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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys;

I'm reading a new book from the Oxford University Press with the above title from a woman anthropologist names Abigail Kohn. She spent a year or so in the San Fran area researching the "gun culture" from an anthropological perspective, a la Margaret Meade among the Samoans. She hung out at gun stores and ranges, took self-defense courses, went to matches and became an enthusiastic cowboy shooter.

I went into this book predisposed to dislike it--after all, Margaret Meade screwed up spectacularly in her observations of those randy, raunchy Samoans. SHOOTERS is, however, a damned perceptive piece of work and definitely worth reading. You won't agree with everything, of course, but it will force your brain to do some work. Here's a passge that struck me:

"Ultimately, cowboy action shootng dramatizes a central theme of American mythic history: that American identity itself is reborn, remade, through violent conflict. This is a profoundly important aspect of pro-gun ideology and lies at the heart of what guns symbolize to gun enthusiasts, cowboy shooters in particular. Shooters ritually reenact this mythic theme not only through their cowboy shooting (and also with competitions like IPSC, complete with images of self-defense and the ubiquitous home invasion scenarios). Shooting sports like cowboy action shooting demonstrate the power and pleasure in employing controlled violence toward moral ends; ritually reenacting this basic theme is the underlying subtext of the cowboy lifestyle. In this vein, guns are righteous tools to be used for righteous ends, and shooting sports provide a venue to make this ideology into meaningful social practice, every single weekend of the year."

Interesting stuff...

Also, in all the huge amount of verbage on the gun debate--where we are alternately referred to as gun fanatics, gun nuts, gun fanciers, gun enthusiasts, blah blah--Ms. Kohn is apparently the only researcher who ever thought to ask *us* what *we* called ourselves. Hence her book title...SHOOTERS.

MB
 

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I checked Oxford Press -- neither Kohn nor the book are listed, so I zipped over to ever reliable Amazon and ordered a copy for $30. Free shipping.

Thanks for pointing this out.
 

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Thanx a bunch for the link Mike. I did a search for another book, "Five to Go" by author Michael Bane but couldn't find it. :cry:

Could it be that he hasn't published it yet? Well... I guess I'll have to go over "All Night Radio" for the second time... :wink:

Cheers,
 

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mikegunner said:
I found it alot cheaper (under $20) HERE
Mike

Thanks for that tip Mike! I should own stock in Amazon. One of their warehousing facilities is right down the road from me.

Ed
 

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I am sure there's a lot more to the book and the author's analysis, but I think the quoted analysis of cowboy action shooting is not particularly perceptive, i.e., the focus on "that American identity itself is reborn, remade, through violent conflict." Most CAS shooters I've spoken with say the emphasis is on fun, first and foremost. And the subtext of the mythic cowboy has always been self-reliance, independence, freedom of action, freedom of spirit, and the reluctant ("I'm a peaceable man") warrior (a la High Noon and countless other western sheriffs and retired gunfighters). We are indeed a nation that had its birth in violent conflict, but the mythic cowboy simply wants to be left alone and, while he will resort to violence when necessary, has a strong identity not dependent on being reborn in violence.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey Dean;

Speaking of various and sundry mythologies, remember that old Pachinko parlor down in Chinatown in NYC in the mid-70s? The one that had the tic-tac-toe playing chicken machine and the Bally Fireball--the greatest pinball machine of them all--back in the corner? Used to be a big hangout for the tong kids. I musta spent a fortune in that Fireball; I had me a straight razor I'd gotten from a Jewish barbershop off Orchard St. that was going out of business and a lead sap wrapped with electrical tape...thought I was a bad dog! LOL!!

Does it mean you're getting old when you start spontaniously remembering stuff like that?

What was your name again?

mb
 
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