Each year 60,000 members of the gun industry gather in the Nevada desert to show off their latest and greatest in hopes of impressing media while selling stock to gun dealers across the world. The highlight of this event is, by far, industry day at the range. It’s a full day of shooting every gun imaginable from every gun company imaginable—a gun enthusiast’s paradise.
There are 26 pews in St. Anthony of Padua’s in Yulan, New York, a deserted resort town in the Catskills. The Christmas lights are still up, the Poinsettias still alive, but J.J. Hanson is dead at 36, which is why the pews are packed with firefighters, United States Marines, and young children.
Funerals for the young are always loud—the sniffling is more frequent, the weeping more consuming—but the most conspicuous noise comes from the deceased’s peers: young parents trying to control noisy toddlers. A woman cradles a four-year-old boy in blue flannel at the Church entrance.
“Come with me to the men’s room!”
I’d never had an interview subject say that to me until I met John Gizzi. It was in the D.C. office of NewsMax Media that the longtime White House correspondent invited me to the washroom so he could continue telling me a colorful anecdote. Why not, I thought. So I followed him in—the stories were just pouring out of Gizzi that day.
The nation’s capital is a better place as of Thursday morning.
That’s because D.C.’s first Wawa opened at 1111 19th Street NW to great fanfare at 8 a.m. In my capacity as the official Free Beacon Wawa correspondent, I was invited to check out the store the day before. Of the many Wawas I’ve been to in my life—from Pennsylvania to New Jersey to Delaware to Maryland to Florida—this was easily the most impressive.
There is a part of me that would like to be able to laugh about the—legally speaking probably imminent but temporally speaking still a ways off—proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.
It is, after all, to be built between the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education building and the John F. Kennedy-venerating Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, in earshot of the carousel on the National Mall that plays ice cream truck music forever. Designed by Frank Gehry with an estimated cost of some $150 million, it is supposed to include 8 enormous columns, 10 feet in diameter and 80 feet tall, standing about huge and erect, clad in limestone, like some sort of over-enthusiastic temple complex for Osiris or—as others have described them more delicately—missile silos, or smokestacks, or bad jokes about Ike’s interstate highway system.
Not long ago, on a summer afternoon, I found myself in Las Vegas with nothing much to do. My flight back home wasn’t until the next day. The $20 I was willing to throw away on gambling didn’t last as long, so I needed something to do. Luckily, over the last decade or so, Las Vegas has become the machine gun capital of the world. A Mecca of hot lead unloaded at a blistering pace. There’s at least half a dozen places where you can rent some full-auto fun. There’s no other town I’m aware of that has more than one. There’s only one place, however, located right on the strip. It’s tucked nicely into the shadow of the Stratosphere: The Strip Gun Club.
Imagine yourself several hundred feet off the ground, zipping through the air in a Eurocopter AS350 B2 A-Star helicopter, Credence Clearwater Revival blaring over your headset, wind in your face, and nothing between yourself and the Nevada desert floor but some rope and the grace of God. Now, put a fully automatic M-249 SAW in your hands.
Earlier this week a colleague and I test drove a Tesla Model X. I immediately pictured the cars from Minority Report. All you have to do is just sit and stare—the driverless machine does the rest. But this isn’t 2054. Fully autonomous vehicles (for better or for worse) are still a thing of the future. But it was nonetheless fascinating.