Hoplophobia is an irrational fear of weapons, and most often, of guns. The word itself was coined by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper in the 1960’s.
Following the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in August, the media has become so sensitive, and so eager to report on shootings, that any shooting involving more than one person becomes a “mass shooting,” As with any irrational fear, all this does is make hoplophobes’s conditions worse.This, naturally, leads them to seek relief for their fears.
Now, my wife is an arachnophobe – she has an irrational fear of spiders. I can tell you, from years of living with her, and rational discussion in times when she is lucid on the subject, that no amount of rational talk will ever be able to change her. She knows full well the facts – that she is much larger than spiders, that the vast majority of spiders, beyond brown recluses and black widows, do not present the slightest danger to her. Yet – and this is the key point – she wishes to see the complete extinction of every spider from the face of the earth. End of discussion.
So it is, then, with hoplophobes. No amount of discussion of “common sense gun safety” will change them in any way. And we, as rational people, must understand this: that, for them, the final answer is the complete outlawing and confiscation of all guns. End of discussion.
Understand, we can point out, rightly, that criminals will still have guns, as they do in all countries where guns have been outlawed. That doesn’t matter. They don’t, or can’t, understand. That is why they talk about “gun control,” not criminal control. For them, the source of the problem is the guns themselves.
Perhaps the best way to tell it comes from the words of Col. Cooper himself:
We find it perplexing that there are people who do not realize that a right may be neither granted nor withdrawn by the State. If the Bill of Rights were repealed, the right to keep and bear arms would still exist, since it was to defend that right that the Constitution was established. (See the Declaration of Independence.) Thus the state may destroy me, but it may not rescind my right to self-defense. This all seems pretty clear, but frequently I find people who do not understand it.
. . . Regardless of the best efforts of our enemies in Congress, the United States remains the last best hope of Earth. Those other people are going to do their very best to destroy us in the months between now and the next election. We must remember that this is the most serious trouble that our liberties have been threatened with since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. They are going to work very hard. We must work even harder. Regardless of how senseless hoplophobia may be, it exists, and, being a true phobia, it does not respond to reasoned argument. We must defeat it by exposing it as a psychopathic threat to our cultural liberties. When we force our adversaries to the wall and make them admit that they do not care about crime or child welfare or “animal rights,” but just hate us because we are morally better off than they are, we can pick up votes, and votes are what we must have.
I can think of little to add.
So, realize that we are never going to change the hoplophobe with discussion. But, in doing so we expose their irrational ways to the rest of the public, on whose votes we will ultimately depend if we are to retain at least our innumerated rights as they are today. So, don’t give up.