Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How the Gun Industry Preys on Paranoid, Insecure Men

From AlterNet:

How does the gun industry keep selling guns and making money when the customer base for guns appears to be rapidly shrinking?

It seems the industry has figured out an ingenious solution to the problem: Convince people who are interested in guns to buy more guns. Indeed, having a bunch of highly invested repeat customers might make for an even more profitable strategy than simply trying to get a gun into every household. Convincing the small number of gun lovers in the United States to create individual arsenals has kept gun sales numbers high. The result is that gun ownership is becoming a highly concentrated activity. Nearly half of gun owners own four or more guns. Twenty percent of gun owners—around 7 percent of Americans overall—own a whopping 65 percent of the guns in this country.

The gun industry has clearly figured out how to make a lot of money convincing a small number of Americans to own a whole bunch of guns. Unfortunately, the result is a subculture of gun fanatics whose combination of masculine insecurities, paranoia and hostility to their fellow Americans make them quite possibly the people you least want to be around, armed and dangerous.

Click here for the rest.

I think there are a few very legitimate reasons for an American citizen to own a firearm.  The example of the person living in a rural area and well outside of the police's ability to respond in a timely manner comes to mind.  In contrast, the absurd notion of firearms as a check on government tyranny is NOT a legitimate motivation.  After all, if the government really wants to take you out, it can rain hot death on you from hundreds of miles away, and you will never see your attacker's face, much less get an opportunity to fire a few shots.  But I digress.

The point is that I've lived forty six years and I have NEVER perceived the need to possess a gun, nor found myself in a situation such that one would have come in handy.  Actually, not having a gun may very well have made me behave differently than I would have behaved if I was a gun owner--as they say, when your best tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.  So while I'm not a gun abolitionist or anything like that, I'm pretty sure that there are a lot of people out there who own guns for some pretty stupid reasons.

As the linked essay observes, feelings of masculine inadequacy may very well be the most common of those stupid reasons.  How could you not feel like a total badass motherfucker when you're holding a device that can erase life at a whim?  That gun makes you a big man.  I mean, no, it doesn't, of course not, but it probably can make a loser FEEL like a winner.  And, lemme tell you, given how the ongoing corporate squeeze on our government and economy is continually rubbing our noses into our powerlessness, there are definitely a LOT of men out there who feel like losers.  This is, apparently, a growth market for the gun industry.  Men who feel like their penises are too small.

My favorite blogger, Atrios, over at Eschaton, in an effort to get us to ridicule gun culture as a means to end it, has started referring to guns as "giant external penises of death."  For the big loser who believes guns are just what he needs to win, this is, in fact, what guns are.  Giant external penises of death.  It's a shame so many people have to die simply because masculinity appears to be in crisis.