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Gun Nation

alexandra buxbaum | United States

The 2nd Amendment Cowboy in Amarillo, Texas is meant to be a friendly reminder of your right to bear arms that was ironically restored after having being shot up with a number of bullet holes. A former Muffler Man turned into a spokesman for the NRA symbolizing the golden age of roadside attractions.

American’s fascination with gun culture is reflected in our romanization with the untamed “Wild West,” which is not simply a period from history but a state of mind deeply embedded within the American psyche. Our enduring gun culture is based on a mythology that derives from our frontier past with narratives of rugged individualism, an exaggeration of the number of gunfights, vigilantism, and Manifest Destiny.

American culture tells us guns are central to what it means to be “American.” This glorification began with 19th century Western paintings, travelling Wild West shows, and later storylines invented by Hollywood to sell movies. This continues to the present day with western-themed streaming shows such as “Yellowstone.”

National discourse continues to frame guns as a God-given right to eliminate threats in a dangerous world full of “bad “people. These themes and myths continue to shape how America talks about guns, and also explains how so many are willing to accept gun violence as an inevitable side effect of living in a free and armed society rampant with violence.

American’s fascination with gun culture is reflected in our romanization with the untamed “Wild West,” which is not simply a period from history but a state of mind deeply embedded within the American psyche. Our enduring gun culture is based on a mythology that derives from our frontier past with narratives of rugged individualism, an exaggeration of the number of gunfights, vigilantism, and Manifest Destiny.

American culture tells us guns are central to what it means to be “American.” This glorification began with 19th century Western paintings, travelling Wild West shows, and later storylines invented by Hollywood to sell movies. This continues to the present day with western-themed streaming shows such as “Yellowstone” where the west is wild and you don’t reach success by playing nice.

National discourse continues to frame guns as a God-given right to eliminate threats in a dangerous world full of “bad “people, and many Americans regard even military grade assault rifles as ordinary objects of everyday life. These themes and myths continue to shape how America talks about guns, helps explain our lack of progress on any meaningful gun policy, and also explains how so many are willing to accept gun violence as an inevitable side effect of living in a free and armed society that is rampant with violence.

abuxbaum@documentaryarts.com

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