Let me preface this by saying: I do not currently own a gun, unless you consider a Crosman C11 BB gun to be a gun. I don't. The reason I do not own a gun is that it is currently out of my financial means. However, many of m family members own guns, and I enjoy going shooting. I realize that herein the US, the2nd amendment gives us the right to own and carry firearms.
That being said, what the HELL is wrong with so many gun owners? Why is it not possible for me to go on Facebook and not be bombarded with posts saying "Obama wants to take away our guns! Obama is Hitler! You'll take my guns over my dead body!" (Paraphrasing here a bit, but I can almost guarantee that every American on this site has heard such statements at least once in the past 4 months).
Here's a crazy scenario: What if, at the end of President Obama's second term (remember, he won both the popular and electoral votes, two elections in a row), these same lunatics still have their guns? Can we expect any sort of apology that is anywhere near as genuine as their outrage at a nonexistent problem? I highly doubt it, that would require far too much moral integrity and intellectual honesty which, I am sad to say, anyone who has Ted Nugent as their poster child probably does not possess.
Will they admit that they were wrong? Will they admit that they were duped by the NRA into stockpiling weapons and ammo? Will they realize the negative effect that this has had on our society? Will the NRA themselves publicly apologize, and admit that they have been deliberately stirring the pot and preying on peoples fears in order to stuff their own pockets?
Furthermore, will they same individuals submit themselves for evaluation for mental disorders? Since that seems to be about the only area of agreement between the two sides of this "debate", that those with a history of mental illness should get a second look before they are able to purchase guns, is this really so much to ask? Especially when you consider that, according to the DSM, a great many of these individuals would likely qualify as having a paranoid personality disorder based on the folliwng criteria:
1.Pervasive suspiciousness of being harmed, deceived or exploited:
2. Unwarranted doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates:
3. Hidden meanings read into the innocuous actions of others:
4. Grudges for perceived wrongs:
5. Angry reactions to perceived attacks on character or reputation:
Note that I left out those symptoms least likely to be relevant in these cases. Can anyone honestly say that a large majority of the most vocal opponents of gun control (i.e. those who say things like "you'll take my guns over my dead body" or those who parade around in public with AK-47s carrying flags that say "Come and take em!" or those who frequently equate President Obama's committment to reducing gun violence in America to Hitler's disarming policies, or those who somehow think that their deer hunting rifle would be effective against M1 tanks and Blackhawk helicopters) would not meet 4 of these criterion? If, in fact, they were determined to be mentally unfit to own a weapon, would they be a "responsible gun owner" and relinquish possession of their firearms and be happily prevented from acquiring them in the future, as they themselves suggest ought to be done in the case of dangerous mental illness?
It also can't help escape my attention that we have heard similar rhetoric before. After President Obama's first successful election, the Ted Nugents and the James Yeagers of America were out in full force, stocking up on as many guns and as much ammo as possible, because "The black guy is going to take our guns from us!" (Note: No such thing occurred during President Obama's first term. False alarm perhaps?). Or after the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, when the battle cry was "Clinton will take our guns!". To the amazement of no one expect those in need of a strong dose of anti-psychotics, gun owners are STILL gun owners. Imagine that.
Of course, if one even tries to point out that no, the President does not have any plans to take all of your guns away, we are splattered with ad hominems and straw mans and non-sequiturs and and all around pervasive ignorance and paranoia.
In the city where I live, as well as many other cities in the US, there was recently a "Day of Resistance" in which gun owners gathered in Perry Square, the park in the middle of downtown Erie. One of the speakers said that gun owners are open to debate and discussion about guns, saying ""Open, legitimate discussion is how this country came into greatness".
Honestly, who is he kidding? Whenever anyone says "Let's have a discussion about how to reduce gun violence in America", the reaction of the same types of folks attending this rally is always "You'll take my guns over my dead body! Obama is Hitler!". It is also important to note that one of these gun owners was carrying a flag depicting what looks like an assault rifle, with the words "Come and take it!".
How is this embracing "open, legitimate discussion" when their only reaction, EVER, is to gather in public carrying AK-47s and daring people to try to take them away? That would be like the Westboro Baptist Church saying that they are open to discussion about homosexuality while carrying "God hates fags" signs. How can any rational, clear minded person take this seriously? How can it be ignored that members of the same type of crowd are the ones who are just itching to shoot people? How is it that these folks think that the 2nd amendment only means that they have a right to start a revolution if they don't agree with the policies of the current administration? Note that the second amendment says no such thing. Why should anyone who actually wants to have a legitimate discussion about a legitimate problem can't do so because they are justifiably afraid of a gun toting mob?
It can't escape my attention that the only "solutions" offered from that side are more guns, arming teachers, less regulation, no background checks, and overthrowing the government. Who is it that is really trying to have an honest discussion here? Those that also admit that better tracking of potentially dangerous mentally ill persons would be, in my submission, reluctant to admit that man on their side would probably qualify as one of these potentially dangerous mentally ill persons.
And lets not ignore the fact that the most dangerous mentally ill persons are those that have not and are not receiving treatment, and therefore have probably not ever even been identified as such by anyone qualified to do so, and hence would be able to purchase whatever the hell they want.
Yet ANOTHER point that can't escape my attention is that the same crowd that criticizes the President for having armed guards are always the ones who, in not so subtle ways, suggesting that the President is "in season" and making actual threats to kill to the President and others as well. The fact that they are utterly unwilling and incapable of seeing any difference at all in the security level necessary to protect the President of the most powerful country on earth, and the security level needed to protect kindergartners from lunatics like Adam Lanza, suggests to me that the education system has utterly failed them.
Note also that none of this same crowd was upset about Bush's Patriot Act. Oh no, that was just a necessary security measure to protect us from those terrible terrorists. But when President Obama extended for an additional four years certain provisions of this act, the right questioned whether his use of an autopen to approve these measures was constitutional. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!
And to bring this all full circle and actually relate it to religion, it also can't help escape my attention that those who most loudly protest any form of gun control are largely the same ones who want this to be a Christian country, who threaten and harass minorities, who wave Confederate flags while calling themselves the "Party of Lincoln" (not sure if this is irony or just tragedy), who want Israel to have sole control of the middle east, and who shoot members of Sikh temples, atheists, and blow up abortion clinics. If one were to make a Venn Diagram of these groups, it would likely be three circles imposed over one another.
Finally, I submit that NONE of these things would even be issues if the discussions about such things were dominated by rational, secular humanists interested in actual honest conversations about real problems. Using paranoia and fear and intimidation and threats in response to imaginary problems is indistinguishable from religion, and it is those tactics that are being exploited by the Ted Nugents of America.