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There’s a long tradition among those of the anti-gun rights bent of explaining the motives of anyone who owns a gun by claiming that they’re actually trying to show that their penis is bigger than everyone else’s. That, or their compensating for a lack of, um, substance in that area. Never mind that this explanation conspicuously excludes women gun owners. Gun grabbers seem to have a need to impugn the motives and mental health of anyone with whom they disagree in the basest terms. This pseudo-Freudian, phallo-centric theory of the popularity of guns is not only shallow and lazy, it also exposes those who resort to it as the narrow-minded demagogues they are…

The latest proponent of this wankerized view of gun owners is Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald. To illustrate his point, he uses former NBA player and serial gun law violator Javaris Crittenton.

Crittenton, as you may remember, was booted from the NBA after he and Gilbert Arenas pulled guns on each other in the Washington Wizards’ locker room during an argument over a debt.

Crittenton now finds himself in much more serious trouble with a murder charge after an apparent drive-by shooting. What got under Crittenton hot and bothered enough to spray three people with lead? He suspected one of the three – not the one he killed – of stealing jewelry from him.

In a piece titled ‘No Manhood in The Barrel of a Gun‘, Pitts puts on his thinking cap in order to explain the large percentage of murders and non-negligent homicides.

There is a reason males, like Crittenton, accounted for about 90 percent of them; males tend to be more aggressive.

And there are multiple reasons young black men, like Crittenton, account for about half the arrests; one being that black men tend to be more hyper-vigilant about, and to guard more jealously against, perceived threats to their manhood.

You’d think having a chance at some sort of future would insulate you from those forces. You’d be mistaken. Crittenton, young, male and black, struck a dangerous trifecta.

Pitts isn’t a psychologist, but he likes to play one in the newspaper.

A man or boy has a psychological — perhaps even biological — need to prove his capability, durability, fearlessness, toughness. Recognizing this, it would be a worthwhile mission for families, schools, worship houses and other community institutions working toward violence reduction to formulate means that allow boys to fulfill that imperative constructively.

Motherhood and apple pie. Kinda. In Pitts’ view, it evidently takes a village to raise a child, and without making any suggestions of his own, he thinks it would be good to find ways for boys to constructively resolve differences. Here’s a suggestion: teach them right from wrong.

And then he resorts to the inevitable.

At the very least, teach them that a gun is not a penis. It’s a tragedy that Crittenton didn’t know that.

It’s a bigger tragedy that he’s not the only one.

Trying to explain away the frequency with which young black males turn to the use of a gun to settle meaningless perceived slights is a convenient way of absolving them of responsibility for their crimes. There are a great number of contributing factors Pitts conveniently avoids, not the least of which is a morally bankrupt urban culture in which many of these men are raised. A culture where too many children are raised largely by single mothers who exist largely on government support without a father anywhere in the picture.

Lots – in fact the vast majority – of gun owners with penises don’t lean out of passing cars in order to spray people who dissed them with gunfire. They’re responsible people who own guns for hunting, sport or personal protection. Attributing gun ownership to a need to prove length or girth is lazy thinking and beneath someone like Pitts.


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  1. “Crittenton, young, male and black, struck a dangerous trifecta.”

    Boy if anyone else had said that it would be racist.

  2. You have successfully “decocked” his theory…Hiyooooooooo! (In my best Ed McMahon) Im here all week. Double pun intended.

  3. That was a good one Nemesis, you need to enter the caption contests because you’ll most likely win.

  4. What…you’ve never heard of penis envy? I know LOTS of women who enjoy shooting for the “empowerment” aspect of it all. And some tell me they enjoy the feel of something long, hard, thick and hot in their hands.

    I’d keep going, but this is a family blog.

  5. I thought the stereotype was that persons of African descent were more than adequate in that department. I better brush up on my racist tropes.

  6. Psychologists call this kind of rant “projection.” Obviously, Pitts does think that a gun is a penis, and he’s suffering some serious dongle envy. I’d like to remind Mr. Pitts that the purchasing trend in recent years favors smaller, more concealable penises, oops, I mean guns.

    Hey, maybe he’s packing a derringer and the myth isn’t true. Wouldn’t that be the pits?

