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Should we call gun nuts "gun nuts"?

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Negative emotions accumulate inside them, producing bitterness, anger, despair, and, finally, rage. Their rage, even when hidden from others, produces a third-rate sense of power that covers up their emotional entanglement in hopelessness and passivity. They crave power because they feel so powerless, yet in their dark negativity they can express only negative, destructive power. They seek death because they feel so powerfully overwhelmed by life.

Because their weak self-regulation compels them to continually recycle negative emotions, they hold on to grudges. These grudges and grievances accumulate in them, giving them a feeling of substance, a place of being to which they cling in the chaos of their inner conflict.

In a later, even more incisive analysis, The Double Barrels of Gun Mania, Michaelson says that guns "provide two psychological defenses--the double barrels of self-defeat--that make their ownership so desirable. One barrel discharges the illusion of safety and the other the illusion of power. Why do so many gun owners grasp at these illusions or inner defenses?" He goes on

Some Americans have a passion for handguns and assault weapons because these firearms compensate for inner fear. We generate this fear from within our psyche, based on unresolved inner conflicts. A lot of fear is produced, for instance, through our unconscious defensiveness vis-a-vis our inner critic. A lot of irrational fear is also left over from childhood. But people tend to believe their fear is reality-based, meaning that, in their minds, menace and genuine dangers do indeed lurk outside their door. They take the uncertainty of life and translate it emotionally into a parade of red flags.

Such gun enthusiasts are unconsciously determined to validate their inner fears. Rather than resolve the inner conflict that produces their fears, they make them seem legitimate by emphasizing emotionally the dangers and menace that might exist in their towns, neighborhoods, and workplaces...

Guns don't represent true power. If America were taken over by an immoral force--a financial elite, for instance, that bought off and corrupted our politicians--gun enthusiasts would be standing around casually, blithely ignorant of non-violent dangers, fondling their weapons only for the defense of their self-image.

Hold onto that image of gun lovers fondling their guns. Michaelson concludes:

This nation's preoccupation with guns is not so much fear-based as passivity-based. We don't connect well enough with our better self and the higher values of integrity, courage, wisdom, and compassion. On an inner level, many people allow their inner critic to be the master of their personality and to pass judgment on their worthiness. Inwardly, they're emotionally weak and defensive, familiar with feeling helpless and overwhelmed, yet desperate to exhibit some pretense of assurance and power.

This is neurosis, not mental illness. A neurotic person is prone to being negative, defensive, fearful, anxious, and reactionary. Too many gun advocates are seeing the world through their neurosis. In many families, it's often the most dysfunctional or neurotic individuals who set the tone for the family and hold sway over it. Only determined intervention by healthier members of the family can save the situation. The American family needs our intervention in many areas of national life, beginning with the enactment and enforcement of wise gun regulation.

On bad ass name-calling

In general, I think we progressives emasculate ourselves and fail to take advantage when we have a leg-up on a situation.  We're inappropriately passive, in view of the aggressiveness and viciousness of our political enemies.

Consider how effectively right wingers eviscerated liberals like Mike Dukakis and Jimmy Carter, and how they Swift-Boated John Kerry. And consider how Rush Limbaugh successfully denigrated the word "liberal" to the point that we now call ourselves "progressives."

And it was all based on lies and distortions. We're correct about these gun nuts, and yet we're still are hesitant to call a spade a spade -- or a nut a nut.

Why is it that conservatives' criticisms, slanders, and insults stick, while when we go on the attack -- which we rarely do -- our words bounce off or revert back onto us? Their arrows hit the mark. Ours bounce off. They win, we lose.

Consider how much damage our ideological opponents did to the nation and the world.

In 2008, when Bush and the Republicans were at the nadir of their popularity, it seemed possible that the Republican Party and their crazy, destructive ideologies would be out of favor for years to come. Instead, Obama's bipartisanship helped revive them, and the Tea Party went on to win the 2010 midterm elections. What a disaster!

We progressives need to get some balls! We need to stand up for ourselves, not in a paranoid way, but in a self-assertive realistic way.

