Guns vs Gun Control (Why I Hate Guns and Gun Control) Part II: Why Do People Like Guns?
Articles in This Series
- Guns VS Gun Control Part I: What is a Gun?
- Guns VS Gun Control Part II: Why Do People Like Guns?
- Guns VS Gun Control Part III: Fear
- Guns VS Gun Control Part IV: Law Enforcement
- Guns VS Gun Control Part V: Misinformation and Gun Lies
- Guns VS Gun Control Part VI: Solutions
- This is a related article. Perhaps it should have been Part I: Defining the Second Amendment (For Us Laypersons)
- More to come...
Why Do People Like Guns?
In the last article, I talked about what a gun is. In doing so, I painted a somewhat bleak picture of them being killing machines. (You don't have to read these in order, but it will probably make things easier.) So the question becomes: If they are killing machines, why would any decent person like guns? This article aims to answer that, and hopefully shed more light on this controversial topic.
Releasing Negative Emotions
We are violent creatures to some degree. Be it nature or nurture, humanity has a negative side. Even if we've reached a state of near constant Zen, there is a part of human emotion that is geared toward darkness. We all have anger, frustration, hate, sadness, etc. Letting out emotion and stress is vital for our health and safety. For some of us it's easier than others, and how much stress we're under can make a colossal difference. In any case, we often don't need any extra steps to shift focus to be more positive. Other times, just expressing it in some simple way is enough. Listening to music, watching movies, or reading a book can be enough. Still other times we need to do something a little more proactive. Speaking with another person, playing a sport, exercising, playing an instrument, or playing video games can do it. Occasionally, destroying things in a safe way is important if we are going to unleash these feelings. Think about kindergarten and teachers giving little kids paper to rip when they're upset. Guns are like that for some of us. There are forms of therapy that use foam bats or other soft hitting devices to help vent anger without hurting others. This has been shown (appropriately used) to help get out frustrations in a more healthy way. Likewise, shooting an expendable target can provide some much needed release of stress. Furthermore, using a firearm properly requires numerous skills. Focus, hand-eye coordination, patience, and some serious caution. Exercising these kinds of skills can be a great experience. If you haven't gone through firearms training and had the chance to shoot a gun, I suggest it's rather ignorant to mock people for enjoying such activities. Maybe if you try it too, you'll see the appeal. Maybe not. Either way, if you want to understand those of us who like guns this is an important point to consider.
Have You Ever Fired A Gun?
When it comes to gun owners, one of the biggest reasons to have guns is for protection.
We can do many things to keep ourselves safe in society. There's no denying some of us feel safer when we can protect ourselves. Some of us feel safer relying on another to keep us safe. This is largely a matter of perspective. Most of the time when we go out into the world, we're safe. At least in places like the US. Most of us want to live a fairly peaceful life and don't want to cause each other too much trouble. As such, we're fairly safe most of the time. When there is trouble, there's usually a large number of people around and chances are, someone will act. This feeling of a safety net is enough for some of us.
We'll get into some of the reasons gun owners don't feel safe without a gun later. For now, it's enough to know that having a firearm in a holster is tantamount to wearing armor or carrying a shield. There is a perceived sense of safety one receives from carrying around something we know can repel danger. Firearms help some of us feel safe.
One of the big counter arguments is the idea that police are there to protect us. I'll cover this idea in depth later (it's a big enough topic on it's own). Right now I think it's enough to say; it's not enough for some of us. Knowing a police officer might be close enough to help is not the same as having protection on your person.
Notice I didn't address whether or not carrying a firearm actually increases a persons safety. When it comes to how we feel, that's not the point. The point is how we feel about it. Often that's a matter of perspective (which may or may not reflect reality). It's important for the rest of us to understand there's a sense of safety that comes with carrying a firearm.
Paranoia AKA History
One subject that inevitably comes up if we talk about firearms enough is history. History has shown when a tyrant takes away our means of protecting ourselves things get ugly, right? The topic is highly debated. There's actually too much history to go over in this article, so I'll give it just enough love to share the point.
