LET’S be honest. He’s scared of the thing. That’s understandable — so am I. But as a girl I have the luxury of being able to admit it. I don’t have to masquerade squeamishness as grand principle-in the interest of mankind, no less.
A man does. He has to say things like “One Taniqua Hall is one too many,” as a New York radio talk show host did in referring to the 9-year old New York girl who was accidentally shot last year by her 12-year old cousin playing with his uncle’s gun. But the truth is he desperately needs Taniqua Hall, just like he needs as many Columbines and Santees as can be mustered, until they spell an end to the Second Amendment. And not for the benefit of the masses, but for the benefit of his self-esteem.
He often accuses men with guns of “compensating for something.” The truth is quite the reverse. After all, how is he supposed to feel knowing there are men out there who aren’t intimidated by the big bad inanimate villain? How is he to feel in the face of adolescent boys who have used the family gun effectively in defending the family from an armed intruder? So if he can’t touch a gun, he doesn’t want other men to be able to either. And to achieve his ends, he’ll use the only weapon he knows how to manipulate: the law.
Of course, sexual and psychological insecurities don’t account for ALL men against guns. Certainly there must be some whose motives are pure, who perhaps do care so much as to tirelessly look for policy solutions to teenage void and aggressiveness, and to parent and teacher negligence. But for a potentially large underlying contributor, psycho-sexual inadequacy has gone unexplored and unacknowledged. It’s one thing to not be comfortable with a firearm and therefore opt to not keep or bear one. But it’s another to impose the same handicap onto others.
People are suspicious of what they do not know — and not only does this man not know how to use a gun, he doesn’t know the men who do, or the number of people who have successfully used one to defend themselves from injury or death. But he is better left in the dark; his life is hard enough knowing there are men out there who don’t sit cross-legged. That they’re able to handle a firearm instead of being handled by it would be too much to bear.
Such a man is also best kept huddled in urban centers, where he feels safer than he might if thrown out on his own into a rural setting, in an isolated house on a quiet street where he would feel naked and helpless. Lacking the confidence that would permit him to be sequestered in sparseness, and lacking a gun, he finds comfort in the cloister of crowds.
The very ownership of a gun for defense of home and family implies some assertiveness and a certain self-reliance. But if our man kept a gun in the house, and an intruder broke in and started attacking his wife in front of him, he wouldn’t be able to later say, “He had a knife — there was nothing I could do!” Passively watching in horror while already trying to make peace with the violent act, scheduling a therapy session and forgiving the perpetrator before the attack is even finished wouldn’t be the option it otherwise is.
No. Better to emasculate all men. Because let’s face it: He’s a lover, not a fighter. And he doesn’t want to get shot in case he has an affair with your wife.
Of course, it wouldn’t be completely honest not to admit that owning a firearm carries with it some risk to unintended targets. That’s the tradeoff with a gun: The right to defend one’s life and way of life isn’t without peril to oneself. And the last thing this man wants to do is risk his life — if even to save it. For he is guided by a dread fear for his life, and has more confidence in almost anyone else’s ability to protect him than his own, preferring to place himself at the mercy of the villain or in the sporadically competent hands of authorities (his line of defense consisting of locks, alarm systems, reasoning with the attacker, calling the police or, should fighting back occur to him, thrashing a heavy vase).
In short, he is a man begging for subjugation. He longs for its promise of equality in helplessness. Because only when that strange, independent alpha breed of male is helpless along with him will he feel adequate. Indeed, his freedom lies in this other man’s containment.