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What has Americans so frightened? Why are they stocking up on guns and ammo?

Fears of crime, a potential crackdown on firearms, social collapse and even zombies have millions loading up as never before.

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“These threats to our freedoms are not to be underestimated. Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language they are couched in — the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.

“This language of fear has given rise to a politics of fear.”

And when Americans become afraid, they buy guns.

Massad Ayoob

Arab-American author Massad F. Ayoob marvels at all the fear. “If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had a conversation with someone in the last few days who asked, ‘Why do ordinary law-abiding people need those semiautomatic firearms with magazines that can hold more than ten cartridges?’” he writes in Backwoods Home. “There are lots of sound answers.

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“For one thing, defensive firearms are meant to be ‘equalizers,’ force multipliers that can allow one good person to defend against multiple evil people. To allow one good person to defend against a single evil person so much stronger and/or bigger and/or more violent than he or she, that the attacker’s potentially lethal assault can be stopped.

“In the 1980s and into the 1990s, cops switched en masse to semiautomatic pistols. So did the gun-buying public. Today, the most popular handgun among police seems to be the 16-shot, .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic. Not surprisingly, the general public has gone to pistols bracketing that caliber in power (9mm, .40, .45) with similar enthusiasm. The American police establishment has also largely switched from the 12 gauge shotgun which was also the traditional American home defense weapon, to the AR15 patrol rifle with 30-round magazine. And, not surprisingly, the law-abiding citizenry has followed suit there, too.

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
Related Topics: Gun Control, News

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