Anthropology, Gun Reform, American Anthropological Association
This January 2013 post thanked the American Anthropological Association for taking a stand on the horrific gun violence. At the time, it seemed like there was still an opportunity for legislative action. This post now becomes part of a series about the need for anthropology to directly address gun control and gun violence. The series includes:
- The most recent Gun Control Podcast – Bringing Sanity to Gun Violence (December 2015) revisits this issue as mass shootings continue.
- Shoddy Anthropology & Gun Control: Human Nature, Culture, History (March 2013) underscores how easily-debunked notions, or “shoddy anthropology” contributes to gun control inertia.
- Anthropology and Gun Violence: New Guns or New Gun Control? (December 31, 2012) is an account of how the Newtown massacre caused more gun buying than gun control.
- Gun Violence Anthropology: AAA and the NRA (December 26, 2012) was the round-up of anthropologists writing on gun control after Newtown, pleading for a gun violence statement from the American Anthropological Association.
- Semi-Automatic Anthropology: Confronting Complexity, Anthropologically (December 19, 2012) made the case that this was a relatively simple issue for anthropologists to address.
- Semi-Automatic Weapons Buyback – The Future of Gun Reform (December 18, 2012) was an attempt to urge a forward-looking policy in what seemed to be a moment of potential political change.
- Gun Culture and Anthropology on Culture (July 2012) began the series as a form of reflecting on the use of culture beyond anthropology.
The U.S. hangs in legislative limbo about gun reform: national reforms proposed but with uncertain legislative chances. Some states enact gun reform laws, others increase militarization. Many people in the U.S. push for gun reform legislation, others stock up at the gun store.
This is a follow-up to the December 2012 Gun Violence Anthropology: AAA and the NRA when I lamented the lack of a statement on gun violence from the American Anthropological Association and the missed opportunity for ethnographic speculation on “preppers.” A big thank you to the American Anthropological Association for issuing the Statement on Gun Violence and to anthropologist Chad Huddleston for revisiting his ethnography, ‘Doomsday Preppers’: Our New Threat? See below for those links and more updates on gun reform anthropology.
Statement on Gun Violence, American Anthropological Association
We call upon the Congress and the Administration to rescind measures that obstruct the development of empirical knowledge about guns and public safety. Further, we call on the Congress and the Administration to make additional federal funds available, as an urgent national priority, for rigorous peer-reviewed research by experts from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to investigate ways of reducing the tragic loss of life in incidents involving guns.
American Anthropological Association Blog, 14 January 2013
‘Doomsday Preppers’: Our New Threat?, Chad Huddleston
Survivalism has been dragged back into the news lately with details about the ‘prepping’ done by Nancy Lanza, Adam Lanza’s mother. For many, this may have been the first time they have heard the term ‘prepping’ or ‘prepper’. Some may be familiar with the term due to the show Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo, of which Nancy Lanza was rumored to be a fan. As I read through the various stories coming out on this specific detail of the very large and complex story of the shooting in Connecticut, I was interested in tracking the creation of a discourse on this new category of possible threat–the prepper. Who are these people and should we be worried?
American Anthropological Association Blog, 16 January 2013
More guns in schools? An ethnographer’s perspective, Kathleen Nolan
We do not need cadres of armed guards or gun-toting principals in schools. We need instead amply staffed teams of social workers and counselors in schools—professionals who work from an educational, child-development, or mental health perspective, rather than a criminal justice paradigm. We need to invest much more in providing schools with these supports as part of reasonable and well researched, rather than reactionary and dangerous, school security plans. We also need better and more accessible mental health services in and out of schools, and we need to target gun violence at its source through strict gun control. Don’t let the reactionary, uninformed rhetoric of puffed-up politicians sway you.
University of Minnesota Press Blog, 10 January 2013
Police in the Hallways: Discipline in an Urban High School, Kathleen Nolan
As zero-tolerance discipline policies have been instituted at high schools across the country, police officers are employed with increasing frequency to enforce behavior codes and maintain order, primarily at poorly performing, racially segregated urban schools. Actions that may once have sent students to the detention hall or resulted in their suspension may now introduce them to the criminal justice system. In Police in the Hallways, Kathleen Nolan explores the impact of policing and punitive disciplinary policies on the students and their educational experience. Through in-depth interviews with and observations of students, teachers, administrators, and police officers, Nolan offers a rich and nuanced account of daily life at a Bronx high school where police patrol the hallways and security and discipline fall under the jurisdiction of the NYPD. She documents how, as law enforcement officials initiate confrontations with students, small infractions often escalate into “police matters” that can lead to summonses to criminal court, arrest, and confinement in juvenile detention centers.
University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
Guns, Guts and Glory, Debra Lattanzi
I’m already fatigued by folks who complain that it won’t make a difference. While I see that point, this is a huge problem and will take many years to address, why is the default response to throw up our hands as if there is nothing that can be done. Probably the most effective outcome of all of this effort is the end on the freeze on gun violence research. And discussion. The first step to addressing gun violence is talking abou it, something the NRA has tried to stop for decades. There is good reason for this: talking about gun violence makes us aware of it, and the need to stop it. That’s been the first step in making a difference drunk driving, smoking, and child sexual abuse. Wayne LaPierre should be very afraid that we’re talking, tweeting and blogging about guns. The more you know, the more likely you are to act.
Living Ethnography, 17 January 2013
Taking Aim, Charles M. Blow
One of the most profound lessons to emerge from the Newtown tragedy is the power of voice. Americans refused to cede the discussion to the N.R.A. and other gun interests. They refused to buckle to fear or be swayed by propaganda. Yet too many politicians still quake at the mere mention of the N.R.A. They are more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting society. The public must make them quake at the idea of doing nothing on this issue. We must never forget what happened in Connecticut last month and we must never forget what happens in Washington in the coming months. The tragedy of Newtown must herald the dawn of a new America.
Charles M. Blow, Columnist, The New York Times, 16 January 2013