The Lone Gunman

The Mass Shooter as Culture Hero

John Ohno
The Weird Politics Review

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Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

There’s a lot of debate about gun control in the United States. However, both sides, by participating in the conversation at all, have a central confusion. The gun control debate isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) about guns at all.

Gun control advocates and anti-gun-control advocates typically focus on the use of firearms in a very specific situation: when firearms are used in mass violence. The debate centers around mass shootings on one hand, and on the other hand, upon self-defense against a large group of targets. Regulation debates focus on automatic and semi-automatic weapons and large clips. This is strangely at odds with reality. After all, even a machine gun is significantly less effective at mowing down large numbers of targets than a bomb — or a car. The firearm is a weapon oddly unsuited to mass murder: even for semi-automatic weapons, the ideal use case is against a single easily identified stationary target from relatively far away. As a weapon, a gun is a great deal like a bow and arrow, although a gun can shoot farther with more accuracy and with greater force, and it’s faster to reload its projectiles. This should be enough to immediately reject both sides’ arguments from the perspective of materialism: any constraints placed on guns should be placed doubly or triply on automobiles, pressure cookers, fertilizer, boats…

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John Ohno
The Weird Politics Review

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net