The broad spectrum of opinions on gun control/gun rights is confusing. I think I have found an accurate description of one type of gun enthusiast, found in this video entitled “The Mountain Man.” Excerpts follow.
0.00:01 “They are the men who hear the call of the wild the loudest.”
0.00:22 “They come for a life of high adventure and wanderlust.”
The Mountain men were the first adventurous pioneers to advance into the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase during 1810-1830, drawn by the promise of the trapping industry.
00:04:25 “…a lifestyle that guaranteed independence and practically no authority and lots of excitement.”
00.06.29 “We’re dealing with three sets of qualities. The first is personal: strength, courage, endurance, fortitude, dexterity of mind and body, the temperament to live a wild and dangerous life in the Rocky Mountains.
00:06:45 “A second set of skills is specialized. They include such things as beaver trapping, game hunting, mountain climbing and various forms of bodily combat.”
00:07:02 “And finally, you have what we call “wilderness skill”. The head of the list here is sign-reading, because the wilderness was full of signs. They were audible signs. They were visible signs. They were olfactory signs.”
00:08:05 “All of these skills are combined with a trapper’s instincts. The ones with the most reliable instincts were the ones most likely to survive. For around every corner lurks a life-threatening situation.”
The 21st Century Mountain Man
Who will deny that these words resemble the descriptions of some gun enthusiasts? From this point of view, screened through the lens of this archetypal temperament, we learn of the arguments for retaining unrestrained access to guns. It must seem natural to men of this cut to see arming teachers as the proper solution to the threat of school shootings. Mother Jones has published a good story showing that armed innocents do not fare well in gun battles. They are most often wounded or killed. Sometimes the good guys win. The media rushes to tell us about the shooters, but not as much is said about the victims.
I wrote previously, we are no longer living in the time of the 18th century, but the temperament of the Mountain Man remains evident in many people living today. One point to consider though. The survival rate of weekend “Mountain Men” is much higher today. There are many men who are drawn to dangerous adventures, who think they possess the qualities of “strength, courage, endurance, fortitude, and dexterity of mind and body”, but the securities of today’s society have more to do with the higher survival rate than the adequate possession of these survivalists traits.
I do not want to take guns away from these guys. I want to take them away from the nutcases. There is much that can be done to make gun ownership safe and reasonable. But as I listen to the same sound bites from politicians that you hear, I wonder … are we listening to reasonable men, or just weekend warriors who hear the call of the wild?