Click for dream vs reality
An American child grows up in a married household in the suburbs. What are the chances that his family keeps a gun in their home?
The probability is considerably higher than residents of New York and other big cities might expect: about 40 percent of married households reported having a gun in their home, according to the exit poll conducted during the 2008 presidential election.
But the odds vary significantly based on the political identity of the child’s parents. If they identify as Democratic voters, the chances are only about one in four, or 25 percent, that they have a gun in their home. But the chances are more than twice that, almost 60 percent, if they are Republicans.
Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South or a number of other demographic characteristics…
In 1973, about 55 percent of Republicans reported having a gun in their household against 45 percent of Democrats, according to the General Social Survey, a biennial poll of American adults…Gun ownership has declined over the past 40 years — but almost all of the decrease has come from Democrats…Unfortunately, the question on gun ownership was dropped from the 2012 national exit poll…
White voters were substantially more likely to own guns than Hispanics or blacks. But white Republicans were more likely to own guns than white Democrats…And based on demographic inertia, the differences seem likely to grow over time…
It might seem strange that ownership of a single household object is so strongly tied to voting behavior and broader political attitudes in America. But America is an outlier relative to other industrialized nations in its gun ownership rates. Whatever makes this country so different from the rest of the world must surely be reflected in the differences in how Democrats and Republicans see the nation.
Did you grow up with cowboy movies as the most important entertainment in your life? Or did you read Mark Twain? Did you grow up with parents who believed heroes were more important than teachers? Was a weekly visit to the library as important as the Saturday afternoon serial at the neighborhood movie theatre?
As television took over more entertainment from movies – and became every family’s babysitter – did first-person-shooters establish ethical standards overruling Mr. Rogers or the Science Guy? One of the smallish factoids in Nate Silver’s post is that gun ownership rates are inversely correlated with educational attainment.
I don’t pretend to know the whole answer. I grew up with both sides of this dialectic. I do know that I came to a turning point before I was twenty years old and walked away from the gang that owned half of my few friends. I returned to time spent with books and music, reflective thought, conscience – and independence from a society I considered corrupt and intellectually lazy.
A decision worth making.