Shooting guns and shooting photos.

So, I know I just said that I don’t like to talk about political stories lacking in substance, but here’s one that plays nicely into something I’ve been thinking about lately:

“‘It was a long love affair with a boy and his gun that turned into a man and his gun, and it turned into a man and his son and his daughter and their guns,’ [Republican Presidential hopeful Rick] Perry told reporters before a pheasant hunting trip with Iowa Rep. Steve King in October. ‘It’s, I think, one of the great American traditions is taking your family hunting.'”

The story is mostly about Perry relaxing by going to a shooting range before the New Hampshire debate.

It’s an interesting choice of words, “love affair”. I know that Perry is joking around, and it’s not at all unusual for someone to say they “love” some inanimate object. But still, the gun certainly receives a good deal more than the usual amount of amorous attention bestowed upon non-living objects.

It’s a very common thing. I mean, I am a liberal and all, but it is nonetheless true that the vast majority of the video games in my collection feature guns in a prominent role. Doom, Quake, GoldenEye… and I don’t know of anything that compares with Black, a game which basically exists to showcase various guns.

Speaking of guns in games, there is a line from Metal Gear Solid that seems pertinent. I am thinking of Revolver Ocelot’s quip as he reloads his revolver: “There’s nothing like the feeling of slamming a long silver bullet into a well-greased chamber.” The voice actor’s delivery makes the metaphor even more apparent. Still, without being quite so salacious as that, I think everybody knows that something about weaponry appeals to a very primitive instinct in people, especially men.

Video games, though, are works of drama, and thus perhaps it is not surprising to find them replete with virtual firearm technology. They, along with books and film and television, might naturally be expected to feature a lot of guns, because guns mean conflict, and conflict is the essence of drama, as someone said. (Again, I know this myself. I was quite proud of the “full metal jacket” line in my poem from earlier today.) But then, Governor Perry was not speaking about art, but about the “sport” of hunting.

I suppose if you are going to eat meat, you could make the argument that it actually is more honorable to procure it by hunting than not, although the extent to which hunting is actually a challenge and not merely R&R for the hunter is not clear to me anymore. (This 2002 Rick Reilly column illustrates what I mean.)

Perry is, naturally, not the only Republican cavorting with instruments of death. Apparently, Rick Santorum has been getting his picture taken while wearing hunting equipment and carrying a gun, but it has not assuaged the fears of the most hard-line members of firearms groups.

That article about Santorum, by the way, raises another disturbing question: are there really voters who make their decisions based on the quantity and quality of a candidate’s photo-ops? Frankly, I don’t think people are that stupid.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?