Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   47 comments

Life Arts

Should we call gun nuts "gun nuts"?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   News 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 2/3/13

Become a Fan
  (19 fans)

The minister at my local Unitarian Universalist church said in a sermon that left-leaning folks should stop calling gun-rights advocates names such as "gun nuts" and "morons." She said that it sure is tempting to call them insulting names, but it's counter-productive.

Her words got me thinking.

After the sermon, I asked her about it. I said, during the civil rights movement of the 60s, didn't protesters call their opponents names like "racist" and "bigot"? She said that during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s progress came from non-violent protest, not from name calling. Check your history, she said.

I discussed this issue with friends. One friend said, "I think name-calling is absurd unless your intention is to piss someone off. I think pissing someone off is absurd unless your intention is to escalate a conflict. I am a big fan of nonviolence."

Another friend said

She's right about the name calling being not productive. Still, when someone is stockpiling weapons to prepare for some apocalyptic event, or defend themselves against government tyranny or the UN, it's kind of hard to pretend they are rational people with a legitimate point of view. I usually refer to them as "gun fetishists", "paranoid", and "delusional". Sigh, I guess I will try to stick with terms like "gun enthusiasts" and "survivalists".

Yet another friend said we should take the term "gun nut" seriously and treat these people as if they have a mental illness. We shouldn't provoke them by calling them names. I responded, "Good idea! Let's visibly and vocally treat them as deranged. That'll really annoy them and make them look ridiculous. We can write condescending articles."

Finally, Bill Moyer warned me that name-calling can backfire and generate sympathy for the target.

Is the minister correct about history of the civil rights movement? Are the minister and my friends correct about name calling being counter-productive?  Moreover, are gun nuts really nuts?

Let's start with the last question.

The psychology of gun obession

Are gun enthusiasts REALLY mentally deranged?  It depends on which ones we're talking about.   Some gun owners are just hobbyists.

Who are the gun nuts?  I'm referring to gun enthusiasts who collect weapons and who oppose restrictions on assault rifles, waiting periods, and ammunition. I'm referring to gun enthusiasts who imagine waging war against the US military. I'm referring to gun enthusiasts who treat the Second Amendment as if it's foundational to our freedoms and a justification for easy access to assault-style weapons.

Back now to my question. Are gun nuts deranged? I don't know.  Are skinheads or the Taliban deranged? I rather think they're just wrong-headed. They're caught up in a toxic ideology. They may be somewhat paranoid and aggressive. I doubt that they're paranoid schizophrenic. Is the psychology of political zealotry akin to the psychology of religious extremism? Such extremism is different from individual psychosis. I bet, though it shares some features.

A psychologist friend said, "more likely a mood or anxiety disorder than a thought disorder like schizophrenia."

There's a huge range of ways that people can be stupid or mad, especially in crowds.

The best analysis of the psychology of gun enthusiasts I know of is by Peter Michaelson. In The Psychology Behind Mass Shootings, Michaelson describes the paranoia and violence of mass murderers. His description gives insight into the psychology of gun fetishes.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

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...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The myth that the Dems are as bad as the Repugs

Failure to prosecute: why Obama is having trouble passing health care reform

Undividing the Left: Hard-core and Soft-core progressives

"They're out to get us!" On trust, distrust, and organizing for change

The Battle over I-1098 in Washington State

Why Abortion Isn't Murder

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
15 people are discussing this page, with 47 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

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