The Problem with Averages in Understanding Guns, Violence, and Crime: No One Lives in “The United States”

The problem with averages is that there is no “United States of America” when it comes to guns, violence, and crime, but many Americas. Some of these Americas – like my neighborhood in Winston-Salem – are more like our first world counterparts in the OECD, and some of them are more like the third world … Continue reading The Problem with Averages in Understanding Guns, Violence, and Crime: No One Lives in “The United States”

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Scrutinizing Claims About Guns in Homes as a “Risk Factor” for Homicide in the Home

Getting into the sociology of guns has been both fascinating and frustrating. The fascination comes from deeply immersing myself in something entirely new to me. The frustration comes in attempting to understand the reality of guns in a scholarly – that is, objective and nuanced – manner. In the sociology of guns, the line demarcating … Continue reading Scrutinizing Claims About Guns in Homes as a “Risk Factor” for Homicide in the Home

Reflections on My Reflections on Gun Culture Based on Site Statistics

Since November 2012, when I first started working in earnest on a new research project on American gun culture, I have tried to blog regularly at Gun Culture 2.0. I have been averaging about 5 posts a month since then, which is pretty good compared to my previous attempts at blogging (like on this blog). … Continue reading Reflections on My Reflections on Gun Culture Based on Site Statistics

Ten Essential Observations on Guns in America by James D. Wright

In my introduction to sociology class this week, I am discussing sociologist James D. Wright's classic essay, "Ten Essential Observations on Guns in America" (from Society March/April 1995, reprinted in Guns in America: A Reader). Among his points: “There are 200 million guns already in circulation in the United States. . . . firearms are … Continue reading Ten Essential Observations on Guns in America by James D. Wright

My Initial Take on the More Guns, More or Less Crime Debate

In response to my post on Michael Glassner’s anti-gun sentiments in his “Culture of Fear” book, my fellow sociologist Matt Loveland pointed me to an article by economist Mark Duggan called “More Guns, More Crime,” published in the Journal of Political Economy in October 2001 (volume 109, number 5, pages 1086-1114). Duggan’s abstract reads: This … Continue reading My Initial Take on the More Guns, More or Less Crime Debate

The Most Rational Fear According to Michael Glassner: Guns

In a previous post I discussed sociologist Michael Glassner’s argument about the “culture of fear” that pervades America, especially the fear-mongering that takes place around very rare and anomalous events like public mass murders, especially at schools. In his book, Glassner uses the example of the 1997-98 string of school shootings in Pearl (MS), West … Continue reading The Most Rational Fear According to Michael Glassner: Guns

Public Mass Murders and the Culture of Fear in America

The reader I am using for introduction to sociology this semester include an excerpt from sociologist Barry Glassner’s (relatively) famous book, The Culture of Fear (originally published in 1999, with a 10th anniversary edition in 2009, by Basic Books). Glassner’s basic argument is that Americans have an excessive fear of the wrong things. For example, … Continue reading Public Mass Murders and the Culture of Fear in America