Gun Guys was the first (and currently, only) “gun book” that I’ve read where I found myself wanting it to end. Typically, I’m so fixated, intent on learning something new, that I’ll listen/read for hours on end. Most of my ‘reading’ takes place via Audible, in my truck, to & from work, and all around trips wherever I may go…some books extend beyond that, but Gun Guys: A Road Trip was tough. Very tough.
Many times I would move on to a different book, having become so frustrated with the author and his refusal to let go of his old way of thinking, despite his acknowledgement that he now sees things through a different light. But, being one who wants to know what the ‘other side’ of the debate is thinking, I forced myself to continue on…forced myself to listen to the very last page. Now that my conquest is complete, I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
I’ll say this for the author: He has mastered the English Language. His words flow with grace and easily transition from text on paper to vivid imagery via detailed descriptions & explanations. He’s no dope, and he knows how to say what he means, even if what he means is quite foolish. I found myself, so many times, in a roller coaster of emotion … just when I think the author MIGHT finally have a grasp on what it means to be a gun guy, as he starts confirming a lot of the things I hold near & dear to my heart, he reverts back to his ignorant biases about gun culture and shows his love for stereotyping gun guys.
Instead of exploring the world of gun guys, Baum explores his take on the world of gun guys, many times going into a political tirade as he attempts to justify stereotypes… Once actually saying that he thinks “gun guys” are as angry as they are because they:
perhaps feel inferior to gays, blacks, women, immigrants groups who were all sexier & groovier…more dynamic players in American culture.
Baum seems to enjoy the idea of being on an intellectual higher road, but, despite his brainy arrogance, refuses to come down from his ivory tower to see why, exactly, “gun guys” are so pissed off. He makes advancements in this realm but, as in line with the rest of the book, every step forward is followed up with 13 steps back. A great example comes from his take on one reason Gun Guys say they’re so mad at the idea of Gun Control:
A gun guy sees it this way: “if you want to limit my contact with guns, you must be saying you don’t trust me with them” you, who may never have shot a gun and know nothing about what it means to handle & operate one are presuming to make judgments about my ability to do so. You want to diminish me as a man, a citizen, a sovereign entity, and I’ve already endured quite enough of other, thank you.
Which is quite spot on for a lot of us…and after that step forward, he completely ruins his progress by insinuating that horrible tragedy’s and mass shootings are the the fault of law abiding gun owners – not because we own guns, but because we have not all “done our part” to foster a culture that “shuns” irresponsible gun ownership…an accusation so pompous and arrogant, so hopelessly out of touch with reality that it actually sets the tone for the Authors entire view on Gun Ownership, and possibly even life.
I could write an entire book that simply corrects everything that this book got wrong as, time and time again, Baum makes statements that are just simply not true, such as insinuating that women are a very small fraction of gun culture and, despite the industries best attempts to reel them in, simply have not taken interest in gun ownership.
As if that were not laughable enough, the author actually tries to claim that the gun industry its self is dying and that gun ownership is down – claiming that it’s just a bunch of “old fat white guys” buying up all the guns because
“young people want to be urban & digital, and gun are the opposite”
“for the consumers of tomorrow, firearms are so yesterday”
For all of its infuriating inaccuracies, though, I still do not regret the purchase. It was still an interesting glimpse in to the mind of someone who shuns the concept of personal responsibility and seems he would rather rely on the Government for the safety he enjoys in his every day life. If you’re like me and you subscribe to the idea of “Know your Enemy” then this book is for you because it does a remarkably great job of breaking down the authors line of thinking. It’s a great lesson in the study of people who are drastically different, in every way, from the rest of us.