The real source of the problem

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My guess is that you can guess what this is going to be about.

Hint: What happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas.

Like every time there is a notable shooting (Honestly, the fact that we have to specify “notable” is a pretty good indication that there is a problem) in the United States, people start to argue for gun control.

Both sides have some pretty decent points, and as always, both sides also have some ridiculous arguments.

It is very hard to ignore the fact that the United States contain almost as many privately-owned guns as there are citizens, and it is also a country that has to deal with almost one public-place shooting per day on average. This is a correlation that is hard to justify.

On the other hand, pretty much all of these shootings are done with illegal weapons, or at least weapons obtained through illegal means, both of which are already banned. It is hard to refute the fact that additional bans on weapons that are not used in the shootings will most likely not solve the problem.

I’ve been thinking about it, trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and I have an hypothesis.

I live in Canada. I’m not even sure what the laws are here, but I know a few years ago, keeping or getting rid of a registry for all fire arms was a big debate, so I assume private citizens are at least allowed to buy some firearms under some circumstances, and the government seems to keep track of it somehow. I personally don’t want a gun. I don’t hunt, and I think that the odds of me ever needed a gun for protection are lower than the odds of me never misusing the gun until then, and correctly using it if the situation comes. On the other hand, I get it. I understand how some people, who think (either justified or not) that they can handle the gun, could want the extra protection.

Basically, I wouldn’t do it, but I get why some people would.

But after that, I’m lost. Why do they buy a second one? a third one?

Why can you find some people who brag about owning 23 different guns? That, I don’t understand.

By itself, it’s probably not that big of a problem. If you managed to handle safely a gun around your house, with proper security measures, you probably can handle a few more too. But while it may not be a problem, it is certainly a consequence of a problem. Why would people want to buy so many guns, if not because of some sort of gun obsession or power fantasy? You can’t ever use more than one gun at a time efficiently, and any safe gun storage will cost quite a bit, so you won’t keep one in every room of your house. Therefore having more guns than people in your house will not help you.

I think the “I-own-twenty-guns” syndrome is a consequence of a pretty important problem. I think we’ve been looking at this wrong. Owning all those guns did not cause the mass shootings, and witnessing so many mass shootings doesn’t make everyone buy all those guns. I think both are correlated, not because one causes the other, but because both are caused by a common phenomenon. There is a gun fetish in the United States.

It’s a culture problem. I don’t know anyone here in Canada who would brag about their guns, because it is not seen as some sort of proof of power or dominance.

The second amendment is fair. If your government ever becomes tyrannical, you’ll be glad you have guns, and if everyone has guns, the government will probably think twice before becoming tyrannical. But what the founding fathers did not realise is that adding gun-ownership right next to free speech and calling your country the land of the free turned it, in everyone’s subconscious, from “a tool to help in extreme circumstances” to “a proof that you have complete freedom”.

You can hate guns, yet accept that they can be useful. Juste like I hate paying taxes, but I realize that it’s for the greater good (or at least, it’s supposed to be). The second amendment should be understood as “You are allowed to own this horrible murder tool in case someone ever tries to enslave or murder you. It’s bad, but maybe one day it will help you escape worse”. But right now, it is interpreted as “You are allowed, and should, own this proof of your freedom, because the fact that we let you have it is the ultimate way to show just how free you are”.

So my hypothesis is that the problem is a cultural one, that goes back centuries. Everyone kills each other with guns in the united states, not because they have access to guns, but because they like them. Honest citizens love those freedom protection-tools, and crazy nutjobs love those efficient killing tools. In other countries, the nutjobs kill people through other means, not because guns aren’t available (as I said, they are available in some way here), but because guns are not romanticized.

As for the solution? Honestly I don’t know. I assume complete gun control for a few decades ought to at least undo some of the gun-loving culture, but as always, taking them away from people who truly want them will make them want them even more.

Our best bet might be to subtly suggest that people who own more than two guns might have a weird perverted gun fetish. Pretending totally normal things are perverted and creepy has worked in creating a societal stigma around those things for as long as society can remember after all.