Trying to understand the gun culture
Note: this essay is about the gun culture, not about gun control legislation or proposals.
I grew up in upstate New York and have spent virtually my
whole life here. I’ve seen enough of isolated rural New York that I understand
perfectly well why someone might feel the need to own a gun to protect their
family and home. But while I get most of the gun culture, even if I don’t
partake in it, there are still aspects about it that I simply don’t get.
An acquaintance of mine last week brought up the issue of
guns last week following the passing of a gun control measur
e by the New York
legislature and governor, the first since the Sandy Hook massacre. This was a
bit surprising since we’d never directly talked politics before. He’s an
evangelical Christian and very socially conservative (at least based on his
Facebook page). He was extremely upset by the law. Fair enough.
He was so agitated that he was speculating on the
possibility of moving to Canada or to Vermont... not mere ranting since he
lives a stone’s throw away from the latter.
To him, the key issue seemed to be the mere (to my eyes)
fact of having to register his weapons. when he asked if guns had to be
registered in Canada and I said I think they did, he said the heck with that.
He seems like a nice reasonable person. Not a bloodthirsty
fanatic. Not a drone intoning from a script. Not a raving lunatic blaming video
games for Newtown. He is religious, pleasant, even boring, family man.
But the gun issue was so important to him, it seemed to
trump his other views... to the point that as an evangelical social
conservative, he’d considered moving to a far more secular country than ours
and to a state where gay marriage was legal (and probably the most liberal
state in the nation overall).
Evangelicalism seemed to be at the core of himself and his family’s everything,
yet when guns were threatened, it seemed to trump even something as strong as
religious belief. *This* is what I don’t get about gun culture... and
frankly what unnerves me a bit.
Labels: guns, new york state