The Second Amendment can be a dangerous thing when it comes to foreigners. I'm not talking about violence perpetrated by homicidal visitors; no, I'm talking about the mischievous excitement of a hungover Irishman with a loaded gun. Now to someone who has never picked up a pistol, and whose only experience with firearms pretty much consists of watching Tarantino films, the idea of blasting a .44 magnum at a bunch of empty beer bottles seems like the ultimate American experience.
I met my friend Alan while we were working for the same international market research firm. He was a lowly intern from Dublin, while I was a lowly interviewer. We were both at the bottom, which meant we shared the common experience of having shit running down hill directly at us. We would commiserate with fellow co-workers, usually while drinking at one of the local bars. Alan did nothing to curb the Irish stereotype of drinking. I made the mistake of trying to keep up with him, but it proved to be an impossible drunken dream.
Despite his impressive efforts to get drunk in every place in town, Alan wanted to experience everything American. He went on short trips to Boston and New York and saw most of the iconic sights, but after all of his sightseeing he seemed to want something more than tourist traps. A fellow co-worker offered a solution by volunteering her gun nut husband to take us target practicing. The invitation had escaped her lips for only a few seconds before that Irish boy's eyes bugged out and saliva dripped from his chin. The definitive American freedom was offered to him like it was nothing more than a stick of gum.
Now, when I wrote that the husband was a gun nut, I could have easily omitted the word gun. His philosophy toward firearm safety was a little lax. He kept a loaded police special .44 (with the safety off!) under his bed. Oh, and the bullets were hollow-points. And the fact that he and his wife were on the verge of a divorce made the idea of keeping a gun that close seem even more intelligent.
So, I was stuck in a backwoods gravel pit with an NRA wet dream and an overly excited Irishman. We had picked through the nut's empty bottles and chosen some nice targets: some Miller Genuine Drafts, Michelobs and numerous Bud Lights. None of which Alan ever hit. He was a terrible aim, but wasn't bothered by it. It was the loud boom of the .44 and its powerful kickback numbing his hands that he was after. It was the feeling of getting away with something without any consequences. His feet were planted on US soil and he was enjoying the Second Amendment as Charlton Heston had originally intended it.
In the end, the gun nut was proud of Alan for showing the proper maniacal attitude towards firearms. However, he wasn't as happy with me since I came up to every beer bottle saying, "Give me your wallet!" before shattering it. He didn't seem to care that I was good shot.
Alan couldn't keep the smile off his face that night at the pub. He would take out the shell casings he had collected from the dirt and show anyone who would listen. I'm pretty sure those casings made their way back to Dublin when Alan flew home after his year in the US.
I know Alan is smart enough to think that firearms are not what America is about, but I'm glad he had the chance to do something he found unique; even if it was done with a little help from some nut.