Unfamiliar Part of Gun Culture Breaks Through to My Consciousness

Although I try to be comprehensive in my understanding of guns in America, I have never claimed to be an expert in all areas of gun culture. I know more about Gun Culture 2.0 than Gun Culture 1.0, for example.

Also, I have made it my mission to supplement most scholars’ tight focus on negative outcomes with guns (homicide, suicide) and more troubling corners of gun culture (e.g., anti-government militias, armed white supremacists) by studying normal gun owners who do normal things with their guns.

Despite these boundries I put around my work, every now and then unfamiliar parts of gun culture break through to my consciousness. To wit: I have been posting student gun range field trip reflections from my Sociology of Guns class this fall on my Gun Curious blog and cross-posting those to my Gun Curious Facebook page.

In response to the first student reflection post, a reader made a comment that I had a hard time understanding. I still do.

Screen cap of Gun Curious Facebook page

Here is my reading of these comments: This reader objects to my student gun range field trip because many of my students come from non-gun backgrounds and favor more restrictions on guns, so he doesn’t want them to be comfortable with guns because they view him as a subject to be ruled with an iron fist and are being taught to shoot him and his half of the country?

Am I missing something here?

I’m usually able to keep these far reaches of American gun culture at arm’s length, so I’m still sitting with this comment and trying to process it.

13 comments

  1. This befuddles me. If we view humans as unmalleable creatures with hardwired ideas perhaps this makes sense. But if we see other people as intellectually curious folks who are constantly gathering more data, and capable of change we should act accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve considered the intersection of people against covid restrictions and those who are against gun control measures.

    The problem is the concept of freedom versus responsibility. When it comes to covid restrictions, for most, it was the minor inconveniences: wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. Some were forced to decide whether to be vaccinated or lose their jobs – the number who were fired is just a few hundred but it was their decision.

    On the other hand, did these people take responsibility for public safety? Fund a hospital wing for the unvaccinated who caught covid? I doubt it.

    It is the flipside of freedom, which is the responsibility that we all have to maintain public safety.

    As for gun arguments, yeah I often cringe when I hear an ignorant anti-gunner wanting to ban “automatic weapons of war”, which I presume they are not discussing a M240. However, the debate against gun control is always about how it affects “ME”, not how removing some restrictions makes society safer, including those without guns.

    Like

    • What you viewed as “minor inconveniences,” others saw as demands for blind obedience to capricious, irrational edicts, imposed under the cloak of emergency powers, that trampled civil liberties.

      In my rural county, I observed a near one-to-one correlation between gun culture & resistance to covid restrictions. At the supermarket, nearly everyone was wearing masks, especially the ‘flatlander’ recent arrivals. Stop on the way home at the feed store or gun shop, and no one had masks on — even when mandated. Among my personal acquaintances, not a single gun owner got jabbed.

      My hypothesis is, much of the intensifying antagonism between gun culture and anti-gun culture is a manifestation of the underlying clash between collectivism vs. individualism. Just as a person, taking personal responsibility for their safety by arming themselves, is intolerable to the collectivists, so was a person taking personal responsibility for their own health.

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      • Question: do you consider the DMV trampling your civil rights? Or how about an age limit to buy liquor an irrational edict?

        Frankly, the COVID mandates issued by the federal and state governments went over poorly as I expected. People who have never thought about working together are now required to put a piece of cloth over their face. You scoff at mask wear like it was a face tattoo or handcuffs. In March of 2020, I was unprepared to protect myself and other by wearing a mask. By April, I wore masks anytime I came in contact with anyone.

        As for personal responsibility, let ask you about gun laws. For example, can you defend Nikolas Cruz or Salvador Ramos and their legal right to purchase an AR-15 at age 18? That’s the difference between your freedom to buy a gun or wear a mask, versus the measures to prevent the irresponsible or deranged from buying the same gun or infecting others.

        Of course, it does not surprise me you live in a rural area, which also means low population density. You benefit from collectivism such as federal roads without realizing it. However, you are able to minimize personal contact, the absolute best way to avoid Covid. FYI, I often go mountain biking and I never came closer than 25 yards to other people. I didn’t catch Covid because I too believe in personal responsibility but I’m able to wear a mask and get vaccinated to protect myself and others.

        Like

      • I’m not interested in debating here the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of masks, etc. I was merely sharing my personal observation of the correlation between gun ownership and opposition to lockdown measures, and posited a plausible explanation for it.

