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Thread: Open Carry as the cure for hoplophobia?

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I'm putting this here instead of in the "WhyOpen Carry" section, because those threads seem to center around protection of self/family and recounting experiences when carrying was necessary in order to return home alive.

    This is about hoplophobia - the irrational fear of firearms - and one way to go about providing a cure. It avoids all the "CC is better than OC/OC is better than CC" arguments and all the other detrius that usually gets in the way of figuring out what to do about those who react to us based on their own irrational fears.

    If nothing else comes of copying this to OCDO, think of it as a pat on the back for your volunteer services to improve the mental health of those afflicted with hoplophobia.

    stay safe.

    skidmark

    The original post discussing hoplophobia:

    Many gun control advocates believe that only two types of folks have guns—cops and criminals. I grew up in New York City where this was and still is the prevailing view. People who believe that non-sworn citizens should not be allowed to own guns also tend to believe that anyone who owns a gun and is not a cop is a suspect. Thus, you often hear the sarcastic refrain from people whose lives have been threatened; "What should I do, buy a gun?" Most of these folks fear firearms due to ignorance and their socialization. However, there is a larger group of folks who have an irrational fear (aka, "phobia") of firearms (aka, "hoplophobia").

    I have met and also treated many such folks. As a board certified licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years of clinical and academic experience, I think hoplophobia should be added as a diagnostic category to the Anxiety and Phobia Disorders section of the soon to be published revised edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—DSM-V.

    Given my dual clinical and academic training as both a Behavioral and Psychoanalytic/Freudian psychologist and psychotherapist, I know that "hoplophobia" (fear of firearms or firearm phobia) is real. It is as real as arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (snake phobia), dentophobia (fear of dentists), aichmophobia (needle phobia), androphobia (fear of men), cynophobia (dog phobia), entomophobia (fear of insects), and ideophobia (fear of ideas). However, hoplophobia may be more widespread than all of the above mentioned with the exception of ideophobia, and unlike most of these other phobias, hoplophobia pervades every level of our society and poses a serious threat to our Constitutional Second Amendment and First Amendment rights.

    As a clinical psychologist, I know that what hoplophobics really fear is their own conscious and unconscious murderous rage. As with the psychodynamics of every true phobia, the hoplophobic person’s psychological defense mechanisms unconsciously project his or her murderous rage onto other people and objects. In this case, the objects of choice are firearms. Only some hoplophobics are insightful enough to recognize, as one pro-gun control physician stated that, "I don’t own a gun because if I did, I’d definitely shoot someone." He is right. He and others like him should definitely NOT own firearms. But, this is not a matter for legislation. It is about having good sense and perhaps, psychotherapy – because after all, that is what good psychotherapeutic treatment is all about.

    The source for the hoplophobia post is my blog:
    http://personaldefenseblog.com/2009/06/01/hoplophobia-is-a-real-problem/

    The response:

    One of the ways to reduce the incidence of hoplophobia in the general population is through desinsitization therapy - often referred to in the gun community as the Open Carry movement.

    Let's agree for the moment to dispense with the various arguments regarding the tactical and defensive advantages/ disadvantages of Open Carry (OC) vs. Concealed Carry (CC).

    When gun owners CC, the rest of the population does not know there are guns nearby, and thus the hoplophobes receive no input to stimulate their fear/anxiety and projection responses. The hoplophobes are reduced to waiting for a news article/broadcast to remind them that they fear what might happen if they were to come into close proximity of a firearm.

    On the other hand, when gun owners OC hoplophobes are, if they happen to be observant enough to actually notice the openly carried handgun, provided with both the visual stimulus cues to begin their irrational response to the mere presence of a handgun, and the competing lack of offensive behavior on the part of the OCing individual and dangerous "behavior" on the part of the firearm. In other words, the OCing individual is not waving the thing about wildly, there are not shootouts over parking spaces or the last peanutbutter nut fudge brickle bar in the grocery store freezer section, and no blood is flowing in the streets.

    Pity the poor hoplophobe who is confronted with the conflict between their beliefs and the reality around them. Since the mind cannot hold two diametrically opposed viewpoints simultaneously, one of them must give way. If the hoplophobe is repeatedly exposed to OC situations where guns are not "going off" by themselves and the gunowners are going about the same mundane activities as the hoplophobe, albeit with a handgun strapped to their waist, the ability to cling to the belief system that the mere presence of handguns is "bad" is both challenged and weakened at every exposure.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that hoplophobes who have experienced more than minimal desensitization exposure to OC may become so emboldened to actually speak to an OCing individual and request information about such subjects as the legality of firearm ownership, different types of firearms, how to obtain a firearm or firearm training, and the like.

