America: Land of Weaponry. A commentary in four parts.


The Florida Gun and Knife show, scheduled to take place March 17th and 18th inside the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, has been canceled. The city’s mayor, courteously and professionally requested the cancellation—that according to Morgan Waters, the manager of the event. In other words, someone with some common sense was forced to prostrate himself before some profiteers who hoped to make a buck or two while putting more guns in people’s hands—about twenty-five miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

We can all applaud the decision to cancel, but I wish something that obvious hadn’t required courtesy and professionalism.


Around 15,000 people attended the Florida Gun Show in Tampa, Florida, on the last weekend in February. The show manager, George Fernandez, said he had never seen such numbers. On that same weekend forty other gun shows took place nationwide.

Wall to wall “enthusiasts” crowd the aisles at the Tampa Gun Show (Photo: Zack Wittman for The New York Times)

“People are afraid that future legislation will impact their gun ownership rights,” Fernandez said, adding that background checks would not have stopped the massacre. According to Fernandez, this was “a mental health issue. [Nikolas Cruz] should have been identified from the beginning by law enforcement.”

Come on, folks, who doesn’t love the NRA?


In Glens Falls, New York, a gun show that was scheduled in the same building where high school basketball is played has been canceled. The decision was made by the arena staff, and I honestly don’t know if it was made as a result of a courteous and professional request or if someone who is not insane convinced someone who is.

The organizers of the gun show were not happy, having spent a lot of money advertising only to have their plans quashed by a tragedy. (I wish I were making up that sentiment, but I’m not.)

Even the arena officials, who did the right thing, referred to the cancellation as bad timing and plan to reschedule the event for May—of this year—three months after Parkland—by which time we all will have forgotten.


This morning’s Courant carried an ad for the Firearms & Knife Show and Sale at the Eastern States Exposition. Ammo–handguns–rifles–shotguns—there’s something for everybody. Background checks while you wait, so there is that. And yes, if you’re a parent on a tight budget looking for family fun, kids under twelve get in free.

Today marks three weeks since Nikolas Cruz unloaded his AR-15 on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The major news stories since then have comprised Russian collusion, the imposing of tariffs, Stormy Daniels’s lawsuit, something called a Sam Nunberg, financial inducements for teachers willing to carry guns, and other Trump-related screw-ups, fiascos, and debacles.

The student march planned for later this month lies ahead, and the students’ passion and resolve probably remain. But for the rest of us, swamped with the day-to-day craziness and trying to keep up with an increasingly chaotic and uncertain future…well, the NRA is right. Distract, obfuscate, and be patient: it will all go away.


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Chuck Radda

I'm a former high school English teacher, currently a literacy volunteer and novelist. I invite your responses right here or to You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter—where I tweet annually at @chuckrad45.

2 thoughts on “America: Land of Weaponry. A commentary in four parts.”

  1. I cannot fathom the thought processes (if any) of those who would flock to a gun show without pause in light of the most recent and many previous killing sprees. They should be flocking to TURN IN their guns and assault weapons.

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