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Frida Berrigan: Growing Up with the Threat of Pervasive Violence
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It’s been a terrible year for gun makers. The venerable Remington filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy after its sales fell 27.5% in the first nine months of Donald Trump’s presidency. (Its officials had expected a 2016 Hillary Clinton victory to ensure a burst of gun purchases.) And Remington wasn’t alone. Sales have been ragged across the industry. Gun company stocks have slipped, profits have fallen, price wars are breaking out, and corporate debt is on the rise. January 2018 was the worst January for gun purchases since 2012. (A mere2,030,530 firearm background checks were logged that month, down by 500,000 from the same month in 2016!) It was the “Trump slump” in action.

The good old days for the gun makers — you know, the ones when a Kenyan Muslim was in the White House and a mass of Democratic congressional flamethrowers was preparing to shut the spigot on gun purchases in America forever with draconian laws — are long past. The National Rifle Association reigns; Republicans control Congress; Trump rules; gun control laws are something to be found in a galaxy far, far away; and all is safe, sound, and well in the world.

Or put another way, what’s often referred to as “fear-based” gun buying is no longer buoying the industry. One sign of this: in the past, mass shooting incidents (and the media brouhahas around them) were surefire gun-purchase inducers. Those background checks (a good measure of gun sales), for instance, rose 50% after Sandy Hook, 43% after the San Bernardino killings, and 40% after the Orlando Pulse nightclub massacre. But after last October’s Las Vegas slaughter in which 58 died and hundreds were wounded, they sank by 13% compared to October 2016. And even the recent Parkland school killings and the gun debate and youthful protests that followed didn’t seem to help sales (at least not until quite recently).

So, fear and guns. After President Obama was elected and the Democrats took Congress, gun production tripled in this country (and imports doubled), while, according to recent studies, white men who fit a certain profile — “anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market, and beset by racial fears” — stockpiled guns in record numbers. The gun, as one study reported, feels to them like “a force for order in a chaotic world,” though such owners are significantly more likely to use a gun in their home to kill or wound themselves or someone in their family than a burglar, intruder, or anyone else.

Think about a country filled with guns in numbers that should stagger the imagination, weapons that often have the power to rend flesh in ways that fit war, not the home. Then imagine the fears that have run rampart in this country in recent years and read the thoughts of TomDispatch regular Frida Berrigan, as a mother, as the child of famed pacifists who protested violence and weaponry of every sort, and as a relatively sane soul in a country deeply on edge with itself.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Gun Control, Guns 
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  1. I guess you could say the good news, if shit really ever hits the fan, is that clueless, reflexively anti-gun morons likes Frida Berrigan, Tom Engelhardt, and the rest of the cookie cutter Marxist fags that write for will likely be the first to get wiped out of existence, since they won’t have any actual means of defending themselves.

    Natural selection at work.

  2. H says:

    Wow, you don’t know anything about this domain. Remington did a prepackaged bankruptcy because in 2007 they got bought by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which caused their already by then iffy quality to nosedive. In addition, they’ve almost entirely missed out on the concealed carry boom in handgun sales, only offering yet another M1911, an OK 380 mouse gun based on a design from a company they bought, and the single most disastrous introduction of a new gun from a major company in a very long time, the awful R51. Add to that multiple screwups in bolt action rifle fire control groups, going back to the 1940s, and they’re a brand most Gun Culture 2.0 gun owners avoid. So it’s no wonder the post-Trump election sales decrease made them unable to service their 950 million in debt.

    But for your general thesis, you’re confused about what precisely we fear most, government tyranny or worse. Trump wouldn’t have gotten elected without our votes, which were also critical in creating the current Republican Congressional majorities, so people were less concerned after the Las Vegas shooting, which also wasn’t flogged that much because its targets were presumptively Republicans, like the following Texas church shooting. But now that Trump and Republicans are giving us more gun control instead of any liberalizations, well, as you admit, the situation may be reversing.

    Think about a country filled with guns in numbers that should stagger the imagination, weapons that often have the power to rend flesh in ways that fit war, not the home.

    Hard to imagine you write for the Unz Review without realizing that our cold civil war is growing ever more hot, even if it hasn’t to my memory run headlines like “Republican 2016 Presidential Candidate Who Survived Assassination Attempt By Bernie Sanders Supporter Is Physically Assaulted By Angry Kentucky Democrat.” There’s every sign a real shooting war will soon be coming to our very homes, and we Gun Culture 2.0 gun owners along with plenty of 1.0 ones are preparing for this possible, maybe probable outcome. As Seymour Buhtz points out, the likes of you will just be victims if it comes to pass.

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