People in a society find ways to avoid conflict, and instead they find substitutes for it. I think the gun has become one of those substitutes.
Instead of addressing the root causes of the inequalities in our society, such as the limits of access to education, jobs, housing, the legal system etc., we invent or come up with crime scenarios. The gun becomes the substitute way to solve conflict in the United States, and the biggest conflict of all is crime.
So that’s how I view it as a political fetish — that it’s a substitution. This is a moment in the United States when access to political power is, I think, limited to a class of professional politicians and lobbyists. And the act of buying a gun can mimic political action. It makes people feel as if they are engaging in politics of political protest.
I’ll give an example of how I think guns have political meaning. One of my old friends who is an ex-Vietnam vet, a Navy pilot, said to me one night, “Whenever I get mad at the government, I go out and buy a gun.” And to me, that’s a form of mimicking political action. One is left only with a gun in one’s closet. One has not changed or affected the government at all. In that way, I see it as a fetish, a substitute.
October 16, 2006
Joan Burbick’s ‘Gun Show Nation’ Explains How the “Gun Rights” Movement is a White Male Political Power Play
[Just so you know what they think of you.–Joe]