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February 18, 2010

CPAC 1: Kids With Guns

CPAC NRA exhibit.jpg

Start with a sample of America’s youth (supposedly wandering aimlessly since ‘08 election), add pinch of militia movement, stir vigorously with national obsession with militarism, sprinkle in overblown Tea Party fervor and giddy CPAC fire breathing, drizzle with phallic symbolism … and you’ve got the perfect CPAC news photo. (The orange you’ve got to help me with.)

…Of course, we know how the NRA loves marketing to children.

(photo: Cliff Owen/AP. caption: Alex Gerrard of Bolling Green, Ky. , tries his shotgun shooting skills at an NRA shooting simulator during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010.)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5dab11c970c www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562699569

    Orange is Homeland Security’s alert color for “High Risk of Terrorist Attacks” ( http://www.terror-alert.com/ ).
    This photo certainly terrorizes me.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/serr8d Serr8d

    Hey, you overpopulation-center (city) slickers, guns what are orange are not ‘real GUNS! (gasp!) (lefties cower in fear!) but designed and used as safety training props. That particular ‘evil GUN! (gasp!) (lefties cower in fear!) is likely a weight-for-weight copy of a Remington 870 pump action, a favorite of bird hunters and trap shooters of all ages. My daughter was in a High School-sponsored trap shooting club that met off-campus; she used my Ithaca (made in Ohio, not New Yawk), but these long-barreled models are perfect for dove, quail, duck, goose and even with the proper shot choice, turkey hunting.
    I’m proud of that the young man in your scorned photo is performing flawlessly. Notice that his finger is correctly positioned outside the trigger guard; the only place for it unless the intent is to have the weapon discharge.
    You lefties would be better off to convince your Hollyweird stooges and PC and console games manufacturers to stop glorifying the use of firearms in simple thrice-stupid movies and games. Instead, from now on, when you watch one of your favorite dull actors or actresses play with their prop weapons, visualize a large banana in their hands instead of an evil GUN! (gasp!) (lefties cower in fear!).

  • GMan

    When I was a younger there were a number of cases where kids with toy guns got shot to death by police officers thinking they had the real thing. It is a law (I think a federal law) that all toy guns must have something about them that would indicate what the kid was holding was not real. So you get toy guns with a bright colored barrel, super deformed, or all one bright shiny color that metal can’t match like the orange above.
    “(lefties cower in fear!)” – Please, spare me from this kind of ignorant crap. I would guess you, Serr8d, have never meet a gun toting liberal. We are the few, the proud, the armed, supporters of the 2nd Amendment (and all the rest).

  • Colin

    Serr8d is right, but he misinterprets it I think: the orange screams toy. Maybe it really is “likely a weight-for-weight copy of a Remington 870 pump action,” but frankly when I saw the photo I assumed the kid was playing Big Buck Hunter or something. Either way, the impression is the same – CPAC: a slack-jawed young guy with a toy gun.

  • Colin

    Oops, formatting should’ve been more like this:
    Serr8d is right, but he misinterprets it I think: the orange screams toy. Maybe it really is “likely a weight-for-weight copy of a Remington 870 pump action,” but frankly when I saw the photo I assumed the kid was playing Big Buck Hunter or something. Either way, the impression is the same – CPAC: a slack-jawed young guy with a toy gun.

  • Paul_D

    Careful, Serr8d. You’ll herniate a disk in that red neck.

  • g

    I thought it was part of one of their “cute” games like target practice with Democrats’ faces on the target and swatting pinatas crafted to look like Nancy Pelosi – and other high-minded, patriotic activities reportedly taking place at CPAC.

  • CF2K

    CPAC: callow boys in ill-fitting suits waving toy guns around.
    Could you and your ilk be any more impotent, Serr8d?

  • I’m proud of that the young man in your scorned photo is performing flawlessly

    To Serr8d
    “I’m proud of that the young man in your scorned photo is performing flawlessly”
    Personally, I’d love to see that flawless young man actually pull the trigger on a shotgun while barely grasping the stock, which is not firmly seated in his shoulder, and apparently balancing the barrel gingerly on one finger. I’m pretty sure I could laugh for days at the resulting video!
    Boys with toy guns, indeed.

