paranoia raises its ugly head again
Recently, a newspaper in New York published the names and addresses of people who owned firearms in certain local counties. Ostensibly, it was to promote public safety. Maybe that was the intention, but I seem to remember the men in white sheets using the same justification for their (cross burnings and worse).
To celebrate the recent and well-deserved recognition of the fine writing talents of the stunningly articulate and witty John Zande, I thought it’d be nice to do a post based on the theme of paranoia. The particular brand of paranoia I’d like to focus on doesn’t relate directly to religious beliefs (although I expect it’s to blame somehow) but is more along the lines of ‘the government’s out to get me’. You know, when they threaten your freedom and your way of life, stuff like that.
For those of you who are not residing in the United States of America and may not be familiar with its quaint traditions or recent current events, I’ll do a quick summary. In 1791 some words were agreed upon by the politicians of the day that reflected the perceived importance of guns for the general population. The country had recently become a independent democratic republic and had no standing army or police force. Two hundred and a bit years down the line, the country has quite a large army and a very organised police force, so the general population has little need to be heavily armed.
Or so you might think. Unfortunately, the excellent efforts to unite the disparate states by brainwashing its citizens with a rousing brand of nationalism – based around a flag, a song and an old document – have kind of backfired. Somewhere along the line, the idea of having a gun to be part of a national, informal militia to defend against a serious threat of foreign invasion, became confused with the right of every individual to stockpile increasingly deadly weapons of their choice.
I’ve already blogged about gun control facts and the extreme statements some people who hold guns have made. But this angle is particularly intriguing and would benefit from just a tad of amateur psychological consideration. Is it reasonable to compare the motivation for a press publication that results in a breach of privacy for people who own guns, with the motivation for the activities of a vile and racist underground criminal organisation that has resulted in the death and injury of thousands of people? If you think this is a valid comparison, please tell me why. If you don’t think it’s a valid comparison, can you imagine why a white, male gun fanatic in Texas would think it is? I expect part of the answer can be put down to “an unwelcomed cognitive clusterfuck”. (expression copyright, John Zande)
Ahhhhh, guns! Guns and the Constitution. I really can’t remember where i got this from, but whoever wrote the following was a genius!
“While planting some hemp one day, George Washington discovered an early draft of the Constitution written in ancient Egyptian on a series of golden plates buried deep within the ground at Mount Vernon. James Madison translated and elaborated on the text with the help of Thomas Jefferson and an angel. The excited Founders immediately called for a Constitutional Convention to officially ratify the document and formally make America the best country ever…”
Now, isn’t that how it happened according to the teabillies?
Fantastic, that’s just hilarious! I think I might have to print it out and put it in a frame. Better yet, I’ll send it to all my deeply religious American relatives who may in fact think it’s true. 🙂
I have a sneaking suspicion it was an Onion piece, but i really can’t remember. Thanks for the kind words, too. You’re a gem 🙂
Guns give people that false sense of security just like everything else in the American Dream.
The only people who MIGHT need them are controversial public figures/speakers who aren’t popular enough to have security guards.
“false sense of security” Yes, there’s a real lack of a sense of personal security in the US. There’s something about a terrible welfare system and lack of universal healthcare that punches an unrecognised edge of fear into everyone. There’s no safety net, and I think that’s what makes it all a bit manic at times. Know what I mean? (I’ve tried doing a post on this but it always disintegrates into an incoherent ramble because I just can’t put my finger on it.)
Absolutely, capitalism & materialism are at the heart of it. Whether it’s to buy food, school books, an ipad or a Hummer — people use guns if they don’t have a credit card.
Publish a list like this in South Africa and the criminals would be rubbing their hands in glee while the schizoid gun owners would be frantically building pillboxes, 10 metre deep Haha’s, and landmining their front lawns.
The bookies would make also a ‘killing’ on who would beat whom.
“gun owners would be frantically building pillboxes, 10 metre deep Haha’s, and landmining their front lawns” Please don’t give any paranoid lurkers ideas!!
Why would anyone publish the names of gun owners? How does it promote public safety? I do not see the argument. I don’t like the press publishing petty criminals from the magistrates court- making generally vulnerable people who have not done huge harm into figures of ridicule and contempt- and I don’t like this. I want the press set on more powerful evildoers.
Yes, you’re right. Sounds like it was some sort of ill-conceived publicity stunt to make a point that people with guns are dangerous and to be avoided. I don’t think it was smart at all. But I don’t think the motivation is comparable with the base and ignorant hatred that got the KKK going.