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…Holy Smoke Bullet Urns of Stockton, Alabama, has taken quite literally Shylock’s claim in Shakespeare’s 1596 Merchant of Venice: “The pound of flesh which I demand of him is deerely bought, ‘tis mine, and I will have it.”

According to the company’s cofounder, Clem Parnell, “You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.”

And just in time for the holiday season, in 2011, the Scottsdale, Arizona gun club offered its members the service of sending out their Christmas cards with family members, including infants, posing with Santa while holding pistols and military grade automatic weapons, fa la la la la, la la la la. Joy to the world?

I would ask, though, have so many in fact given so much for the right for us to turn our bodies literally into killing devices or for the right to own a “free” assault or hunting rifle?  Do we really want “the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second?” Do residents of our nation really need so many guns, assault rifles, and others?

Certainly, politicians and commercial ventures like Bergeron’s, Jewelry by Harold, Cabela’s, Holy Smoke Bullet Urns, Nation’s Truck Sales, and gun clubs hold the constitutional right to market their devices of death, but what type of messages are they communicating?

Are we really “free” as a society when our right “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”?

— Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld in God, guns & capitalism: Let’s have a Republican Christmas

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