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Ocelot II

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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sun Oct 26, 2003, 11:54 PM
Number of posts: 105,554

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But the obvious question is, *why* do they want to own guns?

More specifically, why do people want to own the sorts of guns that are useful and intended only for killing many people in a short period of time? People want guns for hunting. My dad owned guns - a few rifles and shotguns for hunting, like everybody else's dads. It was no big deal. Every fall he'd go pheasant hunting and we'd have pheasant for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. But you can't hunt pheasants with an AR-15, at least not if you want anything left of them to make a meal with. Some people have a gun at home for protection, but you don't need an assault-type weapon, just one you can access quickly and don't need to aim accurately, like a shotgun. You don't need to turn a home invader into hamburger.

So who are the people who want multiple military-style guns, and why do they want them? I think the whole gun issue has to be analyzed from the demand side as well as the supply side. What is it about guns, especially those kinds of guns, that makes some people fetishize them? And that's what it is - a fetish. Some people have assigned meaning to guns far beyond their use as a common tool for hunting or self-defense. To some, guns are such a powerful symbol of manly American patriotism that any attempt to restrict their ownership or use is tantamount to treason. Where did this bizarre fixation come from? A lot of different places, probably, starting with the individualistic cowboy fantasy, the myth of American exceptionalism and the rise of toxic masculinity. All this as been amplified by the NRA, which once was just a sportsman's organization but in the '70s became a tool of the gun manufacturers, and which turned gun ownership into a non-negotiable right-wing idee fixe. And many people - mostly white men who are convinced that the commies are going to sap their precious bodily fluids if they don't keep an arsenal of weapons to ward off an oppressive government, as well as insecure, disturbed boys whose revenge fantasies are fed by online violence porn - are now convinced that they need guns like they need air and food.

I don't know how to change this.

What is meant by "legitimate"?

The pertinent dictionary definition is "accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements." So in that sense, the court is legitimate. It exists and operates in accordance with the Constitution and federal statutes. What it has become, however, is a legally established and therefore "legitimate" body that has lost the confidence of a large sector of the population. It exists in the first place as a branch of government intended to provide an ostensibly neutral arbiter of the law and thus a check against the political tendencies of the other two branches. Some of its decisions since its creation have been politically-motivated and some have been downright bad, but overall it has at least seemed neutral and fair enough that the other branches and the people have been willing to accept its decisions as reasonable applications of the law that they were willing to accept even if they didn't agree.

It started to slide, I think, with Bush v. Gore, which was such a bad, dumb, poorly-reasoned and disingenuous opinion that its goal - to achieve a particular political outcome by twisting the law and the facts of the case - was screamingly obvious. It's gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket during TFG's maladministration with the addition of overtly biased and arguably unqualified justices, and now the draft opinion in Dobbs shows beyond doubt that the court is just another political body, and as such will have lost the confidence of a whole lot of us that our cases can have a chance at a fair hearing. That's the whole reason for a court to exist - to give all cases before them a fair hearing - and if a court can't be trusted to ensure impartial justice, its technical "legitimacy" is meaningless.
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