Monday, January 11, 2016

The Unavoidable Gun Cliché

From a gun made of words, to words full of guns!
Image from

It struck me, when reading comments regarding President Obama's executive orders on guns, first that we have a hair-trigger overreaction as a culture, whenever even a whisper of "gun control" is uttered. And, more superficially, that we have an inordinate number of gun-related clichés. To the point where it's almost impossible to read a comments section or editorial on the issue without recognizing unintentional double-entendres.

Off the top of my head I can think of:

Give it a shot
On target
Jumped the gun
With a bullet
Lock and load
Lock, stock and barrel
Bite the bullet
Pistol whipped
Missed its mark
Gun shy
Calling the shots
Get the lead out
Shooting blanks
Itchy trigger finger
Going great guns
Zero in
Going postal
Drop the hammer
The whole shooting match
Broad side of a barn
Under the gun
Quick draw
Loaded for bear
Riding shotgun
Set your sights on
Dodged a bullet
Trigger happy
Went off half-cocked
A shot in the dark
Pulled the trigger
Under the gun

I'm quite sure this is a very partial list. Because you find endless variations. Especially when writing colloquially, as most tend to do on blogs or comment sections. It may be as difficult to avoid as Biblical quotes and allusions are for an atheist! It really says something that we're so steeped in gun culture that we don't even notice that the language is shot clean through with them!

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