Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Why does society equate firearms with evil?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (33351 points ) July 18th, 2010

It’s an inanimate object. It has no good or evil to it. It is what people choose to do with it that is the good or evil. I’ve owned guns since I was twelve and I’ve never harmed another person with one. Your thoughts?

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52 Answers

wilma's avatar

Most of the people that I know have at least one kind of firearm in their home. None of them has ever harmed another person with them. (that I know of)
Other than bad press, I really don’t understand why some people think that all guns are “evil”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What society? Seems to me we live in one that looooves their guns.

Qingu's avatar

It’s a tool with the sole purpose of lethally harming or killing people.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Qingu That I have to (respectively) take issue with. It’s designed to propell an object at a high velocity. It’s what the guy holding the gun does with it that makes it potentially lethal. We could go on all day debating what can be lethal

Blackberry's avatar

It’s an inanimate object with the sole purpose of killing people, that’s why it was made…...It’s not like a hammer that was made to put nails in wood to build stuff, but can also kill someone.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@Qingu Really? I guess I’ve been using mine wrong then, because I’ve found other purposes.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t accept the premise that society equates firearms with evil.A vocal minority uses disinformation and human tragedy to vilify a tool which has been used inappropriately.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille I like that answer. It is a small minority I guess. I kind of got fired up by the previous question.

Blackberry's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe But what is the purpose of that object lol? Was it made to chop down trees? Was it made to quickly put holes in materials to work on them like a piece of wood or metal? What was the intended purpose of the firearm when it was invented?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Blackberry I was wondering that myself. The Chinese are credited usually with inventing gunpowder, but what did they use it for at first?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe so you don’t think ANY inanimate object can be in-and-of-itself evil? I realize you don’t think guns ever fit into this category, but what about a medieval rack? or thumbscrews, or a bomb so large that it would literally kill every living thing on the planet?

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t have a problem with guns(I had a great time shooting the M16, M500, 50 Cal mount, and pistol), they are useful because in some places you need them to stay alive. We can’t change how our civilization behaves, but it just seemed like we were ignoring the obvious reason why they were made.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gorillapaws GA. The rack and screws are designed for the sole purpose of inflicting pain, which isn’t on my list of nice things to do to others. Some guns are designed as people killers and I would agree they’re evil. My guns put a lot of food on the table when I was growing up. (Before you shoot me, my g/f is a real animal lover and she would kick my ass for hunting, so I don’t any more)

wilma's avatar

I wonder if guns were invented first as a tool for hunting food? or for personal protection? or to be used in war?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I actually have totally changed my opinion on hunting after hearing some well-reasoned arguments in favor of it. It’s not my thing, but I certainly wouldn’t begrudge someone who hunted and put the meat to use (as long as they’re not hunting endangered species and such for sport).

gorillapaws's avatar

@wilma The first firearms were cannons I believe, and then they figured out how to make them smaller from there.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t believe guns themselves are evil, it’s the intent of the person holding the gun that can be evil. If you intend to kill someone, whether it be with a gun, a baseball bat,a knife, or something else, your intent is what is evil. The gun, baseball bat, knife, or whatever else you used wasn’t evil.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gorillapaws Here in the northeastern part of the US, the whitetail deer predators have been mostly eliminated, so the only way to control the population (within reason) is hunting. The other options are starvation, auto crashes, etc.

wilma's avatar

Thanks @gorillapaws I think you are probably correct, and I’m glad that you changed your mind about hunting.
by the way my freezer is full of venison, some of it was killed by a gun, some of it was killed by a car. Only the one killed by the gun was intentional. The car accident also hurt a person. I would ask those who think guns are evil, was the car evil? or the deer that ran out in front of it?

ipso's avatar

A: Lack of education and experience.

@Qingu’s response is classic – and pretty much answers the question on its own in ironic glory.

rebbel's avatar

You can educate me whatever as long as you want, i will remain seeing a gun as evil.
They are fabricated to kill you (or cause you great bodily damage), not to love, or kiss, or embrace you.

Hunting?
They can be/are used for hunting?
Guess who is dead when the trigger has been squeezed.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t see them as evil, but their sole purpose is to do harm. Whether that is good or bad is situational.

jerv's avatar

As a person who has taken down a tree on a cliffside with a shotgun as opposed to doing some complex and potentially unsafe spelunking with a saw, I can attest to the fact that guns are for more than just killing.

