Paean to the Assault Rifle

Ave, Armaments Industry!

or, Paean to the Assault Rifle

By Carl E. Reed

Written after the July 4th, 2022 Highland Park parade mass murder (one of five mass shootings that occurred that day in the US) that killed seven people and wounded dozens. Among the dead: an elderly man in a wheelchair and a married couple who left behind a bloodied 2-year-old who was found wandering the deserted, debris-strewn street in dazed incomprehension after the massacre.  


Darts, spears, arrows, quarrels, bullets— 

long centuries a beast of killing heart 

penetrated prey via projectile. 

Behold—the refinement of his art! 


A rapid-fire instrument of war: 

wicked-looking polymers & steel. 

How comfortably it nestles in the shoulder! 

How rightly pistol grip & barrel feel! 


Blam! Blam! Ka-pow! Ker-blam!



An itchy finger twitches: thirty bullets 

explode from orange-stutter muzzle-flash; 

stunned victims scream & scramble, duck for cover

spurt-wheel, totter-tumble—join the past.


Kalashnikov, Armalite, Smith & Wesson 

Sig Sauer, Colt, Remington, et. al.  

market wares to glazed-eyed, grim psychotics— 

ensure our homicidal have a ball! 


Blam! Blam! Ka-pow! Ker-blam!



Author’s note: Remember, it’s not the gun that kills people, but . . . hold on! It is the gun. It is definitely the gun that kills people at ever-increasing numbers of American assault rifle massacre sites. (Perhaps this should be an acronym now: ARMS.) It certainly isn’t hard stares, morbid ruminations or nihilist wishes that are killing countless scores, is it? Or butcher knives, brass knuckles or shuriken. In these ever-more-unhinged, violent times we routinely sacrifice our people to Gunsmoke Moloch whose sacred text is the 1791-ratified 2nd Amendment. Amendment! Perhaps this one could be un-amended or otherwise amended again by people of conscience sickened at the ongoing incarnadine carnage? Such massacres occurring with numbing drumbeat regularity “from sea to shining sea” in 2022. I suggest repeal or revision of the 2nd Amendment since nowadays well-regulated militias bearing muskets seem to be in vanishingly short evidence amongst the increasingly desperate and alienated masculine electorate itching to get their hands on their “man card” . . .  

PS. Though I am grateful to any who read this post (yes, even those who disagree with my sentiments) I will not respond to any comments made here about this poem. Res ipsa loquitur. The debate around this issue has grown tiresome, tedious, nauseatingly feckless and exhaustingly over-tread/familiar. The pro-assault-rifles-for-everyone argument has degenerated into nothing but an exercise in cynical sophistry, “Look! Squirrel!” misdirection and sophomoric trolling by sociopathic gun zealots. (Details of the latest bone-chilling assault rifle mass murder? Yawn. Shoulder shrug. I mean, whatta ya gonna do? ‘Cause white-wigged, infallible, far-seeing forefathers; the-people-are-the militia; fetishistic impulses; legions of gun lobbyists; record profits for a problematic industry and freeeeeeedom!—or sumthin’. ‘Murica!) Meanwhile, the body count grows. (How long until the next mass murder? Or has it already occurred?)

FYI: This blog post was written by a former US marine well-acquainted with the M16 assault rifle. If you want to play with one I suggest you raise your right hand, swear allegiance to the Constitution, and vow to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic. Then shave your head and get your feet on the yellow footprints . . .              


11 thoughts on “Paean to the Assault Rifle

  1. mimispeike says:

    This is a very appropriate follow-up to the topic of last week. Here is a real-world problem for those ambitious in that direction to try to solve.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Only four comments? Are writers reluctant to weigh in on conflicts where both sides are right? Or maybe hesitant to speak out among friends? We get along well here, so I’m guessing the silence is a form of courtesy.

    It’s in the nature of this topic to piss people off no matter which side one takes. I’m on the side of the Second Amendment, but I can’t defend assault rifles in the hands of psychos. I’d be happy if the Supremes ruled against private ownership of military weapons.

