Guy Who Didn’t Like Guns Gives His Two Up, Takes a Victory Lap
The top post on Medium right now is a story called, “Firearms are no longer a hobby of mine,” by one Michael Pusateri. Who is Michael Pusateri, you ask?
From reading his post, he’s apparently a guy who bought a shotgun and a rifle, did some clay trap shooting at one point, and then put his guns in the attic where they stayed. The only time he took them back out was to pose for ironic ‘Murica! selfies, like the 4th of July selfie above that seems intended to lampoon right-wing notions of patriotism. He recently saw Obama on TV talking about the latest Oregon shooting, so he went down to his local police department and handed over his firearms to be destroyed. In his mind, and in the minds of the people enthusiastically retweeting and sharing this post, Pusateri has made a sacrifice and has Done Something about ‘Murica’s gun problem.
Now, as far as I’m concerned, I stand by this guy’s right to do something pointless and stupid, and then make a post patting himself on the back. And to the gun people who are trying to gin up an Internet lynch mob against him, I say: please don’t, because Internet lynch mobs from any side of the political spectrum are always a greater evil than whatever perceived evil they’re intended to address.
But I still have a major beef with this post: he has written an article proclaiming that he does not want to be part of “gun culture,” and now it’s being passed around as if he has done something brave by turning his back on his tribe.
To borrow a favorite phrase of our current CiNC: let me be clear, just because this guy had two guns sitting in his attic unused except for the occasional ironic selfie, didn’t make him enough of a part of “gun culture” that his “leaving” it is in any way news. If gun culture were a country, this guy would be tearing up his tourist visa at best.
The fact that there are so many responses online congratulating this guy for having Done Something is just remarkable to me. Andy Baio, a programmer who I normally have a lot of respect for, called the post “powerful.” To which my response is, “huh?”
Pusateri hasn’t, by his own admission, given up a pastime that he actively practiced. He didn’t have enough of a gun collection to even claim that collecting firearms was a hobby. And he hasn’t walked away from a culture or community that he was a part of. He doesn’t appear to have “sacrificed” anything other than the few hundred dollars that guns probably cost him. And of course the impact on gun violence from this futile act will be precisely nothing.
Again, he had two guns, and apart from having shot some traps at some point in his life, he mostly just used them to pose as a “gun nut” in ironic selfies. What, exactly, has he done for The Cause?
So I mostly look at the reaction to this post and marvel that anti-gunners are this desperate that they’ll seize on something so transparently lame.
The other thing that’s interesting to me is that there appear to be no actual “gun people” who have publicly renounced guns in the wake of any of these shootings. The number of bona fide gun people to break ranks seems to be holding at zero. There are no professional shooters who have made a show of disarming, no gun shop owners who have shut down their shops in shame, no collectors who have forfeited sizable collections for the sake of the greater “good.” Or maybe there have been and I’ve just missed them.
Heck, even former gun guys like Dick Metcalf and Jerry Tsai who were ridden out of “gun culture” town on a rail for questioning 2A absolutism haven’t turned in their guns. Once you go full-on gun person, you apparently don’t go back. Meanwhile, every mass shooting brings more and more people who were on the other side of the fence into the gun culture fold, as gun sales tick upward.
Anti-gun types should take a hard look at just how flimsy this one “defector” scenario is and how united gun people of all types have been in their support for the right to keep and bear arms, and they should think carefully about their next move.