouble finding images, suddenly I saw them everywhere and friends on social media sent me even more.

By July, I was done. I couldn’t look at another onesie with a rifle, another bumper sticker, another embroidered pillow. I’d posted more than 100 images. Point made.

But — point taken? Not really. Beyond posting about it on Facebook I never tried to promote the Instagram account, and in the end I think I had a measly 50 followers. People who like guns didn’t want my disdain shoved in their faces; the rest didn’t want to look at a picture of a kid with a gun popsicle in his mouth.

It’s like abortion (no matter what your position on it is):  You’re just not going to convince anyone with an image. Maybe with an event, more likely with a personal one.

In the end, several states (not my home state, of course) managed to pass gun control in the past year. Not the federal government, though. The biggest impact of Newtown, best I can tell, is that it sent gun sales through the roof nationwide.

As for me, I’m done collecting images, so please (while I appreciated it over the last few months!) stop sending them. I’m taking a break from this kind of resolution for 2013 and after that, maybe I’ll collect images of daisies. Or poodles.


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4 Responses to “2013 Gun Show Comes to an End. Good Riddance.”

  1. Eerie! Last night we — Mike, Charley, and I — watched (to be fair, Charley snoozed) Bobby, in which there’s a horrifying depiction of how it might have gone down in that hotel kitchen. Gun violence circa before I was even born. The post-shooting chaos plays out to RFK’s speech “Mindless Menace of Violence.” It’s a so-so movie with a captivating ending. And as the credits rolled alongside a Kennedy photo gallery — that one of Bobby and Jackie at JFK’s funeral! — I took Charley’s sweet face in my hands and said, “Poodles! No one ever hurt anyone else with a poodle!”

  2. I am even more pro gun control now since Newtown than I was in 2000 when I told Mr. Heston’s “personnal assistant” that the NRA is a bunch of nuts. Guns are dangerous and I stay as far away from them as I can.

  3. Poodles, please and thank you.

  4. I could not agree more, and I vote for daisies.

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