Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gun Control vs Gun Culture

So I've decided to spend my lunch writing.  I decided this awhile ago but now that I am here I am having trouble deciding on a topic.  I have the time for some of the more expansive things I'd like to write about so I am going to try one and see if it sticks.

Gun Control vs. Gun Culture

This is one of those things that are inexorably intertwined but they are still two separate things.  On top of this there is no real discussion as to the differences between gun control and gun culture and what exactly that means.  I'm gonna say right now that this prolly won't be definitive but hey at least it is a start. 

So where to start?  Well lets see what I got in the toy box.  We got class, historical revisionism, cultural misunderstandings, fear, powerful lobby groups, mass shootings, and looks like that's enough toys for now.  Lots of these toys connect to each other so lets play.

CLASS!  Class is one of those elephants in the room that no one seems particularly willing to talk about and yet it is there.  When we look at the steriotype of the gun owner we get a couple.  We have the rich white big game hunter.  We have the southern redneck.  We also have the inner city gang members.  Not bad but only one of them is well off aren't they?  Yes yes I know other people own guns but I said lets look at the steriotypes and that is what we are doing try to stay focused.  Guns in a lot of ways serve as a class divider.  It is the difference between people who feel they have to protect themselves and people who believe they have other people to do the protecting for them.  It is the difference between people who can afford the moderatly expensive hunting hobby and the people who can't.  Gun culture exists in all classes and yet we see gun ownership come most often in the hands of slightly crazed rednecks and gang members.  The wealthy game hunter is a distant third.  Hell the former serviceman is a distant 4th.  We talk about guns like how they don't kill people it is the people who do the shooting but in a lot of ways what we are really saying is "those people" are doing the shooting.  Offensive?  Don't care.  Take a look at the average age of a gang member now look at the number of inner city shooting deaths.  I mean we've had school age children shooting each others for years.  It is only when they decide to go mass murder and kill people who feel that they should have other people to protect them does panic start happening.  Class it is everywhere.

Historical Revisionism is one of those things that never ceases to amaze me.  This could also equally be called "wannabe constitutional scholarship".  Both sides throw around their ideas of the constitution and that's good.  That's great in fact do that!  The problem is that they do it with little to no historical relevance.  People don't understand how we got into this situation, where we came from, and there is a generalized lack of critical thinking going on which results in stale cyclical conversations that ultimatly lead no where.  The moment we bring history or the constitution into the mix is the moment the conversation dies because we just jump into this series of memes that we all memorized without really thinking about what they mean.  I've written before that gun culture needs an image change.  I'm gonna do it again in minute.  I think it is time to take the idea of the militia back and turn it into something healthy and not something for the lunatic fringe.  When people quote the second amendment it is always a revised version because no one wants to think about the militia part.  I do but hey that's me.

Cultural Misunderstands & Fear!  These two go hand in hand.  Okay so show a non curious non gun owner a gun and there is this weird freak out moment.  You'll get people who hold their hands up and go "I am just not comfortable around guns".  You'll get people who are all politely appalled about the idea of firearms and they beleive that...oh I dunno that someone else should have to do that dirty work (class!) or something like that I dunno.  This stems from ignorace.  It also stems from the fact that gun culture revels in the fear it generates.  The NRA's cold dead hand's speech is a perfect one.  We have Heston saying we will have to pry his gun out of his cold dead hands Waco Texas style because he won't give it up on his own.  Oh no and you gotta wonder is he just going to hold onto his gun or is he going to be using it while we are taking it from him?  Oh yeah.  It isn't offten we hear it outright.  It is always something like "I am going to take my second ammendment rights and come after you" or "We will rise up against the government" occupy wall street was also an uprising again the government but I think we are talking about different things.  Gun culture uses the fact that they have guns and everyone else is affraid of guns as leverage.  Then they cry foul when people talk about how worried they are about the fact that there is a whole sub culture of armed people who like to passively aggressively threaten everyone.

The fear cuts both ways though.  Holy shit gun culture are some paranoid fucks.  Like ermahgawd Obama got a second term and he's gonna take all of our guns away.  Then he'll take away Christianity and beer.  All through the election I kept hearing this out of conservative circles and it was based on...well nothing.   Obama hasn't made any real move to ban or talk about gun control and this is all after the shooting in Colorado.  Only now that we've had a second shooting is he stepping up to the conversation and geeze can you blame him?  Gun right's advocates live in a constant state of armed paranoia about the day when they will no longer be able to shoot their guns to the point where it is almost like they are hoping it will happen just so that they can have an excuse to use them.  Remeber I am not talking about individual gun owners but rather the culture they associate with.

Imma gonna skip the lobby groups and go straight to the mass shootings.  The only time gun control seriously comes up now and days is when someone shoots up a school.  What a lot of non gun owners don't understand is that when you are using a gun it is really easy to indiscriminatly kill a lot of people.  It is however very difficult to kill one specific person.  The story about two people standing 15 feet away firing full clips at each other and missing?  It happens.  That's the bitchy things about guns.  I fire a gun into a crowd I am going to get some impressive results but someone firing from the crowd at the user well that's more complex.  As a result we see a spree killing, we are faced with the horrible killing potential of these weapons and we think well gee gosh golly we should prolly not let everyone have one of these.  Gun culture ramps up its fear engines they talk about the need for protections (from them!), and that only bad people will have guns, and what about the women, and the nazis.  While on the other side we have a group of people whoes only real expereice with guns is the amount of devistation they cause. 

I wish there was more outreach on the behalf of gun culture.  I wish they would take a chill pill and ramp down the paranoia.  I wish we could change the image we have a gun users from rednecks and black people to something else.  Something postive perhaps?  However, this isn't going to happen until we start look at the situation we find ourselves in and we take an honest to god look at the facts and decide where we stand.  I myself am pro gun but I am anti gun culture.  The passive agressive threats, the paranoia, and taking advantage of the fear surrounding guns it all needs to stop.  Gun carry with them an awesome respocipiliby.  They allow you to take control of your fate.  You don't have to be a bystander anymore.  It is the ability to make a difference to protect those who need it.  Guns should never be about self defense.  They should always be about looking out for each other.  Or we can keep going the way we have been and let them all get banned.  At this point I am more with the mass banning myself because if you aren't willing to live up to that responcibility then what's the point you know? 

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