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Opening Arguments

The great gun divide

Why some people carry and some people don't:

In my experience, those individuals who carry do so because they very consciously do not want to belong to the class of citizens that is inherently helpless — totally reliant upon the state to protect not just themselves but their family, friends, and neighbors. If the choice is between protectors and protected, they choose to be protectors. 

This identity is often inseparable from the notion that there is no set of government policies — no utopia — that can eliminate from human society the need for immediate protection. People can and will try to hurt others — using whatever means immediately available — and it strikes us as utterly reckless to be unprepared for this reality. 

The protected class has a different view. The protected class is a dependent class — not economically dependent of course, but dependent on the state in perhaps a more fundamental way (for their very lives) – and like members of other dependent classes, they are terrified of flaws in the state’s protective apparatus. Walled off from gun culture, they read the occasional, aberrant story of (legal) gun-owner stupidity or recklessness and cower in fear of a nonexistent threat. (While of course blithely sending their kids off to far more dangerous activities, like swimming in neighbors’ pools or riding in neighbors’ cars). 

To the protected class, private ownership of firearms is the flaw in the system that makes them feel vulnerable. It’s the barrier to the safety they crave but can’t provide.  

Thus the irreconcilable cultural divide: The very thing that provides security and safety for the gun-owner and his or her family frightens their non-gun-owning friends and neighbors, but the root of the problem is not the gun but the protected person’s very sense of themselves.

"Cultural divide" is accurate, I think. Gun rights people and gun control people just see the world in different terms. I saw that commentary the day after I came across a story about requests for carry percent surging 83 percent in Indiana.

The state issued 111,000 personal protection permits in 2013, and at year’s end Indiana had 538,000 active firearms license holders, the Evansville Courier & Press reported Sunday.

State police had generally received about 4,500 applications until last year, when deadly shooting events, including the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December 2012, led President Barack Obama to seek stricter ammunition policies and universal background checks. Indiana gun permit applications surged to 23,000 in January 2013, and applications for the first six months of the year reached 90,000.

Wait times for permits took weeks or even months longer than normal, prompting state police to add five temporary employees to help ease the workload.

Bursten said those five positions will remain filled indefinitely while the state evaluates whether the demand for gun permits remains steady.

You can just feel the disbelief in that story, can't you? Why, horrors like Sandy Hook are supposed to make us hate guns more! How come sales actually go up after such incidents? Because the more we're exposed to madness, the more some of us are determined to leave the protected class and take care of ourselves. People who instinctively dislike guns will never understand that -- unless, of course, they find themselves trapped with a madman, defenseless and at his mercy. Might change their minds then, if they survive.


Larry Morris
Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:43am

Could not have said it any better.  And, the same thing is happening down here in Texas.  Number of applicants overloading the system and causing longer waits for the permits.  Doesn't appear to be slowing down either ...

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 7:40pm

I don't know the complete history of the right to carry in the different states of this country.  I do know that Indiana was one of the earliest.  I've had Indiana carry licenses for 33 years and I'm a nobody.

Maurice "Red" Latimer and the defunct Indiana Sportsmen's Council got this provision through the Indiana legislature back in the 1970s.  Latimer and others were part of the group of 2nd Amendment people that revolted at the 1977 NRA Convention in Cincinnati against the target shooters that had controlled the National Rifle Association.  Democrats like John Dingell played a role in the takeover.

It isn't the law, but I highly recommend anybody getting a carry permit to take a safety course.  If I accidently get shot by a person because of their stupidity they will pay.