In lectures and writing in the late 50s, the British chemist C. P. Snow described a gulf that was widening between the academic disciplines of the humanities and the sciences. In one example, he said that scientists might see a value in linguistic analysis, but would have little respect for philosophical questions. On the other side of the separated fields, he found literary scholars who had no clue about concepts like mass or acceleration, much less any ability to explain what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is about.
Snow’s observations were based on years of work both as a scientist and a novelist and his knowledge of people in both fields. As such, he was able to speak intelligently. The same cannot be said for Mike Weisser, the so-called gun guy of The Huffington Post. In his article, “Two Kinds Of Gun Nuts,” he attempts to explain what motivates two different types of gun owners, the ones like him — collectors and hobbyists — and the ones who, in his view, are trying to make a statement by carrying guns.
Weisser says that at one point, he tried to own every type of handgun made by Colt, only to sell them all so as to buy a Harley and “pretend to be a Hog.” After that, he wanted to own every model of Star pistol and then the Walthers. Pretend is the key word in this biographical sketch. His characterization of himself is one of a dilettante, someone who dabbles without putting forth the effort to become an expert.
He dismisses gun owners who take their weapons seriously as people who believe that they “‘need’ a gun to protect themselves and everyone else from crime, but the truth is that it’s really just empty talk because they have never actually been victims of any crime at all.” As far as he’s concerned, claims of defensive gun uses are wildly exaggerated, since a website run by people he regards as friends at the Gun Violence Archive, the total number of times that Americans have stopped a violent attack this year is 1,349. This is the same site that includes as a mass shooting an incident in which no one dies, so I’m suspicious, especially since the National Academies Press reports that number as being at least a hundred times larger.
But his conclusions get worse. To Weisser, the act of carrying a firearm for self-defense is akin to Donald Trump’s bragging about the sexual abuse of women. He thinks that we love Trump because we see our own behavior in him and carry guns in an effort to make ourselves “feel stronger and more powerful than everyone else.”
It’s tempting to call this projection or willful ignorance. Weisser may or may not have spoken with any of the gun owners that he shows such disdain for, but even if he has, he hasn’t bothered to comprehend them. The reality is that gun owners are a sample of the population at large. Are there some who are the way that Weisser sees all of us? Yes. But he has a dim view of humanity if he thinks that millions of his fellow citizens meet that description. How he can tolerate the idea of us running businesses, governing our own lives, or voting is a mystery. What’s even more curious is the question of why he believes anyone so smug as him will be listened to.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.