Guns and Animus

images[9]President Obama unveiled his, not so secret, plan to curb gun violence in the United States: universal background checks, ban on military-style assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines, toughening punishments for violations, and approval of the long overdue appointment of a director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Pew research indicates all are heavily supported by the American people.

The National Rifle Association’s official response to the Obama administration recommendations appears to be nothing more than a repeat of their PR boondoggle of a few weeks prior, which resulted

in plummeting public support for the organization. While agreeing that protecting children is a top priority, they fell back on that tired old saw — guns don’t kill people, people kill people, with the assertion that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.” They got the “crisis” part right, but how about the rest?

Okay, people kill people. So the salient question should be: What kinds of people use guns to kill people? While the NRA would have us believe it’s all “lunatics”, as their CEO Wayne LaPierre asserted in that disastrous Meet the Press interview, they clearly overestimate the number of psychopathic loons by a magnitude of thousands. Certainly, in the case of those news-making mass-murders, the likely culprits surely suffer from a variety of deeply disturbed personality disorders. Same goes for most serial killers. But, tragic as they may be, these kind of killings are but a small fraction of all in the United States.

Murders are more commonly fueled by anger — extreme and uncontrolled rage, coupledimagesCA15BH5O with ready access to firearms. Who are these “angry” people and what are they so damn mad about?

Well, we certainly saw a few violently enraged folks this past week. Let’s start with Alex Jones and his wild-eyed spastically gesticulated performance on Piers Morgan. The video clip made the rounds for its comic value, but Jones is by no means joking in his foaming rage. He seemed convinced that Morgan, a British citizen, was sent here to retake America in some colonialism redux at the pleasure of the Queen.

imagesCA5JCJHINext, we find the new YouTube sensation, James Yeager, trying to beat out Psy — only it’s gunman-style, saying he’s ready to “start killing people” now. He wants to spark a civil war, and wishes to “fire the first shot”. Why? Because he thinks people might take his guns. If ever there was an argument for taking guns….Yeager is the poster child.

Gun-rights advocates who make threats like these are their own worst enemies — and they weaken their argument considerably in the public eye, additionally putting their maturity into serious question — in the absence of their ability to make a cogent argument, children resort to tantrums.  And there truly are numerous sound reasons for second amendment protections to be made.

These guys are afraid, stupid and angry, and they live in Michigan too.

After Sandy Hook, I spoke with high school students to get their input, and a particular observation stood out — one young adult said that when people buy a gun, they don’t do it in a mental vacuum — with no thought as to how they will use it. As with any purchase —  new shoes, a nice car, an ice cream cone…there is a psychological process that includes imagery of its use and enjoyment — a fantasy moment. I was encouraged to imagine what that might be like for a gun buyer, particularly that of an assault weapon.

Excellent point.

Last week, Democracy Tree posted a commentary about why arming teachers may not be a useful solution. No suggestion of gun regulation or restriction was made in the piece. In fact, my household contains four legal firearms (inherited weapons, kept in storage), and I am not opposed to limited use of armed guards in schools where a threat is suspected, even though that was of zero help in the Columbine massacre.

Yet, angry men persist…

Here’s a portion of a particularly vile comment submitted to Democracy Tree in response to that rather innocuous commentary, sent by an anonymous person who called himself “Armed and Ready”:

” …just let me know who you are and how you feel about my weapons and I SWEAR BEFORE GOD-ALMIGHTY that I will not interfere or intervene with the robber, rapist, or murderer who is about to strip you of your rights and “dignity” ….. until, of course, he is through with you.
Be safe, if you can”

The “if you can” implied-threat put it over the top as clearly being the words of a very angry man engaged in some sick and twisted thinking, using words intended to intimidate and frighten the recipient — cyber road-rage. There exist laws against this kind of communication, which are spotty at best, but none the less, authorities were alerted.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree
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