Chapter 7 Pro-Campus Carry Video Imaginaries at The University of Texas at Austin

In: Up in Arms: Gun Imaginaries in Texas
Author:
Juha A. Vuori
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Abstract

This chapter examines visual performances and videos promoting Campus Carry, which were produced during the contestation of the SB 11 legislation at The University of Texas at Austin in 2016. It views the videos as vernacular forms of social imaginaries of Campus Carry. Affecting what we are able to comprehend, through what Jacques Rancière calls the “distribution of the sensible,” our sense of reality, or a “common sense,” imaginaries construct different realities, including Campus Carry; they affect what can be seen, heard, and felt in and through their popular representations. To illustrate the visual performances of gun imaginaries in Texas, this chapter examines two videos produced by supporters of gun rights: one presents a publicly staged mock shooting on the streets of Austin, close to campus premises; the other is a professionally produced short that caricatures a prominent student activist from the “Cocks Not Glocks” group. In this way, the chapter argues that imaginaries shape how public morality and a sense of virtue relate to such contentious issues. They mediate socially constructed meanings and understandings of both security and insecurity, and thereby allow exploration of visions of the political that are contained in them.

This chapter examines the two YouTube videos that have elicited the strongest reactions within the Facebook community of the student-led “Cocks Not Glocks” gun control movement against Campus Carry. Made from the perspective of gun rights, these videos advocated for the Campus Carry law (SB 11) at The University of Texas in 2016. One presents a publicly staged mock shooting on the streets of Austin, close to campus premises, while the other is a short film that caricatures a prominent student activist from the “Cocks Not Glocks” group.1 By analyzing such popularly created visual artifacts, the chapter contributes to the study of “vernacular security,”2 and posits the notion of visual vernacular imaginaries as a conceptual tool for analyzing issues of security and insecurity.3 The gun imaginary I explore here supports Campus Carry and presents guns in a favorable light. It is operated through audiovisual narratives that were performed in a street protest or made specifically for circulation through YouTube. The imaginary aims toward constitutional carry where guns represent a constitutional right and freedom, and provide for protection in a world where anywhere is potentially dangerous. From this viewpoint, university campuses and buildings are the same as any other space, and therefore concealed carry should be allowed in them, too.

While my focus is on the online visual vernacular of localized security imaginaries involved in Campus Carry at UT Austin, this chapter also benefits from fieldwork conducted in 2018 and 2019.4 These materials provide context for my investigation of how security is articulated through visual means by particular individuals and groups on the Campus Carry issue. Because security vernaculars have mainly been studied ethnographically5 or with focus group interviews,6 the exploration of “visual vernaculars” that include non-institutional or popular videos and visual performances is a new opening for this approach. Indeed, the greatest focus of even critically engaged security studies has been on “high politics”7 or the societal fields of “security experts.”8 The security constructions of “diverse publics,”9 including those who are not “experts” or in official political positions, are also vital for gaining understanding of the politics of security in societies. Indeed, visualities are a vital part of today’s online vernaculars. Online environments are among the crucial sites and arenas where issues of everyday security are contested and negotiated by individuals and communities. As we will see below, this has also been the case for the pro-gun position in the debate about UT Campus Carry.

The contestation of Campus Carry is embedded in a larger societal shift in U.S. gun culture. David Yamane has noted both attitudinal and regulatory transformations in the “culture of armed citizenship” in the United States.10 Indeed, self-defense replaced hunting as the primary reason for gun ownership in the 2010s. This coincided with the liberalization of both carrying firearms—either openly or in concealment—and legally using lethal force.11 Campus Carry joins and reinforces this general trajectory in the United States. In relation to this, Harel Shapira and Samantha Simon12 argue that gun carrying is not only about a set of attitudes,13 meanings,14 or ideology toward guns, but that the identities formed in it are produced through an embodied practice.15 Imaginaries play an important role here, too, as they are among the things that provide people with motivations, rationales, and legitimization for carrying a gun. Indeed, what both security and insecurity mean and how they are understood derive from socially constructed and culturally mediated worldviews.16 In this way, the chapter argues that imaginaries shape how public morality and a sense of virtue relate to such contentious issues. They mediate socially constructed meanings and understandings of both security and insecurity, and thereby allow exploration of visions of the political that are contained in them.17

1 YouTube, Social Imaginaries, and U.S. Gun Culture

Social imaginaries are about how “ordinary people” imagine their social surroundings that are “carried in images, stories, and legends,” as they are “shared by large groups of people.”18 Accordingly, a “Campus Carry” imaginary is constituted by a number of genres of storytelling, which can include scholarship, journalism, history, art, popular culture, and online videos. The focus in this chapter is on the two YouTube videos that have the most views, comments, and reactions in the Facebook community of the “Cocks Not Glocks” student movement. Indeed, social media and video services like YouTube have become crucial mediums and means for circulating visual contents that range from entertainment to news and political viewpoints.

The first video is of a protest performance19 organized by “Murdoch Pizgatti” (a.k.a. Zach Horton).20 The video depicts a “mock shooting” that was filmed during the “Life and Liberty Walk to End Gun Free Zones” held near the UT Austin campus on December 12, 2015. Six individuals here become the victims of a staged mass shooting and robbery committed by “bad guys,” who targeted that spot because it was a gun-free zone.21 The second video is a short film, “Never Met Her,” written and directed by Brett Sanders.22 It depicts the murder of an anti-gun activist who uses a dildo rather than a knife to defend herself against an armed intruder. Both videos became very controversial and were covered in national newspapers.

