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What we’re up against

First, there can be no compromise with people who think reasonable gun control means banning guns. Sorry, just a fact. If these people got their way, my collection would be down to zero. If you want a serious discussion, the first words out of your mouth ought not be we need to ban . . . Just saying.

Next, behold the hoplophobe in all it’s pants-shitting glory:

The combination of mental disease and access to guns leaps out at almost everyone in media coverage in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings. But from there, ideas and advocacies, widely distributed by the press, tend to become amorphous and tinged with hopelessness.

Actually, I’m mostly just afraid of the people with the mental problems. After all, they can substitute box cutters, gasoline and a Ryder truck loaded with fertilizer for a gun. Continuing:

Some years ago, the distinguished historian Richard Hofstadter told me that, after a lifetime of studying American culture, what he found most deeply troubling was our country’s inability to come to terms with the gun—which in turn strongly affected domestic and international attitudes. Emotions of extreme attachment to and even sacralization of the gun pervade American society, and commercial interests shamelessly manipulate these emotions to produce wildly self-destructive policies.

We’ve come to terms with the gun and have decided that people should have them. The only one who hasn’t come to terms with them are, uhm, you guys. But here’s the rub: It’s not people like that a gun turns into a killing machine. It’s people already predisposed to that sort of behavior. As David Kupelian notes:

“Why don’t you pick up that gun and blow your brains out?”

“You could kill a whole lot of people with that gun.”

“Why not shoot her right now? That would shut her up!”

These are the sorts of vile mental suggestions many people experience from within their own minds when they see a gun.

That’s right. Dark thoughts and impulses, too horrible to dwell upon or even acknowledge, occur to many of us at the mere sight of a firearm or a naked blade. When we see the firearm, we sense the presence of evil – so naturally we assume the gun is its source, when actually the gun’s close proximity caused our own buried, angry, violent tendencies to surface for a moment.

Thus, many people who “dislike” or “are afraid of” guns are actually afraid of what they might do if they had a loaded firearm in their hand.

Yes. I noted before about an anti-gunner:

So, he admits in a public forum to assaulting someone. See I, as a responsible person and one not prone to violence and one who carries a handgun, don’t beat people up. Nor do I get into fights. Nor do I start them. I generally avoid physical confrontation regardless of how steamed I am.

And the now famous bit on the Internet about guns and radiation:

If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation. To know that I carried an instrument of sure and certain death on my person, available and ready to be pulled out and used at a moment’s notice to possibly kill…a child. A homeless person. An innocent.

And that’s rather the problem: people who don’t trust themselves sure as Hell don’t trust you. But that makes this (via Rustmeister) rather interesting:

Persons who hold egalitarian and communitarian worldviews worry more about crime and gun accidents, an anxiety that coheres with their negative association of guns with patriarchy, racism, and selfish indifference to the well-being of others.

Persons of a hierarchical and individualistic worldviews, in contrast, tend to see guns as safe, and worry much more about the danger of being rendered defenseless against attack; this perception of risk coheres with their positive associations of guns with traditional social roles (father, protector, provider) and individualistic virtues (self-reliance, courage, physical prowess).

Gun nuts are individualists and assume responsibility for themselves? As opposed to anti-gunners, who look to others and worry about things going bump in the night? Who knew? Did we need Yale to tell us that?

9 Responses to “What we’re up against”

  1. Nomen Nescio Says:

    okay, so that Yale study basically analyzed cultural preconceptions people hold in this country. (unless i’m still asleep from terminal caffeine deficiency; i might be.)

    which means it probably says something about somebody that some of those preconceptions make no sense to me. egalitarian-minded people, like myself, properly ought to be supportive of tools that equalize the use of force between individuals, no? that’s why i like guns, or one of my reasons; am i really that damn strange?

    communitarians ought to trust and support communities of people acting together for the common good. (right? or do i not even know what american culture thinks “communitarian” means?) but firearms do not inherently make people antisocial; if anything, a community with gun owners should logically be stronger than one without, due to the force-equalizing thing i mentioned already. shouldn’t it?

    “communitarian” and “egalitarian” may be compatible, but “hierarchical” and “individualistic” worldviews seem like they shouldn’t go together inside any one person’s head. hierarchies, by their nature, must be opposed to individualism. and hierarchies are best enforced if the use of force is monopolized and controlled by whoever’s at the top of the hierarchy. widespread gun ownership might be an individualist’s ideal, but it shouldn’t be the goal of a hierarchical thinker.

    …this country, and its innumerable subcultures, is very very strange to me sometimes…

  2. Jack Says:

    They don’t fear our guns. They fear our SPIRIT. Jack.

  3. Kevin Baker Says:


    The better link to that Barry quote would be this one.

  4. CTD Says:

    their negative association of guns with… racism”

    Um, what do guns have to do with racism? Gun control, of course, is lousy with racist attitudes and history. But guns themselves?

    Maybe I’ll go find a communitarian and ask them…

  5. #9 Says:

    This content of this post is disturbing on many levels. The right to self-defense is one of the most basic human rights. The nanny state attempts to abolish self-defense should be of great concern to every person.

    This almost approaches mental illness. I hate to litmus test any candidate, but I cannot support a candidate that does not recognize the right to self-defense.

  6. #9 Says:

    Gun nuts are individualists and assume responsibility for themselves? As opposed to anti-gunners, who look to others and worry about things going bump in the night?

    I think this is the nexus of the argument. Those who choose self reliance do not want that self reliance to be infringed upon.

    Those who look to others, the state or the police, to protect them desire the self reliance group to assimilate to their belief.

    As I have written before, police cars can’t travel fast enough to be there when you really need them. If you are faced with a moment of crisis where you face certain harm, do you choose the cell phone and the police car?

    Or do you choose a more immediate form of self defense? If I can flee and make a cell phone call I will do it. I will do it just so I don’t have to defend myself.

    But put me in a corner with imminent harm, then I choose to defend myself. I choose to be prepared for that possibility.

  7. Alphecca » The Opposition Says:

    […] heartily recommend this Say Uncle post about “What we’re up […]

  8. _Jon Says:

    After reading your commentary, the word that came into my head was; “Projection”.

    These people are “projecting” their fears, behaviors, and expectations onto other people.

    According to Sigmund Freud, projection is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings onto someone else.

    Sound right?

  9. #9 Says:

    These people are “projecting” their fears, behaviors, and expectations onto other people.

    Welcome into the mind of the nannystatist. It is a form of self-loathing that does project to others.

    Good catch.

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