Friday, July 10, 2009

I Don't Get Guns, Cowboy

I'm now convinced this is an irreconcilable cultural barrier linked to "The Old West" and other historical events, but I cannot get my head around the American fascination with guns.

Mrs. Adolph Topperwein. [with gun] (LOC)

How ever many times someone says "guns don't kill people, people kill people," I have to say that if that person didn't have a gun in their hand, they probably would not be doing as much damage.

I know there has been a big problem with knife violence in Britain, but I believe there's a fundamental difference between using a knife and a gun. You use a knife, and you actually have to connect with the person you're attacking. Forgive me for putting this image in your head, but you have to feel it going in your victim. With a gun, it's almost like pushing a button - there's no connection. Plus there's all that room for "collateral damage," not to mention gun accidents.

I originally thought the guns/no guns argument was political - that Republicans were pro-gun and Democrats were anti-gun, but that's not entirely true. On a semi-related theme, I can't understand why someone can think that keeping records of gun-owners is an invasion of individual's privacy, while at the same time thinks that keeping DNA records of participants at a perfectly legal political protest is fair game. Or for that matter why so many "pro-lifers" are also pro death-penalty.

Having talked about guns, I will point out an interesting fact for the benefit of my British friends: Maybe it's just the circles I move in, but despite living in New Jersey (legendary home to mobsters and all sorts of shady characters) for more than ten years, the only people I've ever seen with a gun in real-life are cops.


La Belle Femme said...

Is there an American fascination with guns? Could be, but I don't get it. I've also never gotten the cowboy thing, either. Not my cuppa.

Graham said...

@La Belle Femme - well, I wouldn't call you a *typical* American either - and that's meant to be a compliment!

But try posting somewhere public that you want guns banned, and see where it gets you.

Apparently *some* Americans believe that they need them in case they have to overthrow a rogue Government one day!

La Belle Femme said...

I saw a funny cartoon about that once...I'll have to find it and share. I think you'd laugh. :D Hope I can recall where I saw it...

No, I'm not a typical American. Phew!

Graham said...

Please do share, @La Belle Femme!

La Belle Femme said...

Found it! You've probably seen it, but it's so very relevant to your blog post:

Graham said...

@La Belle Femme - Of course, I remember that segment from "Bowling for Columbine!"

Here's a clickable link:

American History

La Belle Femme said...

Good fit to the blog: excellent. :)

Lexie said...

I enjoyed reading your post Graham, as always it was both interesting and funny!

There is indeed a little obesession of Americans with guns, maybe not in all states, I guess it happens more to some particular places maybe but it's a fact that most Americans love their guns :D. Or at least it seems to be that way...

Nice post Graham

Graham said...

Thanks, @Lexie - I have to say that if the TV is to be believed, many Greeks like their guns too. I've seen quite a few scenes of drunken Greek men shooting their guns in the air. Out in the country, of course. Is this just a stereotype?

Carrie B said...

Davy Crocket...King of the Wild Frontier!

Excellent Post!

Graham said...

Thanks so much, @Carrie B

Cindy O said...

Perhaps one explanation is that since our country was founded, since it's beginning as the United States, guns were in already in existence.

The first settlers used guns to hunt food and to kill "hostile natives."

The American Revolution, this nation's first war, was fought with guns. Think about it! As a nation, America has no history of any kind of warfare prior to guns!

The Second Amendment to our constitution gave early Americans the right to bear arms as a "natural right" to self defense, a means to deter an undemocratic government, and a means to maintain an organized militia.

As part of the Bill of Rights, it was enacted very early in America's history, within just a couple of years of the ratification of our constitution!

Americans perceived very early on that guns provided a means to protect them from persecution from tyrannical governments. This persecution is why they fled to America in the first place.

Also, even today, just a mere 250 years after it's beginning, in this vast continent with huge pockets of wilderness and abundant wildlife, hunters still use their guns to put food on their tables.

I agree that as a nation, a facination with guns exists in America, which does make it very difficult to enact legislation to protect her citizens from misuse.

Like it, no, but understand it, yes.

Graham said...

@Cindy O - I knew I could count on you for a well thought out comment!

As I said in my original post, the gun culture is part of American history. Maybe modern-day America couldn't have existed without guns.

But so many other things from way back when have disappeared. Why not guns?

Cindy O said...

Graham, we can only hope!

Pazcual said...

I'm going to be terrible honest with you: with boths you can hurt and kill someone, no matter how conected you get.
Unfortunaley, I live in a country were guns and knife are used for killed and destroyed thousands of lifes and families, and because of that I personally dislike guns and all kind of violence. I beleive in dialogue no matter how utopic this sounds. I've always consider that americans are completely paranoic by having a gun next to them when there's no need (we can say apparently but since I won't enter in the eternal discussion keep it as that). And I've seen people here, apart from coops, with guns, and more than once I've felt completley scared.
And a curious tip: Colombia it's the only country that, according to different no guvernamental organizations, has the army on the streets carrying heavy guns. You see that and you freak out.

Greets (and excellent post btw!)


Graham said...

@Pazcual - as usual, I than you for your comments. I'm a pacifist too.

I also come from a country where the regular cops do not carry guns. Seeing cops with guns over here was enough to freak me out.

Cindy O said...

I keep looking at the name written above that picture - Mrs. Adolph Tooperwein. I love it!

Graham said...

@Cindy O - it's actually "Topperwein" but it's classic, isn't it!