Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tactical Reality

Very interesting explanation of the modern gun "culture".

From TPM Reader SS …

I’m a pretty left-of-center liberal. Read TPM regularly. Donated nearly $1,000 to BHO’s re-election campaign. But I was raised with guns. More to the point, my childhood was steeped in gun lore: I learned to hand-load ammunition when I was 10 and 11, and - by the time I was 14 - my dad was trusting me to prepare my own handloads. I could (and to some extent, still can) recite chapter and verse of firearms arcana, from muzzle velocities - a product of the type of gunpowder used in one’s handloads; of the weight (in grains) of a projectile; of the length of a gun’s barrel (the longer, the faster); of the temperature and elevation at which one is shooting - to impact energy (measured in footpounds), to trajectories (flatter for heavier bullets; some calibers have an innate advantage over others), and so on.
I bring this up to establish my bona-fides.

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.

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 constructured their own (batshit insane) reality.

One in which we have to live.


Anonymous said...

I pretty much agree with that post. It appears to me that we are a sick, as in mentally unbalanced, nation. The people I see who "collect" guns and have military/assault type weapons shouldn't be allowed to own a baseball bat, much less a firearm. Just my opinion.

Jay in N.C.

Gordon said...

I have several different kinds of older military weapons. Nothing like that gat the killer used. Don't need anything like that.

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