Another day in America, another mass shooting results in a double-digit number of deaths. And we’re not going to do anything about it. Not really. This is not something we should be getting used to, but tragically, these incidents have become so common in our country that even last October’s massacre in Las Vegas that resulted in 58 deaths and 851 injuries has become something mostly remembered in passing by our anesthetized society. And while gun advocates will argue that the problem is “mental health” and not guns, and the anti-gun crowd will argue that prohibitionary measures against guns are the easy solution, both sides largely ignore the peculiar character of the gun-obsessed culprits of most of these horrendous events.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old gunman who murdered 17 people today at Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida, was by all measures what many have colloquially and semi-jokingly called an “ammosexual.” According to Heavy, the ammosexual Cruz’s social media posts were filled with selfies of himself holding his guns, pictures of his guns and guns he desired to own, posts about guns, and even a confession that shooting is some kind of “group therapy” for him.
Your average gun owner doesn’t do this. He or she may go target practice out back or visit a shooting range to improve their marksmanship, but they are not all over social media posting what amounts to firearms pornography for the world to see. People who do so are engaged in a fixation with a category of machines that are designed primarily to inflict fatal damage on living things. To be overly fixated on objects is known as fetishism, and fetishism is a psychosexual phenomenon. To be overly fixated on objects whose primary function is to cause death is a fetishism that combines the psychosexual with the fatal. This is a dangerous combination, and therefore these ammosexuals, and ammosexuality as a cultural phenomenon, are extremely dangerous. We must start taking it seriously.
Like some sort of bizarre perversion of the Pokemon catch-phrase “gotta catch ’em all,” the gun industry and the gun lobby have a vested interest in normalizing ammosexuality to increase their profits: “gotta build an arsenal!” This is why their laughably hollow claims to be concerned with “mental health” as the culprit behind incidents of mass gun violence should be met with sheer contempt and derision. They are behind the promotion and normalization of the most common mental health category that we see involved in these tragic mass shooting events. Call it gun fetishism, ammosexuality, or whatever, we all know the guys doing this tend to be the ones who are obsessed with their guns and building up their own personal arsenals.
The argument that regulations and prohibitions against guns are the simple solutions to the problem similarly misses part of the point, though at least those espousing such views can only be accused of wide-eyed idealism born through desperation. Whether we further regulate firearms or not, the problem of gun-obsessed ammosexuals is likely not going away, and these are the people who will go to great lengths if need be to acquire their fetish objects. We must do something more than merely think of new laws. We need to start taking the cultural, capitalistic, and psychological issues that explain ammosexuality seriously, and that means a focus on the ammosexuals in our midst and a move toward understanding the full spectrum of and motivations behind the continuing rise of this bizarre subculture.