Over at TPM, Josh Marshall wrote a humiliating, unmanly screed about how guns frighten him. It’s actually kind of pathetic.
I’ve been thinking of writing some version of this post since the days immediately after the Newtown shootings. It overlaps with but is distinct from the division between people who are pro-gun or anti-gun or pro-gun control or anti-gun control. Before you even get to these political positions, you start with a more basic difference of identity and experience: gun people and non-gun people.
So let me introduce myself. I’m a non-gun person. And I think I’m speaking for a lot of people.
…Well, I want to be part of this debate too. I’m not a gun owner and, as I think as is the case for the more than half the people in the country who also aren’t gun owners, that means that for me guns are alien. And I have my own set of rights not to have gun culture run roughshod over me.
…I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never shot a gun. (I’m not including the bb guns I shot a few times as a kid.) Once about ten years ago, my friend John Judis and I were talking and decided it would probably be educational for us as reporters and just fun to go to a firing range and do some shooting. For whatever reason it never happened.
…More than this, I come from a culture where guns are not so much feared as alien, as I said. I don’t own one. I don’t think many people I know have one. It would scare me to have one in my home for a lot of reasons. Not least of which because I have two wonderful beyond belief little boys and accidents happen and I know that firearms in the home are most likely to kill their owners or their families. People have accidents. They get depressed. They get angry.
In the current rhetorical climate people seem not to want to say: I think guns are kind of scary and don’t want to be around them.
…That frightens me. I don’t want to have those in my home. I don’t particularly want to be around people who are carrying. Cops, I don’t mind. They’re trained, under an organized system and supposed to use them for a specific purpose. But do I want to have people carrying firearms out and about where I live my life — at the store, the restaurant, at my kid’s playground? No, the whole idea is alien and frankly scary. Because remember, guns are extremely efficient tools for killing people and people get weird and do stupid things.
…But even if it was possible that we could be just as safe with everyone armed as no one armed, I’d still want no one armed. Not at my coffee shop or on the highway or wherever. Because I don’t want to carry a gun. And I don’t want to be around armed people.
…I wrote back at more length. But at this point I was already starting to see red. I don’t pretend that AA is representative. But it captured a mentality that does seem pervasive among many more determined gun rights advocates — basically that us non-gun people need to be held down as it were and made to learn that it’s okay being around people carrying loaded weapons.
Well, I don’t want to learn. That doesn’t work where I live — geographically or metaphorically.
So, to the non-crazy gun owners (who I know make up the vast majority of gun owners), I’ve put out my experience and my take. Now I’m ready to talk.
Sorry, but you’ll need to give up your 2nd Amendment Rights because Josh Marshall wets himself every time he looks at a gun. So, if there are people who are scared of what someone might say, do we have to get rid of the First Amendment? How many of our Constitutional Rights are supposed to go away because they make liberals uncomfortable? Oh, and what a sacrifice it is for Josh Marshall to sa, “Get rid of those guns” when he would probably break into tears if he had to pick one up.
Isn’t it intriguing how often conservatives have to put up with things that offend them. Don’t like gay marriage? Too bad. Sick of liberalism being pushed in schools? Oh, well. Would you like to read a newspaper or watch television without having liberal values forced upon you? You’ve out of luck, buddy. But the moment some liberal is afraid, upset, or offended, the whole world is supposed to stop until he feels better.
Well, not this time because according to the Constitution of the United States, this is a country that will always have “gun people” — and thank God we do.