Reliable Source

Reliable Source: Guns Don’t Kill People, Violent Videogames Do

Marion Cox | 1 May 2010 10:00
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You'll probably notice that Reliable Source was on hiatus last week. That's because my apartment was broken into by some hoodlum. I am a bit surprised actually, not because I was robbed, but that it didn't happen sooner. This isn't exactly a nice neighborhood. Last month, some crackhead stabbed my neighbor for a bag of Funyuns in front of the apartment building. It's nuts the lengths that people will go to satisfy a case of the Munchies, isn't it? My neighbor would have a pretty funny story to tell, if he had survived the Funyun-jacking, that is. Poor guy.

Anyway, I was robbed and they got away with a laptop I bought in 2002, a broken bass guitar, my Xbox 360 and some games. Nothing that was stolen was all that valuable. They left my desktop computer, probably because it weighs like 40 lbs, which I was thankful for, because, honestly, I don't know what I would have done without my Japanese porn collection. Perhaps if I was denied my daily leisure time with hirsute Asian beauties, I would have acted a little like my Dad.

"Goddamned junkies stealing my picture box!" he shouted. He rarely swore, and I hadn't seen him this angry since he found me mixing in my Transformers with his Civil War dioramas. I still don't understand why he was mad that I was acting out Starscreams's Charge on the Autobot Union defenses in Gettysburg.

Dad was unhappy about the loss of the Xbox because he'd really gotten into Left 4 Dead 2 and was eagerly awaiting The Passing DLC. The Xbox had all been part of my plan to keep him occupied and out of trouble. And now that it was gone, well, he was already getting in trouble.

"You know, this wouldn't have happened if we had ourselves an AK-47," Marion Sr. opined. I wasn't keen at first, but Dad kept talking about "beefing up our defenses." Despite my misgivings, I began to entertain the thought because, after the break-in, I felt powerless to protect my stuff.

I've never owned a gun, but I love first person shooters and can probably identify most weapons at some distance and tell you which countries made them. It just never occurred to me that I'd ever need to actually shoot someone, or something, for real.

But after talking with Dad for a while, he convinced me to go down to the gun store and talk to a professional. I would have made him do it himself, but I remembered that he was arrested for armed robbery in '98 when he accidentally robbed a liquor store. Dad said he didn't mean to beat the clerk and take his money, but had become convinced that the 24 year old law student had used the evil eye on him. The conviction unfortunately left him ineligible to own a firearm in the state of Illinois.

The next day, armed with my father's confidence in firepower, I went to a gun shop, and talked to a pleasant fellow named Mark. He was not at all what I expected, but considering that I imagined some guy named Cleetus playing a banjo behind the counter, I guess I had set my expectations a little low.

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