Understanding gun nuts

dirty harry.jpg

If there is one thing nearly no-one in Europe understands, is the attachment (a lot of) Americans have for firearms.

Mountains of evidence showing that the sky-high mortality rate of American citizens is scientifically linked to the ease with which any psycho, even when proven dangerous, can legally purchase an assault rifle in most U.S. states have no effect, and notice how I used the extreme example of an assault rifle, because no-one on their right minds could ever propose a ban on handguns, (not even on Dirty Harry’s S&W .44 Magnum cannon).

So we Europeans come to the quick conclusion that those Americans are just weak-minded.

Except that among my friends I have a few Republicans who do not support gun-control measures, support mr. Trump but are still, as far as I can tell, good and intelligent people, definitely NOT weak-minded.

So, instead of trying to understand my friends, I have been thinking if there isn’t something where we Europeans behave at least as foolishly as our U.S. counterparts. And this morning, when the below car zipped by me on the highway, that something just popped in my mind.lambo.jpgNowhere in Europe (except limited stretches of clogged highways in Germany) cars can travel faster than 130 km/h, yet the catalogs of car vendors is rife with models that can go TWICE as fast, when not more; most brands DO NOT HAVE MODELS that are not capable of breaking the maximum highway-only speed limit.

There are lots of similarities, starting with the consequences: 10.6 gun-related deaths per 100k people in the U.S., 9.3 car-related deaths per 100k people in Europe; both cars and guns have legit uses, most of the deaths are accidental, yada-yada-yada…

The question is why do we keep selling cars that are so potentially lethal? Why not simply limit electronically the speed of ANY car sold in a given country to the maximum legal limit in that country? Why even bother building and selling fast cars?

Maybe because there are other similarities: powerful economic forces fan the fire of our passions, making us buy powerful big cars (a.k.a. dick extensions – another similarity) we never use (check your historical overall average speed on your dash computer: if it is above 40km/h, I’ll buy you a beer) but are tantamount to AK-47s when we are drunk or tired.

So I came to the conclusion that the reason some of my American friends cannot be separated from their Glocks must be the same reason we Europeans buy a 500HP BMW M3: irrational, expensive but – probably – not completely genuine.

I have spent 20 years in professional communications and I know a lot of firms that would never work for arms manufacturers or tobacco companies (including my last employer): I don’t know A SINGLE ONE that would not work for a big car company.

Sometimes, keeping a little perspective before you start lecturing others is useful.

 

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