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Macho gun culture.

I  think its fairly obvious we have a problem with this in the USA. When you take out one word, you get Gun Culture. Gun Culture and Macho Culture are two different things.

Sweden has a very healthy Gun Culture. I'm not going to go into too many details - you can find them yourself by googling "swedish gun owners" or something similar. What you will learn is a way of life "with a gun" that we don't have in the USA. They learn proper firearm usage (and respect) at a young age, they are familiar with firearms and the damage that can be done by anyone or anything pulling a trigger, and they have guns pretty much everywhere. The Swedes do not live in a culture we automatically associate with extreme violence (although they have violent crime, like ever nation of human beings).  The Australians, OTOH, are usually regarded differently.

The violent crime rate in Australia is very high. They don't have the kind of unlimited/unregulated gun ownership for civilians in Australia like we do in the USA, and there is still gun crime, but the real problem is just violence itself, regardless of the presence of guns. They have a macho culture that is very similar to the USA. They have a problem with violence that is similar to the problems in the USA.

Sweden ... violent macho culture? I'm not seeing it. Guns, yes, lots of them. Macho culture poisoning young men with the idea that every "dis" needs to be responded to with violence? Not sure I see it. Somehow Sweden, with its readily available supply of firearms, has avoided the horrific consequences of combining mach culture with gun culture.

Here in the USA we have companies that actually PROMOTE that connection. You're not a man unless you have a gun. What utter BS.

When you combine macho culture with gun culture, you get what we have in the USA. You get the benign Gun Culture of the Swiss with the arrogant Macho Culture of the Australians, and lo and behold you get epic testosterone fueled violence, banked by the winds of ego and popular "culture" that promotes violence.

You can bet other components include violent imagery in the entertainment industry AND denigration of intellectuals, both pervasive in the USA. The US also has a pitiful safety net for the mentally ill, the poor, elderly, and children - but that dovetails with the macho culture of "stand up and take it or you're not a man", even if that means your family starves or other terrible consequences happen to you, easily avoided if the "victim" of macho mentality would change the way they approach the world.

I firmly believe it is the the MACHO culture that is the root of the problem in the USA, not the GUN culture. The MACHO culture wants violent encounters to any situation in which you become angry, not thought-out, well considered reactions and certainly not a reaction where you could be called "a pussy". The MACHO culture normalizes assaulting others based upon something a stranger may look like or something a stranger said - it's a BULLY culture and we love it in the USA. Hey, as long as you're not getting the beat down, it's fun, it's entertaining? Right?

Until people in the USA have matured to the point they can address the problem with inculcating ridiculous concepts of macho in our male children, we will be having incidents like what happened in a CT school very few days. Or maybe weeks. Or months. But the fact is, until we change our values, these incidents WILL happen again.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a gun owner, grew up around guns and was introduced to guns at a young age by caring and intelligent parents. Never been in jail, never assaulted anyone (with or w/o a gun). I'm also a student of philosophy and religion. I am not and never will be a supporter of the NRA. I am a liberal. I believe we need BETTER regulations that are ENFORCEABLE and WORKABLE. Everyone reading these words will never exist in a USA where guns are removed from society. It just is not going to happen, ever, so stop pretending it will and stop fighting any way you believe - however well intentioned - will result in guns being taken out of our society. It ain't gonna happen. Start fighting, instead, the war on violence and macho, and start promoting intellectuals and "smart kids" in whatever way you can.

And this post also has nothing really to do with the horrific events of late, I don't know enough about that individual to speculate on what made him go off. This is a post directed at our on-going problem of violence and its roots in our culture.

Originally posted to filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:28:14 AM PST

  •  ... (4+ / 0-)
    They don't have legal gun ownership for civilians in Australia,
    Current Australian firearm laws
    State laws govern the possession and use of firearms in Australia. These laws were largely aligned under the 1996 National Agreement on Firearms. Anyone wishing to possess or use a firearm must have a Firearms Licence and, with some exceptions, be over the age of 18. Owners must have secure storage for their firearms.

    Before someone can buy a firearm, he or she must obtain a Permit To Acquire. The first permit has a mandatory 28-day delay before it is first issued. In some states (e.g., Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales), this is waived for second and subsequent firearms of the same class. For each firearm a "Genuine Reason" must be given, relating to pest control, hunting, target shooting, or collecting. Self-defence is not accepted as a reason for issuing a license, even though it may be legal under certain circumstances to use a legally held firearm for self-defence.[2]

    Each firearm in Australia must be registered to the owner by serial number. Some states allow an owner to store or borrow another person's registered firearm of the same category.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:34:07 AM PST

  •  Some stats to back up your points (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Massconfusion, twigg, stevej, mungley

    would have been nice - for example Wikipedia reports that the USA's murder rate is over 4x higher than Australia's and  our per capita gun ownership is 3x higher than Sweden.

    i.e., not exactly how you portray things.

    •  If not stats ... (0+ / 0-)

      Then some links to where we can go off-site and read around the story.