    • Adam Sean Finley

      The young man in the photo is running a demonstration the firearm and the proper prescribed method of handling that firearm. The “slack-jawed” pose the young is, probably has to do with the fact he maybe in the middle of saying something. He also has the firearm in what is known as the low ready, it is a position one would use when not about to immediately fire the firearm, but still need to have it ready to use. This position would be used if say in hunting. The young man may have some tightening up on his form a little, but that will come with time and experience.

      The “Toy Gun” is actually a training aid used by number law enforcement, military, and shooting schools and is made by ASP: http://www.galls.com/asp-red-gun-remington-870-training-shotgun If that is a toy it is a mighty pricey one. In reality it has the weight, feel, and length of the real firearm it is modeled after.
      I am sure if the young man in the photo were at a range and was about to fire his position would different. I really expect nothing less then the vile, imbecilic, putrid, and hateful comments from such a biased place. At least have some tact to at a minimum to do a google search before placing the labels, that people now a days seem so fond of placing, that are incorrect and uneducated.

  • jtfromBC

    I’m laughting from my side of the 49th
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLzo9pOXa-s&feature=related

  • bystander

    Not sure where/how this fits, but the police department where I live has available some kind of “less lethal” (or, less than lethal) long gun that has a bright orange stock. The orange color is for easy identification, as it is something they can use to disable someone without necessarily killing them. Sorry I can’t be more clear – it’s what I can recall from a heated online discussion with a retired cop regarding the police shooting a, reportedly armed, mentally unstable individual in a hotel room. IIRC, that orange gun is loaded with “rubber” bullets.

  • bystander

    True enough. Serr8d’s daughter may know something about the appropriate way to hold a shotgun, but it doesn’t seem that Serr8d does. For sure that young man in the photo isn’t anyone I’d even want to meet at a shooting range, never mind in the field. People get hurt around bozos like that.

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com mcmama

    Not cowering in fear, but definitely fighting the dry heaves. Images of children with guns nauseate me. So does the banty-rooster crowing of the right wing, waving its guns with juvenile bravado from under the bed, where it huddles in panic over those super-powered ‘turr-ur-ists.’

  • http://crooksshadow.blogspot.com/ Mike H

    Liberals shriek with rage and fear at the sight of a young conservative man with a gun! I realize that most lefties have never held a gun, let alone shot one, but in that stretch of land between Boston/NY and Los Angeles, also known as to as AMERICA, firearms are about as commonplace in our homes as copies of the New York Review of books is in yours.

  • tinwoman

    Any teenager that would willingly wear a suit like that, inclusive solid red tie, is already marred for life. Poor kid!

  • CF2K

    Alternate caption: “CPAC conservatives shoot blanks.”

  • http://bwahahahaha.com Twinky P*

    Liberals shriek with rage and fear
    That’s laughter, honey. No one’s scared of you, we’re all amused and disgusted by your idiocy and obvious need to be feared as compensation for what’s lacking in other areas. The whole silly CPAC shows of “violence,” from the punching bags to the pinatas to these silly toy guns as well as the embrace of Joe the Pilot/murderer – that’s why this picture sums up the whole wingnut pathology: kids waving toy guns around to try to scare their parents. That’s what the little ‘uns do to get attention and that’s the whole reason for this stupid conference in the first place. “Hey mommy! Lookit me!” Yawn. Go play with some lawn darts, kid.

    • Adam Sean Finley

      The tolerance you show for other views and politics is very enlightened. I guess that liberal tolerance only extend to those who believe the same as yourself. Way to go I am sure your progressive and liberal leaders will bask in the lesson you have taught here. I mean seriously the young person you have never met is ill tempered, spoiled, and should go commit suicide…Way to go!

  • Paul_D

    Shriek with rage and fear? More like point and laugh.
    Take a good look at young Alex up above. Despite the fawning review by the other Real American® about Alex’s natural prowess with a toy gun, an experienced marksman in the low-ready position would have the buttstock just a tad lower and his finger a little further away from the trigger.
    No surprise. The majority of CPAC will never rise above the level of poseur. At best, your looking at the new generation of drunken quail hunter.
    Maybe I’m splitting hairs with my critique of Alex but I’m also pointing this out to disprove the myth to some of the Morans deep thinkers here that all liberals weak and have no experience with firearms. Some of us just chose to move on to better things.

