I was intrigued recently when I stumbled upon a study conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington relating to gun owners across the US. It’s clear that the current studies on gun ownership, and the relationships they show regarding gun crime, depend on the political bent of the studies’ benefactors. But this one is different; it is without doubt an extensive study that takes into account all US states, but it is unconcerned with crime rates, and even with the weapons’ use as a weapon.

The results show that 68% of privately owned firearms in the USA have traces of semen and/or cervical mucus on them. It appears that the love of one’s weapon goes far beyond the myriad interpretations of the second amendment. The findings also show that on average, the semen samples are from three different people; and together with semen, faecal matter traces were also found, and again more than one source of the faeces were discovered.

Together with ejaculate and bodily excreter, that of a wide variety of food stuffs was present; it seems that gun owners are gentlemen, and before they and their pals indulge in a debauched evening of obscene sexual proclivity, they treat their weapons to a slap up meal, no expense spared. As mentioned, female gun ownership is also highly sexual; a not unsubstantial proportion of women would do with a rifle what they’d consider unthinkable with a man; and again, high quality food is a significant component. Also statistically significant is the number of same sex arsenal parties; men have sex with their guns with other men, and women with other women. Couples do indulge but with a far more lackadaisical approach; it’s a pistol in the posterior with a pizza rather than a three-course meal and a lubed-up shotgun.

Fascinated by this unheard-of but in no way minority scene, I decided to track it down. I opted for Arlington, Texas, as I hoped to be able to speak to someone involved in the study too: I thought it best not to warn them I was coming; for all the open-minded liberalism sweeping America of late, I still held the prejudicial idea that walking up to a Texan and asking him if he inserted an AR-15 semi-automatic into his anus of a Friday night would not be beneficial to my health, so those involved in the study may well be impossible to find after a phone call wishing to speak with one of them.

I flew in to Dallas/Fort Worth International and headed south to the Blue Cypress Hotel, which looks like something out of a Kubrick film, but has air-conditioning and insane staff which is all I really want from an American hotel. From American weather all I really want is heat and a stifling humidity, and from American traffic management all I really want is to turn right at a red light, so all was tickety-boo thus far.

The university was simple to access, which is all I really want from an American university, and I wandered the halls and various departments with impunity, asking on occasion the way to such-and-such a place and a brief mention of a firearm study carried out there; the answers were always one floor up, and no, that kind of research isn’t carried out here. I was just being directed to the nanotechnology department which was apparently located on the roof, when I saw a janitor, sitting on a bench in the hallway, eating a sandwich. I was here to blow apart, or at least tease open, the stereotypes of American culture, so I was disappointed in myself for assuming it would be a peanut-butter and jelly one. What drew me to the janitor was not the sandwich, but the book being read; it was a bit of a Good Will Hunting moment, and I don’t care who you are, if you see a cleaner reading ‘A Six-Gun for Socrates’ you’re gonna think things. So I sat down. I asked whether the book was good; I shan’t write what was said but needless to say it was heading for the bin. The janitor doubted there was a book out there that could sufficiently articulate the American’s relationship with the gun. I said what about a research study carried out by a well-known university not usually associated with that kind of thing…we shared a look and agreed to meet later for a drink.

The janitor’s idea was essentially to write the second part in a would-be trilogy that began with JG Ballard’s ‘Crash’; janitor’s was to be entitled ‘Bang’, and the final part ‘Wallop’, giving rise to an all encompassing treatise on humanity’s relationship to the car, the gun, and the fist respectively. Janitor first stumbled upon the idea quite by accident, at a shooting range in Wilmington, Delaware. Handed a rifle – this particular model dated from the second world war; it was retro session time – and not being the most adept handler of high-powered weaponry, bumped it against a nearby poplar causing the front sight to fall off; janitor went to the instructor to say sorry for breaking the rifle, to which the instructor imparted that it was not broken, it was merely a removable sight, he affixed it and janitor went back to business. Lying prone, considering the scientific career for a fleeting moment and where current research will leave janitor’s legacy on the planet, and wondering if it is just fame janitor’s looking for, all need be done is to stand up right now, squeeze the trigger firmly down, and perform the danse macabre to the voices of the Sturmgewehr 45 Mauser choir…but it wasn’t fame janitor was looking for, nor did janitor wish to be a mass murderer; janitor wanted to know why this particular assemblage of wood, metal and cordite made people so protective over it; like it was a poor, defenceless puppy…or a lover…and why a sight would be removable…

With the subsequent images burning a hole in janitor’s brain it became very hard to concentrate. Thus janitor knew what the next research paper would be about, but what wasn’t known was how rife the scene was, how widespread, and how much respect the community had for these objects of death and destruction; they were taking them back.

Janitor and team travelled the length and breadth of the country talking to a vast number of gun owners. The official study was to determine the amount of explosive residue on the weapons and in the surrounding environment, and if this has any affect on the physical and/or mental health of those with whom it came in to contact. They travelled with a case of chemicals to test the guns and the air, and a questionnaire to test the brains and the bodies. Not mentioned were the tests specifically designed for bodily fluids and excreter detection. Right from the start it could be seen that not all firearms were used solely for firing. The way the subjects talked about their weapons was very often in a manner reminiscent of those spoken about loved ones; family members both young and old; past loves, unrequited, a present substitute for the one who got away.

