He uses the word “little” as a verbal bludgeon, as in his frequent repetition of the phrase “hypocritical little nitwit.”
The purpose of using the word that way is to belittle: literally, to make little. When someone is depicted as “little,” for a moment he might appear (to the flamer) to have become smaller and less threatening. When the flamer is hooked on such talk, it seems likely to me he has revealed that he’s afraid of something — and he has to make the thing that frightens him into a small, harmless, even ludicrous object. But it doesn’t work; he has to go on doing this kind of thing because he can’t stop being afraid. He’s doing it to you today; he’ll do it to another guy tomorrow. (Each time, he’ll think it is a victory for him; in fact it does nothing for him — he’s just a little slow to realize it <g>)
Back in the days when I was very anti-gun, I tended to think of “gun nuts” as drooling, knuckle-dragging morons. Cavemen. Uneducated. Beer-drinking slobs who could barely read and who probably beat up their wives a lot. Maybe they were even all closet Nazis, eh? Etc., etc., etc. It was an image that came instantly to mind. I would talk about “gun nuts” that same way with friends of like mind. It all made such perfect sense to us.
But if ever I came across a “gun nut” in person I would be silent — especially if it was someone dressed in, say, hunting cammos. Or I might see “gun nuts” on TV and make a snide comment about them, but seeing them made me feel a bit afraid (something I didn’t reveal to other people). It wasn’t rational, but it wasn’t surprising considering how I’d been raised. It wasn’t until a long time later that I realized what I’d been doing: trying to make the “gun nuts” almost into sub-humans in my mind, and paint them as ridiculous and stupid so that they shrank in stature and were less scary to me. (But as I said, this doesn’t work. No amount of sneering made me feel less afraid.)
I have no doubt that some small percentage of “gun people” (those few who are outright fascistically-minded) “deserve” every bit of fear I had for them — then and now. But for crying out loud . . . what a stupid, prejudicial way to think about an entire group of people, with no distinctions made. It took some years to realize what a big lie there was in imagining myself enlightened and non-bigoted — all the while that I’d been thinking like a garden-variety bigot. That was one of the fun things about the ’60s and ’70s: You could fantasize that you were on a higher plane of consciousness than “those” people — and be every bit as bigoted and vicious as you thought they were. You didn’t have to hold yourself accountable, nor wonder if you weren’t being two-faced about it. By definition, as a more “enlightened” person, you didn’t have any of those problems. Only other people had such problems. It was all so convenient . . .