    • Adam Sean Finley

      “Alex’s natural prowess with a toy gun..”

      Already starting out with incorrect information (since we are splitting hairs here, right?) The “Toy Gun” is actually a training firearm used by a number of law enforcement, military, and shooting schools and is made by ASP. In reality it has the weight, feel, and length of the real firearm it is modeled after. In this case it is a Remington Model 870.

      “…an experienced marksman in the low-ready position would have the buttstock just a tad lower and his finger a little further away from the trigger.”

      Again you have misrepresented a few incorrect statements. The young man in the photo is indeed holding the firearm correctly. The position of the butt stock of the firearm when he moves it to the firing position will be in the pocket of his shoulder. His figure is “strait and off the trigger” that is the correct place for it, and little further away from the trigger would render the firearm any safer that in already is. The fact that his figure is strait and off the trigger indicates that he is conscious of and following one of the three cardinal safety rules:

      1. Always Keep you firearm pointed in a safe direction.

      2. Always Keep your figure off the trigger until you are ready to fire.

      3. Always keep your firearm unloaded until ready to use it.

      Secondly he may make some small errors as he is young and learning the use of the firearm, but that would be hard to judge and asinine to assume from just one photo. He is probably not a an experienced marksman, as you put it, but you know how you become an experienced marksman? You practice, handle firearms, go to the range, and other related activities. You know this how experience in a subject is reached. You know since we are splitting hairs and all.

      You have shown maybe a basic concept that may equal something towards some distant knowledge in firearms. I will tell you one thing that is for certain I would much rather take this young man to the range with me than I would ever wish to take someone with your level of expressed “knowledge”. You seem to know just enough that it might get you trouble on a range or for that matter someone else hurt! As a matter of fact do the firearms community a huge favor and move on to any thing that is, as you put it, bigger and better things, just for heaven sake stay away from anything that shoots a projectile. This also includes slingshots and pellets gun I would want you or anyone else to get hurt!

  • Blue Shark

    ….The Orange screams “Look at Me!”

  • http://ruinsofempire.blogspot.com Rafael

    I find it interesting how the right-wing commentators here revel in the imagined fear that this image (and guns in general) creates in the hearts of their ideological opponents. Says a lot about what they really think and their fetishism about guns and military power.

  • g

    I agree with Rafael’s use of the word “fetishism” here – I’ve been thinking how curious it is that of all the pastimes and lifestyle choices available in America, why a political gathering should include GUNS as an activity, an element of their games, and their symbolism. The ever-prevalent presence of guns speaks to a kind of defensive fear. It’s like while they’re busy discussing whatever common values they share, they have to brandish weapons in case they have to blast away at some oncoming threat.
    it’s very odd.
    You think about the ultimate gathering of democracy, a true town hall in the historical sense, where the brandishing of weapons would be totally out of place.
    These folks, apparently, fear something very much – that’s why they have to surround themselves with weapons to comfort them.

  • Ken

    I for one would be happy to leave the midsection of the country to you red-blooded Real Amurrikans(TM), Mike, and take at least the intellectual areas of Boston and Seattle. You metal-penis types can have the rest as you cower in fear of an invading horde that will never come, but that Rush and other prophets of the Most High Republican God say are right over that rise in the ground. You ought to read “What’s the Matter With Kansas,” a book short enough that your lips won’t get tired as you read the author’s accounts of how Republicans time and again get people to vote against their own self-interest.

  • Ken

    What’s wrong with the red tie? If anything, you should be amused by the apparently short-sleeved shirt under his suit.

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com mcmama

    Huh. I grew up Iowa, where I hunted pheasants. I didn’t really like killing them, though, so I stopped.

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com mcmama

    Yeah. Little bit of compensation going on there, I suspect.

  • Ken

    And when you watch a baby-faced kid handle his first firearm, do you have a, um, “banana” in your hand?