Of course, I am more prone to target shooting than hunting anyways, and I personally do not feel the need to own a gun for self defense, but there is a Zen-like quality to marksmanship that allows me to enjoy a gun without harming another living creature human or otherwise.

And if you can’t tell the difference between wild turkey and store-bought, farm-raised crap, or appreciate a good hunk of venison, then you are mentally incapable of seeing guns as useful. Same thing goes for people who have never lost a chicken or a sheep to a coyote. Most of the gun owners I know use it to get their dinner or to protect their livestock from predators.

I feel that if the only thing you see when you look at a gun is dead people then there is something wrong with you.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv “I feel that if the only thing you see when you look at a gun is dead people then there is something wrong with you.”

What about an assault rifle?

wilma's avatar

I’m agreeing with @jerv on this, that doesn’t happen everyday! :-)

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Do you mean a firearm designed solely for military use and forbidden for civilians to own, or are you referring to the CA laws that include large-caliber non-autofire rifles with small clips that are used for long-range hunting or target shooting in their definition of “assault rifle”?
If the former then it’s a moot point since you can only get them if you are a soldier going to war, and humans have been killing each other since long before firearms were invented. If the latter, CA has so many screwed up laws and an even more screwed up economy that I consider that state’s government to be a punchline rather than a viable authority.

@wilma You raise an interesting point, especially since people think nothing of how lethal their car is. I’ve seen people nudged off the road in potentially lethal manners (and heard of cases where actual fatalities occurred) so one could consider cars in the same class.

In both cases, intent plays a huge role.

rebbel's avatar

@jerv
The only difference being that the car (or the train, or the building stone, or the umbrella, etc.) wasn’t fabricated with the intent of ending a human or animal life.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv Kansas repealed it’s laws banning civilian ownership of fully automatic rifles. I believe you can still get fully automatic weapons as a civiallian in some circumstances. Also many of their semi-automatic counterparts are available in most areas. So yes, when I think of those, I think of dead people. I would argue that anyone who doesn’t see a weapon like that and think of dead people is either delusional, or mentally deficient.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gorillapaws Both of the firearms I own are semi-automatic. A Remington 1100 that last killed a clay pigeon, and a Ruger 10–22 that last killed some cans and other inanimate objects. I like the test of skill it takes to hit something small 100 or more yards away. I don’t see dead people.

Symbeline's avatar

I guess it’s because of the firearm’s purpose itself, it’s easy to attribute evil to it. At least, generally. There are firearm fans out there who would beg to differ; not psycho gun nuts, but those people who know all about gun history and models and things.

But I do agree that it’s the people who are responsible, not the gun. Unless it’s like, Megatron or something.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d like to thank everyone for their civil responses. This issue can get pretty emotional, but you guys kept it clean and repectful. (Maybe my name should have been “keep it civil”) Thanks and GA’s all around.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe neither of the guns you mentioned are the semi-automatic counterpart of a fully-automatic rifle. What you’ve done is make a straw man fallacy.

TexasDude's avatar

I blame gang culture. I was raised in the country where everyone and their cousin has guns, including so-called “assault weapons.” I was taught to shoot when I was 6 and I own several guns today, but I was also instilled with an immense respect for the gun and its capabilities. So was everyone else I knew, and there never was a shooting in my area and yet nobody feared guns. They viewed them as tools: objects for fun, a way to get food, a way to defend yourself if anyone ever broke into your house.

I know alot of people from inner city and slum areas as well. It’s a totally different story there. Guns are used daily for violence and thugs kill each other off left and right. People there don’t know the good that guns are capable of because they’ve only been exposed to the evil that people use them for. And this is not saying that there are exclusively responsible gun owners in the country and exclusively irresponsible ones in the city. It’s just an observation I, and others, have made.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t think American society equates firearms with evil so much as social backwardsness and I think it’s a dangerous attitude.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’re dangerous in the wrong hands. They’re dangerous in the hands of stupid people. The father of my 4 year old keeps a loaded pistol in an unlocked drawer by his bed. When my daughter clocked him on it he said, “He knows not to touch it.” We’re taking that up with her attorney.

jerv's avatar

@rebbel Bows were originally used for hunting. Guns are an evolutionary step in the ability to take down an animal at a distance. If people use them to kill people then that’s not the fault of the inanimate object.

