Stop the Mayhem: Guns Are Literally Killing Us

Ian Mitroff
3 min readDec 6, 2023

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

In a masterly Op-Ed that deserves to be widely read, and even more that its message needs to be acted on, Jamelle Bouie couldn’t make it any clearer why “Our Gun Fetish Is Killing Us”[i].

As Bouie and a host of others have pointed out, Guns have been enshrined and immortalized in American Culture, from Westerns to pulp fiction, not to mention Gun manufacturers who’ve marketed Guns by stoking fears and thereby promoting them as primary means of insuring Freedom, Liberty, and not least of all as major symbols of Masculinity. In short, a big part of why Guns are so dangerous is that they’ve become a Fetish, “an object to be worshiped for its power”.

Bouie’s words are some of the most powerful of which I know with regard to the supposed Freedom that Guns confer:

“How free are you really when you know that a Trip to the grocery store or a morning in prayer or a day at school or a night at the movies can end in your death at the hands of a gun? How free are you really when you protest on behalf of a cause you believe in and are met on the street by armed counter-demonstrators? How free are you really when state authorities have to lock down a city so that they can stop a mass shooter from striking again.”

Bouie is absolutely right when he says that if the Mass Shootings in Maine demonstrate anything, it’s that Society cannot work where Guns proliferate. In short, we can’t live in constant Fear of death. While many regard the Right to Bear Arms as Sacred, it’s as divisive as any anything and thus tears at the fabric of Society such that it cannot hold together.

As always, I’m aware that the preceding is by definition unlikely to change the minds of Rabid Gun Owners. Nonetheless we have a Moral Obligation to speak out as forcefully and as often as we can.

[i] Jamelle Bouie, “Our Gun Fetish Is Killing Us,” The New York Times, Sunday, November 5, 2023, P SR 2.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash