LA Times: Men Carry Guns to Address ‘Social Insecurities’

Jennifer Carlson, author of the book "Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline."

Jennifer Carlson, author of the book “Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline.”

(Editor’s note: I had a chance to interview Ms. Carlson about her op-ed and her book, check out the interview here.)

An interesting op-ed in the Los Angeles Times argued that men around the country carry firearms to address “social insecurities far beyond crime.”

In other words, your reason for carrying a firearm is not rooted in practical self-defense, rather you carry because you’re compensating for your inability to bring home the bacon on a consistent basis.

Jennifer Carlson, the author of the article, wrote, “As men doubt their ability to provide, their desire to protect becomes all the more important. They see carrying a gun as a masculine duty and the gun itself as a vehicle for a hardened kind of care-work — caring for others by shielding them from danger, with the threat of lethal force.”

Carlson goes on to say, “In Michigan and other places hit hard by the economic downturn, men’s guns can address social insecurities far beyond crime.”

“The gun rights platform is not just about guns,” she continues. “It’s also about a crisis of confidence in the American dream. And this is one reason gun control efforts ignite such intense backlashes: Restrictions are received as a personal affront to men who find in guns a sense of duty, relevance and even dignity.”

From my vantage point, I can’t help but to feel that she’s reading too much into why folks carry. It’s really straightforward. People carry because (a) it’s a Constitutional right backed by the natural right of self-defense, (b) when seconds count, the police are minutes away, and (c) at the end of the day, one is responsible for one’s own safety; not the government.

I don’t think one’s personal economics play that large of a factor. Put another way, whether one is doing well financially or one is struggling financially, the desire to carry is still there because, let’s face it, serial rapists, mass murderers and thugs don’t discriminate between those living the American dream and those struggling to make ends meet.

Now, that’s not to say that we are paranoid of the criminal element, as some anti-gunners contend, on the contrary, it’s recognizing that regardless of how low the probability of an encounter is we’d rather be prepared to deal with a threat then to put our lives, the lives of our children, spouses, etc. in the hands of evildoers.

Those who carry concealed have a mindset that is not unlike those who learn CPR and other lifesaving techniques.  That is we all believe in being prepared and we train and practice each discipline on the off chance that we’ll need them — not because we’re hyper-afraid of the dangers that this world presents.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Dan October 13, 2017, 10:31 am

    The author has no real clue. You can always tell someone that has never really shot a gun let a alone owned one. She watches too many movies and from her picture, she is young, doesn’t have as much ‘real life’ experiences as most of us. The Oxford Press says “Draws on the author’s own experiences participating in firearms training classes, attending pro-gun events, and carrying a handgun.” she did a little ‘research’ and attended a few outings is about it. She has never had to face down some one intent on doing her harm. I have, more than once. Considering the ‘source’ I’ve always maintained that people with PhD have to remain ‘published’ to keep their ‘credibility’ within there ‘circle of influence’. In this case she has been published since 2012, so she is a new PhD. That fact alone disqualifies her in my mind. They have to make up crap to keep publishing stuff. I CC and make well over 6 figures a year, have provided for my family and done well. Now, reading the I’m sure some ‘PhD’ will come back with a counter with something to fit the hypothesis somehow. That is how they ‘work’. No, I ignore this type of crap.

  • gary March 31, 2017, 11:54 am

    I used to teach CPR and more in scuba classes, I carry to protect myself, family, and anyone in the area that I can in case of an IDIOT attack, This whether it a robber , gang members, or and I do not mind saying Islamic terrorist etc. You are off your NUT!!!!!!!

  • Paul January 27, 2017, 7:23 am

    I carry because preparedness for any unforeseen situation is your key to survival. I learned this long ago as a Boy Scout; and it served me well as a life-long credo; “be prepared”. I spent a few years of my young adulthood as a Deputy Sheriff. I have tremendous respect for the people who are paid to protect us; but they often can’t be there at times when they are needed most. With the recent onslaught of terrorism in this country, our only hope is to stop, dead in their tracks, those who wish to harm the innocent and helpless. The sane, and strong amongst us have a duty to, where possible, to identify and dispatch any terrorist who they may encounter, and have lawful reason to use force against in the protection of life. Lastly, bear in mind that terrorism is a label that applies to anyone, regardless of politics or religious motivations, who threatens to, or brings harm to people who have done nothing other than enjoy freedoms this country guarantees. Every citizen is a lawman if he acts properly under the law to extinguish terrorism.

  • PudbertSavannahGA June 4, 2015, 1:48 pm

    funny, I’ve never heard of Criminal Liberals referred to as ‘SOCIAL INSECURITIES’

  • gary June 2, 2015, 4:30 pm

    Thankfully, I am well compensated for my hard work, education and upbringing. I have been into shooting sports for decades and yes, I have a CCW. Ms Carlson’s claims are crap. I carry for personal protection. As mentioned above, better to have and not need.

  • Mark Jablonski June 2, 2015, 12:10 am

    These kinds of people have no idea what the purpose of carrying a firearm or any weapon is. They think we’re all just some gun crazed rednecks. Now, I will admit I might love weapons a little bit too much, but they’re just a passion of mine. I do not carry a gun because of my “social insecurities.” These people take one psychology class and think they know exactly what’s going on in our heads. No one thinks they need to be armed until they do, an by then it’s usually too late.

  • buurga June 1, 2015, 11:15 pm

    No one is more worthy to write about the inner workings of the male mind than a woman. lol

  • Tod June 1, 2015, 10:42 pm

    Women make up the largest growing group of carry citizens .

    So does your same ideology apply?

  • Kevin Etter June 1, 2015, 6:58 am

    Really? Women are purchasing as many firearms as men now. Do they see this as their “masculine duty” too?

    • Kalashnikov Dude June 1, 2015, 10:27 am

      Dead on!

  • M1917A1 June 1, 2015, 6:35 am

    Dear Ms Carlson, two words describes your entire column, “Bull Shit”!

  • Will Drider May 29, 2015, 11:33 pm

    She said she did a few firearm related things. Why then, didn’t she also interview at least one victim of violent crime that didn’t have a successful means to stop it and another potential victim that was saved by their use of a firearm or that of another armed civillian. She must be afraid of finding the exampes that fully support Concealed Carry. She obviously had conceived a negative position of men with CCWs and wrote the article to fit that idea. I’m surprised she didn’t toss a race card in the mix.

    Per Ms. Carlson’s position that CCW is a man syndrome I ask want her 5he ask the Baltimore PD what is the worst crime ridden neighbohood in the city. She needs to go there alone at 1130 pm and walk the streets for a few hours. No different then when people are returning from work or dinner and a movie. While she is walking she can ask people why tey have bars on t th e doors and windows of their holmes and bullet proof partitions for cashers at stores and gas stations. She needs to come out of the ivory tower and look in the gutter to see what CWP HOLDERS KNOW!

  • George May 28, 2015, 11:58 am

    I read that article and immediately recognized it was written by a gun hating misandrist. That ilk is popular in California, until they become a victim that is. Until then, she’ll continue to be just another hack reporter.

  • Mark Bigley May 27, 2015, 11:28 pm

    Oh Jennifer! Please excuse me. I tried not to laugh when I read your op-ed which is so lacking in veritas. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” (Freud) if you get the symbolism. I hold degrees in sociology, social work, psychology and theology and your words reveal more a projection (a psychological defense mechanism to project your fear on others to lower your own anxiety) of your own fears than anything else. If you knew something other than the progressive revisionist history that you learned in school, you would understand the founders’ wisdom (based in their own experience) in creating boundaries around individual freedom of speech and to defend oneself and family (even from a tyrranical government-thank you Mr. Jefferson). You fear guns. I am more concerned about the danger in our culture unraveling and those who would slowly take away the freedom that the founders were so committed to protect which is happening in your midst. The rights are inalienable by natural law (something else schools no longer teach) not given by a government. The General Government (now known as “Federal”) is not God although they often try to act like it. Please stop creating drama at a distance about people you do not know and thus do not understand because you do not take the time to know them. That would take listening instead of projection. Peace, Mark

    • Mills June 1, 2015, 3:16 pm

      Mark – that is an awesome reply,
      When the agenda consisting of emasculating men, gov’t entering to “fulfill” the male obligations, and the Title IX/Feminism movements run amok and used to indoctrinate…you get her.

  • Michael Chero May 27, 2015, 7:52 pm

    Silly girl! I carry a gun for the same reason I carry a spare tire in my truck. It’s better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it…………..

  • Will Drider May 27, 2015, 1:53 pm

    I read Ms. Carlson’s article, she is close but draws the wrong conclusions. Its not about men making up for their economic status (precieved as low by the author). It is about protecting your life, loved ones, and people you can help in dire events, to a smaller degree, property. This becomes more urgent in and around social/economic/crime blighted areas. From the Colonial times through the late 1800, there was little law enforcement. You protected what mattered. As Law enforcement grew, society “carried” less. This progressed to the point that LE ASSUMED the protectors role and ultimately citizens Rights were stripped away. Society has declined. Kids fight with guns not fists. People shoot each other for “disrespect”. The social structure of a Family is “whatever”.
    Life is cheap, blood flows easily and no one cares until a white cop kills a minority criminal (justified or not). Ms. Carlson is infering men think they aren’t manly unless they carry a gun. She is oblivious to the prevelance of violent crime and that there are no safe zones. There is not one police force that will say they are responsible for the protection of every citizen. Even if the PD could be on sceen in 30 seconds from the 911, call they will be too late in the majority of violent crimes.
    Ms. Carlson does not address who is responsible for her physical safety, cops in 30 minutes? She omits the issue of women buying and carring firearms growing by thousands every year. She would undoubtedly relate this to penis envy.

    • JT May 28, 2015, 1:39 am

      Well said.

    • dink winkerson June 1, 2015, 12:30 pm

      Plus the police have no legal or constitutional obligation to protect us.

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