I was thinking about how sometimes things that seem really cool in theory aren’t so cool in real life. Imagine for a minute if you got a bunch of James Bond gadgets. You’re thinking, tits, right? But think this through. Let’s say you’ve got this laser watch. It tells time, and it shoots lasers. You’re thinking, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It may be. But how on earth are you ever going to use this in real life?
Best possible scenario, your buddy is locked out of his car in the parking lot at work, you’re like, I got this, pal, and zzzap, you’ve burned a blowtorch-carved hole around his door and left it worse than if there was a fire. Now you have to file a ton of insurance forms. Sweet. Your friend wishes you would have just let Marge from Reception try to get it with a coat hanger. You are a dick.
Same goes with poison-dart pens and knife-extending toe boots, and all that gear. It’s dangerous. I’m probably going to kill some innocent Grams in line at the post office if I’m just carrying it around, or I’m gonna maim myself. See, that’s the thing about deadly tools with a function that has nothing to do with the life I am living. I can get one and carry it around to fantasize that I’m some hero, but in real life people are just gonna get hurt. See where I’m going with this?
Some people have a profession-related purpose to have guns, like some people have a profession-related purpose to have a cherry-picker truck or molten-lead extruders. And I admire hunters. Hunting takes meticulous process-based skill and patience, qualities that I aspire to myself. Plus, eating animals is delicious.
I mean, we mostly eat cows and pigs and chickens, and you don’t really have to hunt those cause they just stand around in stockyards, but like, deer, sometimes some people eat a deer or something. And hunting is one of those things that humans evolved to do which was important in keeping us alive for thousands of years and is, like, a natural and noble emblem of our instinctual selves – I get that, it’s cool.
But hunters don’t carry semi-automatic assault rifles with red-dot holographics and big ammo drums.
James Bond doesn’t have them either, unless he picks them up off a dead guy – he carries this tiny black pistol that makes, like, a pew pew noise, because he doesn’t want anyone to see or be impressed by his gun; he doesn’t want people to know he has a gun. James Bond doesn’t spend time fitting scopes and sights. Nerds do that for him. James Bond doesn’t go to the range. He goes to the bar.
So when you’ve got a gun and you’re presenting it to the world, you aren’t fantasy-roleplaying a James Bond, you are fantasy-roleplaying Rambo. You want to be Rambo. The thing is, you aren’t Rambo.
You don’t look like Rambo, with or without your gat, either: you look like an ordinary dude who should have better things to do, or you look like a backwater hillbilly if you dress like one, or you look like a psychopath if you’re at rallies yelling and shit, because you think you’re standing up for everyman, but I am everyman, and oh god why is this crazy man waving a gun around and yelling near my family, we should go. You are an ordinary human being with real-world concerns like your girlfriend’s feelings and the electric bill is due.
Fantasies are cool. We’re all a little Walter Mitty. Top Gear says guys who drive a Saab are all turtleneck-wearing architects and dentists with kids who strap into their sedan and go, Now I am Chuck Yeager, baby. But these fantasies are not about ending human life, nor are the toys that enable us into the roleplay of those fantasies about ending human life.
I know, I know, it’s about defending your family, only really it isn’t, because if it was you’d get a high-end security system and make your wife and kids wear Kevlar vests. It’s about thinking you could defend your family in a way that involves the efficient and bad-ass killing of other human beings with a deadly weapon, specifically.
Okay, I guess if I’m so unlucky some psychopath with a deadly weapon comes to murder unarmed me and all the loved ones I hold dear, you can dance gleefully on our graves with your AK-47 chanting “I told you so.” I don’t know what point you will be proving.
Ultimately, gun-toting is a reaction to fear. “Someone is going to hurt me.” I understand that. We all know what it’s like to be afraid. We all know what it’s like to have a sense of helpless dread and to feel a need to be able to defend ourselves, and this mindset is especially valid and acute coming from those who have been victimized or been close to those who have been victimized in some important way in their lives.
But being afraid leads to dangerous decisions as a motivation, not rational ones. Of course there is danger in the world. But when you make decisions regarding deadly weapons out of fear, you’re not moving towards making yourself and others safer. When I’m afraid of biological disease, I don’t stockpile vials of black plague all around my family and yell I’m proud. You’re smarter than that, 007.