Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #6: Gun Culture is Much More Complex Than It Seems

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the sixth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth reflection essays.)

Reflection essay author presenting her work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Boston Review’s Magnificently Consistent Takes on Gun Culture

I confess to not being a regular reader of the Boston Review but my Google alert this morning for both “gun owners” and “gun culture” pointed me to a recent essay published by political philosopher Chad Kautzer, “America as a Tactical Gun Culture.” I know Kautzer from having participated in a conference on guns with him at Amherst College back in 2017.

The essay is actually quite sweeping in scope and in detail connects a great many dots together, including Kyle Rittenhouse and vigilantism, Ferguson and the militarization of law enforcement, extra legal violence in the name of border security, Threepers and Oath Keepers, Lavoy Finicum and Civil War II, “Operation Wetback” and the NRA, Stand Your Ground and vigilante sovereignty, George Mason and Dick Heller, CSPOA and authoritarian populism, “racialized fears and patriarchal aspirations” driving Gun Culture 2.0, and others!

Kautzer’s fundamental argument is that “an armed white citizenry, working in tandem with law enforcement, has for centuries sustained white rule in the United States through legal and extralegal violence.” As white rule has been challenged over the past several decades, we see the “rise of a tactical gun culture” in response. It’s a variation on the same old song of America. Although it alone is not sufficient to sustain the old regime of racial domination, “it does cultivate the material and ideological conditions necessary for a return to an authoritarian legal and political order.”

The Boston Review’s algorithm also pointed me to three additional stories, all of which provide variations on Kautzer’s theme.

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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #5: My Mindset of Gun Reform Shifted from Legislative to More Conversational

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the fifth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to the first, second, third, and fourth reflection essays.)

Reflection essay author presenting her work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #4: Opinions About Guns Have Not Changed But Knowledge Has Increased

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the fourth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to the first, second, and third reflection essays.)

Reflection essay author presenting his work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #3: My Naivety Epitomizes Why Courses Like This are Necessary

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the third of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to the first and second reflection essays.)

Reflection essay author presenting her work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #2: I Have Expanded My Understanding of Guns

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the second of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first reflection essay.)

Reflection essay author presenting her work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #1: Forced to Look at Other Sections of the Gun Community

As noted yesterday, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course.

Here is the first of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here.

Reflection essay author presenting his work to Sociology of Guns seminar, November 2021. Photo by David Yamane
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Sociology of Guns Ver. 7.0 Is In The Books, Student Final Reflections Coming

Another year of Sociology of Guns at Wake Forest University is in the books. This is the 7th time in 7 years I have taught the course.

COVID made some things different this semester. In fall 2020, I taught the course online. I was happy to be able to meet this semester face-to-face, but we were required to wear masks in the classroom, which definitely inhibited discussion. Perhaps not more than meeting on Zoom inhibits discussion, but certainly compared to the first 5 times I taught the course under normal circumstances. I also kept the enrollment down to 13 students (instead of 16-18) in order to allow for more social distancing in class.

Despite the challenges, the course realized my aspirations in teaching it. This can be seen most clearly in the final reflection papers students submitted for the course. Over the next week or so I will be posting some of these papers here, so stay tuned.

And read on for a brief review of the course and additional information about the final reflection assignment.

Sociology of Guns Course Readers, Fall 2021
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Review of Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA by Tim Mak

Before I had a chance to read it myself, I had been hearing good things from reform minded NRA members about Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA by NPR investigative reporter Tim Mak.

I’ve now had a chance to read the book in full. Despite some small quibbles I have with Mak’s language, analysis, and storytelling, this is an interesting and important book for those wanting to understand how the NRA got to be in the position it is in right now.

If you don’t have any idea what I mean by “the position it is in right now,” then you DEFINITELY need to read this book.

I “live Tweeted” my reading, chapter-by-chapter, so you can see my synopses and thoughts unrolled below.

Reading “Misfire” at the Barber Shop. Selfie by David Yamane
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Gun Culture 2.0 Book (Provisional) Table of Contents

As mentioned the other day, I have finally gotten the pitch for my book on Gun Culture 2.0 into the hands of some literary agents. Now the waiting game begins.

In the mean time, below you will find the provisional table of contents for the book to whet your appetite.

Preface. On Being a Truth Advocate

Introduction. How a Liberal Professor Became an Armed American

1. Guns are Normal, Normal People Use Guns

2. Building an Arsenal

3. Living with AR-15s

4. Top Shot and the Human-Weapon Relationship

5. Swept Up in the Concealed Carry Revolution

6. Pascal’s Wager and Firearms

7. Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes

8. Training in Applied Violence

9. The Changing Face of Gun Owners in America

Conclusion. What the Professor Learned