As the gun debate continues to rage in this country, the social media conversation has been dominated by memes and straw man arguments bandied about by the most hard headed among both groups — with gun control and gun rights advocates both circling their proverbial wagons and congratulating one another on the new and witty ways they can agree amongst themselves.

A fortified position is intended to weather enemy contact, otherwise there’s no need for it, but when it comes to politics, we prefer our positions fortified and our opposition nowhere to be found. We don’t want to hear what they have to say, to engage with their line of thinking, or to acknowledge any merit or even humanity behind their concerns.

You can be a gun guy or not. You can believe in freedom or not. You can want to save the children or not.

From the outside looking in, it probably looks awfully silly, but to be honest, I couldn’t tell you for sure — because I’m a gun guy, and as such, I can’t help but view this topic through the skewed lens of a stakeholder. When someone that’s never touched a firearm and couldn’t be bothered to learn how they function proposes a law that makes no sense and would save no lives, I see it met with fanfare in Left-leaning outlets and I’ll admit it, I get angry.

But to be honest, I get frustrated with people on my side of the debate as well — when they make suggestions I find equally difficult to stomach. I remember the teachers I had in school and I know a lot of teachers now. I’ve got no doubt that there are plenty of educators in the country that own firearms, but most of the ones I know from my old stomping ground of liberal New England are just as scared of guns as they are of shooters. It’s not because they’re idiots, it’s because they see guns in the same way they see Great White Sharks or the Ebola Virus — a dangerous abstract they prefer to keep within the confines of their television sets. My comfort with firearms wasn’t bred into me; it developed as a result of years of proximity, training and use. I see a gun as a tool because, in my lifetime, that’s precisely what they’ve been to me — but to someone that’s never been near one, all they have to go on are the ridiculous things you see in the press.

Which brings me to the subject of this piece: why do some gun owners choose to own lots of guns and why is the press so afraid of them?

Headline image from Scientific American

The “research” cited in that article claimed people bought more guns under Obama because of racism, rather than because people feared he’d pursue more strict gun legislation. I guess that’s why they used the word “suggest,” because “I made this part up” doesn’t work as well in a headline.

I get the basic idea here: guns are scary, so more guns are scarier — but the logic doesn’t really survive past the anti-gun curb appeal. While I’m reluctant to advertise how many guns of whatever type I own, it’s safe to say that I own more than your average gun owner and way more than your average gun control advocate would prefer. I purchased them all legally, keep them stored safely and securely, I have a license to carry awarded by my state of residence and I’ve not only received quite a bit of training in how to handle my firearms, I continually seek more.