I once lived next door to a guy in Memphis who owned more than a hundred firearms, some of which were strewn around his two-bedroom house and even lying on the kitchen counter. I saw them when he asked me to come over one afternoon to help him move his 700-pound gun safe.
Neil, as I’ll call him, also kept two large dogs, one of which was a cane corso that was so unpredictable it couldn’t be allowed near his two young children. Neil was a nice guy but perpetually anxious and nervous, which in turn made me uneasy about his family’s safety. I worried about a gun accident or one of the dogs getting loose and mauling a passerby.
The fact is, there are a lot of Neils in America — white guys in a near-constant state of fear about their personal safety. And rather than being merely pitiful, guys like Neil are actually dangerous.
They’re the hyper-armed neighbors with itchy trigger fingers, who are convinced they’ll be the victims of a home invasion; who treat any Black or brown person as an imminent threat; who see foreign terrorists behind every bush; who believe the government is trying to poison them, plant a chip inside them, or take away their hunting rifles; who think that crime is far worse than it is and on the verge of spilling into outright anarchy.
— Joe Hayden in Cry macho: Why scared white guys are so dangerous