Guns make you Godlike. And that explains their incredible hold on so many of our citizens.
You can play a violent video game, watch a movie, listen to violent heavy metal -- but it's all just entertainment, or a fantasy. At the end of the day, you know it's not real.
But put a gun in your hand? You have the ultimate power. The power of life and death. You have the power to point at someone and say "you're dead" -- and with a click, you make it so. Godlike power.
They say power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. What power is more absolute than the power of life and death? It is this power that all too many gun owners are addicted to and many are corrupted by, whether they acknowledge it or not.
Oh, they'll couch it in high-sounding terms. The Second Amendment, right to bear arms, the ability to resist government oppression. Oh, it's only for target shooting, they say. Just sportsmanship. Honing your skills, perfecting your aim. Perhaps they truly believe this. But it's really a craven lust for power. They love the feel of a gun going off in their hands, the ability to destroy something with a click and a boom.
And, to be honest, it's hard to argue with it. It feels good to have ultimate power. You get instant respect. No one will argue with you when you have a gun in your hand!
It's this love of power - even if it's never exercised, even if it doesn't rise to the level of conscious thought - that makes gun rights supporters so powerfully driven to protect their rights to their destructive fantasy, even in the face of appalling gun death statistics in this country, in the face of school tragedies from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook.
Don't get me wrong; the vast majority of gun owners are respectable, law-abiding citizens who are not part of the gun death problem in this country. And we all have this secret craving for power inside of us; it's why we root for the good guy in the movie to not just defeat the bad guy but to destroy him.
But whether you're a responsible hunter practice shooting at a range or a rabid killer spraying lead around a school, the heart of the matter is the same -- you enjoy the power. The absolute power. The absolute, corrupting power.
If we acknowledge the lust for power that lurks in ALL our hearts perhaps those who own and enjoy guns might at least be able to temper their actions and viewpoints to the point where we could pass some reasonable laws to reduce the outrageous number of gun deaths in this country. But that would mean voluntarily giving up some of their power, something people are not always good at.