A visit to the gun shop

“You a loner?”

“How’d you know?”

“Been in this business a long time. Usually, when someone buys an AR-15 assault rifle it’s because they’re a loner and mad at the world. That sort of thing.”

“I’m entitled to buy it. It’s legal. I checked on the internet.”

“Yep. Legal here, but not in some countries. It’s really a military weapon, the M-16. One of the best killing machines we got.”

“I got a picture ID.”

“Good. I was about to ask. Yup. Good weapon. Has a high-capacity magazine. You can do a lot of damage with that baby. There was a time when that sort of magazine was illegal. But no more. I sell more than a few of them.”

“Can I use a credit card?”

“Yesiree. Credit. Debit. Check. Cash. Anything you want. Says here in our computer that you bought a Glock recently. Is that right?”

“Yes, I bought one in May, another at the beginning of July.”

“You’ve got some arsenal, don’t you?”

“You don’t know the half of it.”

“Not my business anyway. Not that you loners ever talk. Just look away. Or look down. I guess you got your reasons.”

“I got my reasons.”

“I’m just asking, Do you hear voices? Weeee? Do you think the dentist implanted a listening device in your teeth? You don’t have to answer. Nosireee. I should mind my own business anyway.”

“Yeah, maybe you should.”

“Ammo? You got enough ammo?”

“I’m gonna need a lot.”

“You need a lot. We got a lot.”

“Anything else I can do for you today? Bayonet? Camouflage stuff? We got some tear gas on sale and some hunting knives you can hunt anything with, if you get my drift.”

“I just need the guns. I want the guns. I need the guns.”

“Whoa, get a grip, sonny. You came to the right place. I understand. Hey, James Eagan Holmes, nice to meet you. Can I call you Jimmy?”

“No, call me the Joker.”

“Ha, ha. You’re a funny guy.”

“Maybe. But I ain’t no loner.”

“No?”

“No! You’re never alone when you got a gun.”

Richard Cohen writes a weekly political column for The Washington Post.

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