A conversation with the “anti-gunner” that lives in my head

Why do you even like guns.

Firearms are, fundamentally, machines. In fact, they work a lot like an internal combustion motor: fuel goes boom, pushes on operating surfaces, does work. It’s just that it flings a little lead pellet instead of transmitting the power to wheels or rotors or whatever.

What makes them interesting, then, is the the constraints. Will a particular design work reliably, when fouled or dirty? Does it transmit more or less energy to the shooter (aka “felt recoil”) for the same amount of energy expended? Is it light, or heavy? Is it easy to operate? What are the human factors of the design – can you take it apart and reassemble it in the dark? Is it 4 components or 40? How do small changes in the geometry or construction of components cause big effects?

And I’m a good shot. I’m somehow naturally competent at shooting.

You’re good at murder practice? What’s wrong with you? You’re only doing it to make up for the size of your dick.

Well, point the first, I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion of “murder practice”, any more than taking a krav maga class can be thought of as “violence and maybe murder practice”. Guns can kill people, it’s true. I mean, I’m not specifically training to cause harm to anyone, but getting really good at hitting a bullseye has, as an unavoidable side effect, being really good at hitting center mass on a human being. Breath control, trigger control, and sight picture don’t know what the target is.

The dick thing, I see mostly on hellscape bird site, because of course you do. I don’t disagree at all that for a lot of the MAGA chud types, and firearms culture in general, toxic masculinity is just the de rigueur mode of operating. So middle-school attacks on masculinity are effective, to some degree. And yes, as long as we’re being totally honest – this is a safe space, I presume – like many men my age (I’m 46) my concept of masculinity is grounded in toxic bullshit. I’m not going to bullshit and say I don’t struggle with that. But it’s not why I like firearms.

Can’t you find a better hobby? One that doesn’t involve violence?

I mean, I guess? My problem with this line of thinking is it can be reduced, without logical fallacy, to: “Hobbies that involve violence must be ended”. This means professional sports, primarily football, but obviously MMA, boxing, etc. And activities that aren’t really in the zeitgeist of the day like archery and skeet shooting. Also just to be safe – people have died both as participants and spectators – we should stop all automobile racing (it’s bad for the environment, too). Basically anything that isn’t track and field. Competition with stand-ins for war have been part of “sports” for all of human history. Why the fuck do you think there’s a javelin throw.

It’s your fear totem, it’s your binky, you have delusions about surviving “The Big One” or murdering your fellow citizens!

Well, in a word, no. These are absolutely correct for more than a few people out there but:

  • I don’t carry concealed and do not believe that having a firearm makes me magically safer (with one caveat)
  • I do not believe that I will survive “The Big One”. Any civilization-toppling event will likely take me out, because 1)I live near a somewhat important population center, 2)in a pretty densely populated area and 3)I’m old and currently (STILL!) recovering from surgery so I’m not at 100%.

I have, in the past, wondered about it. I don’t think that’s a scathing indictment of someone’s motives. But let me say again in no uncertain terms: I’m not a prepper, I’m not preparing for “The Big One”, I don’t think I’ll outlive any serious calamity enough to wander the earth, living off my wits and my AR.

Fuck, I’m still not certain I’ll survive Covid, and it’s hardly a civilization-ending plague.

But on the matter of the caveat: I also believe that there is a pretty significant change that the “Boogaloo” will occur in my lifetime. Meaning, there will be an attempt by lunatics to seize … I don’t know if “power” or “control” is the right word, because the dynamics are not precisely the same as a coup and secession isn’t their goal. Anyway I think the attempt by nutjobs to have their “second civil war” where they get rid of the liberals and reinstate a new government in their image will occur. It seems almost certain at this point. And, I believe that ultimately it will fail: I think that they’re counting on sympathy that will evaporate when it hits home that these “patriots” pull their stunt.

(Put another way, I think a lot of the people imagine a bloodless coup, and the people who will actually do it will get aggressively violent, and that will not go well.)

So for that, I do own a firearm. I believe order will rule out over chaos, but it will take time and in some places, maybe even where I am, communities might need to rely on self-defense.

You … honestly believe that?

Yes. They’re winning battles but losing the war. The Richmond, VA protest is an example. Not every proposed gun law passed, but several did, which makes their protest a pyrrhic victor at best. They’re losing. This shit has been happening my entire adult life. This “second civil war” cosplay cannot go on forever. Someone’s going to try; the question is “will it be 10 guys? 100? 1000?”.


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