by Evelyn Pyburn
So, do you know what the word “pusillanimity” means?
It was a word used frequently in an on-line conversation I recently came across involving people from around the world regarding Americans and the issue of gun control.
The perspectives were interesting, but rather sadly, the conclusion of most of those involved was that eventually American “pusillanimity,” would result with Americans giving up their guns.

“Pusillanimity” means “showing a lack of courage or determination” – being timid. These folks were saying that Americans – when it comes to defending concepts and ideas – lack courage. They are reluctant and timid in standing up for that which they believe. Perhaps that comes from not being too confident about what it is they believe and why they believe it, a condition generated by public education that does not teach philosophy or history.
But between now and then, most Americans would “draw a line” at accepting government taking away their guns. If pushed too soon by the Left, it could be a catalyst that would spark a real civil war, was a general conclusion of the conversation.
Wrote one commentator, “I think you’re right about the pusillanimity of Americans with regard to civil war …from what I see, many Americans draw a strong line at giving up firearms.  I suspect that if authorities went door to door, many would respond by hiding weapons, and some would respond with force. Force includes directly firing back, which might be a form of principled suicide…”
“I also suspect that there are a large number of police and military who will not comply with orders to go door to door that way.  Though in many cases their paycheck will be the final word.  It’s hard to predict how that will go.”
Said another, “Many, many people will not comply with the command ‘turn in your guns,’ which they view as a tripwire for a drastically upscaled level of tyranny.  They’ve complied with a lot, but that’s one point when they’ll say ‘nah.’”
People in other countries are in large part puzzled by Americans proclivity to “cling to their guns” – even in countries where the population is allowed to carry weapons.
A Peruvian newspaper recently ran an article trying to explain to its readers the importance to US citizens of being able to own a gun, and informing them about the US Constitution’s second amendment, which of course they do not have. Nonetheless, Peruvians tend to be as well armed as US citizens, said the spokesman, not because it is legal but because in the face of a weak government and a need to be self-reliant, Peruvians tend to ignore the dictates of their government in most regards.
Another reported that in Panama, at any given time, about 10 percent of the men are carrying arms and he was not talking about criminals, he said. “That is in spite of the fact that there is no ‘Second Amendment’ in Panama.”
The attitude in Peru is different, too, about how guns are used. In one incident “an armed cambista shot and killed a would-be robber. He was released the next day (and provided a police guard for the next few weeks in case of retribution from the criminal’s gang). This happens a few times a year. The Peruvian public generally applauds such self-defense incidents.”
It was generally conceded that the Left’s anti-gun campaign in the US has, over the past couple of decades, lost ground.
The turn-around seems to have its timing with the attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11.
The threat of terrorists, both alien and domestic, has prompted a change in perspective by Americans regarding the value of owning guns and the importance of being able to defend one’s self. Increasingly, Americans have become less persuaded by the hysterical rants from the Left about the risks of gun ownership, as they come to see the risks of not being armed.
During that time frame, states have loosened their controls on guns, dragging their feet on registration, and allowing greater freedom to carry concealed weapons. Where the laws have encouraged more individuals to carry guns, crime rates have fallen.
Not part of the on-line conversation but some interesting facts to underscore their statements is the following:
The number of guns privately owned have increased more than 50 percent since the turn of the century – that’s a lot of guns, given the number that were already in circulation. Interestingly, gun ownership has grown most dramatically among those who identified themselves as Democrats.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the number of available guns has increased 62 percent since 1994, when there were about 192 million firearms in circulation.
“Per capita, the civilian gun stock has roughly doubled since 1968, from one gun per every two persons to one gun per person,” according to a report from Congressional Research Service .
How often people use guns in self-defense is largely unknown and unknowable, because in most cases the encounters do not result in shots being fired or even in incidents being reported, since just the presence of an armed defender unnerves an aggressor. Bear in mind too, even in cases in which perpetrators are killed, there is scant news coverage. The best data indicates that there are maybe 2.5 million occasions annually in which citizens use guns to protect themselves.
To further defend their conclusion that there has been a change in trends and attitudes about gun ownership among American citizens was the observation that the terms of debate have changed.
Said one, “The other thing I think is interesting is that people who defend gun ownership now say in public conversations, point blank, that privately held guns are protection against government. It used to be that they would pussy-foot around the issue by claiming they were for target practice and hunting. I haven’t heard anyone say that in a long time and when someone suggests that that might be a laudable reason, I have heard the defenders of guns come right back and say, ‘No that is not the most important reason. It is to protect ourselves against government.’ And, interestingly, it seems to me, that that tends to leave the anti-gun advocates silent.”
While the commentator attributed those changes in attitudes mostly to western states, another chimed in to say that he agreed with the assessment because he had seen the same in Georgia.
Another comment: “Also, Michael Moore is the first I have heard in a long time to try to claim the second amendment doesn’t mean what it means, that it has to do with armies.” That may be the result of a Supreme Court decision that rendered that argument moot – a decision which was in itself a set-back for those wanting to control the use of guns.
The certainty that there will be a downward spiral of greater American “pusillanimity,” is the fact that government tends to finance and support those who advance socialistic ideas, more so than other philosophical positons.
Explained one commentator, “You (taxpayers) are paying an army of people high salaries to constantly work to increasingly enslave you.”
Another agreed, saying, “That is by far the most important dynamic at work.”