We’re used to anti-gun zealots shamelessly using national horrors to take political cheap shots, but following the Las Vegas massacre, they’ve hit a new low by blaming masculinity for the bloodshed that shocked our nation.
Matthew Dowd, a strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign who is now a chief political analyst at ABC News, said in a tweet that what needs to change in America is “a culture celebrating guns equating them with strength combined with a bizarre antiquated manhood.”
Gun Violence Is Not a Growing Problem, Despite Reports
Anti-gun activists would like you to think that gun violence is a growing problem in the United States as alpha males flock to gun shows to buy weapons. But this is completely untrue. Gun violence has decreased almost equally with the increase in gun ownership. States with higher gun ownership don’t have more murders. Not to mention, since 1993, the gun homicide rate has fallen by nearly 50 percent, despite recent increases in some urban areas.
This decrease in gun violence is a statistic gun control activists often bury because it doesn’t fit their narrative. Regardless of facts, they continue to spread misinformation, resulting in many people thinking we’re awash in gun violence. A Pew Research survey in 2013 found “56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.”
A mass killing like the one we witnessed in Las Vegas is horrific, but we can’t extrapolate from this that gun violence is on the rise or that men who own guns are an inevitable threat. The fact is, mass shootings are still very rare, and most men who own guns aren’t out killing people. They’re mostly out saving lives or preparing to do so.
Most Men Use Guns to Protect
Men across the nation put their lives at risk every day to protect us. From police officers, to soldiers, to private citizens who protect their families—and strangers—from criminals, most men use their privileges and rights as gun owners to do good. Just ask the woman who was nearly raped but was saved by a neighbor who owned a gun. If he hadn’t been there, she would have been brutally attacked. But he was there—with his gun. And this is just one story in thousands.
Dowd and others might call this “antiquated” masculinity, but I call it much-needed masculinity, and there’s nothing bizarre about it. A man who buys a gun to save a life, to protect the weak, is a strong and good man, just as a man who uses a gun to take a life is despicable and evil. The issue here is not the gun or even masculinity, but the character of the individual wielding the gun.
Yes, men are naturally more violent than women, but that’s because it’s in a man’s nature to use his strength to protect and defend. When a man uses his masculine traits for evil, the fault is not his masculinity, it’s his depraved heart. Evil is an individual problem, from person to person, not men in mass or men as a group.
If you want to change the culture of violence in our nation, change individual hearts and minds and cultivate mutual respect for all people—men included. Don’t take away their rights and opportunities to use their masculine strengths for the good of others.
Masculinity Is Not Bad, Either
Just because guns have always been associated with masculinity doesn’t make it wrong. Guns have been associated with masculinity since the Chinese invented black powder. From the hand cannon to the rifle, men in all nations have used guns, not only for conquest, but to defend their homes. To protect is to be a man.
The relationship between masculinity and guns doesn’t mean men love violence. It means they want to develop and use the best tools to defend themselves, their families, and their property. Guns empower them so they can exercise their strengths as men. This is a right to celebrate, not shun.
When I go to a gun show with my husband, I confess to being impressed by its sheer masculinity. The long rows of guns carefully displayed, the care men take to examine each brand, to discuss the latest models and which performs the best. I don’t see men drooling for violence. I see men who love to develop a skill, who take seriously their responsibilities as gun owners, and who feel deeply satisfied when they become highly competent at something that has meaning and purpose, and saving a life is a great purpose—one men feel most keenly.
When a man uses his masculine traits—and a gun—for good, it’s comforting. To see him strive to excel at handling a gun so he can save, not destroy, is thrilling. I love to watch a man handle a gun with competence—the way he searches for the perfect gun, the one that fits his hand perfectly, how excited he is to get home so he can take it apart to examine its mechanisms, clean it, care for it, and master it. He goes to the range to practice, reads gun magazines to learn more about gun responsibilities and use, watches training videos, and practices drawing his weapon so he will be effective in a time of need. This is a man using his masculinity for good, honing his skills—and it’s beautiful!
Real Men (and Women) Use Guns for Good
As a woman, I proudly celebrate masculinity and gun ownership. The more strong, responsible men who own guns and who are skilled at using them, the better. When I’m with a man who is concealing a gun, I feel safer. I even feel more feminine. I feel protected and valued that he would take the time to learn a skill and invest in a tool that is meant to keep me, others, and himself safe from harm.
A man, of course, isn’t the only one who can own a gun. Women can, too, and there are many accounts of women defending themselves from home invasions and attackers. So add women to the “gun culture.” They’re right there along with men. It’s just more common for men to own guns because, like I said, it’s in their nature to protect. They also like gadgets, and they’re highly motivated to perfect their skills. Some women are like this, but it’s more natural for men to be motivated to guard the perimeter of their lives.
All of us who value masculinity, and the strength and competency that come with it, need to push against this effort to emasculate our men. Blaming guns (as if they act alone) and masculinity for violence of any sort is an attempt to deny personal responsibility and to remove much-needed protections from our society. The Left wants to leave us weak and vulnerable, so governing authorities have more power and control in our lives. They hate guns and men because both stand in the way of tyranny.
As men are diminished, as their power taken from them, the more evil grows. I, for one, don’t want that to happen. In this world riddled with evil, with growing centralized power, I want a good man with a good gun standing between me and those who want to strip me of my freedoms and my life.