David Frum (the poor man’s Andrew Sullivan), got a good deal of attention for his tweet last weekend: â€œHypothesis: the people who most want to carry are the very last people on earth who should be allowed to carry.â€
One of the best rejoinders came from David French.
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 â€” 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 â€” no utopia â€” that can eliminate from human society the need for immediate protection. People can and will try to hurt others â€” using whatever means immediately available â€” 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 â€” not economically dependent of course, but dependent on the state in perhaps a more fundamental way (for their very lives) â€“ and like members of other dependent classes, they are terrified of flaws in the stateâ€™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 neighborsâ€™ pools or riding in neighborsâ€™ cars).
To the protected class, private ownership of firearms is the flaw in the system that makes them feel vulnerable. Itâ€™s the barrier to the safety they crave but canâ€™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 personâ€™s very sense of themselves.
Read the whole thing.