WASHINGTON, D.C.--A gun rights activist who thinks anyone who favors gun control of any type is a "socialist elitist who hates America" accidentally shot off his nose yesterday while at a rally here celebrating the second part of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"Nobe ub dis chages my biew dat weal Americans strap guns around der legs," says John ("J.D.") Ray, the activist, from his room at George Washington University Hospital in Washington.
Doctors treating the activist say they are attempting to reconstruct his nose using tissue from other parts of his body because the accidental point-blank shot left nothing of Ray's original nose to work with.
"We think he'll be on his feet again in a few weeks, but it'll hurt like the dickens when he sneezes for at least four months," says Albert Preston, M.D., an otolaryngologist who is leading the nose-reconstruction team. "Plus, he can expect to freak out any woman he approaches for a date. He won't be looking good for a while."
Ray, 49, is an unemployed welder from Rider, Texas, who refused to relocate to a more economically vibrant part of the country after the metal works company he worked for shut down one year ago. He has had similar mishaps in the past, say other gun rights activists who are acquainted with him.
"Yeah, he took out his big toe about 10 years ago when he was holstering one of his pistols and the hammer got stuck against one of those metal doohickeys on the leather strap," says Bill Granger, a heavy machinery operator from Tyler, Texas, who has attended previous rallies with Ray. "I think I also remember him saying he almost took out a kid's eye with a bee-bee gun when he was about 10. I think that's when he first started getting into guns."
Postings from Ray on various Internet websites portray a committed gun rights activist who is sure the country is going to "hell in a hand-basket" because of "foreigners who come to America to enjoy its liberty and pursue the promise of opportunity."
Based on his writings, he's especially distrustful of foreigners "who come here to start businesses that employ native-born Americans and pay them decent wages and make a good-faith effort to provide reasonable benefits."
Ray has said in various writings that "people who want to come here to create jobs and enjoy the fruits of liberty should just go back to their third-world country and gather acorns."
He's also said he'd like to "show such people the barrel of my gun, which is my God-given right to possess."
Ray was in Washington with about 250 other gun-rights activists who were staging a rally on the Mall to celebrate the second part of the Second Amendment. That part of the amendment reads, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Left unmentioned at the rally was the first part of the amendment, which reads, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state."
When asked about this, a gun rights activist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, said there's a misperception among "elitist socialists" that gun ownership is somehow tied to a duty to be part of a well-regulated militia, but that's a perversion of the amendment, which is intended to confer a God-given right to gun ownership for anyone who is white, anglo-saxon, and protestant. The amendment also clearly means that white, anglo-saxon, protestant men are entitled to form unregulated militias in rural compounds to attack democratically elected governments when those governments do things that are against God, like extending unemployment assistance during economic downturns.
"The Founding Fathers of the United States made it clear that we are a country in which people of Western European ancestry are entitled to take a libidinous interest in firearms, while other people are not," says Hank Brewster, a gun-rights activist from Hester, Pa. "Elitist socialist types try to say that gun rights have something to do with people being prepared to defend our country against tyranny through a well-regulated militia, but that's just something people who favor abortions and homosexual marriage say. The Constitution clearly says white guys are entitled to strap firearms to their thighs to compensate for their feelings of inadequacy."
Ray, the wounded activist, says his mishap yesterday does not diminish any of his zeal for gun-rights activism. "Wheb I strap my gun on my thigh, people know dey better not mess wib me," says Ray. "Anyone who wans to mess wid John Ray better know I'll shoot my ear off if dey try."