  • http://wkuatcpac.blogspot.com Alex Gerard

    I happen to be the ’slack jawed young boy’ in the photo. I am 22 year old firearms professional. I have served as a US Air Force M-16 instructor, Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons permit holder, NRA member, and a gunsmith in training. As a matter of fact, when this photo was taken, I was assisting the NRA booth operator in recalibrating the equipment.
    The NRA promotes safe and responsible firearms education with America’s youth.

  • http://wkuatcpac.blogspot.com Alex Gerard

    Besides, anyone caught in mid sentence while lowering their weapon would look like this. If you want to talk about media spin, then maybe you should think about the AP photographer using this photo out of a dozen shots he took.
    Drunken quail hunter? Not hardly. I’m a senior computer science major and will be starting pilot training in the USAF in July as a 2nd Lieutenant. Regarding my range safety, I am a certified Air Force range safety officer.
    While I’m at it, I don’t even consider myself a conservative in the traditional sense. I am more of a Libertarian.
    Oh, and since the comment was completely idiotic and irrelevant – It was hot in the last speech, so I had the jacket off and the sleeves rolled. BTW – Red shirt, blue tie.

  • Ken

    Alex,
    OK, you have some impressive credentials for one so young. But I looked over on your CPAC page and you say that Glenn Beck is the smartest man you’ve ever heard speak. Your admiration for such a divisive wingnut makes me wonder if I even want someone like you in the USAF. Honest to Pete, how can you admire such a creature as GB?
    Sorry about the short sleeves comment–I’ve done that myself, plus have a nice collection of clip-ons that I deliberately wear with short sleeves. Rock on, my sleeve-brother.

  • http://wkuatcpac.blogspot.com Alex Gerard

    Actually, I did not author that post. I went as part of a group from Western Kentucky University. As part of the class requirement, each student posted to that blog.
    My personal feelings towards Beck are not so kind. He makes some good points, but I do not turn to him for political commentary. Personally, I don’t like commentary in general. I will occasionally watch if he is on, but I am not a fan.
    Regarding my service: I, like all who take their oath seriously, am duty bound to obey all lawful orders. I may not personally like our commander-in-chief, but it is not my place as a serviceman to argue or question. Any views I express are my own, not the DoD. In addition, my personal politcal views stay strictly off duty. Regardless of politcal affiliation, this is the only way for our uniformed personnel to conduct themselves in a free society.
    Glad we could clear a little of this up.

  • Patriot

    Hi Alex – I’m impressed. Nice response. It always amazes me how people can decide everything from a picture on the internet, especially in this day of “unbiased” journalism.
    And, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR NATION.
    Good luck.

  • Ken

    Damn…I haven’t gotten any of it right. On the bright side, you’ve convinced me that you are not deserving of the crap that I and others have handed you on this forum. Please accept my apology, and best of luck to you.

  • tinwoman

    Ken, you are right….upon closer inspection, the shirt is red, and apparently, short sleeved…the tie is dark blue or black. Either way. the kid trying to assume the uniform of corporate ruling-class America, without getting it in the least right. He can try all he wants, try to wear the clothes and talk the language, but he will probably never achieve entry into the country club. Like conservatives generally, I would add.

  • tinwoman

    Well, Ken, we are here to analyze the pic, whatever the personal feelings of the subjects of the photos, so don’t feel bad. The statements about the picture stand as valid.
    Libertarians are nuts. I don’t care how old they are or where they’ve “served”. They are nuts, with no consistent political philosophy besides “leave me alone in the woods with my guns, so I won’t have to use them to kill you”. They are a bizarre hybrid of authoritarian and anarchist.
    Alex, you are young, you’ll grow up…..hopefully. Thanks for weighing in. And the tie? It’s deathly, hon. Get something with a little pattern on it so you look less like a Bush wannabe.
    And the NRA? How does anyone “use” an assault weapon responsibly? Will you kindly answer that question? And don’t start in with the firing range–target shooting calls for other kinds of guns, not assault rifles.

    • Taylor-b

      “Well, Ken, we are here to analyze the pic,..” And you were duped just like the liberal biased article wanted you to be. The article was about youth with guns and all you can do is criticize his dress? Petty.

