Half-cocked and loaded


We were talking about Trump and Twitter. Swamp Rabbit noted that making threats is a dangerous habit for a president who has no self-control and isn’t on good terms with the English language. “Take a look at these here tweets,” he said.

The first tweet was from June:

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. — Donald Trump, June 21

The second was from last week:

Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed! — Donald Trump, Sept. 15

“So is he cocked and loaded or locked and loaded?” Swamp Rabbit asked. “What’s the difference? Is this porn movie talk?”

I did some research. It looks like Trump was thinking of handguns in old Western movies when he said “cocked and loaded,” which refers to pulling back the hammer of a revolver so that it will discharge a bullet faster when you press the trigger. Someone must have told him that the more contemporary term is “locked and loaded,” which can refer to locking a magazine in place on an AR-15-type assault rifle, the weapon of choice for Trump fans who try to kill as many people as possible in crowded public places.

“The problem is that Trump is talking about missiles, not rifles,” I said. “Missiles could start World War III.”

“True dat,” Swamp Rabbit replied. “On the other hand, he’s a punk at heart. He does most of his dirty work through them flunkies he hires and fires. He won’t start no shootin’ war.”

Never assume, I told him. What if another jackass like John Bolton starts pushing Trump’s buttons? And what happens when he can no longer wangle his way out of facing criminal charges, or if the polls say he can’t get re-elected?

“He might go off half-cocked,” I concluded.

Swamp Rabbit wanted to know what “half-cocked” meant. I opened the online dictionary and showed him that going off half-cocked means rushing to get something done without considering the possible consequences.

“It’s like shooting a musket after you forget to pull the hammer all the way back,” I explained. “The musket will go off in your face.”

Swamp Rabbit, obviously tired of the subject, signaled for me to shut up. He said, “I still think Trump picked up them phrases from a porn movie.”

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