Guns Make You Stupid: When Killing Is Easy

I wrote this after an incident in Back Bay, Boston, during which a resident, after arguing with sanitation workers, went back into his house, got his gun (actually, one of three guns) and threatened to kill them:

One thing to note is that apartments at 85 Marlborough go for about $700 per sq. ft., and that’s based on a 2008 valuation (believe it or not, prices in the neighborhood have gone up since then). And 85 Marlborough is one of the cheaper buildings (here’s some photos from a block away in various directions). This is not a ‘gentrifying’ neighborhood, this is an enclave of the local gentry. Yet give someone a gun and he acts like an idiot chucklehead with a ‘Born to Lose’ tattoo.

Guns aren’t just stupid, they make people do stupid things.

Over at Digby’s joint, thereisnospoon notes the following about gun violence (boldface mine):

While the efficiency and simplicity of the gun is certainly greater than for other weapons, that’s not actually what makes the gun so pernicious and dangerous. What makes it dangerous is the fact that the gun gets in the way of our moral reasoning in a way that the knife does not. For most of us, if we are in a heated argument with a cheating spouse or a friend who betrayed us, there is something deep-seated in our psyches that won’t let us actually hurt that person up close with kinetic force, much less strike them repeatedly as it usually requires to kill someone with the first dangerous object we can get our hands on. Our monkey brains say “no, this is bad. No matter how angry you are, this is not acceptable.” Even if we want to, most of us can’t push that man onto the tracks. Better to let the five on the trolley die through inaction.

But the gun is different. It’s easier. The gun is that switch that we pull to intentionally doom the man on the tracks with an action. It bypasses the moral circuitry that usually prevents us from taking the actions it would have required for us to kill another human being through countless generations, giving us a significant remove from the moral consequences of our actions. Rationally it’s still the same. Emotionally it isn’t.

Guns make killing too easy. Not only does it make killing relatively bloodless (note that I wrote relatively), but the power rush associated with a gun also confers (false) feelings of invulnerability.

Guns make you stupid. Intelligent Designer knows, many people don’t need any more help in that department….

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2 Responses to Guns Make You Stupid: When Killing Is Easy

  1. Gingerbaker says:

    “Guns aren’t just stupid, they make people do stupid things.”

    That’s because who ever gave guns transferable stupidity, gave them agency as well.

    Btw, here’s an example of stupidity: using inductive arguments. A single person – some moron in Back Bay acts out with a gun. Therefore, all guys with guns act badly. QED. Because ” give someone a gun and he acts like an idiot chucklehead with a ‘Born to Lose’ tattoo.” Intellectual brilliance on display, here, folks, and it’s repeated over and over and over , evidently until it sinks in.

    Meanwhile, 300-600 million guns sit in American closets and essentially zero of them cause stupidity, blathering chuckling, or tattoos. How can that be?

  2. AResponsibleCitizen says:

    Do you have any peer reviewed articles that point to the existence of people who are unwilling to use kinetic force to inflict violence on someone but are willing to use a gun? And I mean people who are unjustified in their use of force not a weaker person suffering life threatening abuse. I’d like to know how many of these mythical creatures exist before using this argument to introduce more gun control than we already have … especially in states like MA.

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