The New Republic (you know, that magazine that gun owners don’t read), has published a very well-written article by Walter Kirn entitled “What Gun Owners Want“, with the subtitle “I’ve owned six guns. I’ve drawn them on bad guys. I want to be understood.” He’s right about that much, we do want to be understood. But in his attempts to explain us he’s describing phenomena that are far from unique to guns and their enthusiasts, using language that can only be described as somewhat ominous.
He describes the enjoyment of shooting as though it were some sort of drug, as though the feeling that “You want to do it again, again—again!” is somehow unique to shooting rather than a function of the human mind’s response to doing something it enjoys. People who love running want to keep running. People who love playing squash want to keep playing squash. The statement “…this appetite, this desire for a small, acute struggle that you can win. Win consistently. Repeatedly.” could just as easily refer to someone playing Farmville all day. His description of the phenomenon is factually accurate, but the manner in which he describes it in the context of guns plays right into ignorant fears about them.