Guns

Here is a collection of random thoughts about guns that a clever person could make into an interesting post. I use the popular misnomer “gun” as shorthand for “weapon”, “firearm”, “sidearm”, and so on.

Long ago, makers of all kinds of weapons recognized that they could easily double their business by serving both sides of any conflict, foreign or domestic. They also recognized the stimulating effect of escalation by either side. Our gun makers are no exception.

If you follow the arguments for and against gun-related legislation, you see that the pro-gun lobbies reject any regulation that tends to stem the flow of guns to criminals, and any regulation that restricts the escalation of firepower.

People arm themselves for various reasons. One reason is a fascination with guns, a species of the generic adolescent fascination with power. Or a gun, like a car, gives a sense of power to those who exercise little power in other areas of their lives. Is there a gun-related equivalent of “road rage”?

Another reason is an exaggerated fear of others, which is certainly stimulated by entertainment and news media, as well as by propaganda from pro-gun lobbies. It might also be a reflection of our foreign policy, which is based largely on weapon sales and warfare.

Instead of directly addressing the economic, political, racial, or religious causes of crime, Americans buy guns–an egocentric “solution” to a social problem.

There are those who claim that they arm themselves so that they can resist in case the government tries to “take over”. Of course it has already taken over; it’s a government.

It is interesting to note that when the Soviet Union fell, the one Soviet Bloc nation in which the transition was violent was Rumania, where the people rose up in arms against the government.

Many of the situations in which gun owners claim they could protect themselves are times at which they would need to have their guns already drawn to be effective. A person is always at a disadvantage if surprised by an opponent, especially an unrecognized opponent.

Gun owners often imply or claim that they could protect others from random violence. Is a license to carry a gun also a license to protect others? Is it a license to analyze a situation and judge whether or not to go on the offensive with lethal force? Is police training a necessary part of gun ownership?

And finally, this: Europeans are not a bit surprised or uneasy to see a topless woman on a beach, but appalled to hear that someone carries a gun. Americans generally are accustomed to knowing that others carry guns, but often are appalled to see a woman breast-feeding a baby in public!

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