The Whippoorwill of Freedom Zapped Me Right Between the Eyes


Philadelphia Weekly's Steven Wells was intrigued when Philly photog Kyle Cassidy took portraits of many of the city's stereotype-busting gun owners for his book Armed America. Wells hit the streets to interview some of Cassidy's subject and came up with a fun anthology of profiles.

Patrick Rodgers is a registered but not entirely convinced Libertarian. He articulates the NRA line on gun control carefully and concisely. He argues eloquently for the right to bear arms, quoting historical precedents and skillfully linking the right to bear arms to other rights closer to liberal hearts.

Donley thinks Michael Nutter's stop-and-frisk policy will lead to racial profiling. Layton thinks Republicans aren't real conservatives, and disagrees with the NRA on a range of issues, but thinks "they're our 800-pound gorilla on Capitol Hill."

Punk rocker Chris says he's all for gun control, as long as his gun is taken last.

Bash, perhaps only half-jokingly, says Philly's murder rate would be reduced if illegal gun owners "learned to shoot straight."

"It drives me insane that we have this many murders," says Layton, "particularly this many murders where criminals are using guns. It's a real horrible thing and a horrible pain in the ass, and I hate lying in bed at night and hearing gunshots and wondering if bullets are going to come flying through my window. That sucks. But making sure my neighbor can't buy a gun isn't going to stop that."

Wells makes sure to include lots of off-kilter quotes (I could actually relate to the exchange about what to do when/if the zombies rule the Earth), but it's a good read.

NEXT: Cartoons Should Serve the People!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. For a magazine called Reason, you sure seem to not care about anyone BBRRRAAAAAINNNNSSSS

  2. That was a great article. Thanks for linking it, David.

  3. “Philadelphia Freedom.” Hard to believe that once those words were supposed to go together. Now it’s more like “Philadelphia Asshole”, or, at best, “Philadelphia Cream Cheese”.

  4. And not a single Bible-thumping, bigoted, duck-fucking white supremacist militia son of a bitch among them.


    You mean to say that not all gun-owners are toothless knuckle-dragging cretins?

    Talk about a paradigm-shifting statement.

  5. “He articulates the NRA line on gun control carefully and concisely…and disagrees with the NRA on a range of issues.”

    Anyone else have a problem reconciling those two?

  6. “”He articulates the NRA line on gun control carefully and concisely…and disagrees with the NRA on a range of issues.”

    Anyone else have a problem reconciling those two?”

    I can give you the NRA line on gun-control, and wish I could support them. However, I have issues with their diversions from their positions. For example, the NRA was/is supporting moderate gun-control legislation that would have prevented Parker vs. Washington D.C. from going to the Supreme Court, potentially suppressing that potential gun-rights victory. At the local levels their party-politics fight gun-rights (supoprting “sensible gun control” in California, or endorsing Ron Paul’s opponent for Congress).

  7. LibertyPlease Kant Type

    (see Tori Amos catalog for reference)

  8. Mediageek,

    Did you see the pics? I’m betting those people are just as undesirable to anti’s as the confederate flag wavin’ redneck.

  9. Anyone else have a problem reconciling those two?


    My best guess is that the NRA, like many political organizations makes diversions into other areas of politics. You know, like the NRA probably has a position on medical marijuana or some such nonsense.

  10. Actually, Paul, they claim not to have positions on other things. I remember reading an article in their political mag on the Gonzalez v Raich decision re: med MJ, and they explicitly said they didn’t take a position on that particular issue, but that they were concerned about the Commerce Clause being stretched in that decision. The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act had been struck down in the 90s because it didn’t fall under the Commerce Clause, according to SCOTUS.

  11. “He articulates the NRA line on gun control carefully and concisely…and disagrees with the NRA on a range of issues.”

    Anyone else have a problem reconciling those two?

    Nope. I agree with the basic philosophy of every organization I voluntarily belong to, or I wouldn’t be a member. But I don’t agree with any of them 100%. Nothing is perfect.

    There are times when I don’t even agree with myself.

  12. I work in Philly, and many of my co-workers reside there. Because of a rising murder rate, and some ugly less-serious incidents that have have happened to them, some of the least likley people I could imagine now own a gun for protection.

  13. I’m disappointed my friend Andrew Greene isn’t in the article. Maybe he’s in the book.

  14. For a town that once called itself The Cradle Of Liberty but of late has been known for an “Atlas Shrugged” welfare economy (and sports fans who would boo a cure for SIDS) the Armed America profiles are truly refreshing.

  15. Philly does defy some of the basic arguments in favor of guns. For example, it is probably the only city of the ten most populated cities where it’s easy to get a concealed carry permit (the state forces the city to issue the CCP if the applicant has a clean criminal history).

    And yet, we’re still a bunch of rude jerks. So much for an armed society being a polite society.

  16. Very nice. This sort of thing helps immeasurably, I think. There is that category of person who just feels that you’d have to be idtentifiably psychotic to own a firearm.

    If a similar case were made for recreational drug use, I wonder what it would look like? Sigh. We’ll never know.

  17. Steve,

    The NRA spent the 80s and 90s as a fully paid up member of the Right, and engaged in the sort of mutual backscratching with other conservative groups with unrelated agendas that Grover Norquist had excelled at so well. They were very much part of the anti-government, anti-liberal culture war, at least in their rhetoric.

    They’ve moved off that PR stance in recent years and, not coicidently, opinions about gun ownership in blue states and cities have softened over the same period.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.