Hoplophobia brewing

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2013

July 17, 2013

I learned a new word this week. Hoplophobia. The irrational aversion to weapons or general “fear of weapons/armed citizens.” Microsoft Word, however, does not seem recognize this as a real word because it keeps drawing a red line under it.

With the recent House Bill 2 “clarification” it appears hoplophobia is spreading among the masses as reflected in all the new signage going up on doors everywhere throughout the county and south Mississippi forbidding weaponry.

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Hoplophobia describes a person who thinks a gun, by itself, has free will and is an object to be feared. Obviously, an absurd notion since a gun has no legs or hands. More likely, the fear is that of a crazed and dangerous gun wielder rather than fear of the gun itself.

However, there is a slim chance that if a gun was perched on the edge of a table and fell just right, it is possible it could fire and hurt someone. But, still, the chance of that happening is slim.

I did not grow up with a fear of guns. Like a lot of kids around here, we had multiple guns in the house. Shotguns and rifles for hunting or killing the odd snake that came in the yard or scaring off an armadillo at 2:00 a.m. That was Daddy’s job. He said the armadillo was keeping him awake scratching its shell on the exterior of the house. I never heard the armadillo, but after the gun went off, nobody could sleep. The gunshot kept us all awake, Daddy slept like a log after scarring off the pesky critter.

I vaguely remember taking a Hunter Safety Course when I was 10 years old at Bassfield Elementary. The year was 1974 and the final test of the class was held at the Prentiss National Guard Armory.

I had learned how to use a safety on a gun and wearing blaze orange in the woods and how to safely climb over a fence with a gun. At the Armory, I remember holding a 4-10 shotgun and aiming at a target. I must have hit it, because it was on that night I became a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. In addition to my card, the course instructor gave me an orange and black NRA patch that could be sewn onto my clothing.

You have never seen such a happy child as I and not one ounce of hoplophobia.

Education is the key to overcoming fear, just make sure you replace it with a healthy dose of respect for that inanimate object.