How the Normalization of Guns Mattered for Me

Those who know my gun story often focus on the disturbing encounter I had in my apartment complex with a neighbor and her boyfriend/dealer. Although that was a pivotal moment in my conversion, I did not rush out to Gander Mountain that weekend and buy a gun. I had never even touched a gun, so such a step was too far.

In fact, it would be another three months — and several conversations and a trip to the range and lots of reading — before I bought my first gun. And even once I decided to buy a gun, a defensive firearm was not my first choice (a Ruger Mark III .22 target pistol). Or my second choice (a Ruger Bearcat .22 revolver). Or my third choice (a CZ Redhead Deluxe 12g O/U shotgun).

I am thinking about this because of a Facebook memory that popped up today. It reminded me that 12 years ago today I was in Columbus, Georgia with my son for a tennis tournament. There was a three-hour rain delay. And during that delay, we went back to our hotel and I stumbled upon the History Channel TV show, Top Shot.

It was seeing Top Shot, as much as the apartment complex scare, that made possible my becoming a gun owner. Why? Because it allowed me to see something that I now profess as a mantra: guns are normal and normal people use guns. It laid the foundation for seeing guns as a reasonable response to my felt need for family, home, and personal protection.

Courtesy of History Channel

For many people in the US, guns have long been normal. But this is not true of many others, including me 12 years ago. With TV shows like Top Shot gone now, I wonder what popular media is helping bring the normality of guns to those currently outside of gun culture?

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11 comments

  1. I still shoot my Ruger Mk 1 every once in a while. Still a favorite. Used it for shooting the qualification for my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course. And I do not see much that modern media are doing to normalize either guns or gun owners. In fact, they seem to be actively working in the other direction. working hard to create negative associations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who grew up in Texas in the 1950’s and 60’s under Gun Culture 1.0 (mom and dad both were bird hunters and liked to shoot .22’s, but no handguns in the house; started me out very early with lessons on gun safety) and who then made the leap to Gun Culture 2.0 back in 1978 with my first handgun purchases (Dan Wesson .357 and Browning Hi-Power), I find it very abnormal that certain parts of society have been demonizing guns and gun owners for quite a while now. They do so quite dishonestly, even if their intentions are good. It says something to me, not in a good way, that the same people who demonize guns in real life use them to make money from them (Hollywood action movie types) and have armed security to protect themselves and their families. Similar to the climate change advocates who fly private jets and drive big cars. Guns have always been present in American society but not always a problem. Hell, I even took a double barreled shotgun to school to use in a school play at the request of the teacher/director, and nobody batted an eye when I walked into school carrying it openly without a case. People who want to look at inanimate objects as being more than the tools they are and who refuse to consider the human element in the problem equation or hold individuals responsible and accountable for their misdeeds have another agenda. But I guess that’s what happens when a couple of generations of people are taught to value their feelings more than any rational thought process. Thanks for being such a rational thinker, David!

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