Guns in America: A Question of Trust
Why are Americans attracted to guns? It there a uniquely dark side to the American character and American history? Is there a minority obsessed with destructive technology? Or is there a strange discontentment among those who, as the president put it while campaigning in 2008, “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations?
Tradition, technology and culture explain some but not all of the American attraction to guns. Another aspect, largely unremarked upon, is trust, or rather the pervasive erosion of trust in American society. Economic failure, social polarization, racial and ethnic fragmentation, and mendacity and malfeasance at all levels have brought about a lack of trust perhaps unique in American history. One result is arming in self-defense.
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