At a dinner party last night, I overheard two sisters talking about a third who lives north of here. The two -- let's call them Alice and Becky -- were critical of the third sister's husband, Jeff, who followed the gun control controversy and expressed frustration and anxiety. Alice, whose husband probably has a hunting rifle at most, is fairly open-minded and the least rigidly religious of the three, Becky being more conservative (and more religious), married to a Baptist country boy who probably has a rifle or two and a shotgun. The gun-lover's wife, Cathy, is an evangelical. That's right: there is a direct correlation between the extent of their religious inclination and their ownership of weapons.
While I was with Alice and Becky last night, Becky discussed a phone call she had with Cathy, who was bemoaning the fact that her husband, Jeff, robbed the piggy bank after concluding from Fox News broadcasts that the government was about to pass new gun control laws. And even if they didn't do that, they were going to pass laws limiting how much ammo you could have, or whether you could use clips of more than ten rounds. Before she could point out that the money could be better applied to house repairs, things he'd been saying for months, "Oh, I'll fix that." He indulges his weapons fetish along with one for motorcycles and must have been watching too many Mad Max movies, only in this case it is Mad Jeff.
It became clear to me that Alice and Becky both dislike Jeff. From what I know of him, I am inclined to agree. I grew apprehensive about him several years ago, before he and Cathy moved away. He gave a brother-in-law a thick, full color, fully detailed encyclopedia of arms and ammunition. While we were saying the dinner prayer, I engage in my usual blotting out of the "blessing" and interiorization of what I had learned up to that point. One thing is that gun freaks tend to be deeply religious, but if ever there was a non sequitur surely it is giving someone a book about things that kill on the day their silly Christ was born. Another thing is that for guys like Jeff, guns and ammo become an obsession. I have to wonder about people obsessed with guns who also have apocalyptic religious beliefs.