Bob Costas Doesn’t Know my Gun Culture
Sportscaster Bob Costas made some bold claims about the gun culture in the US. He isn’t alone. The gun culture is a stock character in our popular mythology and the media has conveniently stereotyped it for a very long time. Costas is clearly a product of that media culture.
- The gun culture is a bunch of uneducated racist rednecks.
- The gun culture is full of violent inner-city drug gangs.
- The gun culture is made up of poor inbreeds who cling to their guns and their religion.
I respond to Bob Costas’ remarks in a couple of ways.
- Well that’s interesting, Bob. Do you have any other fantasies you’d like to share with the group?
- Does your doctor know you’re off your meds?
- Stereotype we much?
- Hey, I’m part of the gun culture and you’re talking about me!
You might believe Costas if you have not been near the gun culture. I have been near parts of it, but the culture is too diverse to say I know all of it or even most of it. The gun culture I’ve met is far better than the one Costas describes.
Guns are part of a culture of responsibility. How do you act when no one is watching? Do you remain self-disciplined? Do you practice safe habits often enough to stay safe? Do you obey the myriad of gun laws? At its simplest, people who command lethal force must show more self-restraint than those who don’t. Do you stay away from firearms when you are ill, tired or otherwise impaired? Sure, we can laugh about it now, but I bet more people have lost their jobs from texting their boss while drunk than from firearms violations. Sometimes it is no laughing matter. My deepest regrets were when I finally decided someone could not be trusted around firearms.
Guns are part of a culture of demanding faith. Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you place your trust in man and machines, or in something else? This question of faith and trust is a regular issue in the gun culture. I turn my back on shooters holding lethal weapons several times a month.
Sometimes shooting actually has religious aspects. Some of my best experiences in the gun culture have been at church sponsored shooting events.
Guns are part of a culture of generosity. I’ve developed friends in the gun culture. They shared what they know about gun training. Sometimes they shared it with me by correcting my faults. They shared what they know about firearms. Each of us is responsible to keep our guns running safely and reliably, so again I had many things to learn. They shared their passion for self-reliance. For many of them, self-sufficiency is simply an expression of their deeper culture of responsibility. That could conjure up the stereotype of a snarly old pessimistic prepper. That image is misplaced because I’ve found many shooters to be generous and friendly. Many is the time I’ve stopped to ask someone about their firearm and they answered, “Heck, it’s easier to show you than to explain. Try it and see for yourself.”
Guns come from a culture steeped in History. Some firearms are simply tools. Others are artwork. I’ve met experts on both and I appreciate that depth of knowledge.
The media cares more about acceptance than accuracy. If they cared about accuracy, then the media must use a much smaller brush to paint the gun culture. Yes, some gang members have guns. It was the popular media that glorified gangs, not the gun culture. It was not the gun culture that despised minorities. I proudly claim the Deacons for Defense and Justice (and here) as part of the gun culture, and so does the NRA (and here). Again, it was the popular media who denigrated the status of minority women and denigrated marriage. It was not the gun culture.
Be moderate in your claims or criticism of the gun culture. The gun culture is simply too wide to label accurately. From my experience, the gun culture is too virtuous to condemn.
Rob the grateful
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