Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on some blogs on violence that involves guns, more commonly known as “gun violence.” In doing this, I realized that I spend a disproportionate amount of my time reading and thinking about the criminal use of guns.
But this blog is supposed to be about Gun Culture 2.0. The heart of Gun Culture 2.0, as I see it, is legal gun owners using their guns for lawful purposes. That is what I am trying to understand in my studies. What James O’Connor and Alan Lizotte call the “routine and legitimate place” of guns in society.
Stuff more like this —
And this —
Than this —
And yet. . . And yet. . . And yet . . . Why do I pay so much attention to violence and crime? There are two reasons I can think of, both of which I’ve mentioned before (and which are related):
(1) Our public and politics are obsessed with criminal violence of any kind, and even more so when it involves guns (it seems – I don’t know whether this is the case empirically); and
So, being new to the study of guns I necessarily orient myself to what others interested in guns are paying attention to. This way I can get up to speed enough to be conversant on the general topic of guns, even if it is not my primary topic.
There has been some value in this, as when I was invited to speak to a community organization about “gun violence” and to “live Tweet” the premier of the PBS Frontline documentary on the NRA. In these cases I try to bring a moderating voice to what is often a very polarizing debate. Light over heat!
Of course, trying to be moderate in a polarized world doesn’t always get you that far. For raising questions about their posts, I have been banned from commenting on the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s and Parents Against Gun Violence’s Facebook pages (and also called a “dipshit” by the latter). During the PBS Frontline live Tweet, I was called a “moron” by gun control advocate and documentary filmmaker, Nick Verbitsky (@nbits60). I also had a sour exchange recently with Miguel Gonzalez of the (pro-gun) Gun Free Zone blog, about which I will write shortly.
So, I am going to go ahead with these posts on “gun violence;” it’s an important issue, after all, and one that law-abiding gun owners might be interested in. All the while I will be looking forward to getting back to Gun Culture 2.0, my real interest and the raison d’etre of this blog.