Granny's got a gun

We just love a good conservative children's story, or we suppose we would, if we ever found a good one. So far, though, we keep finding a lot of moralistic twaddle, such as rhyming fables about the torments of Hell, a mutilated squirrel's rejection of the welfare state, or a child's guide to avoiding the Mark of the Beast. Sometimes the titles alone tell you all you need to know, like God Made Dad And Mom or Why Daddy Is a Republican. And now, the National Rifle Association is getting in on the fun (for a certain soul-crushing definition of "fun") with a couple of fairy tales revised to give the protagonists guns.

So far, the "NRA Family" website features two such stories, straightforwardly titled "Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun)" and "Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)," with this thought-provoking preface:

Most of us probably grew up having fairy tales read to us as we drifted off to sleep. But how many times have you thought back and realized just how, well, grim some of them are? Did any of them ever make your rest a little bit uneasy? Have you ever wondered what those same fairy tales might sound like if the hapless Red Riding Hoods, Hansels and Gretels had been taught about gun safety and how to use firearms?

OK, first off, these guys have clearly never read their Bruno Bettelheim, or they'd know that the grim stuff is essential, because it gives children a way to confront and overcome primal fears of abandonment and death. Duh, go see Into the Woods, will you? Also, the characters in the original stories are hardly hapless -- Sure, Red Riding Hood and her grandmother get gobbled up by the Big Bad Wolf, but they're rescued by a woodsman who slices the wolf open with an ax, which ought to satisfy anyone's taste for gore. The original Hansel and Gretel are badasses who don't need a boomstick: they outwit the wicked witch and push her into her own oven. But sure, let's give the characters guns, because in the NRA's fairy tales, guns make everything better.

In the revised versions, by Amelia Hamilton -- a "lifelong writer and patriot" whose patriotic doggerel about the Bill of Rights has previously graced Wonkette -- everybody is armed. Red Riding Hood carries her own rifle, and instead of foolishly telling the wolf she's going to Grandma's house, she sensibly says "I don't talk to strangers" and shows the wolf her gun, so he runs away. Somehow, he figures out she's headed to Grandma's anyway. Oh, but when he gets there, is he ever in for a surprise!

The wolf leaned in, jaws open wide, then stopped suddenly. Those big ears heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun’s safety being clicked off. Those big eyes looked down and saw that grandma had a scattergun aimed right at him. He realized that Grandmother hadn’t been backing away from him; she had been moving towards her shotgun to protect herself and her home.

“I don't think I’ll be eaten today,” said Grandma, “and you won't be eating anyone again.” Grandma kept her gun trained on the wolf, who was too scared to move. Before long, he heard a familiar voice call “Grandmother, I’m here!” Red peeked her head in the door. The wolf couldn’t believe his luck—he had come across two capable ladies in the same day, and they were related! Oh, how he hated when families learned how to protect themselves.

We would like to pause here and thank Ms. Hamilton for at least refraining from putting the NRA talking points in boldface. It's a lot more subtle that way. Incidentally, Red and Grandma don't kill the wolf -- that's left to the hunter, who we're told "took the wolf away." The implied carnage stays safely offstage.

Hamilton's Hansel and Gretel are similarly proficient gun-toters; instead of getting lost in the woods, they go out to shoot a whole bunch of game to feed their family. They find the witch's gingerbread house and use their guns to cover the sleeping witch while rescuing some stupid unarmed children she'd captured. Then they make their way home and alert the villagers, who grab their guns and accompany the sheriff to go capture the witch. Sadly, Hamilton leaves it to parents to explain to their kiddies that county sheriffs are the highest constitutional authorities in America, and while the witch was wrong to be a cannibal, she was perfectly within her rights to graze cattle on federal land without a permit.

Our biggest gripe with the Red Riding Hood story is that it's such a blatant, unfunny ripoff of James Thurber's far superior 1939 fable "The Little Girl and the Wolf," which gets straight to the point:

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)

Even so, we're taken with the idea of tossing firearms into children's stories, so we came up with some other variations for the NRA to consider:

Winnie The Pooh (Has A Gun)

One fine morning in the Hundred Acre Wood, Pooh Bear awoke deeply depressed. He had devoured every single jar of honey in his house the night before, and was crashing hard as he came down off the sugar rush. Oh, bother. Is this all there is to life? he thought. One honey binge after another? What's the point of going on? Pooh spied the Webley-Vickers 50:80 he kept on the nightstand to defend against heffalumps, then placed the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger, spattering stuffing and fluff all over the walls. Silly old bear.

Peter Pan (Has a Gun)

While Wendy and Peter were absorbed in a heated discussion of how to recapture Peter's shadow, two of the youngest Lost Boys went adventuring in the bedroom, where they found a semiautomatic pistol hidden in Peter's underwear drawer. "Looka me, I'm a pirate!" shouted the tot as he waved his find in the air. A shot rang out, and Peter and Wendy rushed to secure the gun. Both boys were fine, but then Peter noticed the bullet had gone straight through Tinkerbell, who lay on the floor, her wings flapping pitifully. While Peter pleaded with the audience to clap if they believed in fairies, Tink bled out.

"I can't believe it," said a distraught Wendy. "I told them to never, ever touch the gun!"

The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf (Has A Gun)

Once upon a time, there was a little boy whose job was to guard the sheep and raise the alarm if a wolf came near. One boring afternoon, with no threats in sight, the little boy imagined all of the terrible things that could befall him and the sheep if a wolf attacked. His fears overcame him, and he shouted, "Wolf! Wolf! Arm yourselves, there's a wolf!" The townsfolk all came running, carrying their pistols, rifles and shotguns, but there was no wolf to be seen. "Oh, but you know there are wolves out there, don't you? Doesn't it make sense to be ready to defend ourselves?" explained the little boy. The townspeople agreed, and went to buy more guns.

Not long afterwards, the little boy raised the alarm again: "Wolf! Wolf! And terrorists, and home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knockout-gamers, and rapers and haters and campus killers, airport killers, and shopping mall killers!" The townspeople all rushed to see what the matter was, and the little boy told them,

In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption everywhere you look, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns, and handguns we want!

The townspeople recognized the wisdom of the little boy's words, and rushed to buy more guns and ammunition, especially when the little boy darkly hinted that they couldn't rely on the local constables to keep them safe from all the wolves roaming the night in packs, driving Cadillac Escalades and hanging out on street corners just waiting for the chance to break down their doors and rape their women.

Finally, the little boy cried, "Obama! Obama! Wake up, sheeple! Obama's coming to take your guns away!" Gun sales hit record highs, donations to the National Anti-Wolf League poured in, and no prince or duke ever dared vote in defiance of the little boy and his angry mob. The little boy proclaimed,

I've got news for the elites who look down their noses at all of us and our rights: We gun owners are a heck of a lot smarter than you'll ever be. It's true."

"In all of history," he continued, "there's never been a group of citizens so engaged, so determined, so resolute and so unified in defending freedom, so politically savvy and individually prepared and responsible for protecting our families and our communities. Never have there been smarter, freer American citizens than America's one hundred million gun owners."

And the armed society lived happily and politely ever after, with only a trifling 30,000 gun deaths a year. A few people even shot a wolf in self-defense now and then.

[USA Today / NRA Family / Atlantic / Crooks and Liars]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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