The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I'm pro-gun and proud of it. I am a member of the National Rifle Association, and receive their American Rifleman magazine every month. I thought a full-page advertisement in the latest issue -- on page 11 for those keeping score at home -- did not project a good image for gun owners.

The ad was for SureFire's "tactical flashlight" -- "If you keep a gun for self-defense, you need a tactical flashlight." I certainly had no problem with this headline or the way the ad started out:

Armed citizens face a terrible decision when they are threatened -- shoot or don't shoot. Often, you have to decide in the dark, literally, if lethal force is necessary. Is the man shuffling out of the shadows a depraved serial rapist? Or is it a plumber coming to the wrong address? Is that a butcher knife or a cell phone?

But wait. It's the dead of night in the inky blackness of an unlit parking lot. You're walking to your car when a dirt-streaked character suddenly sways into your path. He has a screwdriver in his hand ...

Your hand darts under your jacket to the familiar grip of your carry gun. Already in your other hand, ready, is your SureFire CombatLight(tm). You press the momentary tailcap, sending a dazzling beam of intense bright light into the eyes of the approaching figure.

Blinded, the man throws his hands up to cover his eyes. "Hey, turn that light out," pleads the mechanic in the oil-stained uniform that you now see bears the AAA logo. "I can't see!"

You relax. You lower your CombatLight and remove your hand from under your jacket, knowing the blinding white light has just made your decision easy -- don't shoot the mechanic.

"Don't shoot the mechanic"? Reminds me of South Park -- "Don't kick the baby!" Maybe the same point could have been made in a better way?

A similar ruthlessness was displayed in an inset photo to the left of the text I quoted. A man with scraggly hair and mustache is recoiling from an intense light on his phase. The caption: The NRA says "Identify your target." SureFire saus, "And blind him while you're at it."

Now that I think about it, maybe I don't approve of the product. Isn't blinding someone a more aggressive action than pulling out your gun and saying "Who are you, I'm armed"? Let's put it this way: suppose you are going about your business -- say as a mechanic in an unlit parking lot -- and suddenly someone shines a blinding light on you. Wouldn't this make you feel helpless and endangered? What if the person with the flashlight isn't the only one in the parking lot carrying a gun?



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