A man loves his guns because, simply, he has no other option. Despite the fact that they haven’t been around for a long time there are few things that feel more natural than holding a gun in your hand. In fact, it feels more like regaining a lost limb than grabbing a few ounces worth of lead-blazer. So in this Digital Age of omnipresent connection with all your friends and family, what would be the best way to show your pride to the world?
That’s how! Casually tweet to the world how much you love your firearm. Damn, I’d be teeming with joy too if I could dick around with a shiny new Walter P99Q, the new standard firearm for police officials in The Netherlands as of 2013. For those of you who haven’t mastered the subtleties of the Dutch language yet, the caption reads: “My new friend for the rest of my career. Don’t f… with the wijkagent.” The last word does not translate into English very well, but it basically means neighborhood officer, an official position one step above traffic warden.
Surprise, surprise, the tweet went viral real fast and the main question on everyone’s mind was: “When did that seem like a good idea?” I need a licence to drive a car, a diploma to legally practice a profession, but nothing stops me from getting within arms-reach of a keyboard and hammer away at the world my deepests of thoughts. What was the defense of this gun-toting exhibitionist? To simply claim that he was only joking and that most people would know that he was joking. SPOILER ALERT: they didn’t. Too bad that Mister Gunslinger here didn’t realize that any joke on Twitter, or anywhere else on the Internet for that matter, is played out in front of a mostly anonymous audience. Especially since re-tweeting is easy, you shouldn’t expect your hi-la-ri-ous skit to stay within your safe circle of associats. I guess this little tweet is one more arrow on the bow of all those people who claim that anyone over forty should be kept away from a computer forever. Way too many people still think that social media is like standing in your favorite bar: that the only people within hearing range are those who know you personally and can pick up subtle, non-verbal cues about when you are kidding and when you are not. It should be obvious that non-verbal cues aren’t translated into an on-line 140 character message, but then again, it isn’t obvious.
What is most awkward about this tweet is that it came around while the country is still in an uproar over the Deurne shooting. As you know, two robbers were shot and killed by the owner of a jewelry store in the otherwise cozy village of Deurne in North-Brabant. Because possesion of fire arms is illegal in The Netherlands (except in a small range of exceptions), the debate over whether or not the owners should be legally punished is still going strong.
Still, that’s a great way to reopen the debate, wijkagent André. Props to you! And please don’t come after me with your pipa.