Whatever the truth is, many people are convinced it's almost an eventuality that a government will become tyrannical and step on the rights of the people. Given time, this would seem to lead to one conclusion. Weapons are either taken away from the populous or the common citizens give them up willingly. Following this, horrible atrocities occur.
Many skeptics cite paranoia and don't take the historical claims seriously. Some of this is for very good reason, as history is often twisted to support the idea one is trying to claim. Whether it's because of simple paranoia or valid claims, makes no difference to the believer. The reality many gun owners think they see is that an overreaching government trying to take away their firearms is dangerous. Furthermore, this would lead to a vulnerability that would be insurmountable if not taken seriously. So call it paranoia, but understand it's an important concern to many people.
Even if this idea is simple paranoia, I hope you can see trying to dismiss it will never work on someone feeling this way.
Self Sustaining Reasons
Among those of us who own firearms, are people who hunt. I've personally witnessed enough reasons to think all of us should just swear off meat entirely. The health benefits alone seem worth it. Beyond that, every non-human animal has shown some incredible reasons to think they're every bit as sapient as the rest of us. I'm all for cutting meat from the human food supply. The problem with that is, my opinion doesn't matter to everybody, and that's fine. Diversity is part of humanity.
Why do people hunt? For many, it's a tradition that goes back generations. Many of us never question our families traditions and simply carry them on. Aside of this idea, there are many reasons hunting is tradition. Hunting can be a test of skill, and was even more so hundreds of years ago. Hunting is a step toward emergency preparedness. If for some reason you were unable to reach a store, or society really had a breakdown, being able to hunt is a quick efficient way to find food. Lots of it.
Hunting on a regular basis is also a cost effective way to get food. If you've never looked into it, the cost of meat in a grocery store, compared to hunting is staggering. We're talking a difference in dollars per pound. And that's if you have a butcher prepare the meat. It's an even more drastic difference if you do it yourself. For some families, I've seen this make the difference between eating, and starving to death. Literally. I've known people who would have starved to death if they were not allowed to hunt. Poor families do what they can. Some places that means they hunt.
I grew up in farm country. Despite some common ideologies, farming is neither easy nor profitable without a lot of work. Even when there are large sums of money coming in on a farm, most of the money goes toward upkeep. A farmer who doesn't protect that asset, loses it. Period. A farmer without a firearm is vulnerable. There are many wild animals that will encroach on a farm and cause trouble. Foxes attack chickens. Burrowing animals cause damage to fields. Prairie dogs, for example cause way more damage than you would think. They not only damage the immediate area where they've created a hole, but chew out roots. If not dealt with, they can destroy a large area quickly. Occasionally even some of the larger predators will get desperate and attack larger livestock. Having a gun around scares off many of these wild creatures, most of the time. When it doesn't, many farmers have no other recourse they know than to take down a threat to their livelihood. That's to say nothing of the human possibilities.
As much as anything else, there are many gun owners who simply shoot for entertainment. I mentioned before that using a firearm can be emotionally satisfying. For some of us, that extends to simply shooting a firearm for fun. The level of skill, care, and caution that it takes to be good at target practice is a fun skill to develop. Imagine doing any activity and getting better at it over time. There's a great sense of accomplishment and joy in improving at any skill. Using a firearm is no different in that respect. Being able to hit a small target at a distance is incredibly satisfying in a way that compares to any passion.
Assuming it's done in a safe way, who am I to tell anyone they cannot use a gun for fun?
Why Do Gun Owners Like Guns? (In Summary)
- Are a great means of releasing emotions
- Protect against hostile threats
- Make owners feel safe
- Can be a source of financial relief
- Protect assets
- Are fun
Whatever your stance is, there are those of us who find the benefits of firearms to be an important part of life. In many cases, a critical need.
Questions & Answers
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