(Editor’s note: I had a chance to interview Ms. Carlson about her op-ed and her book, check out the interview here.)
An interesting op-ed in the Los Angeles Times argued that men around the country carry firearms to address “social insecurities far beyond crime.”
In other words, your reason for carrying a firearm is not rooted in practical self-defense, rather you carry because you’re compensating for your inability to bring home the bacon on a consistent basis.
Jennifer Carlson, the author of the article, wrote, “As men doubt their ability to provide, their desire to protect becomes all the more important. They see carrying a gun as a masculine duty and the gun itself as a vehicle for a hardened kind of care-work — caring for others by shielding them from danger, with the threat of lethal force.”
Carlson goes on to say, “In Michigan and other places hit hard by the economic downturn, men’s guns can address social insecurities far beyond crime.”
“The gun rights platform is not just about guns,” she continues. “It’s also about a crisis of confidence in the American dream. And this is one reason gun control efforts ignite such intense backlashes: Restrictions are received as a personal affront to men who find in guns a sense of duty, relevance and even dignity.”
From my vantage point, I can’t help but to feel that she’s reading too much into why folks carry. It’s really straightforward. People carry because (a) it’s a Constitutional right backed by the natural right of self-defense, (b) when seconds count, the police are minutes away, and (c) at the end of the day, one is responsible for one’s own safety; not the government.
I don’t think one’s personal economics play that large of a factor. Put another way, whether one is doing well financially or one is struggling financially, the desire to carry is still there because, let’s face it, serial rapists, mass murderers and thugs don’t discriminate between those living the American dream and those struggling to make ends meet.
Now, that’s not to say that we are paranoid of the criminal element, as some anti-gunners contend, on the contrary, it’s recognizing that regardless of how low the probability of an encounter is we’d rather be prepared to deal with a threat then to put our lives, the lives of our children, spouses, etc. in the hands of evildoers.
Those who carry concealed have a mindset that is not unlike those who learn CPR and other lifesaving techniques. That is we all believe in being prepared and we train and practice each discipline on the off chance that we’ll need them — not because we’re hyper-afraid of the dangers that this world presents.