    I’m happy with a pistol for self-defense (And yes. I did have to use it once.) Twenty-two-year-old Elisjsha Dicken used a pistol to stop the Greenwood Park Mall shooter last week. The psychopath was armed with a SIG Sauer M400 semiauto firing 5.56 NATO rounds ($1800.) He also had a second rifle, a handgun, and over 100 rounds of ammunition. But Elisjsha’s pistol stopped him.

    The world is controlled by men with guns, so guns are not going away anytime soon. But assault rifles are simply not necessary for personal self-defense. Shooting someone who is far enough away from you that it takes a rifle to hit them is not self-defense.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Perry Palin says:

    I’ve been a gun owner for over sixty years. In junior high school I had a teacher who said the government would be coming to take our guns, and he had a plan to bury his in his backyard. No one yet has come to take our guns.

    The best gun for personal defense is a shotgun. That works at home, but a shotgun would be unhandy to carry to the mall. I suppose a handgun is it then, if you have to carry.

    I’ve been horrified to watch people buy handguns, perhaps for personal defense, without any understanding of how to use them or take care of them. If people won’t go willingly into training, it should be required before they take a gun home.

    A modern military-type rifle should not be in the hands of the public. It’s not a good defensive weapon, and it’s a poor choice for deer hunting. It’s great for killing multiple people from a distance.

    I am saddened by the mass murders in our country. There are people who are disappointed with something in their lives, and they find someone on whom to take out their frustrations. Without the military weapons we’d have fewer innocent victims of their frustrations.

    Liked by 5 people

    • We kids all had .22 rifles. It was unremarkable for us to go hunting and plinking alone or with other kids. The only parental instruction was to be home in time for supper. But we had been taught how to handle a gun by adults who had fought and won WWII. It was a different time.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    I am not against guns. A pistol for self-defense in the home, a rifle for hunting. My father’s side of the family, raised on a farm in upper NY state, were all hunters.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well, I’ve never owned, or used, a gun. For years I did all my hunting with a camera. At the same time I’ve never much cared if someone had a gun for hunting, or, I guess, if they were really paranoid (or not, depending on where they lived) for self-defense in the home.
    Unfortunately, that amount of demand came nowhere near meeting the infrastructure built up by gun manufacturers during the Civil War. So along came (proto-?) Madison Ave. to the rescue (see three examples below):


    (Sorry, I tried to paste in the pix, but couldn’t, so here’s the links)

    Eventually, of course, such ads were unnecessary to continue spreading fear (remember a certain orange topped dumpling’s citing “American Carnage” in his inaugural address?). So now we switch to “macho!” I don’t think I need show some of the much discussed recent ads for AR-15 style guns. (“Hey, you might be an Incel, but Man, you’ve got a big gun!”)
    Of course, we need to mix in a whopping dose of pure American selfish narcissism (I want gun! It’s my right to have bazooka!) And voila! We have rabid followers of snake oil salesmen like Alex Jones, Ted Cruz, Tucker Carlson, and my own wonderfully slimy US Representative Elise Stefanik (“I back the blue!” (unless they’re capitol police)). It’s just so easy to be convinced of something when you wanna believe!
    Final point, when you read the 2nd amendment, it helps to understand that when it was written, there basically was no standing army for the United States. As a matter of fact, there was a debate as to whether there should ever be one as founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson feared that having one could lead to a dictatorship. So it wasn’t really a case of protecting yourself from an evil government. P.S. they also used muzzle-loading muskets.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ha! For years, I had the Smith & Wesson revolver pictured above on my desk. It didn’t work. But it served its dual purpose as a conversation starter and a warning to some of the less savory visitors.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. victoracquista says:

    Well stated, Carl! My understanding of the second amendment and American history at the time the Constitution was written is that America had no standing army or government-sponsored means of self defense. The right to bear arms and form militias was for the defense of the country. The rabid and crazy misinterpretation of this to justify gun ownership, and especially assault weapons, is absurd. So to is the assertion that guns don’t kill people, people do. Sure, and toasters don’t make toast–people do that. I’ll stop there. Thank for your service!

    Liked by 1 person

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