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http://waliberals.org

DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://TruthSite.org for my writing, my (more...)
 

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A fine piece, Don, and I look forward to more, as ... by Jesse Sublett on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 11:26:31 AM
Posted on opednews this week, entitled The Ri... by Don Caldarazzo on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 12:27:33 PM
It's hard to read this chart from the link in your... by Paul Rye on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 1:46:33 PM
And a comparison of the numbers of people who are ... by Eric Arthur Blair on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 3:31:00 PM
Is it your intent to do a "Piers Morgan" analysis?... by Paul Rye on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 5:01:38 PM
For an alternative view on this, please read Guns ... by John Spritzler on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 12:27:49 PM
The link in my previous comment doesn't work for s... by John Spritzler on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 12:33:20 PM
Anyone who writes this way: "I bet gun nuts slee... by Paul Rye on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 1:34:02 PM
I'm OK with people owning guns.  I'm not OK w... by Don Smith on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 3:11:44 PM
I'll let you know.... by Paul Rye on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 5:06:17 PM
being targeted are "military-style" weapons. They ... by comncents on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 10:55:11 PM
guns for the purpose of well regulated militias bu... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 1:53:42 AM
... which is a social phenomenon with multiple cau... by Michael Gillespie on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 2:30:51 PM
"We progressives need to get some balls! We need t... by Eric Arthur Blair on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 3:28:03 PM
So Don Smith thinks we shouldn't insult "gun en... by KurtB on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 4:12:51 PM
I suggest that you make sure to vote for anti-war ... by Don Smith on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 4:43:57 PM
ANYONE that disagrees with totalitarian gun contro... by comncents on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:52:07 PM
Please be as specific as possible.... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 10:28:38 PM
I don't take your article as an insult, though tha... by BravoBull on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 5:03:00 PM
The idea that people with "small arms" cannot stan... by comncents on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 12:24:36 AM
People who need a gun to venture out of the house ... by Simon Leigh on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 4:45:15 PM
They are too scared to admit they're scared or the... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 10:32:34 PM
Right wingers start senseless wars, sell off the U... by Don Smith on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 5:51:39 PM
"Right wingers (Neo-Cons, not true Conservative... by KurtB on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 8:39:00 PM
But I consider Obama to be rather right wing on mo... by Don Smith on Sunday, Feb 3, 2013 at 11:09:53 PM
I have to be honest and say I'm really torn on thi... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 1:52:25 AM
The point isn't to change the minds of gun nuts. R... by Don Smith on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:20:22 AM
... minds of the general public. Yes make their ("... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:28:23 PM
Don The scope of paraphrasing what you said was th... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:37:27 PM
"Rather, the point is to change the minds of the p... by J. Edward Tremlett on Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013 at 8:00:33 AM
Go ahead and fire at will. The people with Authori... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 2:08:26 AM
Really stupid choice of words. Very sorry. I reall... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 2:13:40 AM
Who needs automatic rifles when you have automatic... by Ned Lud on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 7:39:22 AM
Name-calling has to be backed up by reasoned argum... by Don Smith on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:29:20 AM
Hi Don~   There is a little story about fis... by Ned Lud on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 12:39:49 PM
People are so busy dividing themselves over these ... by comncents on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:59:14 PM
Thank you.   As the collective crimes of th... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:15:03 AM
However can you connect the general statements wit... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 12:49:23 AM
The common ground is the desire to be a human bein... by Ned Lud on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 9:19:43 AM
I agree that is common ground.Do you believe liber... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013 at 4:26:47 PM
Are you talking about conservatives or liberals o... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 4, 2013 at 5:44:20 PM
So tell me, what is the direct logical connection ... by Neil Ringlee on Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at 5:02:39 PM
You ask for the "direct logical connection between... by Don Smith on Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at 7:49:02 PM
... by David Vicks on Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at 10:28:41 PM
... by David Vicks on Friday, Feb 8, 2013 at 10:31:23 PM
on the spot are two different things. The mas... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 1:56:53 AM
... yes I'm angry but be clear even if my opinion ... by David Vicks on Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at 2:29:43 AM