I'm sitting in a casino, across the way from where I've pitched the tent 150 feet from the idling semis. Drinking Coors and losing a couple of bucks at blackjack. Pulling thoughts together
Utah also solidifies a theme that has been flowing through the interviews and the conversations since I began the the tour - gun stories are family stories. Firearms are the connective tissue that hold the past to the present - father to daughter, mother to son - Cory building a range from scratch with family, friends, and the local Boy Scout troop, Christina and her father: the moments they shared, and the moments they missed. All the talk and debate, all the politics and division cannot mar the purity of the memories these firearms possess.
Utah also served as a prism separating the gun culture into its definable yet overlapping components. Much as light can be both particle and wave, gun culture can be viewed both singularly and amorphously, precisely and statistically - but never accurately. It was in Richfield, Utah that I met both hunters and killers (the former despising the latter, and the latter not giving a shit). In conversation, the killers are the ones who scare the crap out of my friends; they just like the idea of ending a life. There's no thought given to harvesting for food, population control, respect for an intelligence not understood, only the kill. Nobody cares for these folk...they don't even like themselves much. But they are the wavelength that stands out, that causes the most fear...perhaps even more that the urban thug with a Glock or the movie theater maniac. These are the people that legitimately possess weapons that kill, and they like that feeling - that rush. These are not criminals; they are plumbers, teachers, lawyers, and musicians...and they are, mercifully a small, very small segment of the whole. In every way that matters, they don't count.
The vast majority of those who I have met, both on this road trip and through my other travels are best represented by Eddie (La Luz, NM) who, though restricted in movement, still makes it out to the range (with help from family and friends) to enjoy the satisfaction of a well-placed shot, the camaraderie of range folk, and the memories that sustain us all...those of family, however you define them.