I love words and yesterday I learned a new one from commenter liberal supporter.
I'd never heard of it. Well.
Never heard of hoplophobia? Most people haven't. The made-up word to describe people who fear guns hasn't caught on. Not even longtime gun enthusiasts are familiar with the term.
Not for lack of trying on the Gun Lobby's part. I googled and got about 53,000 hits.
Firearms authority and learned writer Colonel Jeff Cooper coined the word in 1962 to describe a "mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons." Although not a mental health professional, Cooper employed the term as an alternative to slang terms, stating: "We read of 'gun grabbers' and 'anti-gun nuts' but these slang terms do not [explain this behavior]." Cooper attributed this behavior to an irrational fear of firearms and other forms of weaponry. He stated that "the most common manifestation of hoplophobia is the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user." Writing in an opinion piece, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dimitri Vassilaros asserted that the term was intended by Cooper as tongue-in-cheek to mock those who think guns have free will.
Funny, innit? Gun nuts calling the sane people nuts.
Here's somebody working that corner. Scroll down for an entry titled: 'The Last Refuge for Hate: Gun Hate', described as 'Author seeks to add “hoplophobia” to DSM, the official directory of mental ailments'.
Oh, look here. A supposedly real psychiatrist on 'Raging Against Self Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality', by Sarah Thompson, M.D.
I couldn't read all of it. But this bit jumped out at me:
The Common Thread: Rage
In my experience, the common thread in anti-gun people is rage. Either anti-gun people harbor more rage than others, or they're less able to cope with it appropriately. Because they can't handle their own feelings of rage, they are forced to use defense mechanisms in an unhealthy manner. Because they wrongly perceive others as seeking to harm them, they advocate the disarmament of ordinary people who have no desire to harm anyone. So why do anti-gun people have so much rage and why are they unable to deal with it in appropriate ways? Consider for a moment that the largest and most hysterical anti-gun groups include disproportionately large numbers of women, African-Americans and Jews. And virtually all of the organizations that claim to speak for these "oppressed people" are stridently anti-gun. Not coincidentally, among Jews, Blacks and women there are many "professional victims" who have little sense of identity outside of their victimhood.
So, then I got to thinking, if there's a phobia, there should be a philia.
Too many people hold the mistaken impression the primary purpose of arms is for military or criminal pursuits. The purpose of this site is to provide an outlet for one person (that would be me) who sees firearms as more than the caricatures seen on the network news; I see them as tangible pieces of American history, physical artifacts of Clausewitz's "politics by other means", representative products of the industrial revolution, and an intrinsic component of the American identity. Arms, and particularly firearms, are usually high tech in terms of production, and can be high art in terms of design and execution.
Firearms appeal to our higher senses of aesthetics and justice, while simultaneously appealing to the more primitive, limbic part of our brains – the part that is attracted to bright shiny objects that rattle when shaken.
As John Amber, former editor of Gun Digest, famously put it, they are "a magnificent obsession".
Just as I was backing quietly out of there, an email announcement of this StatsCan report pinged into my inbox.
In 2009, the vast majority (93%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older living in the provinces said they felt satisfied with their personal safety from crime. This proportion was similar to 2004, the last time this survey was conducted.
Crime, I'm not terribly scared of.
Image source, a site called 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun'.