An evolutionary mystery solved

As a student of evolution, I found American gun behavior truly perplexing until I realized a startling fact. The principles of evolution predict that nearly all of the physical and behavior traits of a living organism, and humans are organisms, have one of three functions: the trait enables the organism to survive, procreate or ensure the survival of its offspring. Every trait it possesses has been inherited from a long line, in the case of modern humans, over 200,000 years, of successful ancestors. There are a few exceptions like the appendix, which we have shared with the gorilla for over 7 million years, that have no known function but persist because they do little harm.

American gun owners sort into four groups: those who own primarily for (1) hunting and sport; (2) self-defense; (3) collection and (4) combat with the U.S. government. The first three groups demonstrate behaviors which make perfect evolutionary sense. Hunting and sport, self-defense and collecting property expecting it to increase in value are all behaviors related to survival, which humans have been genetically coded to exhibit.

The fourth group was the mystery. These individuals profess to own guns for the purpose of doing battle with the government, apparently at some future time when it will attempt to enslave the people. They are the roughly 10 percent of Americans who are opposed to reasonable background checks and who, through the NRA, lobbied 45 sycophants in the Senate to filibuster that legislation. They want criminals and the insane, perhaps to be used as allies, to be able to legally obtain arms. They envision themselves using pistols and rifles to defend against the government’s drones, tanks and rockets.

This is anti-survival behavior, making no evolutionary sense. It is akin to taking a water pistol to a gun fight. Then, I recalled the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and realized it was not science fiction but a documentary. Aliens from outer space have been taking over the bodies of Americans, mostly Republicans, and turning them into crazed zombie gun nuts bent on overthrowing the government. Now, it all makes sense.

Patrick Radcliff