Professor David Yamane teaches a Sociology of Guns course at Wake Forest University. Part of the curriculum includes a trip to a shooting range for the class’s students. After the range trip, students are assigned to write an essay reflecting on the experience and Professor Yamane posts some of those at his blog. Here are the thoughts of a “self-identified ‘flaming liberal’” . . .
As I am reflecting and rereading this summary of my thoughts, it strikes me that I have never been socialized with guns in a context of non-violence. The only consumption I have of the topic is from dramatic crime shows with over exaggerated death scenes and left-leaning media railing on the danger and destruction that guns cause. And while my opinions have not had a night and day shift to wanting to own a gun, it helps me to better understand why I felt that way at the gun range. I am not a person who hunts for sport and I am never around guns being used safely, so it would make sense that I don’t see them as anything but dangerous.
On the flipside of fear, the adrenaline junkie in me was exhilarated to be experiencing something new and dangerous; admittedly I was also a bit impressed with myself when looking at the target. Being able to hold and use a gun safely allows me to better understand those who use the object as a tool in sport. But I doubt I will be having any change of heart anytime soon.
It all boils down to the reason I wanted to enroll in the class in the first place. Guns are woven into the fabric of our country whether I like it or not, and nothing about them is going to change any time soon. So understanding why they are so villainized, sensationalized, and above all protected in this country can provide a deeper and more meaningful understanding of their influence in American society. As a politics major, I would be remiss to not think more critically about a topic that has been written into our history from its foundation.
— Mary Clark in Mixed Emotions and Complicated Views