There is a line in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” that may help us reframe our discussion about why people purchase automatic weapons.
In Act II of “King Lear”, and in the wake of Lear’s bequest of his entire kingdom and wealth to two of his daughters, he now mourns the loss of his guards. He requests of one of his daughters that he be given 50 guards. Since his daughters have agreed to care for all of his earthly needs, one of his daughters responds to his request by saying, “What need one?” Lear’s famous response: “Reason not the need.”
Those reading or attending the play know that Lear’s request reflects more than just a need for guards, but rather a yearning for love and camaraderie.
Implication? I suspect that we have not yet explored the deeper passions that motivate many to purchase firearms. Perhaps these deeper needs have nothing to do with a quest for security or recreation. Shouldn’t we deny King Lear’s retort, “Reason not the need,” and devote some of our time to looking for deeper motivational factors. In other words, isn’t it time to look at some of the psychological factors that may be involved in gun use?
Frank D. Tikalsky