        As for age restrictions on firearms purchases, I am of the opinion — also held in recent court opinions — that no enumerated right may be denied to anyone having reached maturity.

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  3. Don’t spend a lot of time processing this comment from a nut job. He’s made too many leaps of logic without any support to arrive at his unfounded conclusion. The idea that because your students may be “gun unfamiliar” they should be denied an excellent opportunity to have their eyes opened and become more aware?

    Perhaps if you have a physician friend you could ask him to prescribe this guy some medication. And please keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you are particularizing it a bit too much.

    The concern isn’t these students per se, but Left-authoritarians qua Left-authoritarians.

    It can seem in this era of increased culture war and demonization by even the President of ill-defined political opponents making up almost half the population that the one “advantage” the traditional center-right culture has retained, which you even see the Left’s activists bemoan, is that “we have all the guns” and most of the “shooters” in government service (military and police) are also with “us”.

    If the activist extreme Left goes back to their anarcho-socialist roots and starts arming themselves and developing those skills, and the center-right in military and police service are incentivized to leave, then that “ammo box” ultima ratio advantage of quality over quantity starts seeming less assured.

    I think that formulation overstates how many people actually would fight for the hard left’s anti-civilizational ideals, but it isn’t a completely irrational phobia given current events.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The commenter is obviously a bitter crank, but it’s not hard to suss from where their concerns emanate. For it is the Left who are currently threatening civil war if they don’t get their way. As you note, how much of that is earnest or just venting of spleen, remains to be seen. Certainly, were an actual civil war to break out, the other side being poorly armed would definitely be advantageous.

      The Professor’s course and other endeavors, however, are only a net boon to normalizing gun ownership. His students should be applauded for their open-mindedness, their honest, thoughtful conclusions & views respected.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Dr Yamane,

    Your poster makes a point of the dangers of an enemy being more dangerous when equipped with knowledge and understanding along with tools that can be used to dominate their enemy. It is understandable from some standpoints as a knowledgeable foe is usually more dangerous than an ignorant one. I wouldn’t want an educated and former 2A dedicated supporter to be in charge of the BATFE or advisor to anti gun law makers as their knowledge and understanding of gun rights advocates, current laws and the ways gun owners and the gun industry work to side step or work within the laws and are thus more dangerous than an uneducated law maker or BATFE head who doesn’t have the same knowledge and understanding.

    That said I think the poster misses the more critical and likely point that by bringing people from outside the common gun culture is more likely to bring understanding and acceptance for guns and gun owners. Those students or “outsiders” are more likely to become allies or at least more neutral on anti gun rhetoric. The stigma of common dangers of guns and gun owners is lifted by the “outsider” having experience in handling and shooting a gun especially politically ostracized guns like AR 15 designs.

    We as gun owners and 2A advocates need to do as much as possible to dispel stigmas and inaccuracies promoted by anti gun segments of society rather than walling ourselves in and labeling any who aren’t considered holy zealots of the 2A as enemies to be hated and excluded.

    Keep up the good work and keep inviting students to the range.

    Best Regards

    Mike

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m still scratching my head over that first post from whoever it was. My first thought is that we are looking at some sort of class conflict scenario. Who could be trying to starve someone into submission? The elite, the industrialists, the rich and powerful, the investment bankers, the Democrats who are, as Paul Begala said, increasingly found “in the faculty lounge rather than the union floor”, vs. that majority of the country living increasingly at the wrong end of the income inequality divide? Where unions are frowned on and in fact, some businesses threaten to, or actually, shut down rather than have their work force organized? Full disclosure. I grew up in a UAW home and was on the Board of Directors of my faculty union at the U of Hawaii.

    Back in The Day(tm), it was the coal companies who controlled the guns and bullets courtesy of the local private militias and put down union drives with bullets, such as at the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado and at Matewan, West Virginia. After WW I, the Bonus Army was given the bum’s rush out of DC courtesy of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the army. Most recently, former President Trump wanted a military escort from the Chair of the JCOS after forcibly removing people at St. John’s Church so he could give his famous Bible brandishing photo op.

    Yeah, I suppose that, as President Obama once said, if all you have left is your gun and your Bible, and someone is about to repo your house, you wouldn’t want your adversary to know how to wield an AR.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a normal Facebook interaction. Respondent states an extreme hypothesis as fact “…teaching the majority to shoot me.” and wants to draw you into making a rational response to his irrational assertion. It’s not going to end well because he won’t hold himself to the rational boundaries. Of course, if you chose to respond, it might reach some rational people.

    Jon

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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