About half of gun owners say that having a gun is either a very important or somewhat important part of their identity.
Think about that. How many of you can point to a single material possession you think defines you in any way? You might say “My car” or even “My college degree” (with the latter obviously symbolizing an experience rather than standing as a “possession” in the usual sense). But what sort of person actually associates a weapon, or any one object, with a strong sense of self?
Apparently, millions of people who own guns doI haven’t done much with my life besides try my best to ruin it, and as both a cause and a consequence of this, I’ve channeled a lot of potentially useful energy into distance running in various ways. Yet I would never say that my running shoes or marathon medals or anything like that is a part of my identity. If every material possession I have were suddenly taken away, it would be disastrous from a practical standpoint, but from a metaphysical perspective, there is nothing I would see as non-replaceable.
The next time a member of the Yosemite Sam party starts droning on about how guns are needed for personal protection or eliminating varmints or whatever other rationale they provide, recognize that they are likely lying, possibly even to themselves. They evidently need guns to feel whole. As messed up as that clearly is, understand that it pretty much kills off the notion of rallying a single YS type behind the notion of additional gun regs.
I will speculate that a lot of Americans say this for the same reason they say Jesus is important to them: It affords a sense of control. A lot of gun owners and strongly religious people are poor and surrounded by poverty, and if they have a gun and a belief in something powerful like a sky-god that conveniently agrees with their moral positions, it alleviates their understandably grim outlook to some extent. I guess when you live on a patch of dirt that used to be a profitable farm or plant site, and you continually hear about liberal coastal elites controlling stuff, and you understand that you’ll never have the means to be such a person, and you also hear that these liberal elites want to come after your guns and your god (which is a lie, but they do hear it, pretty much every day, from barking twats like
Tucker Carlson) then you’re going to naturally rebel and say stupid things like this and respond in a predictable way when the NY Times or Vox or some other liberal outlet decides to take yet another hillbilly-safari into a depressed craptown in rural Pennsylvania and thrust a microphone into the faces of the stupidest-looking people they can find, so they can write yet another story provoking lefties into a state of apoplexy.
I bet if the government started doing buybacks and offering $25,000 for every gun out there, from assault weapons to C)2 pistols, the “identity” issue would magically become a hell of a lot less important.