One Stop Shop Rifle

Counter protestors clash
With AR-15 holding,
Kevlar vest wearing,
Digicam helmeted,
2nd Amendment 
Open carry activists. 
 
Green t-shirts
With bold white slogans
Pulled over polos 
Carrying picket signs
And beige plastic tube blunderbusses. 
 
They maintain trigger control and keep their
PVC muzzles pointed
At the ground
In mocking mimic
Of the Mass shooter,
Militia,
Violent conspiracy theorist supporting,
Hysterically screaming, 
Morbidly unhealthy, 
Skinny crazy eyed, 
Gun rights rallyers. 
 
On a test range
A man in 5.11 tactical khakis
Holds a foot and a half long 
3.5in diameter beige tube. 
At the back is a pistol grip 
With a microphone 
And speaker
And a trigger. 
 
He pulls the trigger. 
 
The self-defense pipe
Erupts 
Throwing a wide wave of 
Pink,
Sticky,
Elmer’s Glue thick
Pepper gel
Slapping into the 
Paper silhouette target 
At 450 fps. 
 
GPS trackers
Embedded with the gel 
Like the wad
In a shotgun shell
Ripped through the paper,
Stuck to the sand 
Behind. 
 
The phone in the handle
Calls 911 when the trigger is pulled. 
An operator,
Warned ahead of time
About their test 
Jokes that
“The suspect
Doesn’t appear to be moving much. 
Hiding at the scene of the crime,
A new technique maybe?”
 
After the shot
Pink-white cloud 
Lingers over the area
Like the smoke from a musket volley. 
 
A trailer house living room
The front door open
The flimsy screen door 
Stuck open, 
Bent from being slammed 
Into the wooden banister.  
A cloud of pink-white haze lingers over 
An empty,
Quiet,
Room. 
Airborne gel settling onto a couch 
And particle board end table. 
Wave of gel covering a huge swath 
Of the wall above the couch, 
With a silhouette vaguely showing. 
 
The 911 operator is silent, 
But still recording. 
 
22 minutes later
Police pull over a truck
Driven by a man 
Covered in paste
Exuding a silent GPS signal.
In the bed
A cold, 
Small,
Body 
Hastily wrapped in a sheet, 
The sheet secured 
Against the highway winds
With hooked bungee cords. 
 
A father hands his daughter
A flare gun sized version,
The most popular version.
Not restricted on college campuses
“And because they won’t pass those…” 
He trails off about 
On campus concealed carry 
Or something, 
As she reads the instruction manual
That he has not. 
 
A voice in an alley way
Apologizes to the operator.
Thinks it was a mistake.
Not sure what he looked like,
Not sure what he was going to do. 
The police who find him
And the gun he tossed as he started to run,
And the blood under his fingernails,
Are pretty sure what
He intended to do. 
And if you trust them,
Then good to have pulled the trigger. 
 
A survivor 
Watches the protest on tv. 
Wandering when it will turn into 
A scene from The Patriot 
Blood and smoke and running 
And killing over politics. 
 
An aisle at a sporting goods store. 
Reset key, like a hex key, 
To reconnect the phone to the trigger. 
Replacement CO2 canisters, 
Replacement tubes 
With varying features, 
Better GPS, 
More intense burning, 
Wider spray. 
 
Hesitant to kill.
And hesitant to explain,
To the inevitably descending police 
Why they pulled the trigger. 
Neither side turns it into 
A battlefield. 
A stalemate for now, 
A show for the cameras. 

*This is a piece I have been working on for a long time. Years I guess. I remember seeing a picture where someone laid out all the devices from the 80s or 90s that are now inside your smartphone. I thought it would be interesting to ask if you could do the same with a self defense device. 

I also am a little tired of thinking of self defense devices in terms of little pepper sprays, tasers, and then making the huge leap to an actual firearm. What if we could find some middle ground. Where the immense power that you’re bringing to the fight is not that you will kill that person, but rather that you will sick the teeth of the justice system on them. Colored, hard to get off wave of sprayed material, immediate call to 911 so the recording of the attack can begin, a GPS location of the attack recorded, throw GPS trackers onto the target when they flee. Really bring new meaning to the “caught red handed,” turn of phrase. 

I also love the image of this as a type of anti-weapon for counter-protestors to wield against pro-gun groups. It’s something that says, “-I am uncomfortable with what you are doing. – I will not stoop to your level to show it. – I am not defenseless. – And I am willing to take responsibility for my actions.” I like the idea of these protestors having something clearly contradictory in their hands that goes beyond a picket sign. 

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