In 1972, $98 was a lot of money to me, but I bought a handheld Texas Instruments calculator anyway. It was amazing, because it could add, subtract, multiply and divide so much quicker than I could. Today, a short walk through Best Buy seems like a different planet. Not just the acceleration in technology change, but the variety of technology products has increased enormously.
When I got out of the Army, civilian weapons came in a limited variety of revolvers, automatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns. I enjoyed visiting gun stores in those days, as the other shoppers were wizened old veterans and serious hunters. Any young shoppers would have been recent veterans. Recently, I had a problem with my trusty Beretta “pocket” pistol that I keep in my glove compartment, and I looked forward to visiting a gun store for its repair.
Like a gray-haired geek in Best Buy today, I felt like I had landed on a different planet. The variety of weapons has exploded. Just looking at shotguns only, in addition to different gauge choices, there are different barrel lengths and stock lengths. It used to be that short-stocked, short-barreled shotguns were used for crowd-control and residence-searches. They were only available to law enforcement, at that time. I guess that limited the Second Amendment unfairly . . . somehow? Now, a wide variety of such shotguns are available to any adult without a felony conviction. They’re not that expensive either, like a new Remington “crowd control” shotgun for only $489. They even come with magazines containing 6 rounds. If you can buy legal 6-round magazines legally, you know you can find larger illegal magazines online somewhere. The variety of revolvers, automatic pistols, and rifles have similarly exploded.
Another difference is the shoppers. With apologies for generalizing, the average age of the shoppers has decreased noticeably. Many were wearing “tough guy” T-shirts, with print such as “Muslims need to meet God, and my job is to arrange the meeting.” Some had large beer-bellies. None wore orange hunter gear. They had that swagger and bravado of the untested. Their naivete frightens me.
Just as our political process has gone off-the-rails, so has the world of responsible gun-lovers like myself. I’m no longer comfortable in gun stores! How can that be? Who are these people?