Everything is Just Fine With America’s Gun Culture

This work of genius was an ad for Bushmaster guns.  Bushmaster makes the gun used at Sandy Hook.  And as the second amendment clearly states, guns exist so that losers can prove their manliness to elementary school kids.

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  • Joseph

    Wow. That marketing stunt can’t get more damning.

  • Irenist

    The gun culture has no need to look at the beam in its eye. The problem is obviously the splinter in the eye of the gay liberals who took prayer out of the schools. Or something.

  • Stu

    The advert is shit.

    • Mark Shea

      The advert is from one of the premier gun manufacturers and is calculated to appeal to the gun culture demographic. That tells you something about what this company thinks matters to that demographic. And it sure as hell is not “self-defense”.

      • beccolina

        If this is designed to appeal to the gun culture demographic, then the gun culture is as lost as the Republican party.

      • Stu


        I don’t disagree. Nor would I own a bushmaster. It is for people who want to play dress up.

        I own multiple firearms. Am I part of the “gun culture demographic?

        • Dan C


          You align politically precisely along the lines of this demographic.

          As I with the group you guys term the “gun grabbers.” For that is your term for us.

          • Stu


            Have I ever had a conversation with you? Do we know each other or are you simply a psychic digging deep in my mind and uncovering things about me that I must hole in denial?

            • Dominic

              Hey stu. Wandered in here from another blog. While keeping with Catholic doctrine, I find this blog and the majority of it’s readers to be rather left-leaning, and frankly (Mr. Shea) rather nasty about it. I’ll just go ahead and tap-dance myself back over to blogs where I can discuss issues with people who hold opinions different than mine, but who also hold civil tongues in their heads.

  • Noah D

    Mark, I’ve been a part of the ‘gun culture’ for decades. I know these people. I know the companies, and their products. Bushmaster is a large, but second-rate firearm manufacturer, and hardly ‘premier’.

    If you think that this advertising campaign is somehow representative of tens of millions of gun owners, of the ‘gun culture’ in America, you are mistaken. I urge you to go to a gun store and/or range and ask people what they thought of the ads *before* Sandy Hook. You might be surprised.

    Also, picking one ad campaign among how many others, and saying that it’s somehow representative of the entire ‘gun culture’? Bushmaster has been somewhat tone-deaf for years (let alone eye-rollingly self-aggrandizing) and this isn’t surprising. I suggest that you check out Colt, Stag, Daniel Defense, Larue Tactical, LMT, Olympic Arms, Armalite, Rock River, American Spirit, DPMS, Wilson, L&G, Del-Ton, Charles Daly, DSA, FN, H&K, Knights Armament, LWRC, Noveske, Para-Ordnance, Patriot Ordnance Factory, Sabre Defense, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Yankee Hill before you condemn all of us for Bushmaster’s behavior. Please don’t cherry-pick. You don’t like it when it’s done to you.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Really? There are THAT many gun manufacturers in your country? To me, it seems that that in itself is rather telling.

      • What? Would you rather that the industry were monopolistic?

        • Marthe Lépine

          Maybe… with sales restricted to the armed forces and police officers.Does not sound like such a bad idea!

          • Stu

            Armies with weapons have done far more damage to the world than lunatics acting alone.

            I think the notion of the ruling class having a monopoly on weapons is a terrible idea.

          • Linda C.

            Because guns being restricted to “the armed forces and police officers” has had such a beneficial and life-affirming history (see “20th Century totalitarian governments”)?

      • Chris M

        a number of those are EU makes. FN is Belgian, H&K is German etc.

    • Noah D: Well said! No large group should be condemned for the unrepresentative actions of a few.

  • Joseph

    Just curious… where are you from Marthe? Not saying that I don’t grasp the point you’re trying to make but more like trying to understand if this is a speck vs. plank moment.

    • Hezekiah Garrett


      (Humming O Tannenbaum to throw off the word count…)

      • Clare Krishan

        “(Humming O Tannenbaum to throw off the word count…)” Oh how darling! Can I crib for future use (my usual ‘Praying in PA’ no longer suffices, it gets my goat everytime!)

