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Response to The Doctor. (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 08:56 PM

26. the problem isn't guns, it's gun owners....

I'm talking about a special class of gun owner, for the most part. Not hunters who keep their weapons in locked gun safes with trigger locks and ammunition stored separately. Rather, I'm talking about people who carry non-sporting weapons for "self defense" and the like.

They are the first to protest any infringement of their right to own and use deadly weapons, yet EVERY SINGLE GUN CRIME has a gun owner at it's heart and-- at least at that moment-- the kind of gun owner I'm talking about. Somehow we have no problem distinguishing the problems inherent in allowing the nuclear industry to regulate itself, or of permitting the police department to investigate itself, yet we listen to the desires and "needs" of gun owners and wannabe gun owners when we need to debate whether to regulate gun ownership, despite their having a clear conflict of interest AND being the source of every single gun related crime and needless gun related death.

And you know what motivates most of them?

Fear.

Plain, old, loose bowel cowardice. They're afraid of pain, they're afraid of confrontation, they're afraid of embarrassment, and they're afraid, in many cases, of people whom they perceive as different, or threatening, or weird.

Go to the DU gungeon and try to have a rational discussion about gun regulation. You will be shocked, if you've never done it before. The most vocal defenders of gun ownership cite the need for self defense over and over, yet most readily admit to never having actually needed to defend themselves with deadly force. Yet they still fear the possibility of "attack," or "home invasion" so much that they feel the need to protect themselves from it constantly. Confident people don't go around worrying about the need for protection all the time-- their lack of irrational fear is sufficient. Only cowards worry about protecting themselves from a world they perceive as inherently violent and challenging.

Yes, sometimes the world is dangerous, but rational people accept the risks of daily life and work to mitigate them rather than living in fear and anticipation of them. Yes, that means bad things sometime happen to good people. In other contexts, we call that "normal life."

I have had conversations with gun owners in which I've tried to determine where the line is that separates the need for killing from other forms of self defense, and gun owners are nearly ALWAYS more inclined to move that line toward violence than away from it. Would you shoot someone for trying to shoot you? OK. Has that ever happened? Would you shoot someone who is threatening you with a knife? Does it make any difference knowing that you might get cut, but if you resist-- or run away, or simply stay out of range-- it's much less likely that you'll be killed or even seriously harmed? OK. Would you shoot someone who hit you? With a club? With their hand? Would you shoot someone who threatened to hit you? Would you shoot someone who argued with you if you didn't know them, but they're big and scary? Would you shoot somebody who plopped down drunkenly on the subway seat next to you and began loudly demanding that you let them have your lunch money? Would you shoot someone you see walking home at night through your neighborhood who doesn't look like he belongs there? What if they were cutting through your back yard? In the dark?

Most people have no trouble understanding that most of those scenarios will likely result in non-fatal outcomes UNLESS someone brings a gun to the party. Gun owners routinely defend their right to shoot people simply because they perceive them as threatening, or because otherwise they might sustain a black eye or a bruised ego.

Sometimes gun owners fear property loss even more than the likelihood of personal defense. Even liberal democratic gun owners-- presumably that's the only kind DU attracts-- often cite the importance of defending their property from "attack" or theft. I think the willingness to kill or maim someone to avoid the personal disappointment of property loss or damage says a lot about a person, little of it good. Those of us who have been the victims of property theft or vandalism can attest that it's unpleasant, it hurts one's pride more than anything ("How DARE they just come into my house and take what they want?!"), and I'll bet that just about every one of us has indulged in revenge fantasies. Gun owners PREPARE for revenge fantasies.

I sincerely believe that most folks who buy guns for "self defense" are the last people who should ever own weapons. There are nearly always better ways to protect one's self, and any way that starts by lowering the probability of killing someone is inherently a better way.

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
The Doctor. Mar 2012 OP
sadbear Mar 2012 #1
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #2
sadbear Mar 2012 #3
baldguy Mar 2012 #5
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #10
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #11
Johnny Rico Mar 2012 #7
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #22
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #9
BOHICA12 Mar 2012 #30
Skittles Mar 2012 #4
petronius Mar 2012 #12
2ndAmForComputers Mar 2012 #20
socialindependocrat Mar 2012 #6
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #15
socialindependocrat Mar 2012 #33
randr Mar 2012 #21
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #24
johnd83 Mar 2012 #8
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #14
johnd83 Mar 2012 #17
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #27
seeviewonder Mar 2012 #13
The Magistrate Mar 2012 #16
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #18
jillan Mar 2012 #19
randr Mar 2012 #23
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #25
LineNew Reply the problem isn't guns, it's gun owners....
mike_c Mar 2012 #26
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #28
mike_c Mar 2012 #31
Hoyt Mar 2012 #29
The Doctor. Mar 2012 #32
tammywammy Mar 2012 #34
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