Certainly the NRA and other gun rights groups deserve a lot of the blame. Over the past 30 years, they’ve evolved from organizations intended to preserve hunting and to promote gun safety into lobbyists for gun manufacturers.
But the real blame for increased violence belongs to those who have fostered paranoia. Paranoia about crime. Paranoia about minorities and immigrants. Paranoia about a potential financial crisis. Paranoia about non-Christians. Paranoia about a world catastrophe. Even paranoia about our own government.
The loudmouths on Fox News Channel and right wing radio have convinced the weak-minded that non-white, welfare-abusing “takers” are out to get them and the fruits of their labor. In their little minds, Democrats and liberals are destroying the United States. They believe that our nation is headed toward bankruptcy and socialism or worse.
The result has been a dramatic spike in sales of “tactical” weapons (aka military-style assault rifles and shotguns) and semi-automatic handguns since 2009. There has also been a six-fold increase in non-Islamic domestic terrorist groups since 2009. And we now have thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of “preppers” who are stashing food, water, weapons and ammunition in preparation for what they consider the inevitable failure of our nation.
Moreover, the vast majority of gun sales and paranoid activity has taken place in the Southern US, mostly since the election of our first black president.
Coincidence? I think not.