Social imaginaries affect what people are able to comprehend through the “distribution of the sensible” and a shared sense of reality, a “common sense.”23 Such “common senses” construct different realities, including issues that relate to gun culture, such as License to Carry (LTC) permits and Campus Carry. How issues are imagined affect what people can see, hear, and feel about them. Popular representations are crucial in the formation of common senses of how, where, and why issues are implemented, who implements them in relation to whom, and how public morality and a sense of virtue relate to them. This also applies to security imaginaries.24

In the case of the contestation around Campus Carry specifically, there are competing imaginaries on the opposing sides of the issue. The main groups against guns on campus are the faculty-based organization “Gun-Free UT” and the “Cocks Not Glocks” student movement, which has a much more visible online presence and is more “media-savvy,” in the words of faculty at UT Austin.25 The main gun advocate groups include “Come and Take It in Texas”26 and “Texas Students for Concealed Carry on Campus,”27 which was part of the national “Students for Concealed Carry” organization.28 These pro-gun groups have not always seen eye to eye on how to conduct their campaigning.29 Yet, these imaginaries connect to more general institutional and private imaginaries of gun-related violence that are produced and maintained, for example, by gun training and active shooter instructional videos.30 Here, institutional imaginaries promote the need to be vigilant, prepared, and responsible for one’s own security, since bad things can happen anywhere and at any time.31 Individuals are told to “run, hide, fight” with improvised weapons until they are sure the assailant of a mass shooting has been neutralized, either by them or by the authorities.32 In the individual pro-concealed carry imaginary, though, the fighting does not happen with fire extinguishers or water bottles, but with firearms.33 It is the responsibility of armed individuals to stop armed “madmen” from turning their rampage into a “bloodbath.”34

For Jutta Weldes, social imaginaries concern the cultural raw materials of which representations are constructed.35 In more general terms, for Charles Taylor, social imaginaries enable the practices of society through sense-making.36 Imaginaries are about how contemporaries imagine societies to be: the imaginary of a society “is the creation of each historical period, its singular manner of living, of seeing and of conducting its own existence”; it is “the basis for articulating what does matter and what does not.”37 There appears to have been a change in U.S. gun culture and, accordingly, in gun imaginaries during the past decade, where self-defense has overtaken previous imaginary bases for gun ownership.38

While visualization can be effective in putting viewpoints forward, an imaginary is not necessarily visual; various assemblages of popular representation practices configure these kinds of imaginaries as constitutive dimensions of public morality. Indeed, for Taylor, at issue are the ways in which people “imagine” social existence, how individuals fit together with others, and what normal expectations and their underlying normative notions are, such as the ability to identify a “foul.”39 Imaginaries are about the “repertory of collective actions” at our disposal.40 One aspect here is “internal honor,” which curbs inappropriate behavior through internal sanctions;41 another is public morality and the self-description of communities of virtue, which practices of representation produce and maintain. Visual registers can be one way to gain access to such spheres and the expectations within them (for example, in how concealed carry is represented visually in terms of where and how it takes place). The aesthetics of such representations cultivate dispositions toward public morality, who we should be, and how we should act.42 They work toward producing a unified moral imagination as a common sense.43

A “general deterioration of morality” and a concomitant increase in violent crime is a shared concern among many who carry concealed firearms.44 In actuality, though, crime has not become more violent in the 2000s. Rather, its coverage in the news has become more graphic.45 This underlines how social imaginaries have a greater impact on attitudes toward—and rationales for—carrying guns than direct personal experience. The imaginary aspect of using risks and costs as the rationale for carrying a gun for self-protection is quite striking when, for example, only two out of 46 respondents in a sociological study of those who had obtained an LTC permit did so as a result being a victim of crime, but all of them carried guns for self-defense. In the survey conducted for the Campus Carry research project, of the 10 percent of respondents who owned firearms, about half noted self-defense (54%) or the defense of family (54%) as their reason for owning a gun. At the same time, 24 percent reported having been a victim of a violent crime off-campus.46

The Students for Campus Carry organization also bases its origins in the need for armed self-defense on campus.47 According to the FAQ on their website, the initial spark for the organization came as a response to the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007. In their view, campus police are not dispatched quickly enough to protect students from “deranged” gunmen: “Only the people at the scene when the shooting starts—the potential victims—have the possibility to stop such a shooting rampage before it turns into a bloodbath.”48 Thus, carrying a firearm is a way to prevent bad things from happening, anywhere and at any time, irrespective of how frequent actual instances of violence are in specific spaces and places.49 This pro-Campus Carry discourse securitizes50 the campus as a place where violent things can happen to everyone, at any time. According to this line of thought, individuals need to have the possibility to defend themselves with guns, because the authorities are not there to immediately protect them.51

To identify threats to the existence of something of value points to vulnerability, which may in turn produce a sense of insecurity. Identifying a four-minute gap in the response time from authorities to a mass shooting may result in an individual feeling that they need a gun for self-defense. While school shootings have become an expected part of school life in the U.S., they are infrequent. Still, Campus Carry encourages continuous weapon-carrying for protection, always and everywhere.

