What has Americans so frightened? Why are they stocking up on guns and ammo?
Fears of crime, a potential crackdown on firearms, social collapse and even zombies have millions loading up as never before.
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.”
Civil rights lawyer John Whitehead, writing in the liberal Huffington Post quotes America’s second president, John Adams: “Fear is the foundation of most governments” and says it is no wonder that Americans are afraid today. “Turn on the TV or flip open the newspaper on any given day, and you will find yourself accosted by reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police and marauding SWAT teams,” writes Whitehead. “America is entering a new phase, one in which children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government agents because of the content of their Facebook posts, and law-abiding Americans are being subjected to the latest in government spy technology.
“These threats to our freedoms are not to be underestimated. Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language they are couched in — the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.
“This language of fear has given rise to a politics of fear.”
And when Americans become afraid, they buy guns.
Arab-American author Massad F. Ayoob marvels at all the fear. “If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had a conversation with someone in the last few days who asked, ‘Why do ordinary law-abiding people need those semiautomatic firearms with magazines that can hold more than ten cartridges?’” he writes in Backwoods Home. “There are lots of sound answers.
“For one thing, defensive firearms are meant to be ‘equalizers,’ force multipliers that can allow one good person to defend against multiple evil people. To allow one good person to defend against a single evil person so much stronger and/or bigger and/or more violent than he or she, that the attacker’s potentially lethal assault can be stopped.
“In the 1980s and into the 1990s, cops switched en masse to semiautomatic pistols. So did the gun-buying public. Today, the most popular handgun among police seems to be the 16-shot, .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic. Not surprisingly, the general public has gone to pistols bracketing that caliber in power (9mm, .40, .45) with similar enthusiasm. The American police establishment has also largely switched from the 12 gauge shotgun which was also the traditional American home defense weapon, to the AR15 patrol rifle with 30-round magazine. And, not surprisingly, the law-abiding citizenry has followed suit there, too.
“The reasoning is strikingly clear. The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a ‘high capacity’ semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families.”
Is fear – and arming ourselves – perhaps a uniquely American tradition? After all, Thomas Jefferson advised: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” declared Benjamin Franklin.
“For those of us fighting for our traditional rights,” writes Mishin in Pravda, “the U.S. 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever-darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position.
“The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture? No it is about power and a total power over the people.
“Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology.”
But be careful not to embrace fall for the manipulation of those who use fear to their own advantage, advises Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times. “In the 19th century, fears were stoked by books written by people who supposedly had ‘escaped’