        Mark how about a Christmas “Humming O Tannenbaum” contest to see how creative others can be in twarting Patheos’ mindless bean counter?

  • Stu

    Dollars to donuts….French Canadian.

  • Observer

    If they pushed the ad out after the atrocity at the school, then they are in the wrong. However, if the commerical came out before hand – as silly as the advert is, and I do mean a really terrible ad – then there isn’t any bearing on anything wrong so far as the ad’s place goes.

    Taking a detour in the discussion, does anyone honestly believe a man who had the clear intentions of doing harm, mayhem, damage, and delivering destruction and death to these people, really think an absence of what he used would have stopped him? Consider also, if he knows and can use arms as he did to take out people’s lives including his own, then would he not have very much gone to other lengths using other means to bring out something far much more worse and devastating?

    Yes, as bent as he was, he could had come up with something far much more disasterous and saddening. The arguments going back and forth between 2nd amendments and so forth are totally outside of the real problem. A man had diabolical intentions to carry out what he did on innocent persons who were the most vulnerable, terrified, and couldn’t escape his wrath. He took no consideration of the people he went after – the fact that they were persons.

    What you had was someone who needed their selfish psychopathic attitude non-sense – really selfish – knocked out of him. He did not care about anyone but himself. Was he hurting in some way? Sure. But, he needed to honestly admit he had a problem and get some real help. There are alcoholics, drug addicts, and people who suffer all sorts of emotional, mental, psychological, and all other impairing strains dealing with their problems on a daily basis that would never do that. I have a cousin too who is an alcoholic, fell into drugs, and had to deal with it through anger management therapy by dealing with the root of his problem: anger fueled by alcohol and drugs.

    People carry their crosses everyday; this man chose not to. And, that is why he needs prayers.

    Pray for the people who were devastated by this man’s actions. They need the most support in this life, because now their loved one’s are no longer with them. Years hinged on love with one another, and a life totally unique in identity and being to each person an individual in life, are now gone with the memory how they left.

    When a mother sits at a table where her child once sat for dinner, or a father who came to read stories at bed-time looked on as his child fell asleep, or the husband, wife, mother, or father who their children are now having to re-call the terrible atrocity how it happened they’re no longer there, or even if the person who was neither a father, mother, or husband, or wife had been a victim of this man’s crimes, are not only no longer there and missed – they will be sorrowfully missed for the significant moment in their lives and family: Chistmas. These people need the true presence of Christmas. When their lives are overshadowed with atrocity, grief, anger, circumstances out of their control, and no longer able to rest, they need a place by the manger in Mary’s arms and in Joseph’s care. These people are now stranded in life as Mary and Joseph were in the care of excpecting not only a child, but the very life and light, and hope which God would save all people. These people are so much need of this special event, and need all the blessings adorned and surrounded by grace, as the angels surrounded the Christ child. These people, as all people who have lost the life of a dear loved one, need to be surrounded this year by saints and angels. May God be with them, as he is with us: Emmanuel.

    Mary please pray for them, put forth your petition before God your Son, and ask for everyone, this Christmas, to be overshadowed, adorned by grace, and blessed this Christmas, as you were at Jospeh’s side, and where the Christ child lay sleeping in a manger. People need this solemn grace from heaven before anymore disasterous ills take on the world. Please pray for us, Amen.

    • Mark Shea

      It has every bearing on the atrocity. The promotion of guns as prosthetic penises for chinless wonders eager to prove their manhood on 5th graders is *directly* related to that ad. That’s *why* it’s appalling.

      And before anybody sez it, “No. I’m not saying all gun fanciers are chinless sexually immature weenies with death fantasies. I’m saying that the gun culture tends to instruct such people that violence and coming into one’s own as a man are synonymous. That the entire message of that ad.”

      • Observer

        I think the right response is a moment in prayer for those who were hurt and the man who did this. As far as these advertisers go, they’re simply playing the game with their arms control buddies on the other side. They are really two lovers caught in a quarrel and could care less about what happened to those people, and quite sadly, no concern for the man who really needed prayers at that time. All you have are opportunists ready to make what they want out of a catastrophy at other people’s expense. They reeeeeeeek!