Paradoxically, even though security promises confidence and protection, it may also bring about fear and unease in situations where threats may not have been given much consideration before. This tendency has been identified in discussions regarding active shooter drills at schools,52 and it was also noted by a pro-gun instructor at UT Austin, who carried himself but did not want students to feel like they were under siege.53 Furthermore, not taking the security measures identified in security speech can produce a sense of vulnerability. The same seems to apply to some of those who carry guns at all times; for them, not carrying a gun elicits a keen sense of insecurity. While one of the students at UT Austin who aimed to carry all the time stated that they did not feel insecure without their firearm, they also said they felt “naked” without it, and likened not having their gun to forgetting to wear a watch or leaving their wallet behind.54

The implementation of security politics may produce what has been called a “security trap,”55 or a “boomerang effect,”56 which effectively points to the folk tale of the Golem.57 Such notions refer to the negative effects of actually employing “security measures” to deal with an issue of concern. Indeed, security language may unleash unpredicted consequences if left unchecked, like the Golem that is created for protection but turns out to be uncontrollable and disastrous for its creator. As such, the Second Amendment can be viewed as a form of securitization to guarantee the liberty of citizens against a potentially oppressive leader or tyrant, yet the prevalence of firearms in the U.S., joined with its form of gun culture, annually produced nearly 40,000 small arms casualties in the form of gun-related suicides, murders, and mass shootings in the 2000s.58

Guns can be owned and maintained for a number of reasons and rationales, including hunting. In the gun discussion at hand, though, concealed carry implies a vigilant individual who is always attuned to and prepared for threatening situations while being willing and able to defend themselves. Vigilance is not reserved for LTC holders, however. One of the responses to the 9/11 terror attacks, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, was to put emphasis on a vigilant citizenry.59 This formed a shared basis for institutional imaginaries. The era of the war on terror coincided with the increased prevalence of school shootings at universities. Together, these have resulted in the enhancement of surveillance, communications, and infrastructural technologies, and the securitization of campus policing.60 This has meant that campuses have been effectively militarized. Such militarization of campuses has been based on four security discourses: “(1) borders of legitimacy, (2) counter-terrorism strategies, (3) active-shooter response, and (4) crowd control.”61 This trend is also quite evident in the active shooter instructional videos produced by a number of universities.62

According to Ben Brucato and Luis A. Fernandez, the first militarized campus discourse is not about “crime” as such but produces a divide between criminals and law-abiding citizens, which legitimizes state authorities’ intervention. At the same time, it also reproduces racial and class hierarchies. This happens by turning matters of jurisdiction into symbolic geographical and socio-hierarchical boundaries where the campus serves as a container with a legitimate inside and a class- and race-coded, potentially criminalized outside.63 Secondly, the anti-terror discourse is embedded in the overall militarization of U.S. police, which includes the use of surplus military vehicles and battle gear.64 The active shooter response has resulted in drills and alert systems being put into place at a number of universities. These can be viewed as a form of emotion management akin to the civil defense drills during the Cold War; thus, mundane drills are used to turn uncontrollable terror into a manageable fear.65 This is also one of the explicit purposes of the active shooter instructional videos produced by authorities like the Department of Homeland Security and various universities.66

Like institutional and individual gun imaginaries, security and its politics operate on multiple levels, from the highest echelons of government to everyday reality. The multitudes of security concepts, practices, and policies are brought about by political speech, techniques, and technologies.67 Visual discourse is also relevant here, and arguably more so as the prevalence of audiovisual media has increased with new communication technologies.68 Everyday discussions and grassroots viewpoints have gained new opportunities for circulation, which also makes visual vernaculars a relevant object of analysis when examining imaginaries.

2 Visual Vernacular Security Imaginaries

The notion of vernacular security was coined by Nils Bubandt in his study of localized security in Indonesia. In that study, he showed how local understandings of security may prevail over official national or even global policies and ways of approaching an issue. When states are able to graft their policies onto traditional concerns of being “secure,” their policies may be quite successful, but when this is not the case, local anxieties may win out.69 Indeed, understandings of vernacular security vary at the local, national, and global levels. While such multiple understandings of security may intersect, they are not always compatible. The meaning of security is contested academically,70 and within high politics and public discourse alike.71 With Campus Carry, too, there are multiple levels of political discourses at play. The debates at UT Austin, for example, are connected to the NRA’s national lobbying efforts, and “Students for Campus Carry” operates on a national level.

Here, the national gun discourse of the NRA draws from what Scott Melzer calls “frontier masculinity.”72 According to this line of thought, guns are positively associated with masculine features like self-reliance, rugged individualism, and a strong work ethic. A settler or frontier mentality is viewed as moral and honorable, and seen as producing strength, force of will, and masculinity.73 In this way, carrying guns means to act in a strong, willful, and manly manner. This in turn allows good people to avoid danger and chaos.74 Accordingly, NRA publications report incidents where armed citizens have defended themselves against criminals; this produces an imaginary of a vigilant citizenry that is particularly masculine in its character.75

Overall though, security means different things to different societies at different times, since the core fears of societies or social groups are unique and relate to vulnerabilities and historical experiences.76 This means that articulations of security that are both socially specific and historically situated draw from both lived experiences and social imaginaries. Indeed, for the large majority of U.S. citizens, their concerns with violent crime relate to imagined scenarios. Accordingly, imaginaries and the vernacularization of Campus Carry are operative in the creation of a politics of fear, the reproduction of gendering and racialization practices, and the enactment of identities.77 Even the Students for Campus Carry website points to racialized imaginaries in the gun discourse. According to them, though, Campus Carry is not intended to arm “dangerous bigots,” but to allow for self-defense for minority groups and women against such protagonists.78

The meaning of security is contested, and there are multiplicities of and within security even in vernacular usage. Nevertheless, security still offers a powerful sign or concept “for articulating support or opposition for political projects.”79 This means that security has an “inherently political character”80 irrespective of the level on which it is explored. This observation, based on focus group interviews in the United Kingdom, seems to hold for the case at hand as well. Indeed, interviews with faculty at UT Austin by the Campus Carry research group and the controversy around SB 11 show how security was imposed on campus through state legislation. What the pro-gun groups and individuals saw as an increase of security was experienced by others as an increase of unease, insecurity, and outright fear. Indeed, according to the research group’s survey, 14 percent of undergraduates felt that Campus Carry increased their feeling of safety on campus, while for 53 percent it decreased their feeling of safety.

