Fear and Guns / by Bryan West

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I don’t like guns, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately. I understand the raw appeal of guns, it’s weapon, lot’s of cool people in movies use them, they’re loud, they give you confidence, there is a skill/game factor, etc. But the appeal is so shallow it’s not difficult for me to see the logical downside of guns and grow to intellectually and emotionally DESPISE guns. I really do get the appeal, but I can’t understand why we’re so obsessed with them as Americans, and why we can’t let go.


There are obviously A TON of factors, one of the main reasons being the politicization of gun control, and those who leverage it for political manipulation. I present the following factor as something I’ve been thinking about and it is not intended to be my final thought on the issue. I think that America’s love of guns comes partially from how materialistic we are as a culture. I don’t just mean financially, but how we hold on so tight to the things we deem valuable. Clinging to our possessions, friends, family, loved ones, and even obsessively preserving memories with our cell phones. All of these things are impermanent, possessions break or get lost, loved ones die, and memories dissipate with time. There is a reason so many spiritual seekers give these things up in favor of a monastic life. Obviously, I don’t think it’s wrong to protect your family, but not being able to let go of the NEED to protect your family is unhealthy. Imagine the state of perpetual suffering necessary to buy a something that is more likely harm your loved ones than protect them; Betting the safety of your family against human error.


We live in a society where our government, our economic system, and in some ways the dominant religion are constantly feeding us a potent dose of fear and competition. Gun control needs to happen NOW, but if we really want to tackle the heart of the issue we need to focus on education, critical thinking and the betterment of the species.