Mr. Cope’s Cave: Unbelievably Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do


This is a special edition of my series Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do. You will notice I have called it "Unbelievably" Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do because something has happened this week that even I have trouble believing, and believe me, I have been paying pretty damn close attention to the stupid things gun nuts do for many, many years.

It is about that little girl who accidently shot and killed a gun nut who was coaching her on how to fire an Uzi submachine gun. It happened in Arizona outside of Las Vegas at some joint called “Bullets and Burgers,” and don’t that just make your mouth water? I suppose you could call it a theme restaurant, sort of like Chuck E. Cheese's or Planet Hollywood, only with a firing range.

Bullets and Burgers management has announced it’s their policy not to let anyone under 8 years old use the firing range. But this girl, being 9, made the cut. Her parents were filming the incident when it happened, we must imagine, to record for prosperity their li’l pumpkin’s first time with a fully automatic firearm. The instructor first instructed her to fire a single shot, which she did without incident, and with that (and no other) experience under her belt, he told her to let ‘er rip.

She did, and the Uzi—which can rip 15 rounds a second—recoiled out of her control. The instructor was hit in the head.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have called the deceased man a “gun nut.” He was only doing what he was paid to do, which was to guide thrill seekers safely through an adventure with high-powered weapons. He obviously wasn’t very good at that job, but at least he’s the only one who suffered the worst consequences of his incompetence.

And perhaps I shouldn’t call the owners and operators of Bullets and Burgers gun nuts. After all, if some Vegas tourist is willing to pay the price—up to $1,600 for the platinum package with 50 caliber sniper rifles and any machine guns they choose to go bloopa-bloopa, rat-a-tat-a, kerplowy! for a few seconds—who am I to question their business model? And isn’t that what Vegas is known for?… catering to the crudest instincts of crude people?

And maybe I shouldn’t single out this kid’s parents as gun nuts, either. I mean, some parents take their children to museums and zoos and piano lessons to broaden the child’s experience. Maybe they’d already done all of that, and the only thing left for this child to experience was to learn what it’s like to tear off a burst from an Uzi.

And certainly, the little girl herself is no gun nut. She may well go nuts in other directions, as she carries the scar of having killed another human being through her life. But in time, I hope, she will come to understand that she is one of the lucky ones… quite unlike the thousands of other children who are on the receiving end of guns—year in, year out.

So who’s the gun nut here? Who is responsible when a couple of half-witted parents take their little girl, barely old enough to have said goodbye to the training wheels on her bike, to a demented hillbilly shithole tourist trap that advertises you can shoot the same weapons Rambo did (no joke), hires a supposed “firearms expert” who can’t predict what could possibly go wrong when a skinny kid gets her hands on a weapon that was illegal outside the military until only a generation ago, and they get away with it because the fucking NRA has so distorted the nation’s laws, not to mention it’s morality, and to say nothing of its common sense, that now it’s acceptable for children to be playing with machine guns?