Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
There was this heartfelt guest opinion in the Arizona Daily Star today from a mother of a son with mental illness. Guest Column: A mother's desperate plea from the wilderness of her son's mental illness. But it was this line from her opinion that stands out:
Who can explain what it's like to watch a bright, idealistic mind imprisoned by paranoia and the "false, fixed beliefs" that are trademarks of the seriously mentally ill.
Meet these guys from the "happiness is a warm gun" crowd with "false, fixed beliefs" in a front page article by Howard Fischer (note: these are the guys to whom Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature listen). 2 groups advocate arming teachers:
Ken Rineer, president of Gun Owners of Arizona, said there is no reason to continue . . . the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, first approved in 1990. "I think we've had more campus school shootings since enactment of the law than before," he said.
Charles Heller, president of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, said "The main issue here is not that a deranged individual gained access to a firearm, as there is very little anyone could do to prevent that," the organization's statement read. "It's that anyone who could have stopped his rampage could not gain access to a firearm."
The bottom line, said Heller, is more people with guns creates a safer environment.
"You shoot the attacker and stop the attack," he said. "It stops people from getting killed."
Heller and Rineer said they are not advocating arming every teacher and staffer. Instead, they said, those with special training should have immediate access to firearms should the need arise.
These are the kind of gun owners who have a psycho-sexual fetish for guns. They get excited to the point of being orgasmic just thinking about and talking about guns. We all know someone like this. Stephen Colbert has been portraying these fetishists for years with his love for his gun "sweetness" (mashup video of numerous segments).
This fetishization was described by a life-long gun owner in a comment at Talking Points Memo this past weekend. Tactical Reality | TPM Editors Blog:
The gun culture that we have today in the U.S. is not the gun culture, so to speak, that I remember from my youth. It’s too simple to say that it’s “sick;” it’s more accurately an absurd fetishization. I suppose that the American Gunfighter, in all of his avatars, is inescapably fetishistic, but (to my point) somewhere along the way - maybe in, uh, 1994? - we crossed over into Something Else: let’s call it Gonzo Fetishization. The American Gunfighter as caricature.
* * *
Most of the men and children (of both sexes) I met were interested in hunting, too. Almost exclusively, they used traditional hunting rifles: bolt-actions, mostly, but also a smattering of pump-action, lever-action, and (thanks primarily to Browning) semi-automatic hunting rifles. They talked about gun ownership primarily as a function of hunting; the idea of “self-defense,” while always an operative concern, never seemed to be of paramount importance. It was a factor in gun ownership - and for some sizeable minority of gun owners, it was of outsized (or of decisive) importance - but it wasn’t the factor. The folks I interacted with as a pre-adolescent and - less so - as a teen owned guns because their fathers had owned guns before them; because they’d grown up hunting and shooting; and because - for most of them - it was an experience (and a connection) that they wanted to pass on to their sons and daughters.
And that’s my point: I can’t remember seeing a semi-automatic weapon of any kind at a shooting range until the mid-1980’s. Even through the early-1990’s, I don’t remember the idea of “personal defense” being a decisive factor in gun ownership. The reverse is true today: I have college-educated friends - all of whom, interestingly, came to guns in their adult lives - for whom gun ownership is unquestionably (and irreducibly) an issue of personal defense. For whom the semi-automatic rifle or pistol - with its matte-black finish, laser site, flashlight mount, and other “tactical” accoutrements - effectively circumscribe what’s meant by the word “gun.” At least one of these friends has what some folks - e.g., my fiancee, along with most of my non-gun-owning friends - might regard as an obsessive fixation on guns; a kind of paraphilia that (in its appetite for all things tactical) seems not a little bit creepy. Not “creepy” in the sense that he’s a ticking time bomb; “creepy” in the sense of…alternate reality. Let’s call it “tactical reality.”
The “tactical” turn is what I want to flag here. It has what I take to be a very specific use-case, but it’s used - liberally - by gun owners outside of the military, outside of law enforcement, outside (if you’ll indulge me) of any conceivable reality-based community: these folks talk in terms of “tactical” weapons, “tactical” scenarios, “tactical applications,” and so on. It’s the lingua franca of gun shops, gun ranges, gun forums, and gun-oriented Youtube videos. (My god, you should see what’s out there on You Tube!) Which begs my question: in precisely which “tactical” scenarios do all of these lunatics imagine that they’re going to use their matte-black, suppressor-fitted, flashlight-ready tactical weapons? They tend to speak of the “tactical” as if it were a fait accompli; as a kind of apodeictic fact: as something that everyone - their customers, interlocutors, fellow forum members, or YouTube viewers - experiences on a regular basis, in everyday life. They tend to speak of the tactical as reality.
And I think there’s a sense in which they’ve constructued their own (batshit insane) reality.
One in which we have to live.
So why in God's name should anyone listen to the "happiness is a warm gun" crowd with a psycho-sexual fetish for guns, who are "imprisoned by paranoia and the false, fixed beliefs" that more guns is always the solution to every problem, when they are living in an alternate (batshit insane) "tactical reality"?
UPDATE: I had completely forgotten about this question during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. Joe Biden delivers the spot-on answer: "I tell you what, if that's his 'baby' he needs help. I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun."