My anti-N.R.A. post last week provoked a flurry of exchanges with an antagonist in Idaho, a popular libertarian outpost. His complaints boiled down to these:
1) His “voice” is not being heard in our national “conversation”,
2) He believes (unregistered) ownership of military-grade assault weapons to be a fundamental right, which I and various powers now wish to deny him, and
3) He regards my attitude as rude and condescending.
The “learned sergeant,” as he describes himself, actually came out and said that assault weapons should not be registered, because then the very people they would be used against (i.e., the U.S. government) would know who possessed them! You’ve got to be on an F.B.I. watch list, buddy.
His is an extreme case, but there are thousands of others like him.
Holiday image from AR15.com: the sickness permeates everything.
More common still are the simple-minded shooters drawn to assault weapons like the AR-15 by its blunt, dumbed-down marketing appeals to their supposed manhood.
“Consider your man card reissued,” one ad says.
And on a website devoted to this assault weapon, there is actually a forum asking viewers what validates their “man card”.
The syndrome widens out even further to encompass the whole spectrum of hunters and “sport” shooters, some of whom actually use semi-automatic weapons on defenseless animals. Guns, of any type, convey power. Power=manhood, in this equation.
It is a self-selecting sickness that too many U.S. men seem to contract. And once infected, these men permit the sickness to permeate every aspect of their sad, self-circumscribed lives. Consider dumb-ass Santa, above.
It’s a sickness that attracts the worst and the weakest among our male population (and apparently a smattering of maladjusted females, as well).
I’m willing to grant that, for some men, the attraction of guns is safely compartmentalized away from life’s daily responsibilities. For them, guns are a “guy thing,” a way of blowing off steam and having fun. (However, I do think that the type of solitary hunter who is tightly focused on killing is an exception to this generalization, and is potentially dangerous. Such a “man” is like an emotionally arrested child who tortures animals, inflicting harm for its own sake and deriving pleasure from it.)
As for the fun-lovers, perhaps a bit of self-reflection is in order.
What’s actually “fun” or sporting about killing, particularly when there is no chance of your four-legged victims harming you? Where is the real challenge or interest in hours of target shooting, assuming you’ve mastered a basic skill level? What is it about guns that punches your mythological “man card”?
I humbly submit that a real man card would require you to navigate 21st century America using nothing more than your wits, your native abilities and a healthy pair of balls.
Plenty of American men can still do this. Why not aspire to join them? You can even make it a New Year’s resolution.