Westworld is a theme park in which real humans can pay money to go live out their most depraved dreams of the Wild West, getting into John Wayne adventures with the ability to kill/fuck a population of remarkably humanlike robots. It is entirely fictional, existing in the domain of novelist Michael Crichton’s brain and a fairly popular HBO show I happen to like a lot. However, if you are incredibly wealthy—like, say, Trump donor Robert Mercer, the former hedge fund CEO who helped bring us both Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica—you can just drum up your own version of Westworld! All you need is a massive gun stockpile, gobs of money, and a truly scary dream.
Bloomberg has a pretty terrifying, definitely bonkers story about how Mercer has spent the last six years flying from his home in Long Island, New York to Lake Arthur, New Mexico, a town of 433, to do volunteer police work, live out some kind of weird Old West fantasy, and maybe also exploit a loophole in concealed carry laws? Entitled “Robert Mercer’s Secret Adventure as a New Mexico Cop,” writer Zachary Mider went to great lengths to unravel what exactly Mercer was doing there, despite no cooperation from Mercer (general tip: never trust a man who funds the press but does not speak to them):
Then I learned that in 2012 several of Mercer’s associates had set up a nonprofit in Georgia blandly named the Law Enforcement Education Organization. Among the founders were Mercer’s son-in-law George Wells and Wells’s longtime friend Peter Pukish—both of whom were also Lake Arthur volunteers. Chairing the group was former Georgia Representative Robert Barr, a Mercer lawyer and National Rifle Association board member who got pranked in the 2006 mockumentary Borat. (The movie captures his sour expression when he’s told the cheese he just ate was made from a woman’s breast milk.) Tax records suggest Mercer gave the group’s sister foundation more than $400,000, and his gun company became a sponsor (see note 1, below). The purpose: to educate local authorities across the country about the rights of off-duty police officers to carry concealed weapons. The group showed up at police conferences and handed out brochures and moon pies.
Mercer is a virulent gun enthusiast—dude co-owns a gun manufacturer and has a firing range in his basement—and so his connection to this cause checks out. But there’s more; Mider speculates that Mercer might be playing Old Timey Cop to take advantage of the off-duty cop rule and carry a concealed weapon everywhere he goes:
The law made a police badge an immeasurably valuable item in places such as Suffolk County, N.Y., where Mercer lives, and where concealed-carry permits are granted only rarely. Applicants must prove they face “extraordinary personal danger”; in 2016 the county rejected the request of a man who had helped the FBI take down an outlaw biker gang. Even if Mercer did get a local permit, it wouldn’t be valid if he traveled to New York City or to most other states. For people in Suffolk who want to carry, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act is a tantalizing way to cut through all of that—if they can find a police force that will grant them its tin.
The piece then further details the way Mercer and his family seem to view their gun business less as an enterprise, and more as some kind of cool curio they can whip out to swing their dicks around with all the freakishly weapons-obsessed death cult conservatives they very likely hang around with:
Mercer didn’t get into the gun business to get rich; the Bloomberg Billionaires Index values his wealth at almost $1 billion. But his family seems to be having fun. They’ve shown off their guns to political allies, taking them to a vault deep under the streets of Manhattan or to the warehouse near Las Vegas and pointing out some of the more remarkable weapons. Visitors, speaking on condition of anonymity, say the spaces are laid out like high-end clubhouses, with fully stocked bars. And in January, Mercer’s manufacturer rolled out a new product: a civilian version of the German submachine gun known as the MP5. It offers a 30-round magazine and an optional threaded barrel for attaching a silencer. It retails for $1,899.
Cool, cool, cool! Exactly what civilians need, a silenced German submachine gun with a 30-round magazine! But surely that’s just for play, like when we’re all out here just playing our fun Westworld games, and not for whatever crazy racist shit he’s doomsday-prepping for! Join me on this wild ride in full at Bloomberg.