The politics of security at a lower level may not necessarily disrupt those at a higher level or be more progressive: security may have repressive qualities and reproduce institutional discourses even in everyday vernaculars.81 The everyday remains ambiguous in this regard,82 and it should not be romanticized as a site of pure resistance or authenticity.83 Indeed, the pluralities of power and resistances must be kept in mind; civil society is often understood as being a more authentic site of social organization, and also as being an opposing force to the state (i.e., an authentic site of resistance). But civil society can also be a site of conservatism, and civil society can be co-opted by the state.84 As William A. Callahan notes, “The relation between power and resistance is not clean or pure, but sticky.”85

Much of the critically engaged research on security has studied “high politics”86 or the societal fields of “security experts.”87 This, however, leaves open a gap for studying the security constructions of “diverse publics,”88 including those who are not “experts” or in official political positions. There is a need to explore what popular articulations of threat and (in)security by non-elites or non-experts do as well. Indeed, security imaginaries at play in less privileged sites may also do harm.89 Accordingly, the focus of the chapter now shifts to how security can be articulated by particular individuals and groups through visual means in the context of the Campus Carry issue. While most studies of security vernaculars have been conducted either ethnographically90 or with focus group interviews,91 visualities can be included within non-elite vernaculars due to the visual nature of today’s quotidian online ways of living: online visualities need to be counted among the “spaces, rhythms, objects, and practices”92 that surround us in the everyday. For example, while visual memes that circulate on the internet can be construed as trivial and mundane, they reflect deep social and cultural structures.93 Accordingly, online environments are among the sites and arenas where issues of everyday security are contested and negotiated by individuals and communities. This is also the case for Campus Carry.

Therefore, I coin here the notion of a “visual vernacular” that includes non-elite or popular videos, images, and visual performances. Memes in the form of stock character macros, reaction Photoshops, or rage comics are, for instance, among today’s quintessential visual vernaculars.94 Yet, the contestation of Campus Carry has also included videos and performances. A prominent example here involved the use of a sex toy, which became a central meme for both sides of the Campus Carry contestation: the “Cocks Not Glocks” movement that opposed the SB 11 law imaginatively employed dildos as a visual form of protest,95 and this was in turn antagonistically lampooned by gun rights supporters in a controversial fashion in one of the YouTube videos examined here.96 The dildo also appears in a more conciliatory pro-gun campaign logo, “coexist,” where the letter X is formed by crossing silhouettes of a gun and a dildo.97

Memes, non-commercial YouTube videos, and protest performances are among what is called popular culture in its academic sense. The unraveling of an elitist view of culture has made the visualities of the everyday relevant objects of study.98 Similarly, the media landscape has been dramatically transformed with the spread of social media and the tectonic shifts in news organizations. For example, the production and circulation of even professional-quality videos have become achievable with relatively minor investments in technology, and even a smart phone can suffice. As such, the cost of producing and distributing media content has become much cheaper. At the same time, traditional media has been concentrated within a few media conglomerates.99

This change has been termed “convergence culture” by Henry Jenkins.100 The convergence of old and new media is also enforced by a participatory media culture, and what Jenkins calls a collective intelligence. YouTube is a prime example of this, as it has content that has been produced for old media as well as content specifically made for online consumption, allowing for viewer participation with likes, dislikes, comments, shares, and reaction videos. YouTube’s suggestion algorithms and share function enforce the combination of dispersed content into a shared collective intelligence or imaginary of experience, which has also raised concerns about “filter bubbles.”101 This final feature is also enhanced with the possibility to subscribe to a YouTube channel, or to support content producers financially through YouTube or, for example, services like Patreon. Convergence culture has impacted the production, circulation, and consumption of cultural products and affected the formation of political imaginaries. Indeed, YouTube has become a politicized arena in contemporary U.S. “culture wars.”102

3 Visual Pro-Campus Carry Vernaculars

Both the national-level institutional and private gun-imaginaries can be used as a baseline when reading the two specific videos examined here. This allows us to see whether the vernacular forms of Campus Carry align or diverge from elements in the national imaginaries. This can be achieved by noting what the referent objects of security (e.g., individuals or families) are, or what Campus Carry is used to secure.103 Such connections can also become apparent through the use of vernacular categories and concepts in the description of Campus Carry and the gun-free zones that oppose it.104 How people are presented in racial terms and how this intersects with other continuums of worthiness are also important here. For example, the legitimization of campus police has worked toward producing a sense of a poorer, racialized outside that needs to be protected from.105 The use of shorthand for institutionalized securitization or threats may also show connections to larger discussions, such as counter-terrorism106 or active shooter events.107 Finally, the vernacular can be analyzed in regard to national elements of the NRA’s gun discourse:108 for example, gun users defend the defenseless,109 “American” virtues, individual freedom,110 family values, or notions like “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”111

The “mock shooting” performance organized by “Murdoch Pizgatti” (a.k.a. Zach Horton)112 and filmed on December 12, 2015 during the “Life and Liberty Walk to End Gun Free Zones” near the UT Austin campus113 pertains to many of the above analytical elements. In the video, six actors wearing Gun-Free UT T-shirts and one wearing a shirt that reads “proud member of the terrorist watch list” are huddled around a person in a dark suit holding a “gun-free zone” sign. These individuals then become the victims of a staged mass shooting and robbery committed by “bad guys” who targeted that spot because it was a gun-free zone.114 The criminals wear baggy clothes and hide their faces with bandanas and sunglasses; they have Sharpied “thug” tattoos, and one of them is sporting a cornrow hairstyle, reminding of how television shows imagery of gangs and people of color. While most mass shootings are committed by white males,115 the organizer of the protest defends this in an interview, saying that it “had nothing to do with race, at all. … Obviously, we’re not trying to stereotype.”116 That the actors were free to choose their own attire displays the racialized imaginary they were aiming to evoke and abide by.

