Yeah, that is kind of the problem. This is not a level headed response. This is a reactionary response. Yet those of us who call it out are dismissed out of hand.
I think Jay asked a good question about my use of the phrase "gun culture." I know it is a flawed phrase. I need something more approaching Sullivan's "Christanist" to distinguish. But as I noted in the comments, part of the problem is also the responsible gun owners who continue to suggest that everyone should have guns regardless of their personality or hot-headedness, or even their own needs.
Here is what I would like to see. I would like to see a national gun organization--Steve asks why I pick on the NRA all the time after he has told me that they are still the best defenders of gun rights--to take their money and power and pulpit to address more than just the second amendment. I would like to see a campaign that, instead of demonizing the President and accusing him of siding with some vague UN conspiracy or secretly wanting to take away all our guns--to do this instead. Stand up and say:
First, let me note the obvious, that while the President and I disagree on some policies, he is not our enemy and is not trying to take away all our guns. We may differ on certain gun regulations, but we all respect the Constitution, and we all want to reduce gun violence like the horror show we saw in Sandy Hook.
Here are the steps we think we can take that meet that shared interest. We will support those gun regulations already enacted and push our advocates to make sure those regulations are properly funded and supported. Before we pass more regulation, we should make the ones we have work. We will also support the universal background check as we used to support in the 1990s. This too must be fully funded and supported and is a small price to pay to try to keep guns away from bad people.
2nd, we are going to start a national campaign where we appeal to all Americans to think carefully about guns and their use--and we mean in both ways. We want non-gun owners to see more than those who brandish guns to make a point, or who engage in senseless gun violence to settle petty disputes. But we also want gun owners to recognize the legitimate fears of the non-gun owning population. We will make very clear in our approach that anyone considering purchasing a gun should be very clear about why. If they are buying it for personal protection, they need to be clear of what that might mean. If that isn't a good fit for them, they need to pursue other options for self defense. Gun buyers should undertake as much training as they can find, and ensure that their gun is secured at home away from children or others. Gun safes, trigger locks, etc., should be a part of every conversation. No one should buy a gun because they feel the need to brandish it in public, and guns should only be used when there are no other good alternatives.
Third, while our democracy requires a vigilant population, we need to stop this constant discussion of needing these guns to fight our own army. Our army is not our enemy. Our government is not our enemy. Our President is not our enemy.If LaPierre said any of that, I might take him seriously. But he doesn't. And neither does the industry pushing gun sales. This approach won't sell as many guns.