The New York Times deplores the idea of gun rights for the little people and that’s regularly reflected in its “news” stories and editorials. In an ongoing demonstration of their hypocrisy, NYT writers scribble out their screeds while working behind the protection of armed security. You know…guns for me, but not for thee.
In the Gray Lady’s never-ending effort to try to explain how life works west of the Hudson River to its dwindling Upper West Side reader base, they recently mentioned the fact that 22 million guns were sold in the year 2020, and that, more disturbingly (to them at least), 7.5 million Americans bought their first gun that year. Even worse, half of those new buyers were women and nearly half were “people of color.”
While that’s old news around these parts, it’s the kind of information that that could shatter the carefully curated misconceptions of thousands of loyal Times readers. In an effort to bury those truths, they made sure to toss in all manner of fake news, junk science studies and cherry-picked stats and expert opinions in an attempt to depict gun ownership as déclassé and downright dangerous.
Unfortunately, many of the paper’s readers aren’t buying the mainstream media narrative that guns are bad. In fact, like millions of other Americans, lots of them are voting with their wallets and buying guns.
Social scientists are just beginning to understand who is purchasing firearms and how gun ownership may alter behavior.
In 2020, while many communities were under Covid lockdowns, protesters were flooding the streets and economic uncertainty and social isolation were deepening, Americans went on a shopping spree. For firearms.
Some 22 million guns were sold that year, 64 percent more than in 2019. More than eight million of them went to novices who had never owned a firearm, according to the firearm industry’s trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation…
Who started buying guns?
Millions of Americans who had never owned a gun purchased a firearm during a two-and-a-half-year period that began in January 2019, before the pandemic, and continued through April 2021.
Of the 7.5 million people who bought their first firearm during that period, 5.4 million had until then lived in homes without guns, researchers at Harvard and Northeastern University estimated.
The new buyers were different from the white men who have historically made up a majority of gun owners. Half were women, and nearly half were people of color (20 percent were Black, and 20 percent were Hispanic)…
Why did Americans decide to buy guns?
Self-defense is the top reason Americans purchase handguns. Gun ownership is not just a constitutional right but a necessary form of protection, according to organizations like the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation.
A study of individuals who said they were planning to purchase a first or second firearm during the early days of the pandemic found that would-be buyers were more likely to see the world as dangerous and threatening than individuals who were not planning to purchase a firearm.
The fact that the Times finally reported these numbers — albeit years late — suggests that even the paper’s brass has decided it apparently can’t ignore a reality this obvious any longer. The story clearly reflects the paper’s wonder and incomprehension at those who own guns and — even more so — the millions who have decided to become gun owners for the first time.
“The real question I wanted to answer was, What do people get out of having a gun?” [University of Wisconsin-Madison psychologist Nick Buttrick] said. “Why would somebody want to take this really dangerous thing and bring it into their lives?”
He recruited college students, some of whom came from gun-owning households, to participate in a study in which they would be subjected to very mild electric shocks (he likened the sensation to static electricity).
While the shocks were administered, participants were given a friend’s hand, a metal object or a prop that looked and felt like a pistol but had no firing mechanism. For participants who grew up around guns, holding the prop that resembled a firearm provided the greatest comfort, Dr. Buttrick said.
The author goes to great lengths to reassure its readers that they really don’t want to handle, let alone own these mysterious talismans of death and tools of systemic racism.
Researchers are increasingly focusing on the idea that an armed person is more likely to perceive others as armed, and to respond as though he or she were threatened, a concept called gun embodiment.
“The idea behind embodiment is that your ability to act in the environment changes how you literally see the environment,” said Nathan Tenhundfeld, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a co-author of one recent study. “Gun embodiment gets at the idea of the old colloquialism ‘When you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’”
Stereotypes and emotions influence an observer’s ability to correctly identify a gun and, therefore, whether a particular individual is actually armed. One study found that participants were more likely to mistakenly think that a Black person was holding a gun than to mistakenly think that a white person was armed.
You get the idea.
It’s clear that the author wanted to make sure that none of its readers were somehow tempted to make the grave mistake of exercising their Second Amendment rights. But running a story revealing the reality of soaring civilian gun ownership was a risk for the one-time paper of record.
New Yorkers have been living through years of increasing homelessness, lawlessness and violent crime. Media outlets have worked hard to reassure the city’s residents that what they’re seeing for themselves every day isn’t actually the worst crime in the city’s history.
Times editors were probably concerned that reading of millions of others who live in benighted areas outside of the tri-state area deciding to buy a firearm for the first time could prove to be disturbingly contagious. And since Bruen removed the NYPD’s vice grip on who can own and carry a gun (though there’s much still to be resolved in the courts) the average New Yorker might read something like the Times’ story and think, ‘Huh, I apparently have the same rights people do in Ohio…maybe I should own a gun, too.”
That’s enough to strike fear in the heart of any New York Times scribe.