    Although no documentation has ever been offered for peer review, apocraphyl stories about about former hoplophobes who, after sufficient desensitization exposure, became actual firearm owners/users themselves. Should anyone know of such documentation, please contact the author with details.

    The OP comments on the response:


    Brilliant thesis. As a psychologist, I can say that your thesis is psychologically sound.




    * edited to fix section title.



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    The above essay hits the bullseye in every way except the part about concealing a murderous rage. For that I cannot comment, because I am not a psychologist.

    Most peopleI have known with a fear ofwhat wewould consider everyday weapons have nevereven been physically near them - certainly never touched or used them.

    They do so by choice, as a matter of factmany take great painsto avoid any invitation evento stop by someone's house for an introductory 'show and tell' and certainly would never take a trip to the range. They will go out of thier way to 'harrumph' such an invitation.

    As if they were a pure-minded high schooler turning down a date in which a loss of virginity would certainly take place. Have to stay pure. Have to stay clean.

    But they are not high-schoolers. They are adults. They still don't want to be 'soiled' by even learning about firearms.

    I believe that the concept of two types of people carrying weapons (cops and criminals) is also very interesting - I have had people question the my very ownership of firearms. "What would you need them for around here (upstate NY), to defend against racoons?" is literally a question I was asked recently.

    Of course this is from a former New York City resident (and former hard-core drug using hippie) who has moved to an area that is literally awash in firearms, and has amongst the lowest crime rates in the state.



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    I'm fairly certain that my novel was rejected by the New York publishers because it deals with the individual ownership and use of firearms. I think that because of their fear of guns, the story simply wasn't believable and didn't forward their personal agenda.

    Fortunately there are other publishers.

    http://www.mtoddbayliss.com

    I agree that OC serves to desensitize an irrational fear. Most people that I know and would classify as hoplophobes are also scared of the cop's holstered gun but are too scared of the cop to say anything about it.

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    Regular Member XD40coyote's Avatar
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    I guess I'd make one heck of a study case then. When I was young I was scared of the guns cops wore, but at age 16 or 17 I developed an interest in firearms, however I was still leery of guns, such as touching them. Even 2 years ago when I got back into it, I had to overcome the fear of actually touching or holding a real gun. I just forced myself to do it. When I first found out about open carry, it excited me very much, and still excites me. However I have this cop phobia, so in order to be an active OCer in PA, I'd have to overcome the cop phobia. I have been OCing daily here at home and my business. I think most customers don't even notice, but even if they did, they are all hunters and gun owners anyway and wouldn't be some quivering hopolophobe. I have this one customer who doesn't hunt but is a gun owner and a real staunch 2A supporter, and she was here one day and didn't notice I was OCing for a good deal of time.

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    skidmark wrote:



    This is about hoplophobia - the irrational fear of firearms - and one way to go about providing a cure.



    Given my dual clinical and academic training as both a Behavioral and Psychoanalytic/Freudian psychologist and psychotherapist, I know that "hoplophobia" (fear of firearms or firearm phobia) is real.

    As a clinical psychologist, I know that what hoplophobics really fear is their own conscious and unconscious murderous rage. As with the psychodynamics of every true phobia, the hoplophobic person’s psychological defense mechanisms unconsciously project his or her murderous rage onto other people and objects.


    Pity the poor hoplophobe who is confronted with the conflict between their beliefs and the reality around them. Since the mind cannot hold two diametrically opposed viewpoints simultaneously, one of them must give way.





    Through choose and or an Abbie Normal brain , it may not be possible to overcome a phobia . Arsonphobia [ the fear of fire ] is a prime example .

    Our calmness and authoritive mannerwill tame most situationwhile OCing .



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    XD40coyote wrote:
    I guess I'd make one heck of a study case then. When I was young I was scared of the guns cops wore, but at age 16 or 17 I developed an interest in firearms, however I was still leery of guns, such as touching them. Even 2 years ago when I got back into it, I had to overcome the fear of actually touching or holding a real gun. I just forced myself to do it. When I first found out about open carry, it excited me very much, and still excites me. However I have this cop phobia, so in order to be an active OCer in PA, I'd have to overcome the cop phobia. I have been OCing daily here at home and my business. I think most customers don't even notice, but even if they did, they are all hunters and gun owners anyway and wouldn't be some quivering hopolophobe. I have this one customer who doesn't hunt but is a gun owner and a real staunch 2A supporter, and she was here one day and didn't notice I was OCing for a good deal of time.
    Here's something that might work to get over you LEOphobia. When ever you see one approaching, imagine that all they have on is their skivies and duty belt.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    I never had a fear of guns, but I'm still afraid of cops. Fortunately I never conflate the two.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Excellent dissertation by OP - well thought out and well presented.

