Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Girls and guns of a high calibre: Strobel

TORONTO - I like a gal with a gun as much as the next guy. But Wednesday’s SUNshine Girl, Ashley, was of especially high calibre.

She fairly blazed off the page in jean shorts, skimpy hunter’s red plaid top, sexy spectacles — and a honking big rifle with a Day of the Jackal scope.

Online, she’s a one-woman army, with assorted firepower, though she seems ill-clothed for patrolling colder climes.

I wasn’t sure whether to whistle or hit the dirt.

We’d never had a gun-toting SUNshine Girl before, though we’ve come close.

A different Ashley and a jewel named Jile have carried crossbows in recent years.

In 2010, hazel-eyed Louise, 23, who spends her spare time at the firing range, sported a pistol tattoo in a tender place. Louise said she looks for honesty in a man. Pity the man who lies to her.

And, in 1992, SUNshine Girl Keri-Anne told us of her bit part in Naked Gun 2 1/2, though now I’m really stretching the firearm theme.

This week’s GUNshine Girl is promoting the Sportmen’s Show, which runs through Sunday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Her weapon of choice is a Crosman air rifle of the sort used in the Olympics and for smallish game hunting.

It gives Ashley a certain feeling of, I dunno, danger, edge, mystery.

It’s a real sign of our times. This newspaper’s founders envisioned the SUNshine Girl as more girl-next-door than G.I. Jane.

Wednesday’s Ashley-get-your-gun is but the latest salvo in the advance of women. In my long-ago editor days, when I chose the Girl, bazookas meant only one thing.

On the other hand, there’s always been a fascination with armed women, even before Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane shot their way through the Wild West.

Joan of Arc and her sword cut such a dashing figure, they made her a saint. Vietnam has had women warriors galore, including former slave girl Trieu Thi Trinh, who wore golden armour and rode to battle on an elephant in the third century.

Long before that, the legendary Amazons were said to rule parts of Asia Minor.

Male enemies had mixed feelings about this all-female warrior tribe. If captured, you were likely to get sex, but the post-coital cuddle was a killer.

Sadly, the most famous official Amazon, Wonder Woman, is just a comics character and Xena: Warrior Princess was just TV, though I’m not surprised both were big hits. Like I said, an woman in arms is a woman of charms.

Unless you’re holier than thou.

Sarah Palin can’t pick up a water pistol without much mewling and self-righteous wringing of hands.

I’m no hunter, far from it, but c’mon, the woman lives in Alaska.

Many male politicians shoot, and I don’t just mean their mouths. Or, in the case of former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney, their pals.

Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter are among many presidential hunters. Former Democratic Party sweetheart John Kerry has killed just about everything that walks or crawls on God’s green earth, yet no one squawks. I guess it’s okay for a liberal male to pack a gun, but not a conservative woman?

Even Madonna ran afoul of her glib-lib friends for shooting pheasants on her 1,200-acre English estate. So she quit. Banned hunting entirely, in 2007. The Daily Mail reported this was in part because Kabbalah, her new religion, suggests the poor, feathered little dears would come back to haunt her.

Husband Guy Ritchie, also an avid hunter, was pissed. They divorced the next year.

Guns have always been a symbolic weapon in the gender wars. Each side has a popular top-10 list: Reasons men/women prefer guns over women/men. Both lists include “Guns have silencers.”

So you don’t have to be a gun nut to appreciate seeing a woman tread on traditional male territory.

“I’m all in favor of girls with guns who know their purpose,” Palin told the National Review recently.

Amen. Lock and load, Ashley.

Mike Strobel’s column runs Wednesday to Friday, and Sunday., 416-947-2265 or

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