Readers React: Why being a ‘real man’ doesn’t require carrying a gun

To the editor: Jennifer Carlson says the increasing prevalence of men carrying guns in public in some areas is the result of a “crisis of confidence in the American dream.” She writes that “men find in guns a sense of duty, relevance and even dignity.” (“Why men feel the need to carry guns,” op-ed, May 26)

I am a man. I have been disappointed in my pursuit of the ever-more elusive American dream. I feel at times irrelevant and lacking in purpose. However, I do not carry a gun. Does that make me less of a man or defeatist?

While teaching at a private school in Arizona, I confronted an individual who was openly carrying. I asked him why, and he answered, “Because I can.” There was nothing about duty, only disrespect for the decency of most Americans who feel unsafe in the presence of an armed individual.

This isn’t because of protection or duty, but unmitigated arrogance and a distorted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.


Douglas Mitchell, Portland, Ore.


To the editor: Who knew that instead of taking Prozac for depression, anxiety and lack of happiness, all one has to do is pack a concealed weapon and immediately he becomes a strong superhero? He now feels emboldened and can be the knight in shining armor who saves the damsel in distress. He feels invincible and can save the world from the hoardes of welfare recipients and preserve the American way.

Who needs counseling when the answer to holding back all your demons can be found at the local Wal-Mart?


When gun lovers start comparing their weapons to their favorite teddy bears as sources of comfort, security and happiness, then our society is, as Carlson suggests, in decline.

What is the difference between the superhero who feels he can now save the world (or his little piece of it) because he has a gun and the “Joker” who arms himself in service to the same longing for power and control? Both are very dangerous because of the emotional significance they attach to their weapons and the increased likelihood that they will act upon those emotions.

Gene E. Schwartz, San Diego


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