This is the UK we’re talking about, where civilian firearms ownership is pretty much out of the question, they’re talking about grinding the tips off of kitchen knives and if you have the temerity to actually defend yourself in your own home, plan on being charged and imprisoned.
So when Man City forward Raheem Sterling exhibited a tattoo of a rifle — an assault rifle! — on the pitch recently, the pearl-clutching reaction of English society was everything you’d expect it to be.
Lucy Cope, who founded Mothers Against Guns after her son Damian was shot dead outside a club in central London in 2002, told the newspaper the tattoo was “totally unacceptable”.
“We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up with a different tattoo,” she said. “If he refuses he should be dropped from the England team. He’s supposed to be a role model but chooses to glamorise guns.”
But if British hoplophobes could manage to raise their heads from their fainting couches for a moment or two, they might find out that Sterling’s motive for the AR-styled ink is appropriately (for the UK) anti-gun.
…Sterling explained the tattoo’s significance in his Instagram post.
“When I was two my father died from being gunned down to death,” the 23-year-old said. “I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning.”
He said the tattoo had not yet been finished.
Some seem to also attribute the criticism Sterling’s getting to racism, classism, or simple envy of a highly paid athlete. For our part, we’re more than willing believe that the UK, their media and opinion leaders are more than hoplophobic enough to have brought about all the criticism. Good luck, Mr. Sterling.