Only in America

May 22, 2014 • 8:22 am

Reader Simon Hayward, a professor of Urolic Surgery at Vanderbilt University and the staff of Titan, the Ten-Legged Cat, sent this photo he took, which epitomizes the worst of the U.S. His note:

I pass this place every time we go to Wake, and it always reminds me that I’m in Tennessee. So on the way to Sarah’s graduation I noted which exit it was – just south of Bristol on 81.  Nothing like an AK47 to reinforce the blessed savior’s message of peace! (The guy even has AK47 in his phone number as an added bonus)

Guns and God: as American as apple pie! (Click to enlarge.)


87 thoughts on “Only in America

    1. Ha ha! People who buy into this gun shop’s philosophy, probably think that the guns are peace makers & Jesus would be proud.

  1. “Guns are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through guns.”

    J. H. Christ,
    Call: 1-800-RAP-TURE

  2. I wonder if this sooper-genius knows that the AK-47, AKA the Kalashnikov, was invented by godless commie ruskies?

    1. That thought was rattling around in my head. I didn’t know the same people made them but the Kalashnikov was something I was trying to work out (probably because of my tendency to be a smart ass).

    2. Oh, it would be funny to go in there disguised as a stereotypical godless communist, and talk about how glad you were that they had chosen a s Soviet weapon. 😉

      1. That immediately sprang to my mind. I love irony.

        A friend of mine at work was a serious gun collector (though he long ago gave up shooting animals with anything), and he reckoned the AK47 was one of the best designs, far superior to the Armalite which was much more prone to jam if dropped in the battlefield mud.
        Though his AK was actually a Chinese-made copy.

        The Thompson (as illustrated on the building there) he regarded as a beautiful piece of precision machining but much less cost-effective than the crude M3 ‘grease gun’.

        He has now switched to collecting vintage pocket watches…

        1. I don’t know that it was so cost effective- the M3 was made out of cheap stamped sheet metal and had terrible issues with reliability. It was only produced because there was a need for immediate guns that was so great, even one that was prone to falling apart or spontaneously firing even if the trigger wasn’t pulled was better than no gun at all.

          1. You’re probably correct – I’m only repeating (probably inaccurately) what my friend said when showing off his extensive gun collection to me years ago.

            Incidentally, in New Zealand, only registered gun collectors are allowed to own automatic weapons, and they have to have a strongroom to keep them in. The weapons don’t have to be ‘deactivated’ but it’s illegal to actually fire them (though I suspect that occasionally happened in a sufficiently remote corner of some mate’s farm). Ironically, though they’re supposed to be kept safe under lock and key, they have to be produced to the police for inspection on their acquisition – so he brought his Thompson (unloaded of course!) into town on the bus discreetly wrapped in brown paper. We all (in the office where he worked) were fascinated and took it in turns to hold it and look like Al Capone…

    3. And why the the Thompson machine gun graphic? And why shown with a puny clip instead of the more patriotic drum magazine?

      These religious people are crazy!

  3. That looks more like a Thompson submachine gun.

    I want an AK47 phone number, easy to remember.

    1. And no one mentioned Roland?!
      On Letterman: Of all the Thompson gunners, Roland was the best…

      1. Drat, had I read one post further, it would have saved me the trouble of the post I just made above.

    1. Yes, though it’s got the straight magazine, not the classic gangster drum magazine.

  4. Only in America? Let’s not exaggerate. Surely, there must be some third-world thugocracies where this kind of thing is happens.

    1. I think thuginess exists elsewhere, but this flavour (Jesus & guns) is uniquely American.

      1. Not so sure. There is a long tradition, going as far back in history as we have any reliable knowledge, of people using deadly weapons against others in the names of their gods. Sure that it is their gods express wish or command to bear arms in its name.

        Jesus specifically? Maybe, not sure off hand. Gods in general? Unfortunately still not uncommon even in current times.

        It is pitiful, though, how much of an outlier the US is on this issue compared to all the other wealthy countries. Just like with healthcare, acceptance of evolution, religious belief and education. All connected.

        1. I think the unique combination of thuginess intertwined with Jesus in a modern civilized country is uniquely American. You don’t see islands of such stark contrast elsewhere. It’s either a place has violence and god mixed in everywhere or it doesn’t have it at all. In the US, you have these islands of seemingly opposed ideas infused into one and that infused idea floats within the context of a more rational, free society.

