Monday, April 02, 2012

Joan Burbick: Gun Show Nation

Shop Indie Bookstores
I have been trying to figure out how to write a review about this book as the tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death is all over the news, and often all over my mind. Then, today, a man shot and killed at least 7 men at an Oakland college in what hasn't yet been called a massacre, but what feels like it. Trayvon's killing was in Florida, where the gun laws are extremely week, and his killer has not been arrested, in part due to a ridiculous law known as a "stand your ground" law, which allows people to shoot without retreating when they feel their lives are in danger, and allows police to play judge and jury and let the suspects go when they say their lives were in danger. Trayvon was an unarmed kid, and the incident plays out very much as an incident of "walking while black." The incident today was in California, which has strict gun laws, and of course it's too soon to tell, but was probably a case of a man with serious mental issues. The issues have nothing in common, of course, except that innocent people are dead, and they are dead because of guns, while I've been reading this book and trying to write this review.

Which means that I'm not really going to write a review, especially since the book is a wonderful, in depth look at the connection between the construction of white masculinity in the US as it relates to guns, and it's going to take me awhile to get into that argument as it relates to these two cases.  It certainly does, but it's very complicated. Joan Burbick's "Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy" is wonderful, and should convince people on the fence about guns that we need to change the conversation, and that the arguments we hear about the second amendment are historically based, but not just in the 1700s- they came from a very specific moment in time and were driven by the needs of a very select group of white men and gun manufacturers.  This isn't about protecting freedom. This is about the freedom of to live: literally.


Anonymous said...

gun show nation: do not buy this book, what a bunch of dribble. it has nothing to do with gun shows. it is all about her extreme far left liberal pov&how the white man has taken advantage of the black man. she used this title to sucker people into thinking it was about gun shows.she should be banned from everything.