Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The "Gun Culture"

I've never liked that phrase. I own an axe, and all my neighbors own axes, but we're not part of the "Axe culture." We all own milk crates, too. Are we part of the "Milk crate culture?" How about measuring cups? I see one on the counter right over there. It's next to a can of creamed corn. The "Creamed corn culture?" I don't think so. Cameras, radios, toilet paper - they're all common accoutrements of our "culture," whatever that is, but they don't define it. So why guns?

Oh, it's not a serious question. I think I can answer it. Guns are controversial, and toilet paper is not. But that underscores my dislike for the phrase, because who perpetuates the controversy? Not the people who carry guns, but the people who demonize them, and their carriers.

I suppose I could even make a case for it, even if I don't like it. In fact, one time I did. "An armed society is a friendly society," I said. Meant it, too. Still do.

But I still dislike that phrase. I am not defined by what I carry on my belt. I dislike it when people try to define me in that way.

This came to mind this morning as a result of reading this CSM article, linked by Claire. It's actually a pretty good article, for MSM, and touches - actually lingers - on a matter that's been on my mind lately, which is how state-level activists have turned the anti-gun world on its head in the past twenty years. We owe those people, and we should be learning from them in other freedom-related areas.

But I still dislike "Gun culture." Call it an unreasoning prejudice. I am not a member of the "Gun culture," any more than I'm a member of the "Torn T-shirt culture." I'm an adult. Adults carry their weapons.


Johnathan said...

I also dislike the term "gun culture", but I think I understand some of the point behind it.

It is one thing to be proficient in the usage of firearms, to own, maintain, and train with several, and to subtly or not so subtly advertise that you are prepared to defend your person, family, home, and possessions with them if needed. (This I do.)

It is quite another thing, however, to glorify the use of weapons, to associate one's image with them, to devote so much mental energy to thinking about them and discussing them with reverence.

It is this latter that I think some people react to and call "gun culture."

I also own several fire extinguishers, am trained in their use, periodically maintain them, and am prepared to use them to defend against fires in my home and workplace. But wouldn't it seem ridiculous to be a "fire extinguisher enthusiast", have clubs and magazines devoted to them, and otherwise build up a self-image around them?

Or maybe there is a "fire extinguisher culture" out there and I'm just missing out :-)

MamaLiberty said...

Gun culture? Nah... I have guns and knives all around me too, but they are just part of my life - my environment, like the furniture and pictures of family. I like them, and I use them as I would any other tool, but I'm not emotionally attached to my guns any more than to my favorite frying pan. The frying pan is actually a lot more useful to everyday life, but not nearly as much fun as going shooting. It's all relative.

A lady once asked me why I wore the gun all the time. I asked her if she ever left the house without her clothes. She was obviously shocked and said, "NO!" I said, "Well, neither do I. This gun is part of my clothing.

Pat H. said...

I've always liked "the gun culture" because it says the American culture is an armed culture and that divides Americans from progressive/fascists who are anti-American at their core.

That means those anti-Americans supporting gun confiscation are engaged in cultural genocide.

Motor-T said...

I think that the "gun culture" more relates to people that are gun enthusiasts, not just gun owners.

For example, I own a truck. It is useful for transportation, but I am not a truck enthusiast. I don't buy truck magazines, or read truck blogs. I am not a part of a "truck culture".

I also own motorcycles. I am part of the motorcycle culture.I'm a member of the AMA. I gather with other motorcyclists. I also buy motorcycle magazines, and read motorcycle forums.

I think of myself as part of the gun culture. I shoot IDPA matches as often as I can. I'm a NRA member. To me, guns are as much about recreation and fun as they are about defense.

There are plenty of folks out there that use guns for hunting, or have them around for defense that are not part of the gun culture. To them guns are just a tool. Just like my truck is just a tool to me.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I dunno. I've been a quasi member of, and conversed at great lengths with members of, the handsaw culture, with their apple handled Disstons and their Independence Tool dovetail saws.

Same with the Anvil culture.

You gotta go to Sweden to really run into member of the Axe culture, but there are domestic proponents.

Ask RobertX about code key culture with her wireless stuff.

Tam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tam said...


"Ask RobertaX about code key culture with her wireless stuff."

I have been to a local ham radio thingie with Bobbi. Wow. It was like Aspies Anonymous up in there. :o

Matt said...

If you're looking for "axe culture", you might try a group of lumberjacks or something. "Motorcycle culture" has been mentioned, and surely we all know that's a thing. (Some of us know it's not "a thing" so much as "a bunch of different things, some of which overlap one another and some of which don't", but that's another matter.) An even more apropos example would be "car culture"...millions and millions of Americans own cars and drive them every day, but aren't part of car culture...yet hang out with gearheads, and you'll see that car culture is also a very real thing.

"Gun culture" is probably in the middle. Less ubiquitous among owners and users of guns than (some form of) motorcycle culture is among people who ride motorcycles, but significantly more than car culture is among people who drive cars.

And if the hoplophobes don't like it, they have only themselves and their political allies to blame. It's the fight against them that's drawn a lot of people who would otherwise see their guns as _just_ tools into recognizing that they're also a unifying and differentiating factor between those who take responsibility for their own safety and those who rely on the state to protect them.

Justthisguy said...

@ Tam: Heh. I know of what you speak. I have been to a hamfest.

Y'know what's really annoying? Other auties/aspies who don't share one's particular Special Interest. For instance there is a very sharp autistic gal with whom I sometimes correspond attending Wright State University pursuing an engineering degree, but I don't think she has ever set foot in the Air Force Museum, which is just across town. WTF is wrong with her?

Doc Merlin said...

But guns are /not/ controversial. Not within the US anyway, its just a very small but powerful group that doesn't like them.

Mattexian said...

After a short bit of reflection, I believe there is such a thing as an "axe culture", being closely related to the "knife culture", both of which are important to "bushcraft enthusiasts". Go one any outdoors forum, especially one devoted to knives, and you'll find plenty of folks discussing the pros and cons of the multitude of knives, axes, and other outdoor cutting tools, with plenty of them fanboys of certain makers and manufacturers.

Joel said...


Oh, you're quite right. In that sense there's a "culture" for just about anything. I was once mildly horrified to learn that there are several fora specifically dedicated to flashlights.

I own flashlights, and carry one just about every day. Everybody does, in an environment that's a little short of streetlamps. I don't have anything against flashlights. But these guys are flashlight geeks. I can't imagine a more boring obsession, but if there's such a thing as a "flashlight culture," they're in it.

Hey, whatever gets you through your day, y'know?

Matt Groom said...

They say "Gun Culture" because "Natural and Civil Rights Emphasizing Individual Liberty, Self-Reliance, and Personal Responsibility Culture" is too hard to say.

Stranger said...

Well, look at it this way. Gun owners are generally cultured people. A much smaller percentage of the anti-gun people can in any way be considered cultured. Or be considered as much of anything other than innumerate, fearful, rude, and uncouth, for that matter.