More About Guns (And Personhood)

Elephant With Gun (Sorry, a Repeat on a Busy Day)

I’ve been thinking a lot about guns lately – not particularly because it’s the 4th of July –but because this blog has gotten recent thoughtful comments from someone who is much better informed about gun types and usage than I am.  Also, I’ve been staying in a house with someone who has an active interest in recreational shooting.

I am a non-apologetic supporter of fairly restrictive gun control.   I live in a city; I move in crowds, largely on public transportation.  But my antipathy for readily available guns does not just arise from the fact that I don’t want to get shot in a public space.  (I don’t.)

It doesn’t even arise from the fact that both me and my dog Pearl get totally freaked out by the crack of gunfire up here in the uncrowded countryside.  (We do.)

What really concerns me is madness both as a term for anger, and a term for craziness (they really do overlap.)

What concerns me even more is the combination of madness and power.

Guns are the metallic distillation of power; they pack, as it were, a very great deal of punch; brass knuckles raised to the nth degree.

I’m guessing that punch is one of the reasons recreational shooting is so popular; I’m guessing that it provides a taste of power, excitement, control, release, kickback; a discipline at which one can become skilled and also charged.

I do understand that.  Sometimes you feel like you are jumping out of your skin; sometimes even very cool humans have to physically let off steam.

I’m not saying that gun owners use guns in that way.  I just don’t have the experience to know.  The only time I ever fired a handgun I fell down.

But I do have experience of human nature; of how angry, crazed, mad, people can become, sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes less so.   I especially worry about how that type of anger, madness, may be abetted by a culture that supports a “tit for a tat” as a short-form equation of justice and also as an ultimate deterrent.

I know that hostility for guns may come more naturally to me than others.  I was raised by a mom who was a longtime pacifist; a dad who was an old school turn-the-other-cheek Christian.  More importantly perhaps, I I’ve been lucky enough to have had enough emotional support and societal favor that my ego is not continually on the line.   A sense of personal validity was, thankfully, instilled a long time ago.   As a result, it takes a fair amount of aggravation to make me feel truly “dissed;” even when I have that aggravation, I’m pretty good at just (eventually) swallowing it.

I am sure that most gun owners are not that different from me; that they don’t misuse their guns or assault weapons, view them as tools to support their personhood.

But the fact is that there are many people who do misuse guns; sometimes serially, sometimes just a terrible once.  The availability of a handgun or assault weapon can allow a breaking point to break a very great deal.

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2 Comments on “More About Guns (And Personhood)”


  1. I have a recurring fantasy that one day I will be granted one magic wish and I will wish for all the guns and missiles and all the knowledge about how to make them would instantly disappear from the globe.

    Then we could go back to killing each other with bows and arrows like a civilized crowd.

    Seriously, the American fascination with guns is beyond me. Not only handguns, but those total crackpots who absolutely must own a freakin’ automatic weapon to hunt freakin’ Bambi.

    There’s entirely too much testosterone in the world.

    Although, I suppose that wouldn’t account for Sarah Palin, but then what does? Good post.


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