With ‘Gunfight,’ an Insider Takes on a Community That Was Once His Own

Even so, the industry as a whole was evolving in a way he found irresponsible. That shift crystallized for him in 2010 at an N.R.A. convention in Charlotte, N.C., where he saw a large poster advertising the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle that said, “Consider your man card reissued.” The slogan would become part of a lawsuit being waged by families of people killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which argues that the gun manufacturer had employed militaristic marketing campaigns that appealed to so-called couch commandos and troubled young men like the perpetrator of the 2012 attack.

“I remember lots of us in the industry kind of whispering to each other, looking at each other like, geez,” Busse said. “Norms were being broken, and lots of us who had been in the industry for quite a while did not quite know what to make of that.”

That trend in marketing, he said, has only intensified, pointing out that one company now markets a rifle as the “Urban Super Sniper.”

The massacre at Sandy Hook, during which 20 first graders and six adults were killed, was a decisive moment. “My kids were almost exactly the same age as those Sandy Hook kids,” Busse said. “I don’t know that there’s ever been anything that horrific.”

He added: “It was sort of like, OK, if this doesn’t spur legislation, nothing will.” (The attack did not lead to new federal regulations.)

Still, nearly eight years passed before Busse left his job as Kimber’s vice president of sales. He delayed, he said, because he thought he could make a difference from inside the industry. There were also practical concerns: He was earning $210,000 a year, he said, but he was 50 years old, had a family and could scarcely afford to leave his wages behind.

His wife, Sara Busse, kept pressing him to leave. In 2019, when they were celebrating their 20th anniversary, she sequestered him in a hotel room and said, “We’re not leaving until we have a plan.”

As Russians Steal Ukraine’s Art, They Attack Its Identity, Too

KHERSON, Ukraine — One morning in late October, Russian forces blocked off a street in downtown Kherson and surrounded a graceful old building with dozens of soldiers. Five large trucks pulled up. So did a line of military vehicles, ferrying Russian agents who filed in through several doors. It was a carefully planned, highly organized, […]

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Turning Trash Into Poetry

PARIS — Compared with the junk she’s found in other cities, “Parisian trash is sturdy,” Ser Serpas said. She speaks from experience — at 27, the itinerant artist and poet is admired in European and North American art circles for precariously poised arrangements of urban discards found near the venues where they’re shown. They become […]

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Book Review: ‘Forbidden Notebook,’ by Alba de Céspedes

By the 1950s, she was known throughout Italy. For years she wrote a popular advice column, tackling questions about marriage, infidelity and love with meditations on art and philosophy. These columns steered readers toward a modern, more secular morality, one that stressed women’s equality. Her private life was the stuff of rumors — according to […]

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