The performance in the video follows the script of “securitization”117 on the level of the individual and family being the referent objects of security: gun-free zones need to be removed before it is too late and “your children or loved ones” are killed in a mass shooting and robbery, because when unarmed you cannot “protect yourself with your natural right to bear arms”; “gun-free zones are dangerous to those who obey laws”; and “a rule, a law, a sign does not protect you” in a “government-sanctioned victim shooting gallery.”118 Indeed, according to Horton, the slow response time of the police and the media during real-life mass shootings is the rationale to ban gun-free zones.119 This is also a point made by the megaphoned narration of the performance: the good guys with guns are at least ten to twelve minutes away, which allows the criminals and killers “to do as they wish,” since the average mass shooting lasts only four minutes.

As noted above, one person in the performance is wearing a T-shirt that reads “proud member of the terrorist watch list.” This is sold on the Don’t Comply website. The T-shirt evokes the terrorist imaginary, but one of domestic (white supremacist) terrorism rather than the foreign one produced by authorities post-9/11. Furthermore, the position presented is one of resistance or opposition to the national imaginary. The “Don’t Comply” radio show hosted by Horton is aired on TalkNetwork.com, which also features a variety of conspiracy theory-type content. As the text on the T-shirt suggests, Horton is concerned “with how the government takes the crisis [i.e., mass shootings] and turns it into a reason to take away liberties of the people.”120 At the same time, the securitization of the issue is presented as stemming from the mass-shooting phenomenon: “We’re sick of watching people die in these mass-murder situations.”121 In effect, he counters a security argument of disarming citizens to prevent mass shootings with a security argument of arming citizens to stop mass shooters.

In addition to the long time it supposedly takes for authorities to respond to a crime scene (an officer at UT Austin quoted the response time as 3–4 minutes, while the performance cites the national average as 10–12 minutes), the narration connects to the NRA’s discourse by repeating the slogan “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”122 It also refers to how advocates of gun-free zones purportedly stifle their own constitutional rights. The props in the performance (e.g., cardboard guns, ketchup on shooting victims), coupled with a Saturday morning cartoon style of movement, snickering, and lamenting (as well as perhaps unintentional flashing of butt cracks), work toward making the threatening visual of targeting specific political opponents in a shooting less serious.

Yet, despite such downplaying of its seriousness, the performance can still be read as an indirect threat speech act.123 It was also received as such by some in the Gun-Free UT group, who were angered and felt “threatened by people who target us in this way.”124 The inappropriateness of the performance was also noted on the pro-Campus Carry side; for example, a former director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry concluded that “these so-called gun rights groups seem to be little more than anarchists cloaking their antics in the legitimacy of the Second Amendment.”125 While the tone of the “Mock Mass Shooting” performance was not serious, the use of carnival and comedy126 was much stronger in a “mass farting” counterdemonstration made by Campus Carry opponents at the same time, which affected the filming. As one of the protesters noted, the anti-gun protesters used humor to counter fear by speaking the language of assholes in the form of fart guns.127

Sarcasm is also the prevalent mode of the second video “Never Met Her,” written and directed by Brett Sanders.128 This tone is immediately made apparent with a notice in the beginning of the film that is fashioned to resemble the rating label of the Motion Picture Association, which describes the content as follows: “This film contains triggers: not suitable for degenerate animals”; “Restricted: violence, language, reality”; and “Intended to offend weak minded individuals.” The websites www.brettsanders.me and www.dontcomply.com are also referenced in the opening. Beyond the website promotion, the two videos are connected through Murdoch Pizgatti, credited as the choreographer of the film. Brett Sanders’s website contains a few other films he has made, as well as “liberty news,” “activism,” and stories related to “open carry.” Sanders describes himself as a “freedom fighter.”129

The film begins with a pan shot of a kitchen counter with a framed quote “Moms demand actions for gun sense in America,” two books (The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and Hippie by Barry Miles), and a set of kitchen knives. A young woman, credited as “dildo girl”130 (Staci Wilson), places a large black sex toy on the counter. She then sits on her couch to watch (Fox affiliate) news coverage of a Gun-Free UT rally, and talks to “Rosie Zander” on the phone about it (the phone shows a cropped image of a blond-haired young woman holding a large black dildo). The conversation also brings up Shannon Watts, who founded the Moms Demand Action group. “Dildo girl” and Rosie agree to meet up the next day in their “safe space.” The news story emphasizes the use of sex toys at the rally that opposed Campus Carry. Leading “Cocks Not Glocks” activists are also interviewed in the news, and explain their viewpoint: “we are just fighting absurdity with absurdity and we are just trying to point out how crazy it is”; “we will continue to fight gun extremism because that’s really what Campus Carry is, it and open carry and permitless carry are all examples of this gun extremism.” For example, Jessica Jin is interviewed on the news and tells how she has been harassed and threatened for her activism around the issue.

