The alternate (batshit insane) ‘tactical reality’ of the happiness is a warm gun crowd


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

There was this heartfelt guest opinion in the Arizona Daily Star today from a mother of a son with mental illness. Guest Column: A mother's desperate plea from the wilderness of her son's mental illness. But it was this line from her opinion that stands out:

Who can explain what it's like to watch a bright, idealistic mind
imprisoned by paranoia and the "false, fixed beliefs" that are
trademarks of the seriously mentally ill.

Meet these guys from the "happiness is a warm gun" crowd with "false, fixed beliefs" in a front page article by Howard Fischer (note: these are the guys to whom Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature listen). 2 groups advocate arming teachers:

Ken Rineer, president of Gun Owners of Arizona, said there is no reason to continue . . . the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, first approved in 1990. "I think we've had more campus school shootings since enactment of the law than before," he said.

Charles Heller, president of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, said "The main issue here is not that a deranged individual gained access
to a firearm, as there is very little anyone could do to prevent that,"
the organization's statement read. "It's that anyone who could have
stopped his rampage could not gain access to a firearm."

The bottom line, said Heller, is more people with guns creates a safer environment.

"You shoot the attacker and stop the attack," he said. "It stops people from getting killed."

Heller and Rineer said they are not advocating arming every teacher and
staffer. Instead, they said, those with special training should have
immediate access to firearms should the need arise.

These are the kind of gun owners who have a psycho-sexual fetish for guns. They get excited to the point of being orgasmic just thinking about and talking about guns. We all know someone like this. Stephen Colbert has been portraying these fetishists for years with his love for his gun "sweetness" (mashup video of numerous segments).

This fetishization was described by a life-long gun owner in a comment at Talking Points Memo this past weekend. Tactical Reality | TPM Editors Blog:

The gun culture that we have today in the U.S. is not the gun culture, so to speak, that I remember from my youth. It’s too simple to say that it’s “sick;” it’s more accurately an absurd fetishization. I suppose that the American Gunfighter, in all of his avatars, is inescapably fetishistic, but (to my point) somewhere along the way – maybe in, uh, 1994? – we crossed over into Something Else: let’s call it Gonzo Fetishization. The American Gunfighter as caricature.

* * *

Most of the men and children (of both sexes) I met were interested in hunting, too. Almost exclusively, they used traditional hunting rifles: bolt-actions, mostly, but also a smattering of pump-action, lever-action, and (thanks primarily to Browning) semi-automatic hunting rifles. They talked about gun ownership primarily as a function of hunting; the idea of “self-defense,” while always an operative concern, never seemed to be of paramount importance. It was a factor in gun ownership – and for some sizeable minority of gun owners, it was of outsized (or of decisive) importance – but it wasn’t the factor. The folks I interacted with as a pre-adolescent and – less so – as a teen owned guns because their fathers had owned guns before them; because they’d grown up hunting and shooting; and because – for most of them – it was an experience (and a connection) that they wanted to pass on to their sons and daughters.

And that’s my point: I can’t remember seeing a semi-automatic weapon of any kind at a shooting range until the mid-1980’s. Even through the early-1990’s, I don’t remember the idea of “personal defense” being a decisive factor in gun ownership. The reverse is true today: I have college-educated friends – all of whom, interestingly, came to guns in their adult lives – for whom gun ownership is unquestionably (and irreducibly) an issue of personal defense. For whom the semi-automatic rifle or pistol – with its matte-black finish, laser site, flashlight mount, and other “tactical” accoutrements – effectively circumscribe what’s meant by the word “gun.” At least one of these friends has what some folks – e.g., my fiancee, along with most of my non-gun-owning friends – might regard as an obsessive fixation on guns; a kind of paraphilia that (in its appetite for all things tactical) seems not a little bit creepy. Not “creepy” in the sense that he’s a ticking time bomb; “creepy” in the sense of…alternate reality. Let’s call it “tactical reality.”

The “tactical” turn is what I want to flag here. It has what I take to be a very specific use-case, but it’s used – liberally – by gun owners outside of the military, outside of law enforcement, outside (if you’ll indulge me) of any conceivable reality-based community: these folks talk in terms of “tactical” weapons, “tactical” scenarios, “tactical applications,” and so on. It’s the lingua franca of gun shops, gun ranges, gun forums, and gun-oriented Youtube videos. (My god, you should see what’s out there on You Tube!) Which begs my question: in precisely which “tactical” scenarios do all of these lunatics imagine that they’re going to use their matte-black, suppressor-fitted, flashlight-ready tactical weapons? They tend to speak of the “tactical” as if it were a fait accompli; as a kind of apodeictic fact: as something that everyone – their customers, interlocutors, fellow forum members, or YouTube viewers – experiences on a regular basis, in everyday life. They tend to speak of the tactical as reality.

And I think there’s a sense in which they’ve constructued their own (batshit insane) reality.

One in which we have to live.

