Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Renormalizing the Gun Culture

...or "Scaring the White People"?

I think I first ran across the "Scaring the White People" meme at Say Uncle, and again a bit later. I took up the theme myself.

As I see it, there are essentially three "gun cultures" in this nation: the criminal gun culture, the genteel gun culture, and the gonzo gun culture.

The criminal gun culture is self-explanatory. It exists everywhere, even (perhaps especially) where gun ownership by individuals is heavily restricted or forbidden. The genteel gun culture is the culture of what many of us term the Fudds, the people whose only interest in firearms is for hunting, for example,  or who only shoot sporting clays and see "no reason" for any type of firearm other than what they themselves own.  "Nobody needs" type X gun, as far as they're concerned.

The gonzo gun culture is the one that encompasses all other forms of shooting and collecting, from those of us who shoot IPSC and USPSA to those who spend literally thousands of dollars annually just feeding their Class III habit. We're the ones who shoot a lot, and like pretty much anything that goes "bang!"  True, there is some overlap between groups, but we still hear from the genteels from time to time.

Then there's the two groups who are not gunnies:  the ones who don't think about them, and the ones who are afraid of them.  And there are a lot more of those than there are of us.

For years the only attention that firearms really got in the media was either crime reports on the news, or the occasional hunting show. Perhaps Wide World of Sports would do a piece on pheasant hunting in Montana, or elk in Wyoming. (Robin Williams did a funny riff about "hunting the monarch butterfly with the .44 Magnum" in one of his routines years ago.)  With the explosion of cable and the need for more content, we got shows like Jim Zumbo Outdoors, but Jim was a member of the genteel gun culture, as evidenced by the Great Zumbo Incident of 2007.

We also got shows like American Shooter with Jim Scoutten, and now his Shooting USA, both arguably a much broader-based view of the shooting sports and recreational shooting in general. Still, Jim isn't what I'd call an avid supporter of the gonzo gun culture.

Now we have shows like the Outdoor Channel's Wednesday night lineup of Shooting Gallery (which recently did an entire show on Joe Huffman's Boomershoot event), Best Defense, the aforementioned Shooting USA, Sighting In, American Guardian, American Rifleman, Impossible Shots, and Cowboys. (Michael Bane is definitely a member of the gonzo gun culture!) Last year brought us History Channel's Top Shots, about to begin its second season. We've actually begun to see some relatively fair treatment in the print media. What there is is overwhelmed by the rest, but still, it's a sign that the times have been changing.

Well, maybe not the Times.

The renormalization of firearms in American culture is proceeding apace.

Tonight I watched my first episode of the Discovery Channel's Sons of Guns, another "reality" show, this time about a Class III II SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer) manufacturer in Louisiana. I haven't seen that many short-barreled, suppressed, full-auto firearms in my life, and especially not on TV.

It must give Joan Peterson, Paul Helmke, Sarah Brady, Josh Sugarmann et al. nightmares.

And I can't help but wonder if it "frightens the white people." The show I saw did indicate, once, that you can't just walk into a gun shop, buy an NFA restricted weapon and walk out the door with it, but it gave that impression at least one other time. The show I watched involved the assembly of a full-auto Browning M2 "Ma Deuce" machinegun from a parts kit, including the milling of the sideplates to convert the kit from semi- to full-auto.

It never mentioned that only licensed manufacturers can do that legally.  No mention of the 1986 ban was made.  No mention of NFA registration was made.  Just buy a ($6,000) parts kit, and put it together!

It showed the owner's daughter making sales of multiple quantities of short-barreled suppressed "assault weapons" at "dealer pricing," without bothering to mention that those sales were going to other licensed dealers. It showed her selling two short-barreled folding-stock suppressed 10/22 rifles, and knocking $500 off the price in exchange for a guided bowfishing trip. No mention of an NFA delay on that one.

This show, I think, could be a treasure-trove of propaganda for The Other Side. After all, remember what the Violence Policy Center wrote in its effort to ban "assault weapons":
Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  They've made it clear that lying to the public in order to frighten them into passing gun bans is perfectly acceptable, and we've seen that tactic used more than once.  It's been a staple of this blog and several others pointing out incidents where it's done.

My point is, we shouldn't be helping them.  Personally, I like the show, but I know what's being left out.  Joe and Jane Average haven't got a clue.

Discuss.  I'm interested in what you think.

UPDATE:  It's a topic of discussion at

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