      They always help.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:43:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Australian Gun Laws Reduced Violent Gun Crimes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, Roadbed Guy

      FilthyLiberalDOTcom, thanks for pointing to the gendered roots of what is too seldom called patriarchal violence.

      Some folks on this thread have been asking for statistics - I recently ran across some hopeful statistics regarding the effectiveness of Australian gun control laws.

      Violence prevention policies that reduce the number of guns in circulation can work.

      See this article.

      An extended excerpt is worthwhile reading:

      The risk of dying by gunshot has halved since Australia destroyed 700,000 privately owned firearms, according to a new study published today in the international research journal, Injury Prevention.

      "Not only were Australia's post-Port Arthur gun laws followed by a decade in which the crime they were designed to reduce hasn't happened again, but we also saw a life-saving bonus: the decline in overall gun deaths accelerated to twice the rate seen before the new gun laws," says study lead author and Acting Head of the School of Public Health, Professor Simon Chapman.

      "From 1996 to 2003, the total number of gun deaths each year fell from 521 to 289, suggesting that the removal of more than 700,000 guns was associated with a faster declining rate of gun suicide and gun homicide," said adjunct associate professor Philip Alpers, also from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. "This was a milestone public health and safety issue, driven by an overwhelming swing in public opinion, and promptly delivered by governments."

      After 112 people were shot dead in 11 mass shootings* in a decade, Australia collected and destroyed categories of firearms designed to kill many people quickly. In his immediate reaction to the Port Arthur massacre, Prime Minister John Howard said of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns: "There is no legitimate interest served in my view by the free availability in this country of weapons of this kind… That is why we have proposed a comprehensive package of reforms designed to implement tougher, more effective and uniform gun laws."

      After I posted this on Facebook, a Facebook friend asked a great question. "The summary mentions the statistics on reduced firearm homicides and firearm suicides. What happened to the overall homicide and suicide rates?"

      Here's what I found:

      Did people switch to other methods of suicide and homicide?

      I found one source comparing 1997 and 2010 rates of suicide, which showed an overall decline for every age and sex grouping except the 45-49 age bracket ( It's possible this decline happened between 2006 and 2010, but if 2010 is a decent proxy for 2006 it doesn't appear that other forms of suicide rose when firearm suicides decreased.

      Similarly, regarding homicide rates, this site says that overall homicide rates have declined since 1996, though mostly the charts show raw numbers. Australia's population has been growing since 1996 ( and the numbers of murders have been gradually decreasing (though there are fluctuations year to year), so the overall rate must be declining. See also this Snopes entry belying a false claim that crime increased because of the gun buyback program.

      So, overall, the news seems good - it appears that there was a reduction in both the firearm suicide and homicide rates and the overall rates. So, by this crude analysis, there doesn't appear to be a substitution effect.

      Every relationship of domination, exploitation, or oppression is by definition violent. Dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things - the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.-Paulo Freire

      by samdiener on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:22:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's interesting (0+ / 0-)

        thanks for posting it.

        However my understanding is that violent crimes, or maybe crimes of all types, have been on the decline for the past 20 or so years regardless of gun control status (e.g., there is no correlation between the decline (note, decline, not overall level!) of murder in states with strict or lax gun control - or in Canada where a similar effect was observed).

        So I suspect that the decline you describe in Australia may have had to do with larger societal trends than anything.

        Which I've been trying to plug away at promoting as a  strategy here in the USA, but with very modest effect.

  •  Another way of looking at it: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley, Chi, samdiener, splashy, EthrDemon

    Our society was founded on slavery, genocide, and Calvinism.  We're about as far from "communitarian" as is possible; it's every-man-for-himself here almost (and maybe not almost) to the point of mass sociopathy.

    America is an easy place to die violently, and it will only get easier.

    •  The irony is that the (0+ / 0-)

      Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton -- were disciples of the "Scottish Enlightenment," which had a huge influence on the few American colleges and which had a distinctly communitarian slant on social philosophy.  There's a great quote of Franklin's, which I can't get right now, that says that all wealth above that necessary for survival belongs to the commonealth because that commonwealth provides the prerequisites for it to be created & acquired (essentially the same point PBO was making in his "You didn't build it" spech); and so, if you don't want to pay taxes, go live by yourself in the woods.  

    •  Not only that, the criminals were sent over (0+ / 0-)

      From Europe, so they brought the genetics for violence with them.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:27:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You're right (3+ / 0-)

    Except that we do need to outlaw military style weapons.

    Further, I don't think anybody can do a darn thing about the macho culture  But I think your diagnosis is totally correct.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:38:23 AM PST

    •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samdiener, BlackSheep1

      Send conservatives to for re-education.

      by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:41:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe the culture argument is worth (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, filthyLiberalDOTcom, howd

      following. I am coming to the school of "all of the above" solutions to this problem. Our culture has gotten awfully violent since 1950 in our media. And the level of alienation is on the rise and has been for decades.

      A few unrelated examples. When did Christmas become entirely about family and not about community at all. When was the last time you heard "Peace on Earth" in relation to Christmas? How many truly lonely people are there in this country. Why are tween girls so mean. Look at the state of our politics. You can interrupt the President and call him a liar in the middle of a speech in Congress and become a hero to some.

