I have been wandering around American gun culture for almost a decade now, from the first time I shot a gun back in January 2011 to the N-th time I have gone shooting just this morning.
An occupational hazard (such as it is) of scholarship is the more you know about a subject, the more you realize you don’t know. So, despite my extensive research on Gun Culture 2.0, I have a hard time convincing myself that I know enough to speak as an expert. This has prevented me from making as much progress on my book project as I would have hoped.
Trying to bring some closure to the research phase of my project and build some momentum to get writing, I went back over the past 9 years and created a spreadsheet with all of the major field work sites and events I have participated in or observed. You can access the Google Sheet here.
I know this list is incomplete (there are some North Carolina CCW courses I attended that I cannot find my notes for) and I will update it as possible. That said, my recorded time “in the field” totals 726.5 hours. About two-thirds of this is pure observation (504.5 hours) and roughly one-third is participation (222 hours). In 21 of the 71 events logged I engage in live fire. (I have discussed the pros and cons of participation vs. observation previously, here and here.)
This list does not include hundreds of hours of television programs, DVDs, and streaming videos I have watched, podcasts I have listened to or participated in, mundane visits to gun ranges and stores, class field trips to the gun store/range, and so on.
It does convey the breadth of what I have examined so far, and gives me some confidence that I can translate these observations into some knowledge for the masses.
Although I’ve more than exceeded my budget for this research, there are just a few more people/classes/topics I would like to explore that I think are really important to understand where gun culture is and is going:
- Unthinkable with Dr. William Aprill. Major oversight in V1.0 of this post. I have been wanting to observe his full class forever!
- Medical class (perhaps with someone like Caleb Causey of Lone Star Medics)
- Knife class (perhaps with someone like Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training)
- Home defense shotgun class (perhaps with Tim Chandler of Justified Defensive Concepts)
- Pepper spray class (perhaps with someone like Chuck Haggard of Agile Training)
There are many big name trainers — some of whom I know personally — who have been on my “bucket list” but financially they are probably not in the cards at this point.
To be sure, if anyone looks at my spreadsheet and sees something obviously missing, please let me know!