While I like shooting (I’ve done it a couple of times) I could easily live without it. There is nothing, in my opinion, that justifies having guns that are made specifically for killing other people. Nobody hunts with a pistol and if you hunt deer with an automatic military-style rifle you, my friend, are a lousy hunter.
Any suggestion of limiting guns rights is greeted by ominous warnings that this is a move of expansive, would-be despotic government. It has been the means by which gun rights advocates withstand even the most seemingly rational gun control measures. An assault weapons ban, smaller ammunition clips for guns, longer background checks on gun purchases — these are all measures centralized government wants, they claim, in order to exert control over us, and ultimately impose its arbitrary will. I have often suspected, however, that contrary to holding centralized authority in check, broad individual gun ownership gives the powers-that-be exactly what they want. After all, a population of privately armed citizens is one that is increasingly fragmented, and vulnerable as a result. Private gun ownership invites retreat into extreme individualism — I heard numerous calls for homeschooling in the wake of the Newtown shootings — and nourishes the illusion that I can be my own police, or military, as the case may be. [...] As Michel Foucault pointed out in his detailed study of the mechanisms of power, nothing suits power so well as extreme individualism. In fact, he explains, political and corporate interests aim at nothing less than “individualization,” since it is far easier to manipulate a collection of discrete and increasingly independent individuals than a community. Guns undermine just that — community.
Hits the nail on the head and does so much more eloquently than I ever could.
Which is why I write here and that dude gets to write for the NYT. Good essay. Read it.