Apart from religion, more Americans appear to be nuts on the subject of guns than all other topics. The National Rifle Association has raised and spent millions in recent years peddling scare stories about President Obama’s secret plan to abolish the Second Amendment, confiscate everybody’s deer rifles and set up a gun-free dictatorship.
Newtown conspiracy theories are only incrementally madder spinoffs of the NRA’s master narrative. Yet its leaders are treated as VIPs in newsrooms and TV studios. Why?
To believers, guns have become fetish objects in American popular culture, having magical potency. Witness Bushmaster Firearms’ advertising its .223 caliber AR-15 --Newtown killer Adam Lanza’s weapon — with the slogan: “Consider your Man Card reissued.”
Viagra ads are more subtle.
Hence conversations with gun cultists tend to be conducted in the dualistic, all-or-nothing terms of fundamentalist theology. Although polls have shown that large majorities of gun owners favor measures such as improved background checks to make it harder for criminals and severely mentally ill people to acquire deadly weapons, cultists see all such legislation in apocalyptic terms. Any regulation amounts to total confiscation.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
True Believers in a Firearms Fantasy