Dé Luain, Lúnasa 30, 2010

Future of America Hinges on Chemical Makeup of Projectiles

I mentioned in a post a few months ago that it seems to me that many in the gun and hunting communities actually seem to enjoy imagining themselves to be much more opposed than they actually are because they would rather be hated than accept the fact that they are generally ignored. The recent flap over the petition to the EPA to ban lead in bullets and fishing tackle would seem to be the ultimate proof of that.

The proposal was brought by several wildlife and environmental groups concerned by various studies showing that natural predators and scavengers were getting lead poisoning from eating creatures who had either survived human attack or been left with a bit of meat on their bones after being butchered. There are of course several other metals besides lead that bullets can be made out of. Ammo companies may or may not have been forced to raise the price of an individual bullet or shell by a penny or two. The proposed regulation would have added no noticeable burden to the lives of anyone, but would have only made the lives of various birds and coyotes a little healthier.

There are of course other perspectives, like this one from a Pennsylvania blog called 'Snowflakes in Hell'.

This is not about lead in the environment; it is about abolishing guns via removing the ability to shoot them. Either way, the results are identical. The gun-grabbers have more ploys than stars in the sky. When one fails to become law, they have are ready to propose another one to take its place. Four Supreme Court Justices recently voted against laws that would enable citizens to protect themselves against criminals who would invade homes, rape, rob and murder law-abiding residents, and to effectively scrap the 2nd Amendment. The only way to stop the hijacking of the country is to vote out those in Congress who pass laws such as those that restricting our rights to self-defense in the first place. It is a constant battle, and without the financial and legal support of the “evil” NRA, people would have to quickly learn how to barricade themselves in their homes. I can’t wait until November rolls around.

It's all very clear. Forcing ammo manufacturers to produce their wares with something other than lead would obviously make it impossible for people to own or fire guns because, well you see, bullets would be made out of copper or something now and, well all of those hundred-shell boxes I bought for two bucks a piece back in 89 would all be worthless now and... and.... because I said so hippie.

The petition was shot down over the weekend thanks to this sort of opposition. One could chalk it up as just another case of liberals knuckling under to the screams of bloody-minded idiots; but I for one am incapable of pretending to have one tenth of the passion on the matter that the professional hero/victims of the hunting community do, and I suspect this is a sentiment shared by many others on the left. It would have been better for the birds and such if the rule had gone into effect but mostly it seems very mundane.

Opponents of the idea 'won' this round because of the belief in their number that there is no such thing as mundanity. The True Man knows that absolutely every decision is a choice between good and evil, that any choice not presented as a way to fight for this or that sacred principle is illegitimate, and that finally any commitment to a good principle is hardly worth making unless this principle is under constant peril and in need of manly defending. Much of the pseudopopulist blather against bureaucracy in the right is based on precisely this attitude. People who have this attitude fascinate me. They are doomed to lifelong frustration in almost any human environment they find themselves in, because the sort of mundane and pragmatic decisions made by the EPA and other bureaucratic agencies are essential in any remotely organized society. The only life that such folk would ever truly be happy in is that of fourth world warlord; indulging in the glory of eternal life-and-death struggle while still enjoying the perks of modern technology back home at the fortified mansion.

The 'Snowflakes in Hell' commenter quoted above is yet another right-winger who believes his enemies to be too strong and too weak at the same time. He is both on the brink of losing everything he holds dear and on the verge of a smashing and absolute triumph at the ballot box. The reason he is able to believe such obvious nonsense is simply because he wants to. Who among us wouldn't love to feel like an invincible underdog, to have our egos fed with both power and pity at the same time? The fact that reason tells us that an invincible underdog is impossible means only that we would feel better by dumping reason and embracing struggle, will, and entitlement in its place.

Entitlement is also a big part of what is going on here. The pushiest voices in the guns-and hunting rights crowd are not satisfied with merely being allowed to shoot and hunt, but demand that society and all of its institutions acknowledge their superior virility, assume out of hand that their personal hobbies are perfectly good in every way. Any suggestion that there could be any negative effects even tangentially related to hunting is unacceptable. There is also the fact that wildlife groups, environmental groups, and the EPA all operate under the basic assumption that non-human creatures exist for reasons beyond being dominated by men, and for many people this assumption is intolerable madness.

Beyond all else though is a sense of proper masculinity so cartoonishly extreme as to make this crowd mentally ill. They convince themselves that their personal arsenals are the only thing preventing a Lovecraftian orgy of blood, rape, and free health care because they can conceive of no positive self image except that of Heroic Warrior. The problem here is that any society having any hope for stability, including our own, is built on the idea that heroic warriors should be made as unnecessary as possible; so that any place enjoying any degree of tranquility will always be too liberal for such people. Adhering to a Heroic warrior self image doesn't enhance virility but rather leads to the same sort of frustration and bitterness felt by an elderly parish priest.

And so the adherents of this ideal are in the end damned to stupidity; willing to swallow any bucket of goat spunk that allows them to believe that they are moments away from winning a fight that will never end.

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