It’s hard to think of another people that imbues the ownership of firearms with the same mystical, symbolic mix of independence, self-reliance and patriotism as Americans.
The Mujahedeen of Afghanistan may hold their personal weapons in similar esteem, but because they think tribally, the concept of allegiance to and affection for a nation-state whose very defining document bequeaths upon them the right to carry their weapons is an alien one.
Many of us would agree with last week’s Supreme Court decision that people should have a right to possess a firearm for defensive purposes. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t that simple. Once a gun is in someone’s hands, it can so easily be converted into an offensive weapon, depending on the bearer’s state of mind.
A psychiatrist friend of mine writes, “People, men in particular, get a sense of potency, of power with firearms, get pumped up, get stupid, and yes, this is one case where Freud and followers were absolutely correct: the similarity to the sex organ, the discharge, the “I’m a strong guy, I can shoot,” is absolutely a part of the mix.”
I’m sure the Founding Fathers were thinking about the fledgling nation’s collective security when they adopted the Second Amendment, and not about inserting access to an 18th Century-version of Viagra as the second most important right after freedom of speech and religion.
Yet, there it is. Meanwhile, little has been done in our history to bolster the self-esteem of the womenfolk (All right, we did give them the vote in the last century). The Equal Rights Amendment (remember that?) still hasn’t been ratified by the required number of states since Congress passed it in 1972, even though the deadline has been extended.
So girls, get your behinds into the kitchen and rustle us up some July 4th baked beans and slaw. We’ve still got a few rounds to squeeze off while the grill warms up. Your time will come.