Half a year has passed since a shooter gunned down six teachers and 20 school children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Three months have passed since the White House released a slate of gun policy reforms it encouraged Congress to act on, and two months have passed since Congress failed to do so. Our nation is as deeply and hotly divided on gun control as ever, and yet there are still those who feel firearms aren't just a symbol of American freedom. They're sometimes a source of sick, bigoted amusement.
Last month, word spread fast that a small-scale ammunition manufacturer near Coeur d'Alene was actively marketing bullets tipped with a pork-infused paint. The idea, according to creators Brendon and Julie Hill, is to make a bullet that will not only kill a Muslim terrorist but "send him to hell." They've dubbed it Jihawg Ammo, the "peaceful and natural deterrent to radical Islam."
"We realize we've hit an emotional thread, and I'd loosely define this as a red-state/blue-state issue," Brendon Hill told ABC News in late June, adding that Jihawg Ammo was his way to "push back against political correctness."
Much has been made of the ignorance behind this cheap ploy. Several national news stories sought input from religious scholars, who all dismissed the company's notion of Islam banning someone from heaven for unintentionally coming into contact with pork. Jihawg Ammo's business model does far more than perpetuate a misunderstanding of the Quran, though. It paints a target on individuals based solely on their religious beliefs, and turns their deaths—in this life and the next—into a joke.
Frankly, that is the most un-American point of view imaginable.
Ours is a country built on tolerance, of religious differences as much as anything else. We're also a country that, as those on the right are so fond of pointing out, is based on the idea that all men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The Hills acknowledged on Jihawg Ammo's Facebook page last week that "the left hates us." No surprise there. But while this product speaks to the stark differences on either side of the gun control debate, Jihawg Ammo goes beyond politics. It's an insult to a religious group that, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, will constitute more than a fourth of the world's population by 2030. It's an insult to tolerance, to intelligence, to comedy. And, sadly, we're pretty sure it will sell.