Light Over Heat #24: My Thoughts on the Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

This week’s episode features audio of comments I made for the Liberal Gun Owners Lens Podcast series on the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

I try to recognize both the importance of understanding race/racism in American history, and hence gun culture historically, and also the importance of recognizing that this is not essential to American gun culture today.

I hope this subtlety comes through in this episode.

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Light Over Heat #16: Finding Common Ground on Gun Violence Prevention

This week I offer a second reflection on the 2-day workshop I attended at the University of Connecticut in Harford for authors contributing to a special issue of The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science on gun violence. (The first reflection focuses on the relationship between research on guns and gun policy, see Light Over Heat #15.)

I recorded this reflection in my hotel room right after the workshop ended and so my thoughts were a bit jumbled but hopefully my editing brings some coherence to them.

The core of this video speaks to my general approach to engaging those whose focus vis-à-vis guns differs from my own: find a common ground. In this case, the common ground is in the desire to prevent gun violence.

And more generally, as in all things guns, my approach to this experience reflects my interest in Light Over Heat.

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Light Over Heat #14: The Homo Sapiens Projectile Club – Explained

In Light Over Heat Ep 11, I wore a Homo Sapiens Projectile Club t-shirt. You can buy the t-shirt or hoodie in the Liberal Gun Owners online store.

The idea underlying the t-shirt can be found in Pillar 1 of The Liberal Gun Owners Lens. This is the first of 4 planned pillars analyzing the relationship between humans and firearms.

Pillar 1 focuses on what the author, Randy Miyan (Executive Director of the Liberal Gun Owners), calls the human-weapon relationship, the reality that underlies the Homo Sapiens Projectile Club.

In this week’s “Light Over Heat” video, I connect the History Channel competition show “Top Shot” to the cultural and anthropological nomality of guns for Homo sapiens as a species.

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The Liberal Gun Owners Lens Launch

Recently, without fanfare equivalent to its significance, the Liberal Gun Owners launched a new website, LGO Lens.

The site is a content hub on which people can access blog posts, learn more about the LGO and allied organizations, link to the Liberal Gun Owners Lens Podcast, and download the long but very important Anthropology Pillar of the LGO Lens (read: foundational perspective) on “The Human-Weapon Relationship – Evolution, Anthropology, and Human Innateness.”

It’s no secret that I am a liberal gun owner myself and have published an article analyzing the 20% of American gun owners who self-identify as liberals. Drawing on the publication, the notion that “Gun owners are all conservative” was included as the first of “Five myths about guns” in the Washington Post last year.

So it perhaps goes without saying that I am on board with the Liberal Gun Owners Lens project and have consulted with LGO Executive Director Randy Miyan regularly about it. I’ve participated in the LGO’s annual firearms training event and Miyan has guest lectured twice in my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest.

This is to say: I’m not a neutral analyst of the Liberal Gun Owners. I am a contributor to and a fan of the work.

Screen cap of https://lgolens.com/
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Sociology of Guns Module 11: Guns and Liberalism

Guns and gun culture in the United States are strongly associated with political and cultural conservatism. So much so that what requires explanation is not the link between guns and conservatism but guns and liberalism.

One-fifth of gun owners self-identify as politically liberal, and another 40% as politically moderate. So, in fact only a minority of gun owners (40%) self-identify as politically conservative.

In this module we examine the work of one of the two major liberal gun organizations in the United States: the Liberal Gun Owners (LGO). (The other is the Liberal Gun Club (LGC).) We will welcome to class as a guest speaker, for the second time, Randy Miyan, the executive director of the LGO.

He will talk about his own evolution as a gun owner, as well as the LGO’s unique perspective on guns in human history and culture.

Liberal/Leftist gun owner t-shirts sold by Rocket Armory, https://rocket-armory.com
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Who Are The Liberal Gun Owners?

The Democratic presidential primaries have the media off in search of a political unicorn: The Liberal Gun Owner. Two news stories in the past couple of days report on successful hunts.

The NPR affiliate in Seattle reported on “Four Seattle liberals on why they own guns and who they’re voting for in the primary. (H/T to my former student DH for sending this). And the Associated Press ran a story titled “Liberal gun owners face dilemma in 2020 field” (since picked up by many news outlets including The Washington Post).

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Sociology of Guns Class Student Final Reflection #2

As noted previously, for the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns Seminar in Spring 2019, students were asked to write a 1,000 to 2,000 word essay in which they would:

revisit your previous personal experience with and understanding of guns in the U.S. (as expressed, e.g., in the field trip reflection essay) in light of your consideration of the role guns actually do play in American society. Reflecting on what you learned from completing your major writing assignment, as well as the class more generally, discuss how your mind has (and/or has not) changed. Conclude this paper by considering what more you need to know in order to make informed choices about your own participation with and the place of guns in the communities in which you live and will live in the future.

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

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