  • Ken

    Wayull,
    As you can see by the previous posts, Alex is very mature and can give as good as he gets. He’s still an NRA member, very much into guns (I hate guns), so my new-found admiration for him is not 100%. My only contact with Libertarians was a long-ago friend who said something ridiculous like, “In a Libertarian world, people would only pay for the roads that they used.” That’s all I know about them, so I cannot render an opinion on your words.
    In any event, Alex makes some very good points about the photo that was chosen, and I regret my potshots. (I like the tie, Alex. Keep it. Your duds are gonna be all blue pretty soon.)
    What I have taken away from the whole exchange is that I’m not as immune to being manipulated as I like to believe. MOF, the more I think about it, the more irritated I am with myself for having fallen for it.

  • http://wkuatcpac.blogspot.com Alex Gerard

    Tinwoman,
    I’d be glad to explain my viewpoints a little more clearly.
    When I say I am a Libertarian-leaning conservative, I mean that I stand for socially moderate policies and embrace fiscal conservatism. I want a foreign policy which does not call for us being world police(Require a congressional declaration of war, no Iraq war, etc). I want a departure from our money system (which is largely based upon credit). I want a return to a backed currency. I want a return to a strict constitutional interpretation of the size and scope of the federal government. I want a return to more state control (so if there is a policy\program in my state that I don’t like or want to pay for – I can leave). I am personally pro life, but the federal government has no place to ban abortion. I am neutral on the homosexual marriage debate, but support the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.
    In regard to why the common citizen should be able to own assault weapons, I don’t think you will like my answer. We have our second amendment, but very few understand why it exists. It does not necessarily exist for hunting or sporting purposes. It is there for defense. The amendment was a safeguard so that if the government were to become absolutely tyrannical, the citizens would be able to rise up and ‘establish guards for their future security’. Check out a little Jefferson and Franklin for further clarification. If this idea is too frightening to you, consider that if the American Colonies were limited on the types of weapons they kept, we would not have won our independence (our fathers owned state-of-the-art weaponry of the day, employing in some cases nearly special operations level training).
    I am not advocating an overthrow of the government by any means. Our country is nowhere near that point. I hope it never gets to that point. To take such steps should never even be considered for ‘light or transient reasons’. Assault weapons, like any other, must be used responsibly. To use one in a crime must be dealt with by the strongest enforcement of our laws.
    I don’t like how you continue to look at any viewpoint other than your own as invalid and “nuts”. As far as me “grow[ing] up…..hopefully” I’m glad that the natural aging process does not necessarily cause one to become closed-minded and patronizing. At one point, I did view myself as a neo-conservative, supporting Bush and his policies. But upon critical reflection and personal study, I would say that I’ve “grown up” just fine. Both parties are just wrong.
    My only intent here is to try to fight the stereotype that all gun owners are not racist, homophobic, and religiously extreme rednecks. I may be from ‘flyover country’, but I am proud of who I am and where I have come from. I grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky. When we had trespassing issues, the Sheriff would take nearly 30 minutes to respond. When you live that far out, you get the mentality that you must defend yourself if need be. I have personally used a firearm to end a crime in progress (a mugger put a knife in my face and demanded money). It ended the way I wanted it to – no shots fired and the dangerous situation ended.
    You may disagree with me, but I don’t plan on winning anyone over to my side here. A mature standpoint on conflict would be to try to see the validity of the other argument. If you still disagree, then agree to disagree and part politely. All I ask is to be treated with the same respect and objectivity that I show towards others who disagree.
    Thank you and have a wonderful day.

  • http://wkuatcpac.blogspot.com Alex Gerard

    Thanks Ken. I most certainly accept your apology and best wishes. I wish the best of luck to you sir.

  • Ken

    Thanks, and I trust you won’t be embarrassed to hear me say you’ve given me hope for the future.
    As long as you’re still reading these posts: what kind of computer science work does the USAF do these days? I made some inquiries when I was in college (U of IL had a big Navy and Air Force ROTC program) and the AF recruiters were almost blase about it. Apparently, they had so many applicants that they could afford to pick and choose. That helped me decide to stay civilian.
    I started doing user interface work about 10 years ago, and participated in a sonar project in ‘04. We used Swing (my specialty) and Solaris. Now, it seems all the military wants is web-based programming, which every CS grad nowadays knows, but I don’t. I’m frankly astonished at the speed of the turn-around, given some fairly recent descriptions of code that has only been patched, not rewritten, so that it was patches upon patches. Now, however, it seems the military has moved faster than I ever expected.
    You’re going to be a pilot, but I figured you must know something about AF software development.

