I have just finished reading the single dumbest, most pretentiously stupid article about gun violence which I have ever read. The article, ‘Camouflaged Collectives: Managing Stigma and Identity at Gun Events,’ is the handiwork of two faculty members at the University of Nevada, who visited a grand total of 3 gun shows where they observed how gun owners deal with the issue of ‘stigma,’ meaning negative concerns about the existence and use of guns.

              The two women who wrote this nonsense go out of their way to assure everyone that their “relationship to guns is complicated. Neither of us supports taking away all guns from civilians, and neither of us supports unfettered rights to firearm ownership. [p. 120.] That’s complicated?

              The lead author knows all about guns because she grew up within a few miles from where three mass shootings occurred in Colorado – Columbine, Aurora, Centennial. The second author is married to a United States Marine. So, they know how to analyze what they refer to as ‘gun culture,’ right?

              ” At each show, we observed some prevalent subgroups (such as hunters, veterans, survivalists, conceal and carry advocates, the NRA, historical artifact collectors, women, and machine gun enthusiasts).” [p. 121.]

              What these two researchers forgot to mention because they don’t know anything about guns or gun owners, was that virtually all of those subgroups can be lumped together into one basic group: hobbyists. And because gun owners overwhelmingly own guns as a hobby, they are basically indifferent to the efforts to stigmatize them for engaging in this hobby, unless the stigmatizing strategy takes the form of preventing them from doing all the things that people who are active in any hobby like to do.

              What is the single activity which attracts individuals who enjoy a particular hobby? Getting together with other like-minded hobbyists to talk about their hobby; buying, selling, or trading the items and paraphernalia whose ownership identifies someone as a hobbyist in that particular category, and forming social relations with other like-minded hobbyists which are sustained by attending social events which cater to the tastes and proclivities of a particular group.

              Ask a gun owner why he likes guns and he’ll spout all the usual bromides about ‘2nd-Amendmwent rights,’ or ‘armed, self-defense,’ or some blab-blab-blab about the Constitution and freedom and liberty and justice for all.

              What every gun owner immediately knows is that anyone who asks him to explain what he’s doing at a gun show isn’t a member of the gun-owning tribe, probably doesn’t feel comfortable around guns, and would be just as happy if all the privately-owned guns in America were scooped up tomorrow, loaded on some C-5 Galaxies, and dumped somewhere out at sea.

              I love how the various gun-control organizations and gun-control researchers always make a point of saying how they’re not ‘against guns;’ they just want guns to be owned and used in a more responsible way. Which happens to be about the most insulting thing you can say to any gun owner, incidentally, whether you know it or not.

              This may come as a great shock to the authors of this article and everyone else in Gun-control Nation who want to figure out some strategy which will somehow reduce the 100,000-plus injuries and deaths every year caused by the use of guns. Ready? There isn’t a single gun owner out there who doesn’t understand that his gun represents a serious risk to community safety and public health.

              But when was the last time our species demonstrated any risk-aversion behavior at all? Is there one, single person under age 50 who didn’t sit in a classroom and listen to endless lectures about heathy eating? Is there one, single person in this country who wasn’t told again and again to avoid cigarettes? Is there one, single person in this country who wasn’t told about safe sex?

              So, tell me, how come Americans keep getting fatter year after year, continue to buy smokes and vapes, and show up at the local health clinic with the teenage, pregnant girl in tow?

              If the two academics who wrote this paper had the slightest understanding of how to conduct some valid research on the so-called gun ‘culture,’ what they should have done is spend some time at a couple of model train shows, or a model toy show, or a ham radio show.  

              They would see the same people at those shows that they saw at the gun shows.

              But no academic journal would have been interested in publishing an article about the ‘stigma’ attached to model trains, because folks who don’t own model trains haven’t yet decided that such objects might represent a risk to community safety and health.

              Tell that one to the residents of East Palestine, Ohio, okay?