If you have watched the news at all in the past month or so, you have probably seen a clip or two regarding the push for gun control, arming teachers in the classroom, and a whole host of gun-related stories regarding safety, ownership, and the 2nd Amendment. You see the usual arguments being made about our right to hunt, target shoot, and keep handguns in our homes for personal protection.
Still, there seems to be something darker going on. The people I have seen on TV aren’t the usual deer hunters in their blaze orange jackets sporting their classic Winchester 30.30 lever action deer rifle. It’s not your local NRA rifle safety instructor. It’s not a group of people who like to sit in the weeds and shoot at ducks, their black lab in tow. These guys are wearing military camouflage and are sporting rapid-fire assault rifles with high-capacity magazines that would rival most military-issued weapons. The people who I see taking a strong stance against any reasonable kind of gun control cite being able to defend themselves from the government as a primary reason. Seriously? Like your AR-15 is going to fend off a SWAT team from the ATF that has armored personnel carriers, aerial assault teams, grenade launchers, and the like? Anyone believing that nonsense might want to Google the Branch Davidians and see how they fared. Where is this new brand of gun advocacy coming from?
Misplaced anger, that’s where.
More and more people feel they have less control over the events that shape their lives, and more and more the people that actually make the decisions are far removed from our daily lives. You have no way to contact them, let alone influence them. Your doctor prescribes a certain medication, and when you present it to your pharmacist, it is declined because someone somewhere made the decision that your health insurance doesn’t cover that one. You have a number you can call, but you know where that will go – you will talk to someone who will repeat the company line, you’ll receive some letter in the mail that explains why you can’t have that medication, and you are left to either pay for it yourself, or go without. You’re angry, and there isn’t even anyone to be angry at.
You apply for a credit card, and a few days after you apply, you receive a letter saying that your application was declined. The letter says that they looked at your credit report, and that was the reason it was declined. You are informed that you can order a copy of your credit report if you call the number given on the letter. Again, some nameless, faceless person has made a decision that impacts your life. There is no one to talk to, no one to appeal the decision to. Your anger simmers.
More and more, people are expected to apply for jobs online. Nameless, faceless people review your materials. Sometimes you hear back. A lot of the time you don’t. Sometimes you don’t even know if they received your materials. On the chance that you are actually called for an interview, there is a good chance that you will be given some type of personality test that asks bizarre quasi-psychoanalytical questions, and based on this, again someone you never see or talk to will make the decision without you even knowing the reason why you did or didn’t get the job.
The next time you fill up your gas tank and the price is higher, go ahead and ask the person behind the counter why the price is higher than it was before. They won’t know. Neither will the owner of the store. You will never really know why you ended up paying more than before. You are just expected to pay it, or do without. Suck it up, ya know?
I have yet to meet anyone who can tell me exactly how a person’s credit score is calculated. I hear general, vague descriptions, but that’s it. It’s called your FICA score. FICA stands for Fair Isaac. Who’s Isaac, and how do you know he’s fair if you don’t even know who he is? And yet that credit score that they stamp on you will influence the interest rate you get on loans (or if you even get a loan), whether you can rent an apartment, qualify to buy a car on credit, and a whole host of things. Most people don’t know their credit score. No one knows how it is calculated. Except Fair Isaac. And no one knows who he is.
See where I’m going with this? People are fed up with this nameless, faceless group of people influencing our lives, usually for the worse. Our quality of life in this country has been steadily eroding for quite a few years now, and no one really knows who to blame. So we blame the government, as though they have some control over it. They don’t. And people are getting angry and fearful. Owning a gun has become more a symbol of freedom to these people than it is anything else. It is their own little protest over the lack of control they have over their lives. They talk loudly, and put on a lot of bravado. They don’t have any real intention of using their assault rifle. Not really.
But that guy who was bullied in school, and keeps mostly to himself now? He does.