15 January 2008

Not Exactly a Gun Culture

Experts think that America's "gun culture" (???) is fading. Here's an excerpt:
[America's falling out of love with guns] runs counter to popular perceptions of the United States as a country where most citizens are armed to the teeth and believe it is every American's inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle with the minimum of bureaucratic paperwork.
Let me correct them: "... with no bureaucratic paperwork, thankyouverymuch."


Whose "popular perception" is this, anyway? I mean, who's armed? Who thinks everyone should be? I know very few gun owners, and to the best of my knowledge, no one I know believes that it's everyone's "inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle."

The perception I grew up with - not from my parents, who were silent on it, aside from being strongly anti-gun-in-the-house, but from public school, TV, and newspapers - was that gun owners (aside from gansters/-as) were freaks who delighted in murdering Bambi (and his Mommy), who thought violence was always the best solution, and who generally crouched in the back woods of some hilly southern State reading their Bible and arguing over who was more "saved." And let me re-state that they were the freaks - not the general population.

The perception I grew up with was most emphatically NOT "everyone is armed to the teeth and it's everyone's right to wield assault weapons while grocery shopping."

The perception I now have - which I assume to be more accurate, as it's based on a much broader and non-agenda-based experience - is that while most people DO NOT own a firearm, and many in fact recommend against it; most people also believe that responsible citizens should be able to keep and bear arms for their safety... or sport. (Although, eeeeewww...I wouldn't want to shoot any living thing unless my life depended on it!)

We could go on about what "safety" means and what the Founding Fathers were talking about, but that's for another time... this is just one striking example of how the media has twisted American culture and values.

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