Press Secretary to the Angel of Death
Picture a fiery and sulfurous demesne, a rendering of Hell if you will. Here sits Abaddon, the Angel of Death, holding court. Various junior demons and under-devils orbit his malevolent lordship, representatives from Hell’s executive recruiting firms here on a house call. Abaddon is in the market for a new press secretary, you see—Joseph Goebbels having been poached recently by Satan himself.
The AoD is down, though. It’s true. The search is not going well. Apparently, talent in deception ain’t quite what it used to be. But, lo, a ray of light as Abaddon catches a glimpse of the U.S. Congress in session on T.V., a select committee convened to discuss gun control. In the midst of those assembled dissemblers—that veritable Hall of Fame of Deceit—the whines of one rat-faced liar rise above the rhetorical fray.
“Who is that young go-getter?” Abaddon asks of the arrayed demonic headhunters, his gaze glowing with renewed vigor.
“Oh,” coos one of the recruiters, recognizing the pinched gaze and glasses, the wardrobe of a seventies game show host, the form half-badass actuary, half-mannequin sheriff. “That’s Wayne LaPierre, your Deathliness.”
“I must have him,” Abaddon bellows.
And the race is on to see which demon can secure his long-sought-after promotion from Lesser Infernalite to Big Bad Voodoo Devil.
Make no mistake. This won’t be easy for the demons, skilled as they are in talent acquisition. Prestigious as the gig might be, right-up-his-alley as we see it is, LaPierre will insist on a bump in pay commensurate with his new responsibilities. Obviously, he’ll want a new package of perks, too—more souls to devour, fresh kittens to torture, a condo in Hell (the commute can be a real drag)—but eventually he’ll take the job. Wayne LaPierre is no dummy.
But, but, BUT…he is the worst of the worst of America’s worst, a creature of such utter calculation and supreme callousness…one so skilled in deceit and manipulation as to be able to cause Congress to betray the wishes of its constituents (and even itself) more than usual, far more than usual. And as anyone who follows politics knows, being able to push Congress to new depths of pork-barrel-jumping failure is quite an accomplishment. There’s history, here; hundreds of years that pack of back-slapping, lip-smacking, suit-clad jackals has spent letting us down…
LaPierre’s Ballistic Wisdom: A Concise Guide
Not only does LaPierre exhibit an epic ability to turn Congress, to force it to act again and again against its own, our own, interest. Just like the Angel of Death himself, he can be counted on to swoop in at the worst possible moment—see, he’s already trained—dispensing the sort of homespun sophistries guaranteed to make shooting victims and their families feel sorrows they never could have guessed at, cry tears they never could have imagined they had left to cry.
Here, now, just a few of the pithy nuggets that make Wayne the worst of the worst:
“It doesn’t matter to them that the semi-auto ban gives jack-booted government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us.”
Jack-booted government thugs aka the FBI and the ATF aka Stormtroopers aka Nazis because…the Nazis were definitely the original jack-booted thugs. And we know how much Americans loves Nazis. How’s that for circular reasoning?
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
The operative words in this statement being gun and good. As in: “Guns are good. The gun is good. Good is the gun.” Repeat it with me now: Gun good. Good gun. Gun good. Good gun.
“And throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners and their stockholders act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.”
Because who better than the National Rifle Association’s top in-house lobbyist to lecture us on the role of wealthy corporate enablers in our society, organizations so well-funded they can flout the will of the vast majority of Americans.
“I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed officers in every single school in this nation.”
More guns. We need more guns. The guns are killing people. We need more guns.
“There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people through vicious and violent video games.”
I too am sad at this callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people through vicious and violent GUNS.
“We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work.”
So, let’s just skip the legislation entirely, right, Wayne?
Nevermind (or, our Poet Laureate of Slow National Suicide)
Nevermind being press secretary to the Angel of Death, Wayne. You, sir, can really turn a phrase. Honestly, you’re too valuable to lose.
Master of innuendo, sower of dissent, disseminator of false facts and self-serving urban myths, you’re a liar of a higher order, our Bard of Death, our Poet Laureate of Slow National Suicide.
Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, MLK, Malcolm X, JFK, RFK…all that culture, all those years of significant art, political leadership, and inspiring speeches gone to gun violence in America…I see the truth now, Wayne, we just, we can’t afford to lose you, too. Pretty soon, you and your beloved gun culture may be the only culture we have left. We may have to start putting “jack-booted thugs” and “good guys with guns” to music. We may have to start writing novels, making movies, and composing poems about “jack-booted good guy thugs with guns,” as if we hadn’t already.
Please, Wayne, don’t take that job with the Angel of Death, please just stay and keep convincing us to kill ourselves. That’s your calling in life. That’s your gig. And let’s be honest, you’re bloody great at it and already being paid handsomely to do it.
The great part about you, Wayne—your coup de derriere—is that not just Congress but millions of average Americans go for your shtick. Like the greatest of great American hucksters—I’m talking Reagan-, Cheney-, and Bush-level hornswogglers here—you are somehow able to convince the yokels that you speak for them. So successfully and so often do you do this that in spite of the vast majority of Americans favoring increased restrictions on firearms, your rhetoric (backed by the NRA’s deep pockets) wins every time.
The Poetry of a Gun
The gun is metal, and so is its poetry. So is its song. Every beat of it, every piece; every instrument with a part to play in its brief, violent symphony.
Trigger and hammer, cylinder and barrel, muzzle and sight. Oh, it may sound like something else in the fevered before or the horrid after—shouted curses and shattered glass, final scream and siren shriek—but it’s always metal at its core. The gun’s heart is metal, just like its body and its song. How could it be any other way?
Men aren’t made of metal, though, not to start. Nor are their songs or hearts. They can become that way, though. Men can spend their humanity on many things: addiction and crime, violence and hate, certainty and doubt. And though they never physically become metal—this isn’t science fiction—they may as well if they lose enough of what makes them human.
Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr. has lost enough. He’s lost it to his life’s work, his love of guns, the right to have them and hold them, use them and abuse them. He’s lost it in the banal poetry he comes up with time and again to sell this massacre or package that shooting.
From the minds that make the laws to the machines that make the guns, to the people somehow, inexplicably if we didn’t know better, responsible for both. Metal, stolid and unfeeling. Metal, we know too well.
And behind this song of metal, there is a man, a man who seems of flesh and blood, but speaks in strains of metal, words so sure of themselves, so well-played and audience tested, that a hundred million take them as gospel.
We can’t blame guns on Wayne LaPierre, not completely. They’ve been with us for what now seems like forever, and effectively is forever to the reckoning of anyone alive today. But if there’s one man in my lifetime, in today’s America, who’s done more than any other to popularize handguns, to make them multiply and proliferate, to justify their use, overuse and deadly abuse, it’s Wayne LaPierre, the man of a thousand loaded quips, the guy who stole Reagan’s one liner machine and kept it for himself.
No words, just numbers here at the end, numbers to go with Wayne’s metal heart. Our favorite guns…there are so many…and so many killed each year:
.22, .357, .38, .44…310,000,000…30,000…