The “armed, self-reliant citizen” has meanwhile become ever more so, especially as various states have enacted ingenious laws allowing residents to carry handguns with no permit or training. As of 2017, there were already “more guns than people” in the US, the Washington Post reported, citing a study according to which there were an “estimated 120.5 guns for every 100 residents” – by far the most outrageous ratio in the world. …
Of course, a sick society is ultimately more profitable for such pillars of US capitalism as the arms and pharmaceutical industries, whose own security definitively trumps the sort of security described by my Cuban interlocutor – like the freedom to not be shot while going about your daily business.
I experienced an inkling of this sickness firsthand growing up in the US, where I was taught that life was a competition as opposed to a communal collaboration – a dog-eat-dog arrangement that intermittently spawned in me feelings of anxiety, isolation, impotence, and directionless rage. Decades before the pandemic exacerbated matters, I disentangled myself from the hostile environment by simply abandoning the country – and yet it is not difficult to see how a violent and thoroughly alienating system might also elicit more violent individual responses.
– Belen Fernandez in The Us Goes Ballistic: America’s Gun Epidemic