The Standard Model of Explaining the Irrationality of Defensive Gun Ownership (Light Over Heat #41)

In mid-November, I am presenting at a workshop about firearms and self-defense at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. I am using the occasion to write out something that has been in my mind for some time: Systematizing the dominant academic approach to understanding defensive gun ownership (Gun Culture 2.0).

In this and the next five Light Over Heat videos leading up to the Saint Anselm workshop, I will be sharing what I am calling “The Standard Model of Explaining the Irrationality of Defensive Gun Ownership.”

This week’s video summarizes the entire 6-point model.

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    • Heard all that 1-6 stuff before, as I follow enough of the “gun pathology” literature, for lack of a better term, to understand the truth of all my psychological infirmities expressed by my gun ownership. Sigh. Now what did I do with my Klan outfit, anyway? I guess I can find my guns and my Bible.

      I think the reality is all in the details and I am sick and tired of the generalities we are constantly proffered. What presumably matters as far as risk are associations of gun ownership with actual pathologies raising individual risks (alcoholism, drugs, having a violent person in the household, a 4 year old raiding the sock drawer, domestic violence, etc) vs. factors lowering risk such training in self defense, a security plan, self awareness, and not having those negative risk factors mentioned in the various case control studies. I suppose one has no need for DGU in Lake Wobegon. Some things probably are silly, if not pathological.

      Risk avoidance? We decided to retire in Santa Fe rather than Albuquerque, for example, due to Albuquerque’s violent crime problem, even though I wanted to be close to UNM. If safety was the only issue, we would have stayed in Los Alamos. But my wife wanted city life, as the Green Acres song used to go. Fanta Se was a good compromise fit. Alone, I’d be in a cabin in Wyoming.

      You are my spouse,
      Goodbye, Los Alamos house,
      Santa Fe, we are there
      (do do do do do, da da…)

      I hope you wear your “Guns are Normal, and Normal People Use Guns” when you give the talk.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Anyone who follows this closely as you do will recognize this narrative. Gun people are reluctant to admit the risks of guns and gun control people are reluctant to admit the mitigation of that risk. And people just talk past each other.


  1. I’ve long noted how anti-gun culture, starting with the assumption that ‘nobody needs a gun’, thus concludes that anyone who owns a gun must have something wrong with them. In the Soviet bloc, if you spoke out against Marxism, you might well be sent not to prison, but to a mental hospital.

    When I recently asked an online interlocutor whether my shotgun had made me more or less safe when that rattlesnake came onto my porch just the day before, she first doubted the story (it really had been the day before) before switching to questioning why I found it so important to prove to a stranger that I’d killed a snake.

    Of late, the anti-gun lobby seems to be really pushing the ‘guns make you less safe’ meme. I wonder if it isn’t an attempt to scare potential new buyers from joining the recent surge in gun ownership. Or maybe it’s emanating from deeper in their psyches. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • “I wonder if it isn’t an attempt to scare potential new buyers from joining the recent surge in gun ownership. Or maybe it’s emanating from deeper in their psyches.”

      Well, as you noted, ‘the recent surge in gun ownership’ makes that attempt, if it is one, futile.
      And you’re not the only one who is of the opinion that lots of the gun grabby folk seem to have all sorts of psychological hang-ups, that is if their twitter bios are actually accurate.

      Liked by 2 people

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