Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns, Penises and Revenge

American culture seems obsessed with revenge, guns and dicks. Masculinity is increasingly tied to packing a gun (substitute penis) and the bigger the better, of course. One of the most prolific and politically active arms of the military industry are gun manufacturers. Decades of lobbying and ads and cultural manipulation have led to more guns sold than ever, despite the decrease in the overall crime rate gun owners supposedly need protection from. Hell, everyone from Mother Jones to CNN has the ad from the Bushmaster rifle the shooter in Conecticut had:

Lovely, right? Aside from the sexism, this ad is a blatant promotion of the violent revenge fantasies played out in every action movie and television show. Americans want to be the vigilante, avenging perceived wrongs. Most won't act on them, but I don't think the ones who do are all that different from the ones who don't. Maybe they just got pushed a little too far, were a little to isolated or were a little on edge from life events. Think how many regular office employees with no history of violence get laid off and show up armed.

But we as a culture cannot face our own demons. When a white gunman kills 20 children in a school his mother worked at, we call him "crazy" and a "lone nut." We stigmatize mental illness and then blame it. Now the man in question may or may not have had some diagnosed disorder, but it is statistically irrelevant. The rate of violence among the "crazies" is the same as the "normal" people. It is just an excuse, a dodge from actually examining our gun laws and violence obsessed culture. We have spent too long building arms and worshipping war and revenge to simply fix it, but it would be nice to at least talk about it. A little introspection goes a long way.

Instead we have Fox claiming that it is too early to talk about gun control, then five seconds later saying guns couldn't be to blame because crazy people and because other ways to die exist. They bring up various bombers and such while ignoring the rarity of such incidents. We always fall back on absolutism. If something doesn't work 100% of the time then it may as well never work, right?

There has been a lot of examination on why blaming mental illness is a terrible thing, on why we call out white terrorists as "lone nuts" while simultaneously calling non white terrorists what they are. But at its heart, the problem really lies in our inability to talk about the problem itself. Any way to otherise the violence and defensively fall back to our culture of gun worship we will take. We have problems. And they are very closely tied together. The same military complex that gave us the cold war, the Iraq war, the missile buildup and gun culture gave us these shootings. It gave us our religiosity and fundamental fear of science and distaste for environmentalism and feminism and every other positive ism. It leads even self identified skeptics to be irrational and in the end, it prevents us from introspection. It all ties to that. We cannot look inwards.

Logic Priest

Edit: Read the hell outta this.

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