Back in the days when I was very anti-gun, I tended to think of â€œgun nutsâ€ as drooling, knuckle-dragging morons. Cavemen. Uneducated. Beer-drinking slobs who could barely read and who probably beat up their wives a lot. Maybe they were even all closet Nazis, eh? Etc., etc., etc. It was an image that came instantly to mind. I would talk about â€œgun nutsâ€ that same way with friends of like mind. It all made such perfect sense to us.
But if ever I came across a â€œgun nutâ€ in person I would be silent â€” especially if it was someone dressed in, say, hunting cammos. Or I might see â€œgun nutsâ€ on TV and make a snide comment about them, but seeing them made me feel a bit afraid (something I didnâ€™t reveal to other people). It wasnâ€™t rational, but it wasnâ€™t surprising considering how Iâ€™d been raised. It wasnâ€™t until a long time later that I realized what Iâ€™d been doing: trying to make the â€œgun nutsâ€ almost into sub-humans in my mind, and paint them as ridiculous and stupid so that they shrank in stature and were less scary to me. (But as I said, this doesnâ€™t work. No amount of sneering made me feel less afraid.)
I have no doubt that some small percentage of â€œgun peopleâ€ (those few who are outright fascistically-minded) â€œdeserveâ€ every bit of fear I had for them â€” then and now. But for crying out loud . . . what a stupid, prejudicial way to think about an entire group of people, with no distinctions made. It took some years to realize what a big lie there was in imagining myself enlightened and non-bigoted â€” all the while that Iâ€™d been thinking like a garden-variety bigot. That was one of the fun things about the â€™60s and â€™70s: You could fantasize that you were on a higher plane of consciousness than â€œthoseâ€ people â€” and be every bit as bigoted and vicious as you thought they were. You didnâ€™t have to hold yourself accountable, nor wonder if you werenâ€™t being two-faced about it. By definition, as a more â€œenlightenedâ€ person, you didnâ€™t have any of those problems. Only other people had such problems. It was all so convenient . . .
In many ways the bigotry in Chicago is malevolent. Many gun owners I have met keep silent in fear. Not simply fear of arrest, but fear of being stigmatized, ostracized, fired from their jobs.
And their fears are not unfounded. Attempts have been made to get people fired for airing their views. CAGE (Chicago gun enforcement team) has used Chicagoâ€™s registration scheme to confiscate otherwise legal firearms in the past.
Not the first time I’ve heard people getting in trouble at work for being gun owners. Not carrying a gun to work, or some other behavioral issue, merely talking about their interests to coworkers. The Brady’s almost seem to be saying “nothing personal, you know.” but most of our experiences bear this out, as well as a number of commenters who insist that yes, they are as bad as the KKK. Even if I don’t agree with that, the anger is real, deep seeded, and completely justified. Americans shouldn’t have to hide in shame because they choose to exercise their constitutional rights. Because many feel they need to, thanks in part to our wonderful gun control groups, there’s plenty of anger out there, and it shouldn’t be surprising that we’re willing to channel that into beating back this cultural condescension.