Friday, May 12, 2006

Guns and Aggression

Guns don't kill people, they make people want to kill people.

It's a classic logical inconsistency in modern liberal thought that banning guns is good, but criminalizing drugs is bad. Do we trust each other to make behave responsibly or not? Well, it's not that cut and dry. That's because guns seem to hijack the aggression impulse men's brains, according to pyschologists at Knox College in Illinois. It was found that handling a gun spikes a man's testosterone levels.

From the NYTimes:
Handling a gun stirs a hormonal reaction in men that primes them for aggression, new research suggests. . . .the young men were asked to rate the taste of a drink, a cup of water with a drop of hot sauce in it. They were then told to prepare a drink for the next person in the experiment, adding as much hot sauce as they liked.

"Those who had handled the gun put in about three times as much as the others — 13 grams on average, which is a lot," said Tim Kasser, one of the authors.
So back the the guns/drugs arguement. You could now make the case that both guns and drugs alter the brains of the people who like to use them, but I haven't seen any evidence that a doobie makes a person want to burn his neighbor's mouth with hotsauce. Liberals need a better arguement on this topic. I propose an anti-violence stance. Guns lend themselves to violence and are therefore to be regulated. Doobies decrease violence and increase jam sessions. Whether you think doobies should be regulated depends on your taste for drum circles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

F1r5t p0st! Doobies make me want to burn my neighbor's house down... with hotsauce!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, this is really interesting. I wonder if testosterone would spike with any weapon, or if guns are such a cultural icon that it is our imaginations spiking the testosterone rather than the actual weapon itself. I wonder if the same phenomonon would be seen if you gave somebody a spear or a slingshot...


4:53 PM  
Blogger J.Knecht said...

I think you're onto something. A gun is a symbolic, not to mention very powerful, weapon. It's the preferred method for killing these days, and it's a symbol of dominance, not unlike a sports car at the red light, or a Hummer or what have you. I would tend to think that today a spear or slingshot would be an inadequate, and definitely not dominant, choice, and therefore I think it would be unlikely that a man would react the same way to them.

12:50 PM  

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