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Mandalay Bay: Top O' The World, Ma! (PART TWO)

The Second Amendment Is Not a Suicide Pact

I have a friend who owns an AR15, and I shot it with him last month. It’s indeed a satisfying mechanism to hold. I personally own two handguns and must confess there's something very powerful about holding these weapons and shooting them. Hefting and fondling them can give one -- especially a male -- a real sense of power as an extension of one’s self. If you go deeper, as with an automobile, a gun is an extension of what goes on in a person's inner life. There's a saying that the problem is not the gun but in whose grip it resides. So let’s be honest, there is a metaphoric erotic/thanatotic charge at work here. I’ve read of infantrymen going “kill crazy,” succumbing to the physical and psychological satisfaction of ending a life or lives, especially in heated moments stoked with emotions rooted in vengeance and hatred. But, sometimes, it can just be the act of killing.

Following World War One, as he saw the world heading toward another conflagration, Sigmund Freud shifted his concern from sex to issues of violence and war. Criticism of Freud sometimes emphasized he was a “writer” and not a true “scientist.” It’s true: He’s a rich and interesting writer whose entire imaginative career was devoted to promoting and mapping out the inner life of human beings. He has become passé these days, superseded by the more efficient, outer-life-directed ideas of behaviorism and drug therapy. When Freud began his career, the whole idea of an inner life (the sub- or un-conscious) was still a novel idea. Like any writer working on the edge, he sometimes went too far, lost his bearings or just ended up sounding half-baked. His 1920 descriptions of Eros and Thanatos have something of a “working in the dark” feel about them. During this period, he exchanged letters with Albert Einstein, another great mind of the time troubled by the growing cycle of violence.



story | by Dr. Radut