Hooray! My Book Chapter is Almost Published!

No, the “NRA didn’t suddenly change”

Gun Culture 2.0

I just wanted to take a brief break from writing some more substantive posts about armed church security to say “Hooray!” I recently received the page proofs for my chapter in a forthcoming book on “Gun Studies.” The book is based on papers given at a Gun Studies Symposium hosted by Jennifer Carlson last fall at the University of Arizona.

The full text of a draft of this chapter is available on the SocArXiv site. It has been downloaded 291 times to date. I’d like to think we can do better than that, though.

It’s especially exciting to see named as co-authors two recent Wake Forest University graduates, one of whom also happens to be my son!

Of course, I will post details here about the book once it is finally published.

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Wild values

Craig is always worth reading.

Craig Medred

HB4116 Berry Pass at the high point of the Winner Creek/Twentymile River route/Craig Medred photo

As this is written, the author is sitting at a keyboard pretty well pounded by Alaska.

Three and half hours of steady paddling from the seat of a packraft after a four-and-half-hour, backpack-loaded hike up and over a 2,100-foot pass on a trek from Girdwood to Portage will do this to a man who hasn’t paddled a boat all summer and spent too little time under a heavy pack.

Compared to the bad-old days of bushwhacking a route along Winner Creek; struggling up the steep, untracked north-facing slopes below Berry Pass; and then following a well-traveled, bear-highway down to the Twentymile River, the U.S. Forest Service-built trail from outside the Alyeska Resort over the top of the pass to where it deadended out of money almost a decade ago approximately three-quarters of a mile short of the…

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Dangerous bear

Craig Medred

20205523_10155550460374136_595734043_o A sow grizzly and cub spotted on the outskirts of Anchorage last year/Joe Connolly photo

The sow grizzly that killed 44-year-old Eagle River resident Michael Soltis in the mountains just north of Alaska’s largest city in late June continues to roam the edge of the state’s wild Chugach State Park.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials today revealed the man-killing bear was not the sow in a family of three bears agency shooters gunned down Friday on a hillside above the site of the Soltis attack. 

Department officials have refused to say whether they believe Soltis was a attacked by a particularly aggressive or predatory bear, but they have been acting as if that is the case. They have said that any other female grizzlies spotted or trapped in the Hiland Road area will also be killed if possible.

DNA taken from Soltis’s fatal wounds and those of a never-identified…

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Understanding the Social Life of Guns

Gun Culture 2.0

Last fall I was invited to contribute a short essay to the newsletter of the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. The editors asked me to write anything I wanted to about guns that would be helpful to medical sociologists studying the issue.

While some sociologists call for a shift in the national narrative surrounding guns from freedom to control, I continue my effort to shift the sociological narrative on guns from deviance to normality. It is an uphill battle, but I credit the editors of the newsletter for allowing me the opportunity to contribute.

A PDF of my page in the newsletter is here, and the full text is replicated below. The entire newsletter can be found under the Winter 2018 link on the section’s newsletter page.

Understanding the Social Life of Guns

In June 2017, the Pew Research Center reported that 70% of American…

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Respectful Irreverence by Rob Pincus

Putting htis here so I know where to find it.

Gun Culture 2.0

As I transition from my recent series of posts on Col. Jeff Cooper, Gunsite, and the Modern Technique of the Pistol to a forthcoming series of posts on Gabe Suarez and his Pistol Gunfighting School, it seems an appropriate time to post an essay by Rob Pincus called “Respectful Irreverence.”

The article first appeared on the Breach, Bang, Clear blog in September 2008, but was lost in a tech related transition over there. The version below has also been reprinted as Appendix A in Grant Cunningham’s 2013 book, Defensive Revolver Fundamentals.

I appreciate Rob Pincus allowing me to re-post the essay here. Even before meeting him, I found his understanding of teaching as a way of cultivating humanity compelling, and there are echoes of that perspective in this essay. During my long weekend of observation of his Combat Focus Shooting Instructors Conference I found that he adheres to the…

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On Reading Gun Culture

What we used to teach when we used to teach about learning.

Gun Culture 2.0

Although this is not the first time it has happened, my recent series of posts on Rob Pincus and his Combat Focus Shooting method inspired a higher than normal number of off the record comments to me. These generally concerned why he actually is a douche and why I should not endorse or promote him or his CFS method.

Regarding the former, as I said in my earlier post, I do like Rob Pincus; perhaps that is because I share some of his same “professiorial” (blowhard, know-it-all) qualities. But the bigger point I was after had to do with the question of civility and how people manage differences within gun culture. If Pincus contributes to the incivility, he as guilty as his critics. I think that goes without saying, but in case it doesn’t, I just said it.

Here I am more concerned with addressing the latter issue raised: Why…

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On Being a Gun Advocate vs. Truth Advocate

Let the facts fall where they may.

Gun Culture 2.0

At the end of my field work at Gunsite Academy this summer, one of the attendees of the 250 Defensive Pistol Course said to me: “It is nice to have some work being done from the pro-gun side.”

When my friend was writing up the text to accompany my appearance on the local NPR station after the Las Vegas shooting, he asked if I should be described as a “gun advocate.”

In both cases I resisted the characterization. Here’s the thing: I don’t see myself as a “gun advocate” or my work as “pro-gun.” As a social scientist, I am a TRUTH ADVOCATE and my work is PRO-TRUTH. What I write about guns is based on my search for truth, not a political position on guns. If there are political implications of my work, I will let others draw them.

By contrast, in the conclusion to my forthcoming book…

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Pocket Pistols: 17th and 18th Century Flintlock Editions

“Guns everywhere” is not an NRA invention.

Gun Culture 2.0

Pocket pistols are all the rage today and, as I have written previously, this can give the impression that they are a new phenomenon. But, of course, they are not. To the contrary, they are much older than I ever knew.

I learned this recently while visiting the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at Colonial Williamsburg between the two presentations I made at the College of William and Mary last week. Much like my discovery of a collection of miniature firearms at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, within the DeWitt Wallace’s collection of fine furniture, paintings, and textiles you can find “Lock, Stock & Barrel,” an exhibit of firearms from the Colonial Williamsburg collection.

And scattered among the many long arms in the exhibit are a few rare gems like the John Brush flint lock pistol from ca. 1700 pictured below. Note the caption: “Although Brush made…

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Mass Killers: Don’t Name Them, Don’t Show Them, But Report Everything Else

If only the media would listen.

Gun Culture 2.0

A while back, Professor Adam Lankford (Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Alabama) sent me an open letter to the media and asked if I would sign my name to it. I, along with 146 other scholars, agreed.

The letter (reprinted in full below) asks the media “to take a principled stand in your future coverage of mass killers that could potentially save lives”:

  1. Don’t name the perpetrator.
  2. Don’t use photos or likenesses of the perpetrator.
  3. Stop using the names, photos, or likenesses of past perpetrators.
  4. Report everything else about these crimes in as much detail as desired.

The release of this letter after the Las Vegas massacre is timely, but it also follows the publication of a paper by Lankford and Eric Madfis (University of Washington-Tacoma) in the American Behavioral Scientist explaining the scholarly basis for the letter.

Here is some coverage of the letter in the…

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