The upbeat music at the beginning takes on a more sinister tone when a dark-skinned person of color credited as “communist” (Eric July) is shown sneaking up to “dildo girl’s” house, past a Gun-Free UT sign (in the larger discursive context, the sign can be read as a reason for choosing this target). “Dildo girl” appears worried as she hears someone rattling the lock of the door. When the “communist” assailant smashes through, accompanied by more energetic music, she grabs the dildo instead of a kitchen knife, points it like a gun at the intruder, and yells: “Stop! Stop, or I swear I’ll blow my load all over your face! Cocks Not Glocks!” The intruder tilts his head disapprovingly and shoots her “gangsta-style” with the gun pointed sideways, splattering blood over a framed “Gun Sense in America” sign on the wall. The “communist” then retorts “What, bitch!”, adding with amusement, “fucking liberal.” He proceeds to grab the flat-screen television and dismissively states “Cocks Not Glocks” as he walks past a “no guns allowed” notice on the front door. The music returns to the upbeat track while the camera stays on “dildo girl,” lying in a pool of blood on the floor with her blue eyes looking at the viewer and the black dildo pointing at her face.

As the short story does not have a narrator, it does not present a direct frame or anchor for its security argument. It does, however, provide multiple intertextual references that form a set of positions for the characters and what they represent. “Dildo girl” is wearing a T-shirt with the star of Texas, a drawn caricature of a penis, and the text “Come and Take It.” Used by the “Cocks Not Glocks” protesters, this shirt plays on Texan symbols such as the Alamo.131 Together with the large black dildo, the phone conversation, and the news coverage, “dildo girl” is presented as a representative of the “Cocks Not Glocks” group. Indeed, she also uses the name in her warning to the assailant, who is not impressed by it and even repeats it when leaving the scene. Ana Lopez, a Latinx activist in the group, felt that the “dildo girl” was a caricature of her, and that the film worked to “target” her for online harassment.132 Sanders, however, denies that it depicts Lopez: “It was not set up or meant to be any particular person … It was just meant to be a girl that was part of their protest.”133 The security narrative of the short film can be viewed as a warning: not having a gun puts you in deadly jeopardy, even if you are a Communist Manifesto-reading liberal. This was also pointed to as the core message of the film by Sanders in an interview for the Washington Post: “The whole point of the video is to basically eviscerate gun-free zones and the dangers of gun-free zones.”134 In an interview with the Texas Standard, he adds that “I thought it was a very dangerous idea to do that – to announce to the world that you are unarmed, and you are going to be an easy target and an easy victim to some of the crazy criminals out there.”135 The specific referent object of security in the film is an individual (a Latinx woman played by an Anglo). The tone of the film can also ostensibly be presented as doing the same as the “Cocks Not Glocks” movement, directly citing their statements and tactics: the film is fighting their absurdity with its own absurdity. In addition to the satirical tone set by the rating label, “dildo girl” grabs a dildo rather than a knife to defend herself. The appropriation of the anti-gun movement’s register has also been emphasized by Sanders: “We basically played out their idea. Their idea is to disarm everybody, arm everybody with a sex toy and hope for the best.”136

In the Campus Carry contestation, absurdity and carnival have been deployed by both sides. The “Cocks Not Clocks” movement explicitly used the ridiculousness of banning sex toys to point to the ridiculousness of carrying guns. Similarly, the counter-demonstration against the pro-gun performance used dildos and fart guns. In turn, the mock shooting deployed elements of comedy to soften its depiction of violence and “Never Met Her” employs satire to legitimize its graphic use of gore and depicting someone being shot in the head. Yet, even a speech act with the tone of sarcasm that is intended to be a warning can easily be taken as a threat.137 As already noted, this was also what actually happened, as the “Cocks Not Glocks” activists viewed the video as a threat to them. It also appears that the controversy around the video was sufficient for it to be made private on YouTube, unlike the other videos on Brett Sanders’s website.

The imaginary of the “Never Met Her” film abides by the racialized securitization discourse of the national securitization of campuses. The assailant is a person of color who is coming from off-campus, and who is poor enough to murder just to steal a flat-screen television. This threat of a black man cannot be countered because of “gun sense,” “safe spaces,” “no guns permitted” signs, the “Cocks Not Glocks” movement, or “fucking liberals,” which represent negative things and targets of ridicule in the semiotic field of the film. The racial aspect shows the effect of imaginaries that go against the facts. In an interview with the Texas Standard, Sanders comments on his casting choice, “statistically, African Americans are more prone to create violent crimes. It does play into the stereotype, whether we like it or not.”138 As with mass shootings, FBI statistics show that people categorized as “white” commit more violent crime than those categorized as “black.”139 The film also draws from older Cold War-era threat registers, as the attacker is both credited as a “communist” and wears a red T-shirt with symbols of the Soviet Union on it, while the victim is connected to Communism through The Communist Manifesto on the kitchen counter. Together, the imaginary intersects ideological, racial, class, and criminal threats and is embedded in the larger context of the culture war.

4 Conclusions

The vernaculars of the two specific videos examined in the chapter both abide by and diverge from the national institutional and individual imaginaries. Both present the referent of security on an individual level as either “family and loved ones” or victims of a robbery homicide. Gun-free zones are referred to with signs in both videos, and the one with narration categorizes these as “targets of opportunity,” “government-sanctioned shooting galleries,” or being simply ineffective against criminals. The director of “Never Met Her” also refers to them as “‘killing zones’ – where unarmed law-abiding citizens advertise their vulnerability to criminals.”140 In both videos, gun-free zone signs also attract violent criminals to commit their crimes. Furthermore, such spaces are presented as going against the “natural right to bear arms,” and those foolish enough to not be armed are portrayed as jeopardizing their own lives and rights.

