MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
You won't find anyone willing to dare say it much in the media, but a good percentage of the white men who oppose gun control of any sort – and who back measures that would even allow alleged terrorists and straw purchases for drug dealers to buy guns – are just afraid that without their guns, their phallic power will be reduced to size.
You can feel at least temporarily reassured when a long-barreled assault weapon compensates for just another average manhood; it's an irresistable testosterone high to the beleaguered white male.
Call this Freudian psychobabble analysis, but when you add it into the mix of just angry white males who want their guns to show that they are still top dog on the political, social and marital hierarchy, you got a good percentage of the psychologically need gun owners. A gun, particularly assault weapons and lethal militarized handguns, are at least two things: a prosthetic dick and a sign that even unemployed white guys still rule the Western World and sit at the head of the kitchen table.
We're talking about a dying patriarchy making a last stand with the ownership and brandishing of weapons that provide the semblance of ultimate power over life and death.
Sure, there is the rapidly decreasing tradition and understandable ritual of hunting in rural areas, particularly for those who actually need the meat because of near poverty. And there are handgun target shooters who truly regard handguns as a sport -- which they are in some cases. But these white men are a minority in a culture war that causes even elected Democrats to tremble in fear at voting on a gun control measure, even a law that might aid police in apprehending criminals, but the gun lobby opposes it for some obscure reason to rally their supporters around.
Let's face it, the more white guys feel besieged by a multi-cultural society in which women and minorities have chewed away at their perch until it is about to crash to the ground and leave them equals among other humans, the more fierce and maniacal the opposition to regulating guns as dangerous instruments of death becomes.
That is to say that a gun, or multiple numbers of them (which is the trend per gun owner over the past few years), provides a sense of potency, a shot of dominance that allows one – in some states -- to walk around "open carry" with a handgun. "You see who I am," the handgun symbolizes, "I am of the white guy lineage that conquered the world from the heathens, that wears a 'white hat,' that has anchored civilization since the launch of European empires. This gun tells you one thing; don't mess with me."
Add this to the militia conspiratorialists, the gun profiteers (manufacturers and the whole chain of distribution including gun stores and gun shows), and the guys like NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre who are pulling in hefty salaries running high-octane incendiary and fanciful Alamo campaigns to incite virulent fear – and you got the beginnings of understanding why gun control never gets much past "go." In fact, except with the brief early Bill Clinton passage of the Assault Weapons Ban (flawed as it was and which sunset after 10 years), the nation has been moving incrementally backwards on gun policy.
Memories of gun massacres last a few months and fade away, but the psychological need of the white man for feeling sexually and politically powerful continues like a raging tsunami as progressives forget about the last mass shooting, the issue receding as a priority among the majority of the nation who support gun control.
On March 29 in the Washington Post, Charlotte Childress and Harriet Childress discussed the culpability of white male gun worshippers in regards to mass shootings (and that is only the most visible edge of the some 10,000 gun homicides each year in the US, in addition to countless gun injuries):
Imagine if African American men and boys were committing mass shootings month after month, year after year. Articles and interviews would flood the media, and we’d have political debates demanding that African Americans be “held accountable.” Then, if an atrocity such as the Newtown, Conn., shootings took place and African American male leaders held a news conference to offer solutions, their credibility would be questionable. The public would tell these leaders that they need to focus on problems in their own culture and communities.
But when the criminals and leaders are white men, race and gender become the elephant in the room.
Nearly all of the mass shootings in this country in recent years — not just Newtown, Aurora, Fort Hood, Tucson and Columbine — have been committed by white men and boys. Yet when the National Rifle Association (NRA), led by white men, held a news conference after the Newtown massacre to advise Americans on how to reduce gun violence, its leaders’ opinions were widely discussed.
As just one of many logical fallacies in the public gun lobby stance in support of guns as religious objects that must be free of all constraints, the Childresses's point out:
When white men try to divert attention from gun control by talking about mental health issues, many people buy into the idea that the United States has a national mental health problem, or flawed systems with which to address those problems, and they think that is what produces mass shootings.
But women and girls with mental health issues are not picking up semiautomatic weapons and shooting schoolchildren. Immigrants with mental health issues are not committing mass shootings in malls and movie theaters. Latinos with mental health issues are not continually killing groups of strangers.
Of course, black and Latino youth are being shot down in urban areas like ducks on a pond, but the white guy gun lobby could care less about that. Given their reaction to the "post-racial" Obama presidency, many of them probably figure the fewer blacks and Latinos the better.
The reality is that for many of the gun "culture warriors" (and remember that they have the gun industry with a profiteering motive egging them on through the NRA and other gun groups), they are standing at the edge of a cliff with the multi-cultural hordes surrounding them, even governing them. And women are now supervising them in the workplace or in the same jobs as they do, if they are employed. And many women are now sexually independent and don't put up with a male sense of sexual prerogative.
Oh yes, and the American empire is facing threats on several fronts. Globalization is eating away at its post World War II dominance, with nations like "the yellow peril" of China becoming economic power houses. Jobs are hard to come by and terrorists abound behind every paranoid turn of the head.
It's not a good time to be a white man wistfully lamenting the age when white men ruled without dissent.
But like a nervous eater who turns to food to resolve anxiety, there's nothing like guns to restore a sense of glories past.
This is not an issue about self-defense; this is about psychological need -- born of sexual and curtural displacement -- assuaged by the possession of a killing machine.