      What effect has the two income household had on our society. The idea that some moms choose to work is a joke. You need a two income household in order to pay the bills since the 1980s. I fully support the right of women to choose whether to work but it is an empty and hollow choice for most women. Both parents are required to work now a days. This is a general observation not applying to the tragedy in CT. Did wage increases stop with the entry of women into the workplace in the eighties?

      I think we need to examine American life in all of it forms and do soul changing.

      •  whoa, hey, waitasecondhere, kmackle (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe it's just 'cause I'm so damn old but I remember TV Westerns and kids who played cops-and-robbers or cowboys-and-Indians (I was one!) or even "soldiers-and-enemies" ...
        but we didn't have, or at least I don't remember hearing on the news about, mass shootings at malls or McDonalds' or schools.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:45:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And you had violent video games, mass (0+ / 0-)

          murder in media commonplace .... uh huh ....

          Send conservatives to for re-education.

          by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:14:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not video games. Cap guns, yards, bikes or (0+ / 0-)

            ponies, and all day long to chase each other around yelling "bang bang you're dead" or "no, you missed" at one another ... but to be fair it was the 1960s and early 1970s.

            But shoot-em-ups ruled TV. We had Westerns and cop shows and "High Noon" and "Combat!" on TV, and Vietnam on the news ... maybe it was that we saw people hurt and bleed and die on TV back then.
            It wasn't antiseptic, and the body counts didn't seem like something to celebrate.

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:32:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The Gun Cult isn't just about "macho" - it's about (7+ / 0-)

    baseless fear and illusions of empowerment.

    Lots of women get caught up in the idea that the gun in the holster under their shirt will keep them safe from scary criminals...when the real threat all along is their drunken husband (who they don't want to shoot) beating on them.

    The Gun Industry promotes a climate of fear that only they can offer a solution to.  

    And, based on my admittedly limited sampling of half a dozen Aussie friends over the years - that's not something they suffer from much.  

    For the most part...well..they're kinda overly ready to start throwing punches around.

    Macho culture would be an improvement over the cult of pervasive fear we have in the US.  Eight States in this country have passed laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons in bars.

    'Cause without a gun, a fair fistfight might be lost.

    "Macho" guys would muscle up and get ready to throw blows instead of gripping a pistol to calm their rattled nerves.

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:41:38 AM PST

  •  Guns are the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, corvo

    no access to guns no shootings.

    I know that is pretty radical line of thought in the US..

  •  I grew up with guns (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    filthyLiberalDOTcom, corvo

    I learned safe gun handling and shooting early. I don't handle a weapon without checking to make sure it's "safe" (safety on, no live round in the chamber.) A gun is practically an extension of my arm. I have never had a mishap with a gun, or threatened a person with one. Last year there was a rabid porcupine on my property. I got a gun and shot it, 1 shot, 75 feet. Guns have their uses. All that said, I wouldn't fight a total ban on guns. The cost benefit analysis just doesn't work out. We need to evolve away from guns and violence, and change needs to start with us.

    •  Australia and Canada and Ireland all have (0+ / 0-)

      murder rates very comparable to the UK.

      They all allow private citizens to own single shot or bolt action long arms fairly easily.

      Proper regulation works as well as bans, which in my book makes bans pretty hard to defend.

      This place needs a PVP server.

      by JesseCW on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:04:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Single shot or bolt action is (0+ / 0-)

        fine by me. But anything semi automatic needs to be tightly regulated. And there should be a limit on particular ammunition. But I do not want to take away single shot firearms. But we need a cultural change also. As well as mental health care reform.

        •  Yup. Take away guns and our murder (0+ / 0-)

          rate is still double the UK's or Germany's (they kind fall between Australia and the UK on restrictions).

          We need a much stronger social safety net overall.

          This place needs a PVP server.

          by JesseCW on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:23:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  what about revolvers or lever-action rifles? (0+ / 0-)

          We need a cultural change, I agree. We need better mental health care, too.
          But we need to stop being afraid. We really do.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:48:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't see why pump or lever action (0+ / 0-)

            would be an issue.

            Pistol are their own can of worms.  

            I really think they ought to be in their own class, requiring extra hurdles to get, with permitting, and a yearly fee.

            Maybe give people a break if they store them at the range.

            This place needs a PVP server.

            by JesseCW on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:11:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  An immigrant made this point to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She said she was continuously shocked by the prevalence and acceptance of day-to-day violence in the US. She had never seen the like elsewhere.

    Cultures can be changed. We're not even halfway finished, of course, but look at the changes that have been made in the treatment of African-Americans and women.

  •  Gun fetishists are far from macho. (0+ / 0-)

    In fact, they usually are little whiny creeps. Who probably use their guns for aids....

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:26:35 AM PST

  •  We share one thing with Australia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Prisoners/criminals were sent here to get rid of them, just as with Australia.

    That means that there was a culling process that went on in Europe, where the worst, most violent, people were sent to Australia and North America.

    Those genetics still live on in our two countries, mostly in people that have been present from the beginning of the countries.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:25:10 PM PST

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