Fear is a very primal thing. We all feel it, often on a deep atavistic level that transcends reason or intellect. No one who has ever lived has not known the powerful animal feeling of it. It's in our very nature.
Dealing with fear means seeing it for what it is, just a natural part our being, an evolutionary product of our biology and our history. Imagine our naked early ancestors out there on the plains of Africa, relatively weak, slow and unarmed. Adrenaline had to be a favorite cocktail. We were slow moving gazelles. It's amazing that we made it in the world of cave bears and saber cats. What kept us alive as a species, one might imagine, was our fear of being taken as prey. First we had fear.
Man's existential dilemma is unchanged, though our awareness of it is. Yet no one with a clear mind of philosophic bent ever entirely avoids the abyss. Our awareness of our mortality transcends our limbic system and overlays it uncomfortably. Unlike other animals, or so we imagine, we can think about our existence with the inevitable mortality clause, and ponder the meaning of it all. But for all we know there may be philosopher penguins. We just don't know.
But if we think too long about how scary it is to be a mortal human being in a universe such as this, it can drive us buggy. Some things are best seen out of the corner of the eye. There are aspects of reality it's best not to stare dead straight in the face all the damned time.
Best just to see fear for what it is and not be dominated by it, not give in to it. For millennia, people have been learning the lesson that you might as well be as fearless as you can, for while fear is often a very useful tool, it's like a chainsaw that way, it's best to maintain a firm grip. You don't want it driving. People driven by fear will do funny things. In prison I was more wary of the super afraid people than I was of the tough guys. Tough guys are sort of predictable, more than the super afraid anyway. Those guys are dangerous. They were always armed. Being armed doesn't necessarily make you less afraid but it definitely makes you more dangerous.
I grew up in gun culture. My dad was infantry. We and all our ancestors hunted. My generation was the first that didn't really need to. It was just our way of life. I thought everybody lived like that. And lots of people did. So I understand gun culture fairly well and know the concept of responsible gun handling and ownership. I was taught all these things. So having grown up this way, I tend to support 2nd amendment rights...but come on. Having a gun to protect your home is one thing. Guns in the street are a huge fucking problem. Too many people are getting shot. We need the guns back in the homes, and a more civil society where the worst things are fist fights out in the streets. Too many people are dying because our society is flooded with guns – because so many people are running around armed. All so gun manufacturers can exercise their god given right to profit off of other people's misery.
We need to draw the line. We need to deescalate. We should try to reduce the ease with which people kill huge numbers in the blink of an eye. Assault weaponry has no place in civil society. Especially not a society under as much stress as ours. Which brings me to my final point.
Sensible gun control is one thing, the kind of stress that drives people off the deep end is another, and it is too rarely addressed. Very few people have what could be called a good deal in this society, most peoples deals are pretty crappy for one reason or another. Life can be harder than rich people can ever know or imagine. They don't get the middle class, much less the poor. But damn it, it's hard at the bottom people. Especially with the elites hammering you with fees and regulations topped with minimum rage. We punish our poor and it really sucks for the poor people. But does anyone care? It's getting harder and harder to tell.
That's the really scary part about being human. The thought that we might lose our humanity.
We need to deescalate. We need to get guns off the street. We need to limit the number and kind of guns it makes sense to have in our society. Hundred-round clips? Come on.
A society flooded with deadly weapons and under extreme stress is not what I would ever choose to inflict on anyone. Surely we can find a better way to be.