The Gun Culture — A Guest Post By Ben Berwick

A week or so ago, I asked if any readers outside the U.S. would be interested in doing a guest post about how people in other countries view our gun culture.  Earlier this week, I published Roger’s excellent post, and today I have another excellent offering from Ben Berwick of the United Kingdom, blogging at Meerkat Musings.   His message is short, sweet, and to the point:  while there once may have been justification for guns in the hands of civilians in the U.S., there is absolutely no evidence in this, the 21st century, that guns make people safer.  They don’t.  Thank you, Ben, for this excellent assessment from across the pond!

Allow me to preface this post with the note that I understand the historical importance of guns to US society. Once upon a time they might have been seen as a necessity. Somewhere along the line, they shifted from what could be argued as a necessary evil to a cultural symbol. Now, in some parts of the USA, guns are worshipped as fervently as Jesus.

That history is now more like mythology. Guns are considered vital, regarded as the only way to stop the government from rising up to enslave the people. Access to firearms is what will turn the tide, should the government ever go on a quest to turn from democracy to tyranny.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the outsider looking in. Back in the 18th Century, when the weapons available to the people and government were virtually the same, it would have made sense, but now? An armed populace will still not be capable of resisting warplanes, drone strikes, missiles and artillery. I know of arguments that targeting soldiers on the ground would have the desired effect of removing forces from occupied territory, but that assumes insurgents would be capable of any organised action in the wake of heavy assaults. Against an invading force this tactic might eventually convince the aggressors to go home, but against your own government’s forces? They aren’t going anywhere.

So it seems like guns are desired out of paranoia and a deluded belief that the disparity between civilian hardware and US military hardware (and training) can be overcome by the sheer quantity of weapons. This ‘safety net’ is required at any cost, even the the high collateral damage suffered in mass shootings (and in general, day-to-day US life). This seems like an absurdly high blood price to pay for a cause that would be virtually impossible to achieve in today’s world.

I can’t understand it. I can’t understand how it can be that guns are held up as such a mighty symbol of freedom. Why would deadly weapons be more important than the right to vote? The right to peaceful assembly? The right to free speech? Surely these are more important than guns? And before anyone says you need guns to have the others, tell that to the peoples of the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada and Japan, to name but a few countries. Guns are not a cultural symbol to those countries, but they have all of the aforementioned rights.

Guns kill. It is their purpose. They are designed from the ground up to be deadly. There is no evidence that they make a situation safer. There is no proof they act as a deterrent. There are countries where guns are virtually absent from society that have a proven record of being safer than the USA. I’m not going to reproduce the statistics that I’ve posted before. They are available to anyone with access to Google. If someone wants to show guns actually make life better, then by all means, prove it.

31 thoughts on “The Gun Culture — A Guest Post By Ben Berwick

    • Yes, it is crazy … the whole gun mentality in this country is crazy! Will it ever change? I doubt it. We’ve even had a member of Congress shot, yet he still supports unlimited access to guns. Sigh.


        • No, and that’s part of the reason I say it won’t happen. Australia did a gun buyback a while back, and Australians dutifully sold their guns back to the government. Here in the U.S., it would never work, for the gun nuts are adamant that they will not give up a single weapon in their arsenal! In fact, when Obama was first elected in 2008, gun sales increased dramatically because the gun nuts claimed he was “coming for our guns”. I have a friend whose brother-in-law literally has an arsenal in his garage … everything from grenade launchers to automatic rifles to handguns … and lots of them. Maybe 10% of gun owners would voluntarily give up their guns, but the rest would sell their children first!


  1. Pingback: The Gun Culture – Coalition of the Brave

  2. Thank you for sharing!!… In my humble opinion, like a number of other ideologies, the so called “gun-society” are closed minded and arrogant, and use the Constitution to justify their ideology and image, again, not thinking of anyone but themselves, self-gratification… much like refusing to wear a mask while dealing with the Covid virus.. believe that most have guns because guns give them a false sense of security and a sense of power and to show the world that no one can tell them what to do… “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ( Mahatma Gandhi)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..

    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 2 people

    • We have become a very shallow, self-focused society who care more for their conveniences than the lives of others. I agree, the gun makes them feel invincible, tough, manly … if only they realized it is truly a sign of cowardice. Many thanks for the Irish Saying, my friend. I always find peace in reading them.


    • It was absolutely my pleasure, Ben!!! Thank YOU for taking the time to respond to my call for a guest post on this topic. Yours were words of wisdom, greatly appreciated!


  3. This is an excellent post Ben. You’ve underlined the futility and the false-romance that the Gun Lobby cling to.
    As Brits we know how bad knife crime has become, but we don’t see The Right To Carry A Knife lobby as a solution do we?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Therein lies the problem! That, and the fact that there are more guns in this country than there are people, and some people will stubbornly sacrifice their children in order to keep their guns!


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