Tom Nichols is no longer writing for The Atlantic, but he gave us a post on gun culture just before he left. Nichols grew up around a lot of guns. He was surrounded by police officers in his family and neighborhood. The gun culture that exists now, though, is different from what he grew up with.
What I remember about guns is that I remember almost nothing about guns. People owned them; they didn’t talk about them. They didn’t cover their cars in bumper stickers about them, they didn’t fly flags about them, they didn’t pose for dumb pictures with them. (I’ll plead one personal exemption: When I was a little boy, relatives in Greece once posed me in a Greek Evzone-soldier costume with my uncle’s hunting shotgun. I could barely lift it.) Today, there is a neediness in the gun culture that speaks to deep insecurities among a certain kind of American citizen. The gun owners I knew—cops, veterans, hunters, sportsmen—owned guns as part of their life, sometimes as tools, sometimes for recreation. Gun ownership was not the central and defining feature of their life.
He calls the culture now “performative insecurity,” and insists it’s no longer about rights. Given the performances that we see with guns these days, it’s hard to argue against that. Which brings up the question of how social media ties into the seeming need to show off firearms and whether it is exacerbating the problem.
→ The Problem Is Gun Culture, Not SCOTUS | The Atlantic