Although it does not tell us everything we want to know, “Pandemics, Protests, and Firearms” by Bree and Matthew Lang (economists at the University of California at Riverside) offers some interesting insights. It is available for download on the SSRN website while it makes its way through the peer review process.
Although the topic is grim — suicide — I am very excited to welcome to my Sociology of Guns seminar today two guests who have unique perspectives on the issue. Michael Sodini is founder and President of Walk the Talk America (WTTA), and Rob Pincus is a trustee of the organization.
WTTA was founded in 2018 with the goal of reducing suicides and other negative outcomes associated with firearms. I have been remiss in not writing about the organization before now. I actually spent some time at the WTTA booth at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in January 2019, and Pincus (making his 3rd consecutive class appearance this year) spoke in my Sociology of Guns seminar in Spring 2019 about the issue of suicide and the work of WTTA.
In my Sociology of Guns seminar, I typically allocate 2 or 3 of the modules to gun injury, suicide, and homicide. Teaching on-line this semester, I provided the students with an overview of negative outcomes with guns asynchronously (via a narrated PowerPoint turned into a YouTube video) so we would have more time in our on-line (Zoom) synchronous class session to delve into the issues more deeply.
The topic of Module 7 of my Sociology of Guns seminar is “diversity in gun culture.” Scholars have done a woeful job of capturing this diversity — including the major axes of difference on which sociologists tend to focus such as gender, race, and sexuality, as well as religious and political differences — making it difficult even to assign published research on the topic for my students to read.
I am all the more pleased, therefore, to welcome two guests to my class this week who both embody and attempt to foster diversity within gun culture: Tiffany Johnson and Aqil Qadir of Citizens Safety Academy.
Here I want to briefly summarize the ideas he shared with my students, while respecting the fact that the session itself was not for public consumption.
(NOTE: In order to provide an environment in which everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas, no outside observers are allowed in the class and no recording of it is made public. Although there is a clear trade-off in keeping the information private, John mentioned after the session that there were things he was able to share that he might not otherwise because the session was not public.)