        Merry Christmas, Mark. And I hope you, your family, and rest of us who hold to the traditional value of Christmas are blessed beyond fathom and surrounded by perpetual graces. God bless.

  • Joseph

    Stu… dollars to donuts you’re right. In which case it’s speck vs. a bloody warship from the Spanish Armada. Americans can take care of their own sinking ship without advice from those who are having a hard enough time keeping their own afloat. I live in Ireland at the moment… a nation under the rule of a new conglomerate that might possibly end up being a worse tyrant than Britain ever was: the EU. The worst of it is they actually voted for the shackles themselves at the behest of a gov’t they didn’t trust and media they shouldn’t have trusted.

    Yet, while they sit in their sinking ship, they spend a great deal of time ruminating on the issues in America… much like Marthe. In my experience, whenever someone uses the term “your country” when describing a blemish they obviously don’t like, it betrays more of a disdain for “your country” rather than a care for it. Such condescension is almost always misplaced… as would be the case for our friend.

    Don’t worry, bub. The Americans will figure it out.

    • Stu

      And Joseph, I do look for Europe to figure it out as well in terms of the EU. Europe is much stronger and better off with strong, independent, individual countries working together rather than a forced conglomerate. In fact, I think the US is better off with a Europe of strong, independent, individual countries as well.

  • Todd Webb

    So silly. “Assault Weapon” defies definition but the phrase is bandied about by those who don’t want to
    sound dumb by saying “scary looking guns”

  • Jacob

    Okay, you don’t like somebody’s ad. This does not prove that you have figured out “the gun culture” and now have judged it justly. You have been getting more vitriolic every day since this happened, and as far as I can tell you’ve never bothered to learn anything substantive about gun issues. If in fact you want to learn something about gun owners and gun laws, you might try reading this – http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control
    So, delete my comment, give a comeback that proves how clever you are (and what a troll I am), whatever. It is a real shame because when aren’t like this you are really a deep thinker. I think you’ve turned into Angry Mark on this issue worse than I’ve ever seen. I’ll keep reading your books, but I don’t want to see this side of you anymore.

    • kenneth

      You’re right. That Mark dude just needs to chill and get some perspective. Having your first-grader’s organs turned inside out by 11 rounds of full metal jacket is just part of the digs of parenthood. None of us can know what fate awaits us each day. Besides, the little buggers would have died anyway in 75 years, of some damn thing or another. And no one who hasn’t passed the Second Amendment Militia Theory Proficiency Exam and accepted its full doctrine has any business in the debate anyway.

      If the gun culture core of conservatism had any strand of a soul or conscience left, Mark’s angry voice would not carry so far over the landscape. It would be lost in the background of a deafening roar.

      • Seamus

        I was unaware that Mr. Shea had had his first-grader’s organs turned inside out by 11 rounds of full metal jacket. If he hasn’t, then he doesn’t get excused from the ordinary obligation of judging the “gun culture” rationally and fairly.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Actually, he did not – but it seems that thinking of his own wonderful grand daughter gives him a perspective of what it would feel, and makes him feel empathy with the parents of those innocent victims. I do not see anything wrong with his Irish temper flaring up in these circumstances

          • Stu

            And thinking of my six children gives me a perspective of what it would feel, makes me feel empathy with the parents but yet prudence demand we pursue measures that actually are aimed towards solving the problem and not getting carried away with hysteria.

  • Ryan H

    “Culture”, maybe. Outing the “gun culture” for its badness because of this ad is like blaming the “auto culture” when a car full of teenagers die in a car wreck after Ferrari publishes an ad romanticizing fast sports cars. Gun culture needs to be reformed, yes. I would rather say that culture needs to be reformed.

    The Bushmaster ad is dispicable, yes. The trouble is that lumping gun owners into this “gun culture” results in demonizing a lot of good people. As Noah D. said, there are many good, law abiding people in the “gun culture”. Many normal, level-headed people carry guns for self defense; many good dads and moms carry guns for the protection of their family. Guns save lives by preventing bad people from doing bad things to good people. This is the “gun culture” that I am a part of.

