The Aurora, Colorado, Shootings – Fear Based Gun Ownership Fulfills an Authoritarian Need to Severely Punish Those Not Like Them

Those most likely to become authoritarians (social dominators or followers) are raised from a young age in a strict-father environment where violent punishment is used aggressively. And, according to James Dobson, the sooner it is applied, the better.

Dread of this punishment keeps the followers in line and gives the social dominators the tools they need to keep them in line.

When one provokes in a child a fear of the dark, one awakens in him a feeling of atavistic dread. Thus this child will be ruled all his life by this dread, … — Adolf Hitler, July 1941

This physical, and mental, punishment is used to teach what is morally right for the conservative worldview: that you should never question authority; that you are totally responsible for your success; that those who are not successful lack the moral strength to succeed and deserve what they get; that you’re on your own; that beliefs trump conflicting facts; that if you accept the help of others, you are a parasite; that critical thinking threatens one’s beliefs and should be banned; that repaying what is taken from the common wealth is not required; that working with anyone not like you is a moral sin; that punishing those whom you consider morally wrong is justified.

This authoritarian worldview also has a hierarchy with a male God at the top followed by white men, then women, white children, non-white men and women (especially the poor) and lastly poor children.

This need to punish is exemplified by authoritarians, mostly white men acting against those lower in this hierarchy, who go crazy with guns trying to punish those who are morally wrong in the conservative worldview.

“We have a group of people in this country who are Christian, who are fundamentalist, who have within their midst, individuals who are incredibly dangerous who are waiting to go off like bombs ready to explode with the fuse lit.” – Frank Schaeffer interview about his book Crazy for God.

“Since the arrival of the Puritans, punishment has been inextricably woven into the fabric of American life, and increasingly it targets young people who have been pushed to the margins of society. Hence, it is not surprising that in America there is a rush to punish individuals for committing crimes but no longer a passion or commitment to examine the larger issues that produce the crimes.” — Henry Giroux, Trayvon Martin and Racist Violence in Post-Racial America

We also have those who are paid to justify this violence by opposing attempts to control it.

On one of Diane Rhem’s recent shows, she had a panel discussing the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. A pro-any-gun-for-anybody guest on the show stated that there was a recent intervention of a robbery by an armed citizen and that this kind of action has happened “hundreds of thousands of times.”

If this were true, where are all the news stories to support this? A few videos on Youtube with some gun owner firing wildly is not enough and those armed-citizen actions are just as unsafe for bystanders as were the actions of the fleeing criminals. Where’s the multi-source evidence that this armed-citizen action does any real good?

Concealed weapons in the hands of armed citizens has little to do with saving lives, as we are told, and much more to do with our form of Hitler’s “atavistic dread” and gun sales. This national dread and the Aurora shootings have driven up Gun sales in Colorado and the only entities gaining from this fear/dread are gun manufacturers – not innocent bystanders. Gun and ammunition manufacturers are raking in millions as they, or their supporters, claim it’s too early to talk about regulation that would eventually slow these rampant, highly profitable, dread-based, gun sales.

Remember, fearful people think/do/believe stupid things – it just how the brain works on adrenaline.

One last point. most fearful gun owners have had little real event training and therefore have little real skill to save lives. You are more likely to be killed by an American gun owner than saved by one.



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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

2 Responses to The Aurora, Colorado, Shootings – Fear Based Gun Ownership Fulfills an Authoritarian Need to Severely Punish Those Not Like Them

  1. Andy Hailey says:

    A recent episode of Talk of the Nation,Guns 101: What We Know And What We Don’t, provided the following statements:

    “Sixty percent of gun fatalities are suicide and 40 percent, about, are homicide. … A study that was done to looked at whether having a firearm in your home actually does protect you or whether it puts you at greater risk, showed that families in homes, in which there was a gun, not only were they not protected against homicide, but the risk of gun homicide to people in those households was 2.7 times greater than the households without a gun, and the risk of suicide in those households was 4.8 times greater in the households with firearms.” — Mark Rosenberg, president and CEO, The Task Force for Global Health

  2. Mike says:

    “In one year, guns murdered 17 people in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9,484 in the United States.”