David Yamane is not your typical ivory tower sociology professor. Well, he’s not any more. As he related in a recent talk he gave the the National Firearms Law Seminar in Indianapolis, Prof. Yamane picked up a gun for the first time at the age of 42 and he hasn’t looked back.
He’s since made it his business to study America’s gun culture, including a class he now teaches at Wake Forest on the sociology of guns. As his website describes,
(T)he center of gravity of American gun culture has shifted from Gun Culture 1.0 — based in hunting and recreational/sport shooting — to Gun Culture 2.0 — based in concealed carry and armed self-defense. My approach to Gun Culture 2.0 is inspired by philosopher Baruch Spinoza: “I have sedulously endeavored not to laugh at human actions, nor to lament them, nor to detest them, but to understand them.”
Who knew that was still an acceptable approach in American higher education? As Yamane told his audience in the video below,
As we know from efforts to promote “common sense” gun laws, one person’s common sense is another person’s nonsense. So there may be things about gun culture today that you, as people heavily involved in that culture, take for granted, that are a revelation to people like me who come from outside that culture.
This is why Peter Berger wrote decades ago that the first wisdom of Sociology is this: Things are not what they seem. As a liberal professor journeying into American gun culture, I’ve been continually surprised at what I’ve found. How things are very much not what they seem from the outside.
Translation: America’s 100+ million gun owners aren’t racist, redneck, bloodthirsty, gap-toothed hicks as they’re so often portrayed in the media and by the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex.
Yamane distills this revelation into a simple thesis – guns are normal and normal people use guns. That’s a refreshingly clear insight for any academic, but particularly one who toils in the muck of the social sciences…one who now describes himself as “a card-carrying liberal snowflake gun owner.”
Again, from his talk:
The idea that guns are normal and normal people use guns may seem common sense to those of us gathered here, but it’s actually a dramatic departure from the standard social scientific approaches that view guns and gun owners as deviant
The center of gravity of the American gun culture has shifted over the last half century. The majority of gun owners if 21st century America, especially new gun owners like me, point to self-defense as the primary reason for owning a gun.
Yamane has three lessons and takeaways for his audience.
- Guns are normal and normal people use guns – Resist efforts to stigmatize guns and gun owners by showing the positive face of gun culture.
- Shooting is fun and challenging – Promote the act of shooting whenever possible.
- Gun culture 2.0 is inclusive – Embrace diversity and inclusivity. Build Bridges not walls.
Watch the video.