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CRYER, Daniel A.

Summer 2020, 50.4, pages: 254-267

The Good Man Shooting Well: Authoritarian Submission and Aggression in the “Gun-Citizen”


In the two decades since Bruno Latour imagined the “gun-citizen” as an emergent combination of human and object, the number of US civilians carrying firearms daily has increased fivefold. This essay analyzes discourses of “carry culture” and argues that within it good citizenship comprises the twinned acts of submission to the gun and aggression toward othered groups, defining carry culture as fundamentally authoritarian. The essay further argues that carriers’ submission to their weapons is a corrupted form of care, prompting rhetoricians to reconsider what constitutes ethical relations with objects. Viewing guns in these ways reveals carrying, despite gun culture’s preoccupation with “freedom,” as physically and mentally constricting and puts forth the idea that firearms carried in public are dangerous whether or not they are ever fired.



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