In the original American colonies and later the ever-expanding frontier, hunting was important to survival; but it was fear of Indians mostly that there was at least one blunderbuss in every home. And this persisted down through the years. Even as late as 1973 when the American Indian Movement occupied the village of Wounded Knee, many whites in a wide area surrounding Pine Ridge and other reservations drove around in their pickup trucks displaying racks of weaponry in the rear windows. Although it has always been in manly vogue to carry hunting rifles in the pickups, some of these were assault rifles that wouldn’t have left enough carcass for much of a venison dinner.
In frontier of the late 1830s there was great danger along the Oregon Trail and other routes westward. At demarcation points from Kansas City north to Omaha, booklets were being sold to the emigrants preparing for the trek; warning of Indian raids and giving advice on protecting against them; and, of course, selling guns to them. Gun sales boomed.
History tells, however, that Indians were no great threat if the pioneers would behave and stick to their routes.
The same scare tactics used back then to sell weapons are being used today, much for the same purpose. Reports tell of a new arms mania, with gun shows overflowing, gun factories going flat out in production, and annual sales of guns in the U.S. reaching over $3 billion. Reportedly, Smith and Wesson stocks are up 115%, and Sturm/Ruger stocks are up 85%. Cabela’s arms sales are up 70%.
The following opening sentence of one report, however, causes me the greatest concern: “Barack Obama’s victory in November sent weapons sales shooting upward.” That report noted a major factor being fear that the new President would outlaw all guns. I would hate to guess what the other factors might be.
For more on guns, see A Well Regulated Militia... and Some Arguments for Gun Control. For more on conservative thinking, see Right-Wingers Foment Hate and Hate Abounds in "Post-Racial" America.
Below: American "heroes"...