Posted by: martinworster | May 20, 2016

Fuel The Fear: Weird Gun Logic

The only way to stop a bad guy with a bad idea is by a good guy with a good idea

Living in a country where guns are so predominant it’s equally fascinating and scary to observe. What’s particularly interesting is the illogical thinking you often come across that’s used to justify and preserve their existence and use. From what I can see a prevailing gun culture promotes a society based on fear. Everyone else has a gun. In that case – I also need one myself to protect myself from everyone else who also has a gun. The fear spreads and perpetuates. A nice little side bonus is the massively profitable industry this creates. Let’s sell guns to everyone who’s scared. I’ve even felt myself – through a process fearful osmosis that seeps into your being when you’ve lived in this country for over a decade – that I might need a gun myself to protect myself and my family. I only thought that – I would never actually go out and act on that fear. So I use the higher, non-fear driven, part of the brain to reason and work out that having a gun probably won’t make me safer. Or would it? When I go hiking or mountain biking in the wilderness I will take knife through a legitimate fear of being attacked by a mountain lion – hikers and bikers have indeed been killed by them here. Not many I admit. So it’s a genuine fear that leads my to weaponize to protect myself from animals. By logical extension, should I not also own a gun to protect myself from other people?

Probably not as owning this gun frequently leads to death through misadventure, a child finding it, accidental firing, suicide or drunken disputes that turn deadly. The fear of other people having guns and then getting one yourself can quickly backfire. Overall I try to not get into gun debates with people over here as I find the different arguments are polar opposite epistemological mountain tops you end up shouting across to the opposing view. I don’t like getting into shouty, circular back and forths that don’t resolve.

America’s whole history of gun culture and how their use is protected by a the Second Amendment – hence they’re viewed as a basic right – is totally at odds with a Europeans view on guns. We feel they are not needed. That society is safer and better off without them. And statistics back this up. It’s important to add, many people I know here don’t own guns and want tougher gun laws. Not everyone here’s an angry gun nut. But the one’s who are here are very vocal and aggressive about their perceived rights. I see some of the States that have ‘open carry’ laws like Arizona and Texas and hence some gun owners like to flaunt this and proudly carry their AK47 slung over their shoulder whilst shopping in Target or at the grocery store. I find that move very aggressive, hostile and intimidating, particularly to children. What sort of message is that sending out? ‘This is what I think my right is and I will flaunt’, they think, even though externally that move promotes the threat of violence.

Whilst mentioning Arizona, it reminded me of a contractor (builder) who came to my house to do some tile work. He was a nice guy and we used to chat about this and that. He always held up Arizona as kind of utopia, mainly down to it’s lax gun laws including open carry. One day he’d got in a minor road rage incident in California where the other driver had ‘flipped him off’ ie gave him the middle finger. He told me that would have never happened in Arizona due to the higher penetration of guns. Ie the fear of getting shot would have prevented the guy from raising his fingers. I thought that was a strange notion that some form of societal order and balance was imposed through the fear of getting shot and that this was a good thing. I guess it would work. But is it a good standard through which to regulate society? Thinking about it, it does even affect how I behave as if I feel a touch of road rage coming on I think twice about confrontations, or shouting or pulling up beside someone to have a rant as I think to myself, ‘hang on, they might have a gun’. I don’t really want to be one of those pointless deaths from a road rage incident. A page 6 News In Brief in the LA Times – ‘Man Shot On 405 Off Ramp’ – a sad and meaningless way to go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: