God, Guns, Capitalism, and Hypermasculinity

Commentaries on the Culture of Firearms in the United States

by Warren J. Blumenfeld (Author)
©2021 Textbook VIII, 232 Pages


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun-related deaths have reached epidemic proportions in the Unites States, snuffing out the lives of well over 30,000 people (with 1/3 homicides and the remainder suicides and accidents) and wounding many more annually. Everytown organization found that on average, 96 people are killed by guns every day, and for every person killed by a gun, two more are injured. Seven children and teens are killed on average daily. Many of the guns used in these killings reach military-level weapons power, guns which currently remain legal to purchase. Today in the United States, there are approximately 120.5 firearms per 100 people. The Unites States ranks high when compared with 22 other wealthy industrialized nations in per capita gun-related deaths with 3.85 per 100,000 residents, compared, for example, with the United Kingdom at 0.07, Japan at 0.04, Germany at 0.12, Indonesia at 0.10, and Oman at 0.06.
This book covers issues of firearms violence and efforts at common sense reform from multiple perspectives, including a culture and climate of firearms addressed from a historical, social, governmental, legal, and psychological perspective; political activism and organizing strategies; and options for reform. It is written in a clear and accessible style from a progressive political perspective.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction & Overview: The Gun Culture Is Encoded into the DNA of U.S. Identity
  • I. Capitalism/Government
  • 1. A Civics Lesson on the Second Amendment
  • 2. God, Guns, & Capitalism
  • 3. Government & Business Complicit
  • 4. NRA CEO Warns of a Socialist Takeover of Guns
  • 5. NRA Pouring Blood Money on Politicians & Media
  • 6. Obama Did What He Could, Congress Must Run the Baton
  • 7. Gun Violence, Media, Community Mobilization, & Race
  • 8. Sexual & Gun Violence Normalized
  • 9. Teachers Bearing Arms Makes No Sense
  • II. God
  • 10. Patriarchy, Religion, & Christian Privilege
  • 11. Christian Crusaders Carry & Shoot for Liberty
  • 12. Firearms Regulation Is a Moral Imperative
  • 13. Ben Carson, Firearms, & False Parallels to the Holocaust
  • III. Hypermasculinity
  • 14. Patriarchy Still Alive & Functioning
  • 15. Parallels to Firearms Advocates
  • 16. Gun Silencers Mute Actual Cases of Gun Violence
  • 17. Firearms Under Congressional Knowledge Undermining Survival
  • 18. The Paradox of Legislation
  • 19. Assault Weapons “Good for Home and Battle”
  • 20. Gun Safety Reform and “Interest Convergence”
  • 21. A Day in the Life of a Narcissist on the Twittersphere
  • 22. Firearms Debate: A View from Hoplophiliaville
  • 23. Patriarchy, Toxic Hypermasculinity, & Firearms
  • 24. White Christian Male Privilege & Guns by the Numbers
  • 25. Violence, White Supremacy, and Video Games
  • 26. Donald Trump as White Supremacist Radicalizer-In-Chief
  • IV. Activism
  • 27. Gays against Guns & Pink Pistols
  • 28. Gays against Guns Following Movement Traditions
  • 29. Youth Filling the Bucket to Tipping Point in Movement for Firearms Safety
  • 30. Backlash Developing against Student Gun Safety Activists
  • 31. #MarchForOurLives & a New Generation of Truth Tellers
  • 32. Reflections of an AIDS Activist on Youth Gun Safety Movement
  • 33. Young Gun Safety Advocates Walking Out & Changin’ the Times
  • 34. Proposals for Reducing Gun Violence
  • 35. On Gun Violence: Uttering the Unutterable
  • 36. Sing Along: “Let’s Go Buy a Gun”
  • 37. Santa Claus Shot & Killed in Home Invasion
  • Index
  • Series index

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Introduction & Overview

The Gun Culture Is Encoded into the DNA of U.S. Identity

We pledge allegiance to gun manufacturers and the NRA of America, and for campaign funds for which they give, we sacrifice, under God, our integrity and compassion for all.

The Pledge Taken by Too Many Politicians

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons, but enslaved countless people transported against their will from the African continent to serve as dehumanized beasts of burden.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but give the right of voting only to those who showed their white and male credentials.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but robbed the people who had preceded them by thousands of years of their lands, cultures, livelihoods, and very lives.

←1 | 2→

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but considered no provisions for the universal education of its people.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but disallowed girls and women to attend most institutions of higher education or to hold property on their own.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but made no provisions in the implementation of quality affordable healthcare as a universal right and condition of a civil society.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but abandoned its people to fend for themselves in their retirement years and in times of economic and physical hardships with few or no safety nets of security.

The framers of the United States guaranteed its “free” people a right to carry and shoot terrifying weapons but neglected to provide a regulatory mechanism to better sustain our natural resources and protect the planetary environment.

While wise men most who crafted what many consider today as a brilliant and enduring blueprint for a new nation, they were products of their times with their individual human shortcomings and biases. Just coming off a war of independence against one of the world’s great colonial powers, leaders thought it reasonable to ensure the “free” people the capability of defending themselves against any potentially tyrannical government. In this regard, they established the Second Amendment in its Bill of Rights granting people “the right to bear arms.”

Since then, firearms and the culture supporting it has been encoded into the very DNA of U.S.-American identity and what it means to be “an American.” But what may have been “reasonable” in the 18th century, without substantial reform stands as unreasonable today.

