By Rob Morse
December 14th, 2017
I didn’t notice as gun-culture changed. We are immersed in our culture and I was too close to realize what happened. A recent news story brought the change into sharp focus. Gun culture is wrapped in myth and fantasy. It always has been. Gun-culture changed from being a fantasy gunfighter to a realistic defender. We see that reality today.
When I grew up, gun culture was a rancher carrying a gun on his hip when he was at work. It was the cop on the street. I saw both. The myth of the gun culture was something else entirely. When I grew up, the myth was the wild west gunfighter. The myth was also the image of Chicago gangland criminals at war with the cops. That is what we saw in the movies. As a child, I saw many more gunshots on TV than were ever fired by gangsters on the street. Those myths weren’t real, but they left a real impression.
The myths changed over the years. With the women’s movement, it was acceptable to show strong women. As expected from the media, the myths went overboard. We had the fantasy images of Lara Croft and bikini-models holding big black guns. We also had gangster rap where violent men had guns. Those images were as fake as the earlier stories from Hollywood.
The real gun culture changed as well. Today we have tens of millions of ordinary people who carry every day. These legally armed individuals carry a firearm in public. There is no need to imagine what happens when honest citizens are armed. We already know. If you look at the data, we have over 50 million man-years of experience with concealed carry. That is a lot, and it is only counting our experience in the last decade. That unremarkable reality overwrote a lot of the fantasy about guns owners. Unfortunately, the media never got the memo. They are stuck back with the fantasy of the wild west and cop dramas.