Back from California, and I'm riding the sweet, sweet El Train, which I will be very fond of for the next few weeks as I recover from all the driving I did in LA.
I had a layover in Las Vegas. 3 hours. It was plenty of time to explore my terminal, which had, In addition to slot machines with no coin slots and advertisements directed at "Canadian Gamblers," one big sign suggesting that I spend some of my free time shooting guns at a nearby shooting gallery. There was an image of a white-toothed, young, blonde woman toting a semi-automatic rifle and grinning with Second Amendment pride, along with one of those human-shaped targets and a list of guns that were available for shooting. A long list.
This whole collage struck me as patently bizarre. If I had any curiousity as to why I found it so strange, it was addressed the moment I sat down on this train and looked around. It's all about the culture.
Above my head at the moment is a banner ad - the kind that plaster every vehicle in the CTA's brigade. I've seen it before. It features pictures of little children, the theoretical victims of gun violence. Turn in a gun, it says, and you will be rewarded with a prepaid MasterCard. B.B. Guns are worth $10, and (regular, bullet) guns will get you $50. Assault weapons like the ones young women seem to enjoy shooting in Nevada? $100.
I have an opinion on guns ("they are scary"), and I'm sure Vegas has gun haters, just as the Midwest has (many) gun lovers. But that's not the point of these musings. It's just so curious what a difference a couple thousand miles makes.