So why in God's name should anyone listen to the "happiness is a warm gun" crowd with a psycho-sexual fetish for guns, who are "imprisoned by paranoia and the false, fixed beliefs" that more guns is always the solution to every problem, when they are living in an alternate (batshit insane) "tactical reality"?


UPDATE: I had completely forgotten about this question during the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary. Joe Biden delivers the spot-on answer: "I tell you what, if that's his 'baby' he needs help. I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don't know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun."


  1. Agreed there is clearly identifiable class of individuals who sound like they’re batshit insane. However, just because they sound like that, they don’t necessarily act like that and that’s the hard part because those who do act are hard to find before they take action. Thus there’s the need for people to provide their own self defense and, if the situation arises, provide the defense of others.

    In addition I agree there are those who have a “superman complex” who go out of their way to ‘save’ others like George Zimmerman who wound up killing Trayvon Martin down in Florida. However, I wouldn’t call people who provide their own and their family’s self defense acting like superman.

    I don’t know the situation in Arizona but when I lived in California it became allowable to stop and do what you could if you happened on a car wreck where somebody needed help before the official help arrived. Before that law was put into place if you gave someone help in such situations they could sue you. The changed law was called the Good Samaritan Law, not. From what I learned at GunSite, the same thing applies with guns: if you happen upon a helpless person — like a child — in mortal danger, you could use your gun in their self-defense and not be called batshit insane.

    However, if you patrol a neighborhood looking for bad guys, and especially if you continued to confront what you suspect is a bad guy when the police have told you not to, then I would consider that person has an an unhealthy sense of responsibility.

    And somebody who can’t tell the difference between “happened upon” and “searching for” potential danger I would call bi-polar.

  2. The post from the life-long gun owner I quote at length is not suggesting that all gun owners are batshit insane, but a clearly identifiable class of individuals, not hunters and sportsmen or responsible gun owners. I believe the author is using “tactical reality” in the sense of the “superman complex,” i.e., “an unhealthy sense of responsibility, such a person may feel a constant need to ‘save’ others.” The last thing we need is some Gunfighter Avatar with a superman complex thinking he is going to save the world if only he is present with his gun.

  3. I suppose you could take “tactical” to mean the emotional “batshit sane” but it also could have a meaning more akin to it’s dictionary meaning: which comes from “tactics” “An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.”

    Besides having a six-shot .39mm revolver (great to carry on my ATV when I’m out in the desert as it doesn’t need to be cocked), a 16 shot 9mm pistol (more firepower than the revolver but you need to cock it and even then the spring in the magazine would wear out),and an (AK-47 lookalike) 6 or 30 shot SLR-101S made in Bulgaria as it would work well against swarms of javelinas and show up from time to time in my backyard and costs half of what it would cost for a good hunting rifle or the cost of putting up a fence (I suppose I could carry it on my ATV, but don’t as the revolver is easier put into action than either it or the pistol). All three are for self-defense, not hunting. The guns many/most of my neighbors have are for self-defense: I only know two three go hunting.

    Thus in my opinion, I think the more reasonable definition of “tactical” and “tactical reality” fit better with the idea of something to achieve a specific purpose of which there are many just a I have four different hammers for four different purposes. There are certainly batshit-insane people in every walk of life but that doesn’t mean everybody is. When I moved to where I live now in Arizona, I knew next to nothing about guns: the mix I have came from advice from the folk at J&G Sales in Prescott who also advised me to take the concealed weapon training at Gunsite Academy in Pauldin.

  4. AzBlumeanie has posted a very good article. I never would have seen the TPM post that is very revealing about the spiraled out of control gun advocacy. I think it’s spot on and very, very dangerous. It occurs to me that everyone of these individuals who feel there will “come a day” when they will be called to defend the country from the US Government do not realize that such a line is absolutely relative. Timothy McVeigh (sp?) and his cohorts were absolutely convinced they were defending the country when they took it upon themselves to blow up the Murraugh (sp?) Federal building in Oklahoma City. I wonder how many of them would speak of McVeigh as being one of their club members? I must remember that word…paraphilia. Excellent!

  5. Yep, already gave him a link debunking that argument.

    Now it’s people who wouldn’t normally buy a gun are arming themselves, entitlements, oppressive government and 2nd amendment (funny how they always seem to ignore the “well-regulated” part).

  6. He is also totally wrong that Sweden has strict gun laws that require everyone to have a gun. Actually it is far more difficult to have a gun there than here.

  7. So I headed on over to Sonoran Alliance… been having an interesting back & forth with Roger. For him it’s more guns, liberal schooling, lack of discipline. He’s even for mandatory military service, anything to justify more guns.

    It’s wonderful fun!

  8. The batshit insane people who think arming teachers is the solution also seem to be the same batshit insane people who daily malign teachers as union thugs/liberal indoctrinators/evil incarnate. Teachers are evil… BUT LET’S GIVE THEM ALL GUNS!!

    If more guns is the solution, then how do these batshit insane people explain the fact that the Ft Hood shooter was able to kill 13 and injure 29 on a MILITARY BASE full of armed personnel?