Monday, May 18, 2009

Economics of Fear

Forest Butoh crawl
Originally uploaded by image-MILL
The NRA had a little gathering of some 50,000 members. They also had three acres of gun stuff, from videos and books to bullets and semi automatic weapons. The thrust of the piece I listened to on NPR was that in a time of economic hardship, guns are a boom industry. One speaker gave credit to President Obama for the increase in gun and ammo sales. Why? Why all of the gun sales, why credit Obama? In a word, fear.
Many gun owners are hunters and whatever one may feel about hunting, a person who goes out and kills for food and pleasure is using a gun for one of its legitimate, practical purposes. Lots of gun owners enjoy shooting at targets and developing the skill required to hit increasingly challenging points with a bullet. This seems to me to be a legitimate use, it is even an olympic sport-add skis and you have a wiggy winter olympic sport.
Still other people feel the need to have the deadly force of firearms to protect themselves, their homes and families. I can't quibble with that. Many parts of the U.S. are as dangerous as any place on earth.
And lots of folks just love the look and feel and power of guns so they collect them and admire them. You may not, but I think it is as reasonable as collecting rocks or thimbles or ancient steam engines. But what do most of these people have in common besides gun ownership? Paranoia about government taking the guns away. This is no great revelation, of course. It just struck me as so very sad as I listened to the story, that all these macho men and women(can you be a macho woman?) who think of themselves as tough, independent, stalwart, live in a neurotic cloud of fear so potent that it can fuel an industry. It must be a hell of a way to live.


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

In the UK in 2001 there were 0.15 homicides (murders) per 100,000 people; in the US in 2001 the figure was 3.98 per 100,000. In 2008 53 people were murdered with firearms in the UK, which is a number lower than NY.

"The level of gun ownership world-wide is directly related to murder and suicide rate and specifically to the level of death by gunfire." Quote from the International Correlation between gun ownership and rates of homicide and suicide.

handheaded said...

i think it's the abilty we give impulse. remove the abilty and impulse dies, the comic with a different punch line, the surgeon with other tools, the mind with broader conclusions, freedom from the nag