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God bless the NRA and its efforts to keep us fully armed!

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Guns. How we love 'em.

The National Rifle Association recently called for a nationwide boycott of ConocoPhillips after the oil company joined a lawsuit to block an Oklahoma law that allows employees to leave guns in their vehicles (read: "trucks") in their employers' parking lots. ConocoPhillips contends that it has the right to forbid workers to bring guns onto company property; the NRA naturally sees this as an infringement of every truck's God-given right to be fully armed at all times.

The weaselly old company spokespeople are pretending this is a safety issue, not thinking for one minute about what it would be like to be a roughneck at the mercy of, say, a pack of ravening wolves, should one appear in the parking lot of a ConocoPhillips refinery. Hey, it could happen.

Fortunately for potential ravening victims everywhere, ubiquitous NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre (his real name) has jumped right on it, and is not only organizing a boycott--which has got to hurt, because who ever heard of a manly gun-toter driving anything that gets more than 12 miles to the gallon?--but is also threatening to put up billboards all over Houston identifying the oil company as an enemy of our precious Second Amendment rights.

Yes, just like that Brady woman whining about her brain-damaged husband--a little thing like that, and she goes wacko--and those hundreds of girlie-man police chiefs begging for an extension on the assault-weapons ban, ConocoPhillips has become a tool of a worldwide, New York-based leftist pacifist conspiracy that would like nothing better than to take away our armor-piercing bullets, leaving blameless recreational hunters defenseless against ravening herds of vengeful deer or, even worse, Mexicans.

Here in Arizona, normally a bastion of redneck rights, things are getting to be just as bad. This year, the Legislature tried valiantly to get a bill through that would have permitted people to carry guns into bars, because, honestly, where would you be more likely to need one? As NRA lobbyist Darren LaSorte (his real name) explained to the Arizona Daily Star, "These places are not immune from violence," and with guns at hand, people would have a chance to defend themselves. How could anyone possibly argue with that? You somehow find yourself in a rowdy bar full of aggressive, drunken jerks and unthinkingly hang out there for a few hours, and what do you want to bet something would happen that would call for your plugging a fellow patron at close range? Especially if you have some half-assed Frenchy name like LaSorte or LaPierre, which has apparently distorted your personality to such an extent that you're the kind of guy who works for the NRA. All you'd have to do is introduce yourself, and bam!, the next thing you know, you'd have to shoot somebody.

Unfortunately, 78 percent of the population of this poor, benighted state thought that the guns in bars thing sounded like a bad idea, and the bill was, so to speak, shot down. Still, there's no rule against guns in bar parking lots, so you can step out and settle your business right outside on the blacktop. That's America.

To many people, the NRA's single-minded drive to have more guns, bigger guns and better guns in more places seems, well, perverse. Why is it so important, these liberals mewl, to have a firearm in your pants at all times? I mean, what's with that? Is it something to do with being middle-aged and fat and badly educated and basically scared and walking around with a huge socio-economic chip on your shoulder?

No, no, no. That's just what it looks like.

The truth is that NRA members, including their various local subsets like the Minutemen and Ranch Rescue (motto: Let's go out and find something to do with our guns!) have grasped a basic truth: Guns and other forms of explosive weaponry make life better. You know, like electricity or aspirin.

Just stop and think about it. Without gunpowder and plastique and napalm and plutonium, what would life on Earth be like? Like some big Berkeley, Calif., that's what. Just imagine the sheer human suffering of a world where trauma surgeons and artificial-limb makers would be marginally employed, where coffin suppliers to the armed forces would go out of business, where florists in the inner cities would be forced to scale back, and patients waiting for young, healthy organs would come to depend completely on motorcycle accidents. A world in which we still associated Baghdad with Aladdin and high-quality carpets.

I don't know about you, but an America in which natural selection ceased to operate among the small children of gun enthusiasts isn't one I'd ever want to see. God bless the NRA.

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