WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen-Protector

"Act for America" (anti-Muslim rally), Lansing, Michigan. Photo by Theresa Rosado.

A UDIO: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen Protector

For our second show in our three-part series, A Targeted Divide, we bring you “Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen-Protector: How the Meaning of Citizenship Is Changing in a Nation Awash in Firearms.”

In response to economic decline and reductions in services provided by the state, some men are taking the role of the state into their own hands, and in the name of a citizenship based on masculinist protection, showing us what the future of security services might look like.

Our GUEST is Jennifer Carlson, an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona, whose work focuses on gun politics, policing and public law enforcement, the politics of race and gender, and violence. She’s the author of Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline, published by Oxford University Press. The book draws on in-depth interviews and participant observation at firearms classes, activist events, shooting ranges, and online gun forums, to examine the growing popularity of gun carry among American men, especially in communities of economic decline.

We begin with why Michigan became Carlson’s locus of study and turn towards the politics of white, male, middle class America. We’ll also learn what it means to think carrying a gun makes you a Sheepdog.

Guns are felt to answer some problems and we would do well to think about what those problems are. It’s an American option that opens up political space for the monopolizing influence of the NRA where carrying a gun translates to a moral good. But thinking in terms of the NRA perhaps blinds us to the dailiness of our gun-saturated culture.

How to transform the gun debate. Imagining what security and protection look like…what are we willing to give up and endorse to have it? The transition from hunting to self-defense as the reason for owning guns.

Four Questions: Jennifer Carlson on the American Gun Debate
Gunning Down the Bill of Rights (A Targeted Divide)

“You Got to Be a Man” by The Sheepdogs
“Saturday Night Special” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Gun Control” by Ian Hunter
“Both Sides of the Gun” by Ben Harper

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Assistant Producer: Rob Schoon
Executive Producer: Wes Martin

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

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