          1. Right. How do you lure rural white men to church when Jesus is a freakin’ hippie? Convince them that Real Men Love Jesus by having Fight Church, gun raffles, tattoos, etc. (and it doesn’t hurt to convince them that people who DON’T love Jesus are EVIL and should be eliminated (Muslims, especially)).

              1. It really exists! And their leader has very recently been accused of sexual abuse. Shocking, I know.

                Fight Church – because nothing says “I love Jesus” quite like beating the shit out of other Christians.

  5. The weapon pictured on the sign is a Thompson SMG “Tommy Gun”. Odd that they would choose to revere the AK-47, weapon of choice for terrorists, islamists and communist rebels everywhere and product of Soviet Russia.

    1. The AK is lighter and much more accurate than a tommy gun. It is also more dependable and more easily operated. Depending on what model of Thompson that is on the sign, it can be extremely complex in its operation. Not so the AK…

      1. I can see why they would put a tommy gun on the sign, though. I’ve fired one and they are very cute.

        1. In response to Diana: I have not experienced jamming issues with either weapon, although I believe that a Thompson would be much more likely to jam than an AK. AK construction is so much simpler than a tommy gun. I have seen AKs so full of mud that it was necessary to splash them around in a puddle just to see what position the safety was in, and they still fired. That is why they are so popular in 3rd world countries – they are easy to maintain and operate. It takes only about 5-10 minutes of instruction to make a person proficient in their operation. You can’t do that with a Thompson.

          1. Yes, this is consistent with what I’ve heard as well….you can treat them badly and they still work.

              1. Or any of the users from those other questionable societies & their treatment of their women.

      2. The biggest deficiency in comparison is that the Thompson fires wimpy pistol rounds (45 cal?) while the AK sends the more emphatic rifle rounds.
        I’ve seen the ad.

        1. The .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol)round fired in the Thompson has been likened to throwing a brick through a plate glass window. It is incredibly powerful and one that I trust implicitly! The AK round is much more a “rifle round,” but the impact of an AK round is not likely to do as much damage as a .45, at least at close range. I have seen AK wounds where the wounded man was up and walking around. I haven’t experienced that with a .45. On the other hand, if you hit your target at over 50 meters with a Thompson or a .45 ACP you should consider yourself very lucky! If I had to choose between the two I would pick an AK…

          1. Jim,
            You make couple of good points.
            Guns are usually described by how ‘powerful’ they are but technically (and not pedantically ’cause it’s important) the right word is ‘energetic’
            All else being equal the more propellent behind the slug, the more energy it will deliver to its target. A rifle round uses more in order to make for greater range and/or flatter trajectory which enhances accuracy. The downside is that a slug that’s hard enough and smoothly shaped enough to get to its target is somewhat less effective once it gets there. A thing made to pass through the air with the least disturbance does the same thing to flesh so it doesn’t leave so much of its energy in the flesh but keeps on going to waste it on whatever’s behind the target.
            Pistols are for up close and (un)friendly. That little round (or better, flat) nosed bit of squishy lead, though it has less energy to start with, tends to leave all of that energy in its giftee and so, unlike a rifle round which ends up in the dirt behind, is more likely to end up in some cup at autopsy.

            1. In response to Kevin Alexander: The military ammo used in a .45 is a copper jacketed round, so there is no lead exposed in flight (per the Geneva Convention, incredibly enough!). To refer, however, to the .45 as a “puny pistol round,” as someone did earlier, is to grossly understate the impact of that bullet! The M-1911 A-1 .45 cal. pistol is one of the most powerful handguns I have ever fired…

            2. Lots of factors to consider. If the rifle round, say the 5.56mm round fired from an M16, tumbles, which they do rather easily, it might enter a body via the shoulder and exit via the thigh doing lots of damage on its way. Designed with that in mind (which I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you). If the round is energetic enough the hydrostatic shock from even a clean through shot can be devastating.

              But in general, pistol rounds vs rifle rounds, they are two different tools for two different applications.

  6. The large signs are necessary or the camouflaged building would be as invisible as a nightjar.

    1. I love the camp paint on the building – what one wonders is going through their minds – must remain hidden from the government takeover, but still get people to buy my guns….

    2. The building’s camouflage motif looks more like a desert motif rather than a deciduous forest motif. Maybe it works only in the winter?

