Half-Cocked

by lizard

I have a gun with a long barrel, but it’s only a .22 caliber handgun, so I’m not sure what that says about the size of my penis. Don Pogreba has been thinking about guns and penises, so maybe he can tell me. Here is a quote from that post:

There is probably a more serious post about the insanity of American gun culture to be written today, but it’s a holiday. Instead, I offer this assessment. Psychology Central defines compensation as:

Compensation is a process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weaknesses by emphasizing strength in other arenas.

If Don had been capable of writing a serious post over the holiday weekend, it might have included the staggering incidents of gun violence in Chicago over the holiday break:

Violence in Chicago continued over the Fourth of July weekend with at least 11 people shot in roughly four hours Sunday afternoon, bringing the total number of people shot since the holiday weekend began to more than 60.

At least seven people have been killed over the long weekend.

There are aspects of American gun culture that seem to be rather unhinged, especially when it comes to the open carry movement. It would be interesting to see what would happen to some of these intelligent gun owners packing heat at Target if they flaunted their guns on the streets of Chicago.

For me, owning a gun is still a bit surreal. I go out about once a week for target practice. I’m slowly getting more comfortable handling a gun, but when my Ruger Mark III misfires (with certain ammunition) it makes me very nervous.

The clash of cultures surrounding guns and the role of government in regulating guns is complicated. I’m not going to get too involved in this post with hashing out the competing ideologies involved. I will say that compensation for some perceived lack of penile virility isn’t the issue, it’s fear. We live in a world increasingly saturated with hostility, which makes the ability to defend oneself with lethal force feel necessary. Maybe that’s an inaccurate perception, but it’s one that has provided part of my own motivation for obtaining and learning how to use a very dangerous tool.


  1. Buzz Feedback

    Don’t want to die prematurely in our allegedly hostile world? Stay out of the car.

  2. As a ‘leftward thinking person’ (better term than liberal maybe?) who owns guns and shoots, I’ve been arguing against the phallic-compensation argument for a very long time, mostly of course with other leftward thinking persons. I won’t rehash those arguments here. However, I disagree with your assessment as well, to the degree that you are looking at the wrong side of the coin.

    Firearms are power, and the public display of them is compensating for a perceived lack of power, in face of a will to dominate. One doesn’t need to feel fear to get the visceral rush of the threat a simple machine poses. I’ve been shooting off and on for 40 years and I still feel a little energy, almost electric, when I pick up a gun. It’s that weird little twitch of adrenaline that fosters respect and gives some measure of a sense of control (usually illusory).

    That, in itself, is not a bad thing. But, exactly like religion, that somewhat false sense of control can easily get out of hand. Those people packing their ARs into Target aren’t afraid of the violence in the world. They are showing their God off, assuring themselves that their God IS God.

    • lizard19

      I think power works better, but within that framework fear of being powerless plays a significant role. there is also, I would argue, a white man fear of the changing demographics of this country that lurks behind the open carry movement, if it can be called a movement.

  3. Big Swede

    “white man fear of the changing demographics”

    Do blacks have the same fear? Cause what I’m seeing in ShyTown is a blatant disregard of fear.

  4. Just a guy

    I am staunchly pro gun rights. But these open carry people are seriously deranged.

    In some respects I think the open carry types are motivated by whatever it is that motivates people to key SUVs or throw paint on someone wearing fur. It is partly misguided political passion so heated that they willfully ignore social norms and good taste in their epic quest to prove a point. I think that these people also tend to have grandiose self images as freedom fighters, guardians of the earth, etc. And what better way to maintain and validate this self image than to act out publicly? It’s a “look at me!” thing at heart.




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