I was talking to a non-gunnie friend of mine a while back and I used the term “hoplophobia” in conversation. My friend had never heard my favorite made-up word before, so I explained the term and its common usage amongst the gun community.
Wikipedia has an excellent entry on hoplophobia, including the actual genesis of the term. I’ll trust that my four readers are capable of clicking the link so that I won’t have to copy and paste the text here.
One of the finest articles ever written on the fear of weapons and how it drives gun control can be found here as originally published in the Jewish World Review. In her piece, Ms. Glorin opines that the reason that many men support gun control is simply to compensate for their own feelings of inadequacy; that fear that comes from knowing that there exist men who are capable of shouldering the responsibility of defending their families and homes.
Well, now that I’ve satisfied my Blogger-Linking-Quotient™, I suppose that I should actually, you know, write something of my own original material about hoplophobia. Well, I can say that I’ve had some weird experience with people being afraid of my guns in the last few years. I’ll note out two of the more interesting ones, and add some commentary.
The first one that really stands out comes from back when I first started dating my wife. At the time, I was carrying a Glock 29 (the compact 10mm-I wish I hadn’t sold that) most of the time. Mrs. Ahab’s roommate at the time was from New York; little did I know that would be a deciding factor in the upcoming events. The short version of the story is that I was visiting and decided to remove my pistol and holster because the bugger was rather uncomfortable when sitting on the couch with a lady. I placed my holstered and cleared weapon on the coffee table and thought nothing of it. A bit later, her roommate returned. She took one look at the gun and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening sequestered in her room. I was later told by the future Mrs. Ahab that her roommate had said that the gun “made her uncomfortable sitting out there in the open”.
That made no sense to me at the time, nor did it make sense to the Mrs. We both know that an unloaded firearm sitting on the table is about as dangerous as a rather light, small club. Having been raised around guns and serving in the military, that was really the first time I had encountered that sort of illogical approach to guns “in the wild”.
About a year later, a friend found out that I carry a concealed weapon in all places that the law allows. The look of total surprise on his face was almost funny as he said “You carry a gun?” That conversation was the first in which I responded, “You don’t? I thought any responsible citizen would want to be armed.” That has pretty much been my default response ever since then.
So, why are people afraid of guns? In the case of my wife’s roommate, most likely it was because she had never been around firearms, and had been raised in the classic liberal fashion to fear those “evil guns”. My 2nd friend was less silly about the whole thing, although he couldn’t be brought to understand why I felt that carrying a firearm is just as much a part of my civic duty as voting.
We all know that firearms are dangerous; and when used irresponsibly or for criminal purposes can obviously end a life. To blame a gun for a shooting or death would be the same as blaming your hammer when you hit your thumb.