  7. I sometimes think that my wife wishes my penis was a gun. I clean my firearms much more thoroughly than I clean myself. My firearms and ammo are much more organized than I am. I’m also much more accurate with a rifle than I am with the man-cannon.

  8. Dan Zimmerman says: “This pseudo-Freudian, phallo-centric theory of the popularity of guns is not only shallow and lazy, it also exposes those who resort to it as the narrow-minded demagogues they are…”

    I don’t know what you are so angry about. At TTAG, contributors equate guns and masculinity all the time. Also, guns and sexuality.

  9. I’m currently in the market for a very small concealable handgun (maybe a Ruger LCP or something similar).

    I wonder what that says about my penis size?

    Please, no women should contact me after reading this. I’m *very happily* married.

    Thanks ladies and gents! I’m here till Thursday. Try the veal!

    • It says that you have come to grips with your inadequacies and no longer feel the need to compensate.

      I would, however, suggest you spend the extra money and get a glock 26, and in addition to a half dozen “regular” sized magazines, get a couple of 33 round happy sticks in case you feel the need to repel boarders.

      • Okay. So you’ve found me out. Apparently when my urologist said “hung like a hamster” he was not being ironical.

        But seriously though…

        I actually had not looked at the Glock 26. But the empty weight is 21.5 oz, and I’m really looking for something to carry in my gym shorts when my wife and I do our 3-mile near-pitch-black very early morning walks here outside of Dallas. I’d prefer something that doesn’t pull my pants down, and–well that’s enough of that.

        I’ll check the glock 26 out this weekend. I’ll just have to hold it in my hand to see how heavy it really is (which is similar to something my wife said to me 36 years ago. Rimshot please!) Thanks for the suggestion (but not for the therapy I’ll need after this exchange! :))

  10. I agree with John, above, when he says the writer gives Pitts too much credit. He is correct. As a writer, Leonard Pitts has always been a very dim bulb, and I’m sorry to insult the lighting industry.

  11. So is Pitts saying that if Black Men couldn’t get guns, they would be diddling each other with their penises?

  12. More to the point, the presence or absence of guns has little to do with really happened here.

    I suppose if he had tried to kill the man with a knife, it’s much less likely that the wrong person would have been killed, but that hardly alters the principal dynamics of the incident.

  13. Sounds like Pitts has serious reservations about both guns and penises.

    So to him they are indeed similar; both are nuthin’ but trouble.

  14. I am a gun-owner, hunter, proud supporter of the 2nd Amendment and not a big fan of Pitts. That said, I fail to see why his views on this subject were dismissed as hack psychoanalysis. I did not read the entire original article, so if there is additional evidence there, I’ll apologize in advance. However, suggesting that much of gun violence (not gun USE) in the African-American community is rooted in a skewed sense of masculinity seems more a statement of the obvious than a controversial opinion. Acknowledging that too many young Black men see guns as an extension of their manhood does not absolve them of their responsibility–it simply identifies a problem. It is human nature to conflate properties of otherwise unique traits (money=happiness, glasses=nerdy, Southern accent=dumb, etc.). The fact that a gun does not equal a penis is recognized by responsible gun owners; however there are plenty of irresponsible gun owners who see them as equilvalents.

  15. I agree with John. If I hadn’t read that last section quoting the “penis” line I would have agreed with most of what had come before. Pitts seems to be mostly, though indirectly, talking about society’s emasculation of young men. If boys are taught that all their natural urges, including testing themselves but also being useful and dependable, are wrong then it will be a gamble as to how those urges manifest themselves. Without the “penis” crack at the end it seems Pitts’ opinion piece could have been a thoughtful call to create positive outlets for growing adolescents to have some positive outlet for going to work and/or testing themselves for limits and responsibilities. Those adolescents are often unfortunately in places where there are few role models (especially male) for going to work and taking responsibility.

    That being said, as a 2nd Amendment supporter, I think Pitts sure comes off as an unthoughtful jerk.

  16. I have a little-bitty mouse firearm. Beretta Tomcat .32 ACP.
    I have a HUGE firearm. Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan .454 Casull 2 1/2″ barrel.
    My gun falls somewhere inbetween, but I ain’t talking or showing.
    Except in private. And only if females ask politely.