@gorillapaws I would argue that the same can be said of industrial machinery and certain forms of power tools. Lets outlaw those as well. And knives… too many people getting stabbed. People get beaten to death so lets ban blunt objects as well. Wait… sometimes people get trampled or kicked, so no feet either.
Look, if you want to see death, you can find it anywhere. And since you see only death in firearms, I can only surmise that you have a few issues. I see death as only one possible use of a gun, just as I see the possibility rather than the certainty of dying in a car. It’s not my fault that you are morbid.

@Dutchess_III I was about that age when I learned that guns are not toys. I was taught quite a bit about guns, like what can happen if you are stupid. To this day, I treat all guns as loaded unless I verify otherwise with my own eyes/hands, and never, EVER point a firearm at anything I am not 100% ready and willing to utterly destroy.
That is why I am in favor of trigger locks and, for those who insist on easy access, quick action gun safes that allow for near instead access with a biometric lock while keeping kids (and other unauthorized persons) out.
I am against irresponsible gun ownership, just as I am against irresponsible car ownership or irresponsible computer ownership. You cannot blame guns, cars, or computers for people being stupid.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have used my 20 gauge to blast pesticide on tent caterillar nests high in the trees in my orchard. It is a very targetted application.
I have also use the 20 ga to open up the input baffle on my septic tank.
I use it to take down long, dangerous icicles too.

Sorry to disappoint some of you but I have not killed or hurt anyone with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jerv Thanks for the link…

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@worriedguy
In all the known history of my families’ long history of owning and using firearms, even teaching children then there are no reports of human death by firearms. I’m talking over 150yrs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Same here. We always had them around in my family. No one was ever injured nor did they inflict injury on another person.
My Dad carried one for protection but never used it.

MercurySunrise's avatar

I don’t understand it either. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And using the law to ban guns does not work against people who rob banks, gangs, men who break into houses and kill and rape, so, actually taking guns away IS evil. Because if you do that we can’t defend ourselves. Oh, sorry I’m getting into politics. Ignore this answer if you want.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MercurySunrise Welcome to fluther. GA, but you have now made me worried about knives. :)

mattbrowne's avatar

Temptation for evil people. When I think of firearms and policemen my associations are positive. Same for hunters. Same for people in sparsely populated areas who can’t rely on the police alone.

wilma's avatar

@mattbrowne again you are another voice for reason. Thank you.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@mattbrowne mentions something important in that not everyone has reliable law enforcement. My ex husband and I once called 911 to report shots being fired in the condo next door to us and no patrol ever showed up even when the operator said one had been dispatched. Since that time I’ve never taken my safety for granted or felt comfortable enough to entrust it to other people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Well what happened in the condo next door???
I lived in the city for years. It would take the police no less than 2 hours to reach us if we called them. After I moved to a small town, the first time I called the police I was floored when they were knocking at my door within 45 seconds….

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Dutchess_III
From what we heard then two drug people broke down the front door when our neighbors refused to open up and then fired a shotgun inside to scare them but I don’t know if anyone was hurt. No patrol or ambulance ever came. We moved out of there soon after. It was in Sacramento California in a not so great suburb.

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III The emergency services (one part time cop and a crew of volunteer firefighters) in the town where i used to live in NH didn’t even know exactly where my house was. And when there was a horrific car accident on the state highway at the end of my road, it still took over half an hour to get a state trooper on the scene even though they patrol that (major) highway, and another 15–20 minutes before any sort of ambulance showed up.

The driver of the car died.

She said her name was Darla.

wilma's avatar

Aww @jerv I’m sorry.
Folks who have always lived in an urban environment, often don’t realize how “on your own” some rural folks are out of necessity.

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany I feel perfectly safe without owning a gun. But I’ve seen some remote areas in the US. And there are more wild animals too. If a bear really gets aggressive…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ah,no…I’m sorry Jerv…

If I lived in the wilderness I’d certainly have a rifle or something @mattbrowne!

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