Analyzing America’s vigilante love affair with guns (COMMENTARY)

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Pro-gun advocates take to the streets outside the University of Texas ahead of a 'mock mass shooting' event where they used cardboard cut-outs rifles, the simulated bangs of bullets on bullhorns and doused fake victims with fake blood, in Austin, Texas, on December 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-PALLY-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Dec. 16, 2015.

Pro-gun advocates take to the streets outside the University of Texas ahead of a 'mock mass shooting' event where they used cardboard cut-outs rifles, the simulated bangs of bullets on bullhorns and doused fake victims with fake blood, in Austin, Texas, on December 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jon Herskovitz *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-PALLY-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Dec. 16, 2015.

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(RNS) Guns represent retaining control over and against government, even for those with no violent agendas.

  • Larry

    I strongly disagree with, “Gun rights advocates want to keep weapons away from criminals, the mentally unstable and terrorists.”

    They don’t care how many criminals, maniacs and terrorists get their hands on guns as long as they can cater to fantasies of shooting back in some fashion. The gun lobby is playing to paranoid fantasies and panic. Which is why even the most inoffensive and sane forms of regulation are opposed by them.

    The whole, “to protect my freedom from the government” screed misses the point that personal gun ownership will in no way ever be in of itself an effective bulwark against organized law enforcement or military forces, nor ever has, anywhere.

    By their rhetoric Somalia has to be the most free and peaceful place on the planet given the pervasive gun ownership and lack of central government authority. So many “good guys with guns” it has to be safe!

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  • heb

    Ignoring countries ‘not in economic or political demise or in the grips of gang rule’ precisely misses the point.

    The Americans who have guns and exhibit all these pathologies are precisely the Americans who are living in subcultures and regions that are in economic, if not political, demise and who have some reason to fear gang rule: the white working class. Educated, upper middle class Americans are no more likely to have guns than their European counterparts.

    The economic chasm between rich and poor maintains a culture gap between the middle class—roughly college graduates—and the 2/3 of Americans who don’t have at least 4 year college degrees. We are living in an affluent society; they are, in effect, living in the Global South—economically insecure, afraid of gang-violence from the underclass, afraid of slipping into that underclass, and resentful of us.

    This fanciful hypothesis about the roots of gun-nuttery in early settlement doesn’t explain the gun-gap between us and…

  • Tom Snyder

    Studies show that, each year, guns are used in self-defense and to stop would-be criminals in about 750,000 or more cases. Gun control is a phony issue. BTW, there is no “gun show loophole.” Please don’t believe the lies told by the gun control lobby.

  • larry

    Your studies are garbage. Defensive gun use is so rare as to be statistically insignificant compared to the death and injury caused by careless gun use/storage from trigger happy slobs who “just want to be safe”. Gun control is an important issue for those concerned with public safety. Showing concern beyond one’s fetish for a lethal pha11ic substitute.

  • Jack

    This article’s title, “Analyzing America’s vigilante love affair with guns” slyly assumes America has a “vigilante love affair with guns.”

    If it doesn’t, there is little or nothing to be “analyzing.”

  • Larry

    “Militia Myths: Why Armed Populations Don’t Prevent Tyranny, But Often Lead To It”
    http://www.armedwithreason.com/militia-myths-why-armed-populations-
    dont-prevent-tyranny-but-often-lead-to-it/

    The most common effect armed citizenry had on freedom in the last century or so was terrorizing blacks for the sake of enforcing white supremacy.
    http://www.chaunceydevega.com/2015/12/there-will-be-no-effective-gun-control.html

    Defensive Gun use Myth
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/defensive-gun-ownership-myth-114262