'My Parents Open Carry' Is Causing All Types of Reactions Across the Country (and World)
What's that buzzing sound you hear? No, it's not the reverberation from firing off several rounds on your S&W 500 revolver — it's the world reacting to My Parents Open Carry, the pro-gun children's book written by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, co-founders of the pressure group Michigan Open Carry.
My Parents Open Carry, which has been available on Amazon since February, recently made headlines after being featured in the "New Rules" segment of the August 1 episode of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher mocked the book, which invites readers to join 13-year-old Brenna Strong and her parents Richard and Bea as they run typical Saturday afternoon errands while openly carrying handguns and talking about them to anyone who will listen. According to Jeffs and Nephew, they wrote the book after being unable to find any pro-gun children's books. The result is "a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense" while giving "a basic overview of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the growing practice of the open carry of a handgun."
Although gun control apparently isn't an issue at the forefront of Americans' minds, people certainly do seem to have a lot to say about the book, with reactions falling into a few basic categories:
Of course, this is where it all started with the Real Time reference. On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert upped the satirical ante by opening The Colbert Report with a segment on the book:
Snarky responses to My Parents Open Carry seem to be de rigueur: Washington Post blogger Alexandra Petri used the book as a inspiration for a Constitutional Amendment-themed series, and YA author Elizabeth Law also tweeted this idea for a sequel:
Elsewhere on Twitter, #myparentsopencarry hasn't quite caught on yet, but sarcasm regarding the book is in full bloom:
Not everyone has been able to find the humor in this book (not surprising, considering the number of children who are wounded or killed by gun violence each year). There are plenty of people who are finding My Parents Open Carry far more disturbing that funny:
Additionally, My Parents Open Carry has been denounced on parenting blogs, and is the latest item to be added to The Worst Things for Sale Tumblr. The book has some people so outraged that according to Jeffs via an interview with CNN, he has received death threats via email from critics (so maybe we should add irony to this list?).
Of course, you can only make fun of or be angered by that which is real; apparently, there were a lot of people out there who simply could not believe this was a legitimately published children's book:
Speaking of which, there was no way discussion about this book wasn't going to devolve into a schoolyard-style insult battle between the "gun nuts" and the "liberal media" (and I have to imagine that's the way Jeffs and Nephew wanted it, considering the book is overt propaganda designed to ensure American children are not "raised with a biased view of our constitution... especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment"). Unfortunately, it does not seem like My Parents Open Carry is going to be the catalyst for the rational, respectful gun-control discussion for which the U.S. is long overdue:
Despite all the negative publicity surrounding My Parents Open Carry (or perhaps because of it), the books sales have skyrocketed this week, launching it to the top of Amazon's "Children's Government Books" bestseller list. Skip Coryell, president of publisher White Feather Press took to the Internet Thursday to express his joy, and thank Maher and Colbert for their shout-outs, saying:
They tried to kill the book by making fun of it, but, what they don’t realize is this: Until they started talking about it, the book wasn’t selling ... Now, because of their big (rude) mouths, the book is number one on Amazon in its genre and nearing the top 100 list on all of Amazon."
It also appears that at least some of the people who purchased the book had positive things to say about it:
I guess there really is no such thing as bad publicity.