Projection isn’t just a way to get your voice heard…
…Projection is, of course, a psychological term used to describe a maladaptive way to process feelings that make us uncomfortable: “projecting” them onto someone else. That’s what has always struck me the hardest about some of the things that anti-gun activists will say in unguarded moments—and today’s case in point is this quote from Emma Gonzalez, an anti-gun-rights campaigner:
“I’m still worried, when I drive down the road and I’m not wearing a hat, that someone with gun stickers on their car is going to recognize me and run me off the road.”
Take a moment to absorb the many layers of WTF-ery in that musing. First, that anyone else on the road would notice who she is, hat or no. How much notice do you take over the appearance of your fellow commuters? Can you even determine their gender and race reliably—or are they mostly just “that crapsack Ford” or “the jerk in the BMW” to you?
Secondly, let’s unpack Gonzalez’ belief that, were someone who supports gun rights to recognize her, their first instinct would be to attempt to murder her. (Running someone off the road could very well result in their death, as any responsible driver could tell you.) Of course she’s received quite a lot of criticism for her anti-gun stance, and I have no doubt that some of it has been ugly. But ask yourself this: Is that the first thing you worry about when you learn that other people disagree with your political opinions—that they’ll kill you?
A couple of years ago I was discussing gun rights with someone who opposes them, and one thing he said to me was that he didn’t like the idea of his neighbors having a gun because he worried they would shoot him if they were ever to get in a dispute. I asked him why he thought his neighbors would want to kill him. He then began to tell me the story of his ongoing problems with his neighbors, and in the course of that he said the following phrase three separate times:
“I coulda just killed him dead right then and there.”
I still don’t know what his neighbors wanted to do to him, if anything. But I knew what he wanted to do to them. So here’s the question: When would-be gun banners start talking about how they think we, the pro-2A set, cannot be trusted with lethal force, are they really telling us that they can’t?
And by the way, Emma, should you ever stumble across this little experiment in armchair psychology: Your Freudian slip is showing. Might wanna hike that up.
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