  7. Nothing I hate more than getting an AK47, and it just doesnt get the job done. Thank Ceiling Cat they take trades!

  8. As a bemused Limey onlooker, the gun lobby in the US appears to have won. Where is it all going to end? When everyone in the US (or at least, certain states) owns a gun and can carry it wherever they like? Is that ultimately where the country is heading?

    1. How dare you say “can” carry a gun wherever they want.

      It ends when everyone “MUST” own and carry in the USA.

      You Brit’s are so naive sometimes. Like Canadians.

      1. Also be careful about wrapping a flag around this sort of stuff. A lot of Canadians are gun enthusiasts and are very up to speed on gun laws. I am one of them. As a nation we’re not too far behind the US in terms of ownership. Who knows though, I’m possibly skewing the data…

    1. I am not sure what you mean.

      That it did not originate in the US? Absolutely. Goes back at least 700 years, likely a good bit further.

      That it is, in one form or another, common in many other countries? Definitely.

      But, it did become extremely common in the US starting in the 1800s, and has been and is still extremely popular. I think its evolution into a self-identifier of US culture was a natural process. I think a straight interpretation of “apple pie isn’t particularly american at all,” is that it is incorrect. That it is American merely because American culture says it is seems perfectly valid.

      Just like Germany and beer, Poland and perogies, Italy and pasta, Spain and ham, Portugal and porto, and France and wine (well, everything culinary). Most everything has been done long before, in one form or another.

      My favorite fruit pie is cherry. Nice dark, black, cherries. I find apple pie boring.

      I wonder what would earn you more abuse? An Obama bumper sticker or a Apple Pie one?

  9. You know when you can really get in trouble in American (all?) politics: when you tell the truth. There are two ways it cuts. You tell the truth and it reveals what an asshole you are (think Romney and the 47%) or you tell the truth and it reveals what too much about too many voters (the link above).

    1. Am listening to a recent Noam Chomsky talk regarding declining U.S. hegemony. Quotes Mark Twain to the effect that there are three freedoms:

      – freedom of speech;

      – freedom of conscience;

      – the freedom to have the good sense to exercise neither of them.

  10. I’m virtually certain that if you asked the owner of this store if he really thought he was emulating Jesus, he would unreservedly direct you to Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” I’ve heard gun nuts use this rationalization in the past.

      1. Hmm. I think you’re right. Maybe they didn’t have sub-machine guns in the first century A.D. I’ll Google it.

      2. I’ve heard gun nuts explain that the sword was the standard infantry weapon is Jesus’s day while the automatic rifle is today. Thus, theologically, sword = assault rifle.

        See? Simple!

  11. The weapon depicted on the sign is not an AK-47. It is a Thompson (gang buster) sub-machine gun, 30 cal.It still is an outrage whatever the gun depicted.
    If Jesus were to return today, he probably would be shot in a drive-by with an AK-47. Then Christians would wear a miniature AK 47 around their necks instead of a cross.

  12. But Jesus said:

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;…”

    Matthew 10:34

    1. He’s also alleged to have said:

      “He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one.”

      Luke 22:36 (RSV)

      The Bible has a lot of inconsistent and contradictory material in it which makes it a great ventriloquist’s dummy…

  13. As others have already pointed out, the gun in the picture is not the “evil” AK-47 but the Thompson gun. Also known as the “Chicago Typewriter”. As a UChigaco prof, you might even find that bit of trivia amusing.

  14. What on earth is a “Professor of Urolic Surgery?” We don’t have one at Washington State U. Should we?

    1. That would be our host’s respelling of “Urologic” – if there was a P missing I could probably come up with a pun. Can’t think of anything for a deleted O at this time of day! Most places we’d be Urology.

  15. “Nothing like an AK47 to reinforce the blessed savior’s message of peace! ”

    I know I’ve posted this link before, but it seems peculiarly apposite in this context:

    I notice though, that Jeezus is holding, not a godless commie AK, but a good Christian-made AR16 as one would expect. Of course the Armalite round was popularly supposed to be unstable and tumble on impact thereby causing the maximum damage, truly a Christian characteristic. What else would the Son of a psycopathic God use?

    1. What are you talking about? Without guns it just ain’t real American heaven.
      Saint somebody or other wrote that the main reward that god gives the faithful is to look down on and enjoy the suffering of the damned. In Real American Heaven (which is for real by the way) the reward is all the guns you can hold to blaze away at the liberals being toasted in their reward.

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