  17. Considering that “liberals” are so enamored of the biggest, deadliest gun-toter of all time (with the biggest, deadliest guns)–that is, the State–those of us in the pro-freedom camp should be entitled to ask them what they’re compensating for.

  18. My penis is fully capable and impressive in multiple self defenses against the frequent attacks from the local herd of rampaging two legged cougars!

  19. Black rappers and professional athletes, who demographics indicate are at least 95% Democrat leaning, are involved in gun crimes as victims or perps in disproportionate numbers all the time.

    Charley Pride spent his entire 40 year career performing in front of what the media would call “racist redneck gun toters”. Never got a scratch.

    I know lefties don’t do “irony”, but that’s hard to ignore.

  20. Clearly the problem is not guns, but the collapse of the black family leading to crime and violence becoming a dominant theme in black culture.

  21. What about applying a “The Boy Named Sue” theory? Johnny Cash made the tune as famous as it made him: “My name is Sue. How do you do!” And the whupass commenced as the rage exploded forth.

    The naming motive is no doubt different, but I can see where going through life with a name like “Javaris” would provoke its own uniquely punishing agonisms.

    Emblazon a child’s identity with a deliberately deconstructed english name and launch them into the future as your personal statement of anti-assimilation, and one should expect a certain degree of belligerence and sociopathy in the population of children so stigmatized. The child did not choose the deconstructed name or the proclivity for subconscious self-loathing that all children tend to endure under even the most unremarkable of circumstances.

    The most cruel and hateful taunt that AA children face today is to ridicule them with the accusation: “you tryin to be white.” Why are these children raised as a person enslaved to a phrenological identity intended to isolate them and perpetuate a victim subculture symbolically chained to a human feedlot set up and operated by multi-generational carpetbaggers who are mentored to bleed-away and divert billions in well-intentioned state and federal resources?

    How could the normalized predator-implanted world views inculcated in these children not be partially responsible for the destructive violence and serial ravaging of family safety and continuity. Why is it taboo to challenge the carpetbaggers and call them out for the evil they have normalize and cultivated to increase their ability to siphon tax money — blood money repaid not by them, but by the tragedies and sufferings of those families and children they claim to represent?

    This is not a matter of race. This is a sickness of Creed — a sick, false, evil and predatory creed that festers as a malignancy in our entire American community, threatening children and families of every race and ethnic origin. It’s not a racial problem. It’s a criminal creed problem, and every child and family of every race and ethnicity is placed at risk by its continuance.

  22. Attributing gun ownership to a need to prove length or girth is lazy thinking and beneath someone like Pitts.

    I’ve read quite a few of Pitt’s columns, and I haven’t found much that’s beneath him. This is about par for the course for him.

  23. Liberals tend to view everything in terms of sex or politics, so it’s natural for them to project some sexual imagery onto people they view as stronger and more uninhibited than themselves. In fact, this is the very essence of the ‘penis envy’ they themselves experience when they see happy, frolicking conservatives and libertarians enjoying life and having a good time shooting helpless forest creatures or targets. This envy drives them to desire that all have lives as empty and boring as their own and that we all share in their terrific fear of life and death (fear is such a big part of their existence it has to cover both).

  24. I think Pitts has a little ‘masculinity problem’ and makes up for it by using his ‘typewriter’ the way a young man would get ‘chesty’ with another young man. Since he can’t ‘diss’ people face-to-face, he uses his column for a similar effect.

  25. I am soooo relieved to finally clear-up the confusion!! I was just getting ready to unleash my package and shoot someone!

  26. Dont forget your little blue or white pills that must federally licensed as they tend to make your personal cannon a mighty repeater capable of multiple burst fire!

  27. Since your personal cannon is an automatic repeater on Viagra & Cialis, does this mean the BATF is required by law to perform unannounced physical inspections?

    Shouldn’t we see that procedure in their paperwork?

  28. Then the BATF to prove that you may have an unlicensed fully auto personal cannon will have to play with it continuously until it “MALFUNCTIONS” and fires repeated bursts!

    Uh, I did not know the BATF was in the sex business did you guys?

  29. Years ago Leonard Pitts was worth reading. I don’t know when he changed or why but I regularly ignore his column when it appears. I agree with some of the writers above who stated that many of Pitts’ comments would be considered racist if made by someone else.

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