It was only really when one couple overtly mentioned that they used their guns in a sexual way that things really opened up for janitor’s study. They mentioned the nation-wide scene; the parties held at people’s houses, akin to the car keys in a bowl wife-swapping ones, just with guns in a bucket instead. Through this new avenue of information, janitor became more specific in the approach made to subsequent subjects; most were welcoming, personable, open…others were not: an abiding memory was that of a fat, sweaty Alaskan, skiddies round his ankles, thrusting a Colt Carbine 5.56 M4 Assault Rifle in janitor’s face, the muzzle of which glistened quite beautifully as the moonlight bounced off the anal secretions haloing its tip, and the parting words of said Alaskan, “what kind of a pervert are you, sneaking up on a man like that”.

Janitor and I visited a number of original study subjects around the local Arlington area, and were privy to intimate, explicit displays of gun love – arsenoeroticism; one couple who had split up since the previous visit, still met up on the odd occasion for what would be to the non-arsenoerotic couple a standard, drunken booty-call. We shadowed them until the early hours of the morning in what was a sad and depressing procession of discrete acts and styalised rituals, but which culminated in a surprising denouement of profundity: whatever was taken from these two people over the course of their lives, conversely whatever they gained; the shells with which they were left, both literal and metaphorical, would bind and be bound inextricably; the only hope being that the overt need for each other and the associated resentment would morph into an irenic acceptance of their places in each other’s lives.

The culmination of the trip was at a mansion in Beverly Hills for a sex party. It wasn’t booze fuelled, it wasn’t drug fuelled; it was gun fuelled. And due to the vast amounts of money involved there were some very expensive and massively destructive sex aids present: there were a dozen men and women; naked, rubbing, draping, positioning themselves over a Lion of Babylon T-72 tank; one of the lost, uncounted, mythical remnants of our recent military history; the participants, whilst all extremely aroused, were not at this point masturbating or otherwise engaged in sexual congress with the tank; they were putting their bodies in certain positions that either mimicked those of the secondary armaments, such as the coaxial 7.62mm PKT machine gun, or that of the environment: the sun’s mid-morning rays reflecting off the laminated armour on the rear panels; the desert sands billowing up from the perambulating tracks; the heat miraging off a recently used gun.

What was being portrayed here was a minor scene of a major re-enactment; a re-imagining of a battle fought during the gulf war; not an artist’s rendition of what actually happened, but a taking back of weaponry together with a hail to the human hands that made it, and our integral part in what is a whole – we both make these weapons and are made by them. The re-enactment in all its glory was a distant future realisation, but this interaction was now; there was no dress rehearsal with this crowd, every movement meant something, every sound had cause and effect. Looking over the crowd, and those directly involved, one could see at an instant that they were not just drawn from the local neighbourhood, i.e. rich and white. Most were, but not all; there was a mixture of races, religions, and socioeconomic status, and what bound them together, what leveled them in all their eyes was the gun. The states of dress ranged from naked to fully clothed; everyone was armed, some had them strapped across their backs, others just holding them, still more cradling them, a small group by the pool were fellating theirs. The whole party was quite dispersed, but attention was soon paid to the tank when the big doors to the triple garage slid open and the four hydragyrum medium-arc iodide lamps burst into life.

From this garage a naked woman was carried towards the tank…carried, as she was unable to walk due to the M830 High-Explosive Anti-Tank warhead that had been inserted inside her, and down to the fact that the trajectory of said anti-tank warhead would not have been true to form had it been hanging between a girl’s legs. Four muscle-bound men carried her in a shallow arc, based on the projectile having been fired from 100 feet away, towards the front plate of the tank as the mounted machine guns came ever closer to climax; the metal glistened with bodily fluids as the mouth of the missile flew towards the open legs and swollen pudenda of the imminent battle damage to be inflicted on the Lion of Babylon. As the missile’s mouth came into contact with the tank, the machine guns ejaculated; pituito-serous juice sprayed over the turret and its phallus; saliva covered the M830 and various other parts of the vehicle. Those watching were enveloped in the shock wave; shrapnel striking particular points on their bodies, denoted by drops of semen placed there by the penises of the dissipating tank; larger wounds were marked out with wet vulvas; a leg lost here, a severe facial wound there.

The whole vista was being filmed by a number of cinematographers using Arriflex 35-III models; some were embedded in the surrounding shrubbery, others up trees, and still more moving amongst the crowd; capturing the expressions of ecstasy on the countenances of those present, the transcendental marriage of hot metal and soft flesh, the somatic invasion of foreign objects. But these conjunctions of the organic and non-organic were not left to chance; ‘positioners’ also moved through the throng like vectors, placing limbs and torsos at aesthetic angles; creating shapes and spaces of what would have otherwise been fleeting beauty had it not been for the ever-present rolling cameras.

Boom operators captured the sounds of the battle: the grunts of a DShK 12.7mm spilling round after round; the pounding of said rounds into the flesh of an organic target; the cries of said organic target as blood spurts from the ensuing wounds; the splashes of said spurting blood as it hits the hard ground, nourishing it……

So who, with all moral justification, would disarm these people? The weapons aren’t just tools for the mindless destruction of life; they’re often part of the family; they have the ability to bring people together to find purpose in their lives, those who would otherwise languish; the moral turpitude of the protagonists is undoubtedly called into question: the want of more guns is not always just a gratuitous act of greed or an engagement in eristic behaviour for its own sake; it’s a desire to meld one’s body with that of its environment, to feel what it’s like to be another thing, to understand it, to empathise; to create out of two violent things, one beautiful entity. Knowing this as an outsider is one thing, but the denial of those involved is something else; resentment towards a way of life one finds comfortable and just and natural but is not viewed as such by wider society is something humans have struggled with since time immemorial. And it doesn’t appear to be abating any time soon.

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