The security imaginaries in the videos have a number of intersecting elements. In the mock shooting, the shooters were older than students and not necessarily academic (one of the actors was an alumni, though); in this way, they represented threats beyond campus. In racialized terms, the mock shooters were Anglos, yet they evoked people of color with their clothing and hairstyles. In “Never Met Her,” the attacker intersected with leftist ideology, being from off-campus, poor, and black. A number of types of shorthand and intertextual symbols were also used in the videos: killers, criminals, and bad guys in one and communists, liberals, and hippies in the other. Such intersections form a discursive constellation that posits positive elements with the self and negative elements with the threatening other.

The national pro-Campus Carry discourse explicitly disavows “bigots” and “anarchists,” but the vernacular imaginary examined here produces racialized threat images. Indeed, both examples present in their visuals a racialized gaze that places people on a continuum of worthiness; in both cases, the shooters were racialized or people of color whereas the victims were Anglos. At the same time, the attackers were of a lower class than students and depicted as coming from outside campus, as in the securitization discourses that have been used to legitimize the militarization of campus police. In the mock shooting, the victims were both women and men, and the attack was a mass shooting. In the robbery homicide scenario, the victim was female, as were the activists who oppose Campus Carry and promote “gun sense.” The position in the videos is in line with the pro-gun position overall in the national imaginary, namely, being a masculine one.

Active shooter events and terrorism are a major concern in both federal and university imaginaries. The mock shooting evokes the mass-shooting phenomenon and the securitization of terrorism, but also frames itself in resistance to both. In the case of the former, while the imaginary of institutions is to resort to improvised weapons as a last resort after running and hiding, the performance promotes the use of firearms as the immediate resolution of the issue. Regarding the latter, the performers present themselves as the target of securitization of domestic terrorism. Both videos also contain elements of the NRA’s national gun discourse: gun users defend themselves and their loved ones, gun carrying is a U.S. virtue and part of individual freedom, and good guys can stop bad guys with guns. The pro-gun position is also presented as masculine, whereas opposition to Campus Carry, for example, is feminine, represented by female activists and “moms.”

The vision of the political that the imaginaries examined here produce is a masculine and individualist position, where the legitimate use of force is not limited to the state and where the individual is responsible for the security of themselves and their loved ones. Indeed, the state’s capacities are presented as limited in guaranteeing the security of the individual against threats posed by deadly forms of crime like mass shootings or robbery homicide. Carrying guns is a right of individuals to protect themselves from such threats that are represented as racialized and stemming from poorer classes. At the same time, leftist and feminine political positions are presented as threatening vis-à-vis such rights, as they aim to limit individual rights and effectively emasculate the individual in a world fraught with danger.

The pro-Campus Carry vernacular discussed here securitizes the campus as a place where violent things can happen to anyone, at any time; because the authorities are not there to immediately protect them, individuals need to have the opportunity to protect themselves with guns. The intersections of the threat imaginaries in the videos also showcase how the gun issue is deeply embedded in the larger “culture wars” in the contemporary U.S. and how the “gun” operates as a commodity for both sides of this contestation. Such imaginaries are part of the discourse that brought about the Campus Carry legislation that imposed “security” in this manner, even in university buildings. At the same time, such vernacular security imaginaries show that they are not always necessarily progressive or disruptive of institutional views, but can do unprogressive things, too; as the interviews and survey show, vernacular security for some means vernacular insecurity for others.

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1

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting on UT Campus,” YouTube video, 5:09, December 13, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhdxF8YHTh8&feature=youtu.be, accessed October 21, 2019; Brett Sanders, “Never Met Her,” YouTube video, 4:02, August 31, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar1a878M98w, accessed October 12, 2019 (the video has been made private).

2

Nils Bubandt, “Vernacular Security: The Politics of Feeling Safe in Global, National and Local Worlds,” Security Dialogue 36, no. 3 (2005): 275–96.

3

Juha A. Vuori and Rune S. Andersen, eds., Visual Security Studies: Sights and Spectacles of Insecurity and War (London: Routledge, 2018).

4

The fieldwork materials, collected by the Academy of Finland-funded Campus Carry research project at the University of Turku’s John Morton Center (JMC), include interviews with UT Austin students, faculty, and staff, and a representative survey of undergraduates (N=1,204).

5

Nils Bubandt, “Vernacular Security.”

6

Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister, “Vernacular Securities and Their Study: A Qualitative Analysis and Research Agenda,” International Relations 27, no. 2 (2012): 158–79; Nick Vaughan-Williams and Daniel Stevens, “Vernacular Theories of Everyday (In)security: The Disruptive Potential of Non-Elite Knowledge,” Security Dialogue 47, no. 1 (2016): 40–58.

7

Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1998).

8

Didier Bigo, “Security and Immigration: Toward a Critique of the Governmentality of Unease,” Alternatives 27, no. 1 (2002): 63–92.

9

Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, “Vernacular Theories,” 43.

10

David Yamane, “The Sociology of U.S. Gun Culture,” Sociology Compass 11, no. 7 (2017): 1–10.

11

Harel Shapira and Samantha J. Simon, “Learning to Need a Gun,” Qualitative Sociology 41, no. 5 (2018): 3.

12

Shapira and Simon, “Learning to Need a Gun,” 18.

13

Jeremy Carter and Michael Binder, “Firearm Violence and Effects on Concealed Gun Carrying: Large Debate and Small Effects,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 33, no. 19 (2018): 3025–52.

