In the immediately preceding post, (#396) we endeavored to demonstrate, that the purported citizen’s “right to own a gun” is neither granted, nor even mentioned, in the U.S. Constitution. This is so, despite the tactically, distorted misreading of the Second Amendment, by the cynical and irresponsible profit- making, gun lobby. Aside from occasional sports, hunting and target shooting, we were perplexed, until just now, concerning the motivation for the widely expressed desire for ownership of such death- dealing instruments. A knife, for example, can be used for cutting string or slicing cheese, for hobby crafts, such as whittling or model making, for sharpening pencils, cooking, for cutting vegetables and fruit, and so many other peaceful uses; a gun can only be used to kill.

In this modest essay, we intend to specifically refer to the troublesome question, dealing with the underlying reason, for normally socialized American citizens, to elect to own a death-dealing weapon. After some considerable thought, we believe that we have arrived at an original, and valid, answer.  We should express the reservation, however, that this writing, and our proposed theory, are based, upon our own subjective perception and consequent deduction, rather than on any formal study or authoritative source.

Initially, we do not find it contemporaneously relevant, or useful, to consider the proposed, American period of the gun- toting, wild west, as an acceptable or satisfactory explanatory antecedent. So much time has elapsed, and such exponential technological and societal change has taken place over the last two centuries, as to, effectively, relegate the period of The Lone Ranger, or the movie characters portrayed by Clint Eastwood, to the historic past. Carrying a gun when our country was new and lawless, is distantly irrelevant.

We are told that, while the United States contains only 5% of the world population, it harbors 42% of the world’s privately owned guns. We have personally observed, that the belief in the undisturbed freedom of gun ownership, and non-intervention or regulation, by government, has become a subject of quasi- religious fervor, among gun owners. Convenient myths have been perpetuated by the gun lobby, particularly, the NRA, that Americans have the natural right to own guns; which right, they tactically, and falsely, claim, is inalienable, like the right to free speech and the ownership of private property. We have, previously, shown this to be false, and would like, in this writing, to examine the perceived need, by certain citizens, for a gun.

The emotionally articulated basis, is, eternally, the protection of the gun owner and his family. This neurotic perception of being under daily threat, may well evince, in some instances, a psychological dynamic, possibly ranging from basic neurotic insecurity, sense of power, or Freudian potency, through classic paranoia. The large sub-society of ardent gun owners, have created an insular interest group, which, mutually, shares a fear of “the other.” This, unfortunate state of affairs, is perpetuated by their insular, fraternal interaction, stoked by a bigoted President, and favored by the various white supremacy adherents. (There are, reportedly, 310, 000,000 privately owned guns in the United States.) Reportedly, the objective facts are, that guns are very rarely needed, or ever used for self- defense, but are responsible for many suicides, murder and home accidents. This is a very far cry from the asserted virtues of protection and safety.

Following the expenditure of some serious thought on the subject, we have developed our own, nuanced opinion, regarding the question of motivation, for gun ownership, posed by this writing, inclusive of the prevailing fear and threat “felt” by gun owners. It is our general perception, from the media, that many passionate gun advocates, are significantly inclusive of people who publicly espouse (or privately harbor), bigoted feelings, toward Americans with brown or black skin color. It would seem that it is the latter groups of people, that are feared, (albeit, such fear is unsupported by empirical fact). We have concluded, that the gun owner’s sense of danger is dynamically and clinically, a mental projection, a “transmutation,” and a product of his own prejudicial feelings. Ardent gun owners have manufactured their own unsupported context of threat and danger, by the dynamics of the transmutation of their irrational prejudice, and hatred, into the neurotic suggestion, that guns are existentially necessary to protect themselves (from their own neurotically imagined, self- manufactured, sense of threat.)


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

One thought on “Post # 397  OUR THEORY: TRANSMUTATION”

  1. loved the psychological approach on why people own guns. In this time of fear of the other understanding ourself and surroundings are crucial to our peaceful life. Hopefully more gun regulation will emerge soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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