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Lock N Load is like a porno movie starring seven elderly people that you know in passing. Like, they’re in your grandma’s quilting club, and you find out that they have shot a tasteful classy adult film. Would you watch? Maybe not. But I sure would. Oh, the DVD would probably sit on my table for a few weeks while I worked up the nerve to put it in the player. It might even get put away with the others, and I might forget about it for a while. But the time would come where curiosity got the best of me and I peeked in on the really gross private lives of the old people on the periphery of my social circle.
And so it is with Lock N Load. I don’t want to watch it. Or, rather, I don’t want to want to watch it. Follow? I want to set this TV series aside, pretend it doesn’t exist, and go on with my life faking ignorance. Maybe it’s the Canadian in me, but the idea of watching Americans rave about their guns, and buy their fourteenth assault rifle to go along with their existing cache of AK-47s, and talk about “what I’d do if some punk walked into my house” kind of makes my skin crawl.
But then, like the quilting porn, I do eventually put on the DVD. And I watch. And I find that once begun, it’s very difficult to turn off this TV series. For all those reasons I just mentioned. While it’s genuinely disturbing to see granny come into a gun store to purchase a magnum to hide in her Depends just in case some “punk” busts into her pad, it’s also fascinating to watch that purchasing process.
Josh T. Ryan is the proprietor of the shop, the “star” of the series who sells guns to everyone. He certainly knows his stuff – he can discuss, intelligently, all the proper attachments an old man can add to his AK-47, the Leopold Scopes and so forth, so that he can pimp his assault rifle like Xzibit would pimp someone’s ride. You want spinning chrome rims on that bad boy?
A true salesman, Ryan knows that he has to talk to each customer in their own language. So when the frightened neighbourhood lady comes in, concerned about the growing crime rate in her community, he makes sure she understands that a shotgun is the best weapon to scare off the neighbourhood hoods. He makes sure that she feels like a gangster when holding that shotgun, maybe even MORE badass than the thugs she plans to shoot with it.
And when the thugs themselves come in, sideways hats and baggy pants and all, he “relates” to them by talking in swear words, calling them “bro”, inquiring about their tats and saying irritating things like “straight-up gangsta, homey”. He bonds with customers by going shooting with them – the old ladies, the AK-toting elderly men, the seven-year-old kids with their rifles. He always seems to lose the shooting competitions though. Even the one held at the – seriously – “Family Shooting Center”.
Lock N Load really is compulsively watchable. It passes no judgement, but rather allows me to make up my own mind about the people who buy guns and use guns. I have made up my mind. They’re scary and nuts. Very often, someone will go on and on about their second amendment rights, and that they have a right to bear arms, and that they take that right very, very seriously. No one ever explains, however, how the “right” to bear arms translates to the “obligation” to bear arms.
Here in Canada, I have the “right” to health care. Universal health care, dont’cha know. Imagine that I injured myself, once a week, on purpose. Just to make sure I made full use of the free health care I receive. Sew my finger back on, I have the right. That’s basically the argument they’re making here, without really going beyond the basic Second Amendment! I have the right to my gun! I take that very seriously! I’ll shoot anyone who breaks into my house and wants to steal my silverware!
And so it goes. Episode after episode of old people and little kids and mild-mannered college students and gangbangers and everyone in between coming in to get their perfectly legal (they say that a lot) firearms. Excercising their second amendment rights (they say that a lot too) because if those rights aren’t excercised they could become atrophied. And shooting with the gun guy and striking the proper stance and posing like they’re in a gangster movie.
It’s creepy, at least to me it is, but addictive. Like I imagine quilt-porn would be. Lock N Load (I think it’s just the first season) is a Showtime show coming to DVD October 5th from Paramount Home Entertainment.