I can’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed that Investigations by VICE on Hulu ran an episode titled “Gun Culture 2.0” and didn’t speak with me about it. Of course, that disappointment was tempered by the reality that I didn’t coin the term but stole it from Michael Bane (though with his post-hoc blessing).
I don’t own the term, but have been working very hard to understand the reality the term summarizes.
My disappointment was also tempered by the fact that the episode began (at least) with some very good representatives of Gun Culture 2.0 (the reality not the blog). Prominently featured is John Correia of Active Self Protection, one of the most articulate and charismatic spokesmen for GC2.0 today. (About whom I have written here and here, among other mentions.)
In addition to speaking at length with Correia, Vice also spent some time at a gun training course, “Contextual Handgun: The Armed Citizen/Public Encounters,” taught by John Johnston and Melody Lauer of Citizens Defense Research.
Not only are they high level instructors, but I also spied at least a couple of students in the class who I know personally and who are not run-of-the-mill shooters. One was Phil Wong, who served as an assistant instructor on the range for the Massad Ayoob Group MAG-40 course I took in 2012. Another was Annette Evans, a competitive shooter, among other things gun cultural.
But speaking of disappointment, after the opening segment of the episode focusing on defensive handgun training — central to Gun Culture 2.0 — the reporter switched to the issue of “permitless carry” (also related to GC2.0) but went for the drama by highlighting an open-carry activist who wanders around in public in Oklahoma with either a rifle or an AR-pistol that is indistinguishable from a rifle.
As far as I know (and admittedly I do not know everything), open carrying rifles and pistols is not central to the issue of permitless carry, which largely concerns CONCEALED carry. For example, in North Carolina, you can open carry a pistol as long as you can legally possess a pistol. That is a separate issue from concealed carry.
(SIDEBAR: My patience was repaid when John Correia was shown describing the open carry activist as “an asshole.”)
The episode further derails by taking up the issue of Castle Doctrine/”Stand Your Ground” laws, but focusing on a curious case in Wyoming of an ex-boyfriend shooting a current boyfriend on his porch after the ex-girlfriend brought the current boyfriend to the ex-boyfriend’s house to confront him. I came away from this section wanting to know, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.
The concluding section focused on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which was the site of an horrific xenophobic mass murder. This was of particular interest to me because of my work on church/congregational security, and I thought was worthwhile to see the rabbi struggling over the issue of guns and security.
John Correia gets the last word in the episode, and the beginning section of the episode and this conclusion does say something significant (and accurate) about Gun Culture 2.0. It could have been more — especially with one additional expert academic commentator, but overall it was not nothing.