Guns: Their Use and Abuses (Introduction and Table of Contents)

Guns: Their Use and Abuses


By James C. Whiteside



            This is a general survey and analysis of the social background of modern gun abuse and misuse.  My hope is that in some way it pays respect to the lives of the children and the dedicated school staff so cruelly destroyed at Sandy Hook elementary School.   Perhaps it may contribute to the larger effort to stop the insane fantasy of guns before more tragedies are perpetrated.   It may be useful in preparing a strategy of opposition to the inevitable effort of the gun lobby to maintain business as usual.  This draft is tentative and incomplete.  I offer it as is, “in preparation,” due to the immediacy of the issues.  I will update and amend it as I can.

            The necessity of analyzing the separate parts offered here is due to the known effectiveness of the gun industry in savaging public discussion by fear and manipulation of several particulars.  The industry has repeatedly used its skill at “slow-rolling” any regulating legislation to defeat or emasculate it.  It attempts to flatten restrictive proposals from acquiring force effectiveness; it lacerates by numerous exemptions whatever legal content is brought forth.  It allows only such descriptive language as will provide sufficient weakness to the legislation as to allow it to be litigated to death.   It builds a multi-faceted platform of social incoherence in runarounds of the issues by clever ad messages hung on socially desirable ideals, some of which are poorly thought out but claimed as “sacred” American values.   This allows the industry to corrupt and pollute public understanding and the public will.


            Just as importantly, unless the issues are carefully handled, useful outcomes will fit the American historical background of being diluted into nothingness or worse into an extended political frustration over core principles.  Those principles hover around the great challenge of the American myth of our rightness as a democracy. 


Hopefully, Newtown seems to know it is vital to get these issues clarified fairly quickly so as not to impede any on-going control effort.  Otherwise the turmoil generated by the killings may subside without solving the conditions which caused them.  Most people seemed to be speaking to that task, desiring to prevent any hesitation if at all possible.  Even our fear of hesitation tells us something about the nature of the task and what little confidence we have in government to correct the means by which mayhem is spread. 


There is more than a remote possibility of a reoccurrence of such killing.  In point of fact, two have taken place already, at least one Pennsylvania and another in Webster, NY.  They are happening so fast it is difficult to keep track of them.  At least 2693 killings have already taken place since December 14, as of March 15th. [i]


Table of Contents:


Guns and Persons—The Making of the Individual.—Possessive Individualism

Abstract: Gun ownership has become an identity issue.  Change in an individualist society must cope with the overwhelming emphasis on individual identity regardless of the social  need of the society.  Individuals may and do lose coherence in such a society.  Loss of coherence must be made up by other means.  Lethal mechanisms sold as identity enhancers allow, if they do not promote, terrifying drama as individuals attempt to regain damaged stature by gun use. Power in the society rests with for profit enterprises and is enshrined in law.  A contradiction exists between a theory of the individual and his right to gun possession, which make all other persons subordinate and inferior by the facts of gun power.


The Gun: Function and Purpose—What is at Stake.

Abstract:  Power is conceived as force.  Guns are cherished for their force especially when no connection to society is recognized or when the connection is conceived as one of power.  Gun possession, use and abuse is overwhelmingly male.  Gun crime varies significantly by country, state, gender, age and economic advantage.  As such guns can be seen to serve as personality buffers of various hues and levels.  Sales can be multiplied by fear.  Countries with imperial agendas play on war as power that supposedly ennables individuals, supposing they aren’t killed by it. In gun design no effort is made to protect the victim.  Laws which attempt it are circumvented.

Who is Killing Whom?

Abstract:  The statistics of gun misuse are overwhelmingly abysmal and sickening.  More than 100,000 shootings a year, 30,000 of which end in the death of others or the shooter.   The 70,000 who survive immediate death may fear life itself for immeasureable lengths of time.  The whole society is made fearful by the volume of such occurrences.  Only a society of indifference can allow such behaviors as it becomes increasingly unstable.  Children are particularly at risk and may even be perpetrators.  Women face enormously increasing risks whenever a gun is nearby.  Courts fail to enforce protective orders when women plead for them. A tide of indifference rolls on.  Patterns of violence are known but not dealt with in a culture of relentless media violence.  Race and gender are major factors also not dealt with.


Prevention and Law Enforcement

Abstract:  Adequate prevention and law enforcement are undermined and often prevented by gun lobby prohibitions on tracking perpetrators.  Deliberately underfunded and inadequately staffed agencies allow proliferation of gun possession nationwide.  The effort is to create a cultural norm of gun possession to support gun sales.  The effort of dissembling and irresponsibility on gun ownership reaches to the Supreme Court.  Of 22,000 guns purchased by unqualified buyers, no federal data exists on how many were used in crime or assaults.  Obtaining that information is prohibited.  Background checks are required mostly by licensed dealers excluding 40% of sellers.  Advances in gun technology are ignored or buried under silence.


The Gun Industry and Its Efforts to Shirk Responsibility.

Abstract: The gun industry’s first order of deception is to deny guns’ vital design-- they are made for killing.  To escape being labeled “Merchants of Death” the industry plays on a society addicted to ignoring inconvenient truths in order to embrace  reassuring lies. Access to lethality is the second order of deception.  It is portrayed as protection when in actual usage possession will be useless or irrelevant unless coupled with extensive training and continual practice. Casualties are given the status of human waste without respect, merely “collateral damage” in a “rights” defined ownership.  Industry deceit is voluminous and foremost.  A shortlist of its deceitful actions is included.  The industry’s third order of deception is to starve its oversight agency, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of  resources.A short list of the extent the industry will go to protect itself rather than the citizens of the United States and the various means, devices, defeats and wins the N.R.A. has carried for the industry are as follows.


The Cult of the Gun: Its role as a fetish of identity, function and status.

Abstract:  Whether a troubled society in some degree at war with itself can accept the corruption of its basic democratic procedures by gun owners claiming patriotic virtue and special status.   The gun mechanism involved operating as a fetish seeking magical outcomes by means of violence and or the threat of violence. Individual power and force are conceived and claimed to be the means to civil liberty and protection.  Can   psychological and sociological errors of mind and action successfully counter rampant hysteria? How are alienated individuals to be dealt with and how can the industries promoting and then cashing in on the fear and mayhem of such individuals be dealt with?


Additional statistical data


The Constitutional Question of the Second Amendment

Abstract:  The gun lobby has made the Second Amendment its core logic. By manipulating it far beyond what it was meant to mean the gun lobby has made it to appear sacred.  As such the Amendment stands out as part of the great contradiction of the Constitution.  Originally written as the basis for protecting the sovereignty of the People it was altered by the Framers to insure the continued oppression and confinement of the slaves.  The vagueness of the writing has allowed it to be used today as an “iron jacket” of legal means to protect gun industry sales and profits at the risk of random violence throughout the society.



The Shibboleths of “Protection” and “Entertainment.”

Abstract: As part of the gun industry’s effort to get every citizen to deal with the fear the gun lobby is promoting, it has evolved a “right-to-carry” claim and attempted to get this claim adopted in as many venues as possible.  It has gone so far as to lobbying for this “right” in bars, schools, places of entertainment and other crowded places.  It never acknowledges the risks or complexities of inserting guns into volatile situations or how guns volatilize any situation.

[i] See _national_rifle…  also http.://www.