    Yes, shame on Bushmaster for publishing this despicable ad. But please be careful about who or what you point at as the problem.

  • I think this revoke a man card thing is silly.

    How Bushmaster getting involved with this idea makes it despicable is just puzzling to me.

    • Mark Shea

      It’s more the “Guns are for proving your manhood on elementary school students” thing that was appalling.

      • I find deriding such faux expressions of “manliness” as being silly has a better impact than being appalled at them. Laughter is what they’re trying to avoid, after all. By being appalled, you are to some extent taking them seriously. By my dismissiveness, I unman them, or at least hope to. But this is a difference in tactics. Here we largely agree.

    • kenneth

      Whatever else it may be, it’s not puzzling. Bushmaster was really just echoing a sort of cultural mantra that’s been circulating forever in our culture, and amplified greatly in the last 30 years or so. There is a vision of 15-year-old male fantasy that is sold as “real manhood”. In part by the gun culture and gun industry, but also in spades by Hollywood and television, the video game and music industries, and in no small measure by our foreign policy.

      A man without his gun is not a man, not a real, red-blooded man, and he and his family are not safe unless he has that gun. Evil only exists in the world because sissy liberal politicians and pantywaists resent and don’t understand and endorse guns. A man with a true heart and the cajones to stand up to the sissy politicians always wins the gunfight, always shoots the bad guy from behind his innocent human shield, and always walks away with nothing but a flesh wound that he can shrug off, as any real man can. Guns are, sooner or later, the only real answer to life’s problems, and the only chance a good man has of standing up as a free man, even in a democracy created and preserved by the gun.

      This sort of cultural myth/meme is real, and Bushmaster just played a note they reasonably figured already resonated with people. These attitudes may or may not directly foster mass killers, but they do foster an atmosphere of juvenile irresponsibility around guns. They also make it impossible to engage the issue on a rational public policy basis because gun ownership is not simply a set of sports or hobbies or practical safety interests.

      It is a religion which has been spliced into the DNA of American identity more deeply than even English or Christianity. This meme convinces men that their guns are an integral strand of their Y chromosomes. It gets women on board by adding the proviso that unlimited gun ownership is the core of national identity, and of personhood itself. Bushmaster is not alone in preaching this twisted religion. They have lots of help from industry groups and the NRA.

      • I am a real man. I find this cultural mantra is silly and, by implication, unmanly. By extension, if you buy into it, you are buying into a vision of manliness that is false and thus are not truly manly. This false vision of manliness is vulnerable to derision. One should, therefore, be dismissive, find it silly, and devise simple ways to laugh at it in all its guises. Honestly, I find it more of an infantilizing assault and pity those who are taken in.

        The most powerful weapon is the human mind. Absent a lobotomy, one cannot be fully unarmed if you have the will. The tools may enhance effectiveness but the mature attitude of male responsibility and a willingness to defend what is right is true manhood. What tools are best used in a situation to express that can and do vary. The martyrs were often without guns. They were never unmanly.

  • Joseph

    TMLucas. That marketing is clearly targeted at social retards. And every school/cinema shooting has been carried out by that particular demographic. Even if you wonder what a class of fifth graders thinks of you in jest you’re a social retard.

    • And how are you to educate social retards about manliness without naming their false visions as silly, unmanly, and other language that they respond to? Yes, even social retards (and a more counterproductive label to your cause is hard for me to think of) need to be taught. You are not helping, far from it.

  • Seamus

    I don’t suppose it occurred to anyone that this ad might just be poking fun at the anti-gun people’s stereotypes of gun owners as nutjobs who are just overcompensating for the very small wee-wees? The way Vietnam vets, having listened too often to trip about how they were “hired killers,” would respond to smug hippies asking them, “How can you kill women and children?” would reply, “It’s easy. You just don’t lead them as much.”

    • I understand the impulse. I don’t think it is wise to give in to it in this case because the anti-gunners are actually losing the argument both in the law and the culture.