A Brief History

The Chinese around 850 of the Common Era invented a powdery mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate that when ignited with a ←2 | 3→spark, created an explosion. Though they discovered it quite accidently when attempting to invent an elixir for immortality, they quickly utilized it for defensive and offensive advantages in wars against internal and cross-border enemies (Kelly, 2004).

First used to stuff tubes in which the Chinese tied a fuse and lighted to propel as a hand-held rocket aimed at their adversaries, gun power transformed the “art” and scale of killing the likes of which the world had never seen. Throughout the decades and centuries in countries across the planet, the technology created even more and deadlier types of “hand cannons” as they were once called.

Attributed to the Portuguese in the 1400s, the “matchlock mechanism” was added to become the first known mechanically-firing gun. They attached a wick to a clamp that when triggered, sprang into the gun power. The Spanish carried these with them on their invasions into the Americas, and the Pilgrims brought them from England when they arrived in what would become known as North America (Saidel, 2000).

Christopher Columbus took with him matchlocks and other types of hand cannons and breech-loading wrought-iron weapons and arquebuses – an early type of portable firearm supported on a tripod or a forked rest. When he sailed from Haiti, he ordered shots fired through the shipwrecked hull of the Santa Maria to frighten indigenous populations with the power of European firearms (Saidel, 2000).

European inventors in 1509 replaced wicks with friction-wheel mechanisms to create the wheellock guns. These generated sparks to ignite the gun power. Later, as would become common in Colonial America, residents used flintlock guns invented around 1630 with flint-ignition mechanisms.

The Long Rifle (“Kentucky Rifle,” “Pennsylvania Rifle”) developed with spiral grooves giving iron balls a spiraling motion, which improved overall stability and accuracy. Combatants used these firearms as major weaponry during the so-called French and Indian War as well as in the American Revolutionary War.

At the end of the 16th century in Germany and other European countries, firearms technicians came up with a “wheel gun” (revolver) that included a revolving cylinder containing several chambers and at ←3 | 4→least one barrel for firing. Now shooters no longer had to reload following each shot but could unload up to six bullets at their intended targets. In the U.S., Samuel Colt in 1836 mass produced these multi-shot guns, popularly called “six shooters” (Chase, 2003).

By the 1850s, shot guns (also referred to as scatterguns) became popular. Usually fired from the shoulder, they use a single-fixed shell to fire numerous small spherical pellets called “shot” or a solid projectile called a “slug.” Today, these firearms range from single action to semi- and fully automatic.

The Union forces in 1862 popularized the Gatling gun, developed by Richard Gatling, as a weapon of mass destruction. This rapid-fire gun was the forerunner of the machine gun. And then, the Cartridge Revolver, developed by Colt in 1872, was a .44-caliber rear loading weapon (Taffin, 2016). And the technology with its capacity to injure, mutilate, dismember, and kill increases with each passing day.

If Leif Erikson, the first known European to set foot on North America had been fully familiar and comfortable with gun powder and its destructive properties, there is little doubt that he would have brought firearms to those shores.

Comparing and Contrasting

Before and up to 1996, Australia had relatively high rates of murder, but a tragic incident at Port Arthur, Tasmania, April 28, 1996, was the proverbial straw that broke the poor camel’s back. On that date, a man opened fire on a group of tourists killing 35 and wounding another 23. The massacre was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history (Brigham, 1996).

Taking decisive action, newly-elected conservative Prime Minister, John Howard, negotiated a bipartisan deal between the national, state, and local governments in enacting comprehensive gun safety measures, which included a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and laws prohibiting private firearms sales, mandatory registration by owners of all weapons, and the requirement that all potential buyers of guns at the time of purchase ←4 | 5→give a “genuine reason” other than general or overarching self-defense without documentation of necessity.

By 1996, polls showed overwhelming public support of approximately 90% for the new measures. And though firearms-related injuries and deaths have not totally come to an end, homicides by firearms fell by 59% between 1995 and 2006 with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides, and a 65% reduction in gun-related suicides (Oremus, 2017).

In addition, there has been significant drops in robberies involving firearms, and contrary to fears by some, no increase in the overall number of home invasions. In the decade preceding the Port Arthur massacre, Australia recorded 11 mass shootings. No mass shootings have occurred in the 20+ years since the measures went into effect as of 2016 (Fox, 2016).

Just six day after the recent terrible hate-inspired gun murders of Muslims praying at two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced sweeping new firearms regulations, which included banning semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity ammunition magazines, and a mandatory government buyback of such previously sold weapons.

The events perpetrated by a deadly shooter at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida may have signaled that watershed enough-is-enough moment as courageous student leaders and the movement they spawned seemed to have tipped the balance of power on the issue of the place of firearms in the United States. This alongside the withdrawal of key contributors and commercial enterprises and financial drains resulting from state lawsuits, by 2019, the National Rifle Association was reaching economic crisis. In addition, upheaval within its leadership structure placed the NRA is a severely weakened position in terms of its overall ability and effectiveness in its lobbying efforts and capacity to attract substantially increasing new membership.


VIII, 232
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (October)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2021. VIII, 232 pp., 2. b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Warren J. Blumenfeld (Author)

Warren J. Blumenfeld earned his doctorate degree in education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his master's degree in special education at Boston College. He is the author of The What, The So What, and The Now What of Social Justice Education (Peter Lang, 2019) and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice.


Title: God, Guns, Capitalism, and Hypermasculinity