When I first started this blog, I wrote a lot more essays than I do now. Lately, I’ve become a bit more of a news/current events/opinions blog; but every now and then I have essays that I want to write. A lot of the time I don’t publish them here – but today I’m going to make an exception to that. An editorial in a Wales paper got me thinking about “the gun culture”. While the author never explicitly uses the phrase “gun culture”, it is exactly what he’s talking about. Well, not exactly I suppose. What he’s talking about is his perception of the American “Gun Culture”, which more often than not is an incorrect perception. This quote at the end of the article pretty much sums it up:
…but the gun will remain a regrettably destructive but enduring symbol of a nation’s otherwise admirable romance with liberty.
He’s right – not in the regrettably destructive part, but that for a lot of Americans, firearms are an integral part of our “romance with liberty”. As an aside, I really love that last phrase, “romance with liberty”. It really does describe how I feel about personal freedom; I am deeply in love with the concept and ideals of liberty.
However, I digress from the subject at hand; which is that of “my gun culture”. What is “gun culture”, anyway? Webster’s says that culture is a lot of things, actually. The two definitions that I believe describe my gun culture best are these:
3: expert care and training
5 d: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic
If the word “culture” is used in “gun culture” as the first definition, than what we have is “gun expert care and training”; I like that. It indicates that my gun culture is one of safety, professionalism and courtesy. The second definition I listed supplies the usual context in which we use the phrase “gun culture” – i.e. the set of values that gun owners all share.
However, the phrase “gun culture” doesn’t come together until you combine the two definitions – yes, the gun culture shares a set of values, conventions, and practices amongst ourselves, but what are those? Well, they’re clearly laid out by the first definition I listed: Expert care and training.
That’s what my gun culture is all about. People from diverse walks of life, men, women, college grads, military personnel, dedicated to preserving a group, a culture built around expert care, safety, and training.
My gun culture started with my father, and the words “Son, you don’t mess with these without my permission. A gun is something to never be handled irresponsibly” – since that time it’s grown to include many friends and fellow bloggers.
What is your gun culture?