Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Whipping Out Your Man Card: Loving Guns In America


No other first-world nation suffers from the paranoia that Americans do when it comes to their government and the thought of revolution against it. No other country suffers from the delusion that safety comes from the abundance of assault rifles and ammunition.
And yet this isn't treated as a mental illness.

It is time to stop treating people who feel they need to stockpile assault rifles as if they are not suffering from a mental illness. It's time to stop treating those who fantasize about war against their own countrymen as patriots. It's time to stop coddling the paranoia of bitter white men as being somehow justified. It's time to stop treating fear of a fictional boogeyman politician who doesn't exist as if it is rational. It is time to stop pretending the fear and paranoia and distrust of other Americans somehow makes sense.”

--Ward Anderson, award-winning comedian, author, director, and host of the SiriusXM talk radio program "Ward and Al"

Despite numerous requests by the Center for Injury Control and Prevention, the unparalleled power of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers makes it virtually impossible for any government funds to be assigned to research on gun violence.

"Today's NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry," says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. "While the NRA portrays itself as protecting the 'freedom' of individual gun owners, it's actually working to protect the freedom of the gun industry to manufacture and sell virtually any weapon or accessory."

Thus, America continues to feed its obsession with guns and the potential violence they can inflict. The “sell” is the main force of both the NRA and its faithful contributors in the gun industry. Weapons are frequently advertised with appeals to men's machismo, sex, and military themes.

* A Bushmaster ad declares, “In a world of rapidly depleting testosterone, the Bushmaster Man's Card declares and confirms you are a man's man, the last of a dying breed, with all the rights and privileges duly afforded

* The Patriot Ordinance Factory's ad uses the iconically sexist mudflap girl silhouette, with the company’s flagship assault rifle emerging from her breasts.

* A Remington ad says, "Attention Politicians: Over 5,000,000 sold. The world's largest army ain't in China.

Is it any wonder so many youth are raised believing in the glamor of guns while remaining indifferent to the havoc and horror they create? And, isn't it clear how fringe groups find support for their anarchic, nihilist views in the gun lobby?

The image of the "crazed psychopath" is a convenient one. It allows the average American to dismiss mass shooters as someone who just snapped one day. But, who is the mentally deficient potential mass shooter? He is very often a bitter man – usually white – with an overabundance of weapons that he thinks – in some distorted philosophy – makes him a patriot, a defender of individual rights.

The gun folk will say these crazies will use another means of delivery if guns are not available – like a truck that they can use to ram into a crowd. This represents stupid clouding of the real issue: trucks have many other uses than random assassination. They aren't designed to kill while guns are.

Or arms defenders say “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We all understand that people with guns are much more likely to kill them … masses of them, especially while shooting lethal, assault-style weapons.

I understand the belief among Americans in the right to bear arms as an article of faith. I do not want to restrict the normal, sensible right to bear arms. However, I do want to refute the efforts of the NRA, the gun lobby, and gun manufacturers when they support unbridled freedom with firearms. These groups have perpetuated myths that encourage people to make a false, “spiritual” connection to bigger, more powerful weapons.

The gun culture is founded on a small amount of facts and a large amount of fiction and romance. Still, many people embrace political support for gun makers. It is time to change. It is time to protect the innocent from angry bullets fired by twisted, gun loving criminals.
Author and reporter Chauncey Hollingsworth wrote …

“We see gun violence - Columbine, gang shootings, this Holmes guy in a movie theater -- and we buy the rhetoric that we need to defend ourselves - with more guns, of course. We stock up on ammo, get the conceal-and-carry permit, and we complete the process of fulfilling our fears (not our hopes). In other words, we become part of the problem. And now we're standing, guns drawn at ourselves, poised in a standoff that is all too American. 

“My father died in 1997, and I think of the guns he passed on to me as family heirlooms. Yet I feel a pang when I imagine what guns might do to my own children, what movie they might be watching when a troubled loner descends on them. Two years before I was born, my dad's first wife drove out to a prairie and took her own life with one of his revolvers. In his private moments, I wonder if my father thought about the way the pieces fit together.”

(Chauncey Hollingsworth. “How I Ended My Lifelong Love Affair With Guns. The Atlantic. July 25, 2012.)

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