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©2019 MICHAEL HESSDORF, LCSW, CGP

THOUGHTS ABOUT PARANOIA AND THE 2ND AMMENDMENT

March 2, 2018

THOUGHTS ABOUT PARANOIA AND THE 2ND AMMENDMENT

Like much of the country, I have been outraged and saddened by the latest mass shooting in Parkland and the ongoing debate.  Many of us talk about common sense gun laws to confront this plague in our society, but it seems that we are missing something here.

I have been watching the latest season of Homeland, and I think the show really captures a portion of our country that we may not want to deal with.  There are people out there who truly believe that the government is either evil or will turn evil in the future, and they are prepared for this event.  They want their guns so they can fight back when the government turns against them.  I really think that there is this view that “we have to have our guns (and the more powerful the gun, the better) to be able to stop them, i.e. those in power.” 

It is a paranoid world view.  And a part of me understands it.  There is a part of all of us that can be a bit crazy and paranoid.  Bad things have happened in history.  In my people’s history, in Nazi Germany, people were rounded up, put in concentration camps and murdered only due to their religious/ethnic identity.  The argument goes - if the Jews were able to have guns, the Nazis would not have been able to succeed.  However, this seems totally implausible.  Yes, there could have been more resistance, but in the end, the Nazis had enormous firepower and there was no chance of winning that battle.

So how do we deal with this paranoia?  Requiring registration of guns plays into this paranoia.  If the government knows where your guns are, they can then have the ability to confiscate them.  If you are not allowed to own your AR-15, what will they take away next.  When President Obama spoke about this fear of certain voters in Pennsylvania, that ‘they cling to guns or religion’, he was certainly on to something.

When I work with someone who has a paranoid style of being, I attempt to join them.  I see some of the truths of what they are afraid of and I can empathize with them and their fears.   My hope is that in joining them, they can let go of some of their fear. 

However, it becomes really difficult when this minority view in our country is setting national policy.  At times, I just want to totally oppose these people and demand that these guns should all be taken away.  It would be great if we could rescind the 2nd amendment, a foolish and dangerous law that our forefathers mistakenly introduced. 

But that will never happen.  The 2nd amendment, with all of its problems, is here to stay.  We need to find a way to have real gun control, while at the same time speak to people’s fears.  And the gun owners are not the only ones who are afraid.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid for my children.  I’m afraid for the kids I see in my schools.  And I am very afraid of the millions of guns that are out there.

In summary, I think that we may be at a point where this madness can begin to end.  If we can feel our own fear, the fear of others like us and the fear of others with opposing views, maybe we can really get somewhere and enact sensible gun control laws.  I am somewhat hopeful and optimistic that this time it could happen.

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