The families of the victims killed and wounded in the Virginia Tech massacre do not come close to having such clout. For the tragedy’s fifth anniversary next week, they are having a hard time securing meetings with Washington politicians to fix the law that promised a more complete and up-to-date federal list of the mentally ill, who should be barred from buying guns. But two dozen states have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records each when tens of thousands should be entered, according to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national gun reform group. Financing to help state reporting efforts was supposed to be $1.1 billion over the last four years, yet Congress appropriated only $51 million. So goes the nation’s utter failure to deal with the gun menace.
Why do you think there’s such a discrepancy between the power of the gun lobby and the gun control movement? Wouldn’t you think that the million or so people affected each year by gun violence, that’s the friends and family of gun-shot victims, would raise their voices against the dangerous expansion of gun rights? Over the last ten years there would have been 10 million people directly affected by it. Where are they? Why are those who do raise their voices so outnumbered by the gun-rights advocates?
Here’s my theory. Indirect victims of gun violence, spouses, children, friends and loved ones, usually do not unite with others in the movement to stop that violence. Theirs is a lonely world of pain and loss. They suffer silently.
The gun-rights movement, on the other hand, is a natural magnet for enthusiastic gun owners. It provides the perfect justification through numbers for activities and behaviors that would otherwise be difficult to justify. It’s got that perfect combination of resisting the impending tyranny of the government, a danger that exists only in their minds, and fighting tooth and nail against the “gun-grabbers,” who in reality are the powerless ones themselves.
All this resistance feeds into their fantasies about being the underdogs in a cataclysmic battle of the titans. Depending on the personality type, some gun owners imagine glorious triumph over the enemy, these are the truly delusional ones, others picture themselves going down in a blaze of glory. I call that mania “grandiose victimism.”
There’s much more. There’s the flag-waving pseudo-patriotism of the 2nd Amendment distortions and bastardizations. There’s the god-given-rights angle, which combines that peculiar right-wing Christianity unique to the US with guns. And, of course, there’s the empowering that comes with gun use and ownership. This is perhaps the single most active motivator in the entire gun-rights movement. Fearful, insecure men, find a type of delusional power and safety in guns.
How could the gun control movement, which is grounded in common sense and reason, compete with all that?
What’s your opinion? Please leave a comment.
cross posted at Mikeb302000