NRA's idea of amusement: guns, butter in Times Square


Recently, I had the pleasure of touring New York City with 150 middle-schoolers and their instruments.

Every spring, the band and orchestra kids travel to another city where they spend 30 minutes performing in front of judges, 10 hours in a nearby amusement park, two nights not sleeping in a motel and 24 hours yakking on a luxury bus.

The trip is a recruiting tool for the music program, and it is how parents get their kids to practice.

This year's destination was New York City, a decision celebrated by parent chaperones, who are not amused by amusement parks.

It was not an escape weekend with my husband or even a shopping-and-theater getaway with girlfriends, but frankly, I will take New York City on any terms.

But while I was thinking St. Patrick's Cathedral and Saks, my middle-school-girl charges were thinking Times Square and the MTV studios, where we waited for two hours hoping to catch a glimpse of Carson Daly, veejay for "Total Request Live."

An amusement park started to sound pretty good about 30 minutes into the sidewalk vigil.

Actually we spent most of the weekend in Times Square, which has banished crime and drunks and successfully Disneyfied itself to attract families and touring schoolchildren.

We visited the ESPN Zone, the World Wrestling Federation theme restaurant and a place called Mars 2112. We brunched at the All-Star Cafe and we might have made the scene at Planet Hollywood, too, if we hadn't lost that one kid. Finding him threw off the whole schedule.

No sooner did we return (exhausted) than I learned that we had mistimed our visit. If we had gone to Atlanta's Six Flags amusement park this year and scheduled New York City for next spring, we might have been able to add the NRA Sports Blast to our itinerary.

The National Rifle Association has announced plans to open a theme restaurant in Times Square that would feature wild game on the menu and an arcade full of shooting games.

A lot of New Yorkers were astonished by the brazenness of the NRA, but nothing it does shocks me. These are the same guys who announced they would be setting up shop outside George W. Bush's Oval Office.

Frankly, I think it is a brilliant entertainment concept: guns and butter. If they get Carson Daly to hand out "Total Request Live Ammo" at the door, its success will be guaranteed.

And I have a couple of other ideas I'd like to share with the NRA folks, not that they listen to anybody but themselves.

Why not offer free admission to anyone who brings a propane tank from the family grill? There could be a hands-on activity room where the kids could turn the tanks into homemade bombs just like NRA Junior Birdmen Dylan and Eric.

In addition to the arcade games, the NRA could hold a gunlock competition to see who can dismantle it quickest while mistaking a family member for an intruder.

And for the little ones, the NRA could hide handguns in the play area filled with colored plastic balls. The kids could discover them and then accidentally discharge them at each other.

The bar would be open to Mom and Dad, where liquor could ignite those simmering resentments. Handguns in the pretzel bowl would resolve any domestic disputes. The one who lives gets custody of the kids.

For the teens, post-your-own-target practice. Bring a photo of Mom, Dad, your teacher, the quarterback of the football team or your girlfriend's new boyfriend and start firing.

A gun-play grille. What a concept. What will those boys at the NRA think of next? Open season at the White House Easter egg hunt?

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