  • The Professor

    Alex is an upstanding young man and will make a great pilot, and your critiques of him are absolutely ridiculous. You folks see this photo and jump on it without knowing anything about the context surrounding it. Its a sad commentary on how the media manipulates things to fit its narrative as well as how easily most of you can be led to jump to the conclusion the media wants you to reach. You should be thankful that there are people out there like Alex who want to serve our country and ensure that you are able to freely voice your idiotic, uninformed opinions.

  • Ken

    Whoa, there, Professor. I’d be the first to agree that people including myself were manipulated into misjudging Mr. Gerard, and I hope there are many more like him where he’s from.
    However: I get uncomfortable when anyone says, “Be glad there are people defending your right to free speech.” Free speech took a severe beating when the Son of Poppy was in office, and the so-called LIBBURUL MEDIA let Him say anything He wanted, while they shouted down the smallest voices of dissent–and in many ways, are still doing so. Yes, many here looked at the photo and got exactly the wrong impression, but that could have been more than anything else because they (like me) simply hate guns and the NRA. Have you forgotten Our Golden Warrior Prince, strutting about in His flight suit? Or the action figures based on it? I haven’t. So before you fulminate about the manipulative media (which they indeed are. No arguments about that from me), kindly remember that the Republicans will be in power again some day and they will use every media trick at their disposal to show themselves as heroic patriots…while they send kids off to die or worse in some misbegotten war or other.

  • tinwoman

    Meh. This blog is about discussing the media’s use of photos/imagery. That’s what we are doing, no? Of course a simple photograph denies the complexity of the subject, and can be used to manipulate people. Duh.
    For example, you can take two photgraphs of me within five minutes of each other, and in one I’ll look gorgeous and in the other I’ll look like a sow. Neither image is “the truth” (much as I would like the former to be :) . That’s one of the reasons for this blog. So, while it’s nice that the subject of the photo has weighed in, he’s mostly very defensive–he doesn’t seem to realize we are commenting on the picture, not on him personally, an oversight which I’m going to attribute to his age. I don’t think apologies are necessarily in order.
    But for a personal response to the subject’s own words–his view of “patriotic” armed insurrection is a child’s one, unfortunately shared by many adults who have never lived in a politically unstable place with armed extremists running around. I have. I support European style gun control, including a complete ban on all combat weapons in private hands, because I would like to see the States avoid the fate of Pakistan (where I’ve been).
    I’ve also had a brother who was very involved in the Michigan Militia, and Norm Olson, who was the pastor of our church, had a huge cache of weapons and explosives stored less than ten miles from our farm. Olson was insane and often claimed that demons talked to him. He also had a goal of getting a military style weapon into the hands of every conservatively-minded Michigan citizen for the eventual “necessary” armed action against the government.
    Alex, don’t you dare call me patronizing until you have lived through some of the things I have. Your view of gun control is immature and based on Rambo control fantasies (whether you like to admit it or not), and I hope you will grow out of it. The kinds of people who are fascinated with guns are exactly the sort of people who cannot “responsibly” own them. And I say this from very, very extensive experience.

  • Alex Gerard

    Sigh. You just can’t stand someone who disagrees with you.
    In my above post, I referenced the founding fathers’ understanding of natural rights. They were certainly not children.
    I also mentioned that criminals should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This includes not allowing mentally unstable persons from possessing weapons of any kind.
    And I’ve never even seen Rambo. I don’t care for crap like that. Nothing annoys me more while I’m working at the gun shop than people coming in and mentioning movies and glorifying the weapons by talking about how awesome it is because of what it can do to the human body. Glorifying guns sickens me. They are tools, nothing more. I have a ratchet set I am quite fond of, but I’m not going to go around unbolting anything in my path.
    I have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Militias which advocate an overthrow of the government are domestic enemies. In reference to your personal connection with militia, those people had a very wrong and very dangerous point of view.
    Yes, I have been defensive, but I have been civil.
    Again, have a nice day.

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