Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Another Stupid Thing Gun Nuts Do

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It's been almost a year since I've made any entries to my series "Stupid Things Gun Nuts Do." It's certainly not because gun nuts have stopped doing stupid things. No ma'am, I'm confident that will never happen.

However, the last chapter I added to the series was so! f***ing! unbelievably! stupid, all the stupidity that gun nuts have been up to since then has paled in comparison. I speak of the incident at a firing range in Nevada last August where a 9-year-old girl was allowed to fire a fully automatic weapon, an Uzi, which got away from her—surprise, surprise—and killed the man coaching her on how to shoot it. In terms of casualty count, this particular tragedy fell far short of other gun-nut incidences—only one instructor who should have seen it coming, as compared to all of those who didn't have a chance to see it coming: e.g. Columbine, Tucson (twice), Virginia Tech, Fort Hood (twice), Sandy Hook, Aurora, Isla Vista, Charleston, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

In terms of pure, naked, entirely avoidable, who-let-these-idiots-out-of-the-asylum stupidity, it took the grand prize. And everything that's happened on the stupid gun-nut front since then has seemed rather humdrum—like... Ah, just more stupid gun-nut shit. What do you expect when you let morons play with fire?

The item I bring up today isn't in the same league, stupidity-wise, with the Little Uzi Girl story. Nevertheless, it stands out as a fine example of how gun nuts are always working to make themselves look more important than they really are. Maybe you saw it in the other paper Thursday: A picture of our vodka-inclined U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo holding one side of a road sign for the camera. Holding the other side is a Greenleaf councilman.

The sign itself reads "Welcome to GREENLEAF IDAHO—THIS IS NOT A GUN FREE ZONE," and at the bottom was the identifying number of a city ordinance Greenleaf passed nine years ago that encouraged everyone in the pimple-sized town to own a gun.

Incidentally, the photo was, as explained below it, "provided by Sen. Mike Crapo," and excuse me for a sec while I go check something...

Aaaah, yes, just as I thought. It appears Mr. Crapo is up for re-election next year, which might account for why he would be piddling around in the Canyon County nether-lands while Congress is still in session, setting up his own ridiculous photo ops—illustrating how pleased he is that Greenleaf, a ridiculous little piss-stop on the road to Wilder, and its ridiculous town leaders have made an overblown ridiculous show of enacting a ridiculous dumbshit municipal ordinance, suggesting that those rioters and home invaders and Donald Trump's rape gangs and marauding Mongol hordes and God-Knows-Who-Else should keep clear of Greenleaf if they know what's good for 'em, then supplying the Capital City daily with a news release to show what a staunch supporter of ridiculous, grandstanding gun-nut braggadocio he is—wouldn't it?

Crapo isn't the only gun nut doing stupid things that prompt me to write this piece. Crapo is simply doing what craven, conservative politicians do these days, unless they want a primary challenge from some even bigger asshole to the right of them. Crapo is making sure the slobbering gun-nut demo is aware he is on their side—that he wouldn't dream of ever, ever, ever doing anything that would interrupt in any way their Second Amendment right to make certain that any Dylann Roof—or Eric Harris, Dylan Kebold, Nidal Hasan, Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Loughner,  James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Elliot Rodger, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.—has access to whatever guns he wants when he's finally worked up the nerve to use them.

No, the gun nut we need to focus on here is the Greenleaf councilman holding the other side of the sign. His name is Steve Jett, reportedly a "corrections consultant." It was his enterprise, Jett Corrections Consulting, that donated the two signs to Greenleaf, and even more pertinently, it was Mr. Jett, as a city councilman, who proposed the ordinance back in 2006. I remember being one of those who wondered at the time why such a bucolic goat town as Greenleaf felt it necessary to make itself look even more hayseed than it already is by staging this substance-less attention grab. After all, even city leaders admitted there was no reportable crime or violence happening there, nor was there any reason think such mayhem was headed their way.

Of course, Mr. Jett wasn't the first to dream up such a useless stunt. Greenleaf, Idaho, isn't the sort of place you go looking for originality, is it? Small towns in Tennessee and Pennsylvania had already enacted the same sort of nonsense, and I'm certain Mr. Jett simply heard about those places and thought to himself, Wow! Here's a chance to get people to notice me! 

Think about it: With some empty gesture of macho blowhardery, even the drabbest, dullest, unremarkable chubby little chump imaginable can grab the attention of the shambling gun-nut herd, even when there isn't another reason in the world to give him a second thought.

Then, nine years later, after everyone has forgotten the whole dumbass show of chest-thumping folly, that chubby little chump may have to throw a new stick on the dying fire, eh? What better way than to, 1) spend a few bucks on some cheesy road signs that announce to motorists what a ridiculous hick burg they are driving through; 2) call the nearest craven, conservative politician who's up for re-election soon and offer him the opportunity to get his bland mug photographed being exactly the sort of complicit douche we have come to expect him to be; and 3) release the news to a daily paper that no longer seems to know the difference between news and PR stunts.

I wouldn't want to suggest the whole thing might have been a way for Jett to get some publicity for his consulting business. These days, anyone local involved in the corrections biz may prefer people look in other directions.

But I don't mind at all suggesting that we might expect a "corrections consultant" to be aware that the greatest threat from a gun-packing populace, especially in a cow pie like Greenleaf, isn't from members of the criminal class, who surely know there are better pickin's to be found elsewhere, but from domestic violence—that's family abusing family, lest you've forgotten, and I don't doubt it's any less present in Greenleaf as it is elsewhere—and children shooting siblings, neighbor kids and themselves.

American youth are nine times more likely to die by firearms than any other modern nation in the world. That's a fact even gun nuts can't argue would be solved with their usual remedy—MORE GUNS. Yet it is the most tragic, most unnecessary, most evil aspect to living in a country where an obsessive minority of dimwits can dictate to the rest of us that we just have to put up with them and their obsession.

So, I'm making a prediction here and now that I hope will never come true: When and if someone dies in Greenleaf from a gunshot, it won't be a home invader or a looter, a rapist or a robber or a mugger or a criminal of any sort. It will be a wife. Or a kid. Perhaps a father cleaning something he thought to be empty, or a suicide. But it will be an innocent person with a big hole in him, or her, put there by one of those guns councilman Steve Jett is so eager for all of his neighbors to keep.

Then how proud is he gonna be over his f***ing road sign?