    If I may present my abbreviated version in three (3) words: Get over it!

    In this case, familiarity does not breed contempt. It fosters acceptance.

    Paxton Quigley (google her) has written numerous books on first hand experiences and the journey to being responsible.

    Her first book - her epiphany and the journey to owning and carrying guns is out of print but can be found - titled Armed and Female.

    There are also former hoplophobic individuals/posters on this forum. I shall leave them to name themselves if they wish and perhaps tell their stories.

    Yata hey
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    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member compmanio365's Avatar
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    marshaul wrote:
    I never had a fear of guns, but I'm still afraid of cops. Fortunately I never conflate the two.
    Never been afraid of guns, even though my fatheris and tried to instill the fear into me.....just made me want to learn everything about them even more.

    I don't have a fear of LEOs, but I certainly don't have much respect for the vast majority of them. Many of them are a "bully behind a badge" and use their "power" to intimidate and push people around.

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    Regular Member XD40coyote's Avatar
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    compmanio365 wrote:
    marshaul wrote:
    I never had a fear of guns, but I'm still afraid of cops. Fortunately I never conflate the two.
    Never been afraid of guns, even though my fatheris and tried to instill the fear into me.....just made me want to learn everything about them even more.

    I don't have a fear of LEOs, but I certainly don't have much respect for the vast majority of them. Many of them are a "bully behind a badge" and use their "power" to intimidate and push people around.
    I guess that is why I get nervous when LEOs are around, since some of them are total bullies and you never know which type you might have to deal with when the time comes to deal with them. I've had a few unpleasant encounters and though I've also had pleasant ones, negative always outweighs positive- unless you get enough positives to counter the negatives. Simply put, I don't personally know any LEOs, so everything that shapes my veiw of them comes from total strangers or from at least multiple encounters with the same one(s). A few of them decided to be jackasses with me this last year, which only hurts the cause. I am very sensitive to any sort of bullying as I was bullied as a kid from age 4 till 17.5, sinceI was always the odd one out and had become shy as well.

    Phobias usually have some "logical" cause, something unpleasant that happens that gets them rolling, often a series of related unpleasant happenings, or they are induced by parents, ie fear of snakes due to their mother freaking out when she sees snakes, and in turn the child picks up this fear the mother has.

    Some phobias are based on instinctive fears and they somehow stick instead of being sloughed off by logic. These would be fear of deep water, fear of fire, fear of heights, orphobias of large predatory animals. These same fears can also become phobias due to bad experiences with these things.

    Not sure how one can get true hopolophobia unless they were shot, saw a loved one get shot,or had people chasing them with swords or whatnot ( the phobia doesn't have to be just with firearms, the root word here is weapons). I guess if a parent or other close person had the phobia and it got rubbed off onto the afflicted as a child, that could be how it came about, much like the snake phobia. And in turn they may make their own children develop it as well.

    When I was 11 I developed a case of pyrophobia, but it was rooted in an actual incident where a neighbors house was on fire. I had this phobia for a number of years afterwards. I hated hearing fire engines and was leary of frayed cords, and couldn't watch TV shows with fires in them. Eventually due to not having a series of bad fire related events occuring, I just stopped being scared of fire. However a deep instinctive fear is still there. I winced at the 9/11 footage because of the fires being so bad. Recently I watched 2 harrowing videos of fires. The first is a bus firein China that killed 25 people. Someone noticed the smoke coming from the bus and started filming. You can see the black smoke pouring out, see people who are burned running from it, then you see flames totally engulf the bus, all the while people are screaming. The 2nd video is from the Station nightclub fire in RI. It was filmed by what appears to be someone working for a radio station. I watched the long version last night, absolutley horrific. The fire spreads to the whole club in like 3-5 minutes. Black smoke is already just pouring out the doors at about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Why did I subject myself to this? Well I am testing myself. By watching these I can affirm that the phobia is gone. I have also had a water phobia in the past and subjecting myself to everything to do with the Titanic, including going out on boats and ships, helped to just erase the phobia. Also I used to have nightmares about rivers and creeks, well I nixed those by forcing myself into creeks, and walking up to my chest in beaver ponds. I still won't go into swimming pools or play in the ocean though LOL.

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