Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Anybody Got a Spare .81 mm Mortar for the GOP Convention?

Posted at 2:22 pm, May 4th, 2012
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

If you were worried that you wouldn’t be allowed firearms at the Republican national convention this year in Tampa, relax. Florida Gov. Rick Scott stepped in to assure that there would be no firearms-free zone on his watch in Florida. Tampa’s mayor had written to Scott to request an executive order that would temporarily waive a state law that barred the mayor from prohibiting people with concealed weapons permits from carrying arms in the vicinity of the convention in downtown Tampa. Scott vetoed the request because it would infringe “sacred constitutional traditions.” Never mind that the “tradition” dates only since June 28, 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s concealed weapons ordinance.

“Concealed” weapons aren’t all that scary. By their nature, they are hidden, so what’s to be worried about? You may deduce that the bulge in your neighbor’s pocket is a revolver, but you can’t know for sure unless he removes it and starts shooting.

No, the really scary weapons are unconcealed, like the bulky .81 mm mortar I carried in the Pacific during World War 2. With that in mind, I recently contacted an old foxhole buddy, Cal Claus, of Arlington Heights, Ill., to sound him out on his willingness to give the GOP convention a taste of a really deadly weapon by joining me in assembling a disarmed (no firing pin) mortar in the parking lot of the convention site. As I expected, Cal was enthusiastic. All that remains is to locate a mortar, which we are working on.

The point of the exercise would be to spoof the absolute nuttiness of the country’s devotion to weapons of individual destruction. If we can assemble a mortar in the backyard of the GOP convention, it would be a telling demonstration of the utility of the weapon. Once people realize how simple mortars are to assemble and how wonderfully they loft rounds over obstacles, there presumably will be a groundswell of support for one in every household. And when that happens, Americans just might come to their senses.

So if you plan to attend the Tampa convention and come across a couple of old guys lugging parts for a mortar, don’t call the cops. Instead, lend them a hand. The big drawback of the mortar as an everyday weapon is that it’s terribly heavy. As Cal and I learned, assembling a mortar isn’t for everyone.

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