14

Angela Stroud, “Hegemonic Masculinity and Concealed Handguns,” Gender and Society 26, no. 2 (2012): 224.

15

Shapira, Harel, and Samantha J. Simon. “Learning to Need a Gun.” Qualitative Sociology 41, no. 5 (2018): 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-018-9374-2.

16

Keith Krause and Michael C. Williams, eds., Critical Security Studies: Concepts and Cases (London: UCL Press, 1997).

17

Jef Huysmans, The Politics of Insecurity: Fear, Migration and Asylum in the EU (London: Routledge, 2006).

18

Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 23.

19

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting.”

20

Mac McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy. UT’s Campus Carry Debate Explodes,” Austin Chronicle, December 18, 2015, https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2015-12-18/lets-go-gun-crazy/, accessed October 12, 2019.

21

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting.”

22

Sanders, “Never Met Her.”

23

Jacques Rancière. The Emancipated Spectator, trans. G. Elliott (London: Verso, [2008] 2011), 99, 102.

24

Christina Rowley and Jutta Weldes, “The Evolution of International Security Studies and the Everyday: Suggestions from the Buffyverse,” Security Dialogue 43, no. 6 (2012): 513–30.

25

See Seppälä, this volume.

26

Dave Montgomery, “Groups Converge for Mock Shooting Near University of Texas,” New York Times, December 12, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/us/gun-advocates-demonstrate-outside-university-of-texas-campus.html, accessed October 12, 2019; see also Don’t Comply, http://dontcomply.com, accessed October 12, 2019.

27

Texas Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/texasscc (activity in the Facebook group ended in 2017), accessed October 12, 2019.

28

Students for Concealed Carry, https://concealedcampus.org/, accessed October 12, 2019.

29

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

30

Juha A. Vuori “Campus Carry and Active Shooter Event Emotion Management,” Journal of American Studies 55, no. 2 (2021): 286–98.

31

“Options for Consideration Active Shooter Preparedness Video,” dir. Connor Patrick Griffin (2015; Department of Homeland Security, 2017), video, https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/options-consideration-active-shooter-preparedness-video, accessed October 10, 2019.

32

“RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. ®Surviving an Active Shooter Event” (City of Houston, 2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0, accessed October 11, 2019.

33

Vuori, “Campus Carry.”

34

FAQ, Students for Campus Carry, https://concealedcampus.org/faq/, accessed April 15, 2021.

35

Jutta Weldes, “Going Cultural: Star Trek, State Action, and Popular Culture,” Millennium 28, no. 1 (1999): 117–34.

36

Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, 2.

37

Cornelius Castoriadis, The Imaginary Institution of Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975), 92.

38

Yamane, “Sociology of U.S. Gun Culture.”

39

Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, 23–24.

40

Taylor, 25.

41

Brent Steele, “‘Ideals that Were Really Never in Our Possession’: Torture, Honor and US Identity,” International Relations 22, no. 2 (2008): 245.

42

Lilie Chouliaraki, “The Humanity of War: Iconic Photojournalism of the Battlefield, 1914–2012,” Visual Communication 12, no. 3 (2013): 315–40.

43

Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, [2004] 2006).

44

Shapira and Simon, “Learning to Need a Gun,” 8.

45

Jaclyn Schildkraut, “Crime News in Newspapers,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice: Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture, ed. M. Brown (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

46

In a series of questions asking if UT Austin undergraduates had previously been a victim of violent crime off-campus, 24.1% (290/1204) answered yes to at least one—and sometimes more than one—of the following: mass shooting (.3%), domestic violence (4.7%), sexual assault (11.9%), mugging (1.8%), assault (4.3%), robbery (7.6%), or other (4.7%).

47

FAQ, Students for Campus Carry.

48

FAQ, Students for Campus Carry.

49

See, e.g., “Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2018,” Federal Bureau of Investigation (2019), https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=823952, accessed May 10, 2021; J. Pete Blair and Katherine Schweit, “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013,” U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (2013), https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=757920, accessed May 10, 2021.

50

Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework.

51

Vuori, “Campus Carry.”

52

Erika Christakis, “Active-Shooter Drills Are Tragically Misguided,” Atlantic, March 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/active-shooter-drills-erika-christakis/580426/, accessed October 11, 2019; Cheryl Lero Jonson, Melissa M. Moon, and Joseph A. Hendry, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional Lockdown Versus Multioption Responses to School Shootings,” Journal of School Violence 17, (2018): 1–13.

53

Interview with research team, University of Texas at Austin, April 17, 2018, notes in possession of author.

54

Pro-Campus Carry focus group, University of Texas at Austin, April 19, 2018, notes in possession of author.

55

C.A.S.E. Collective, “Critical Approaches to Security in Europe: A Networked Manifesto,” Security Dialogue 37, no. 4 (2006): 443–87.

56

Kyle Grayson, “Securitization and the Boomerang Debate: A Rejoiner to Liotta and Smith-Windsor,” Security Dialogue 34, no. 3 (2003): 337–43.

57

Juha A. Vuori, How to Do Security with Words – A Grammar of Securitisation in the People’s Republic of China, Annales Universitatis Turkuensis B 336 (Turku: University of Turku, 2011).

58

John Gramlich, “What Data Says About Gun Deaths in the U.S.,” Pew Research Center, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/16/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/, accessed February 15, 2020.

59

Joshua Reeves, “If You See Something, Say Something: Lateral Surveillance and the Uses of Responsibility,” Surveillance & Society 10, no. ¾ (2012), 235–48.

60

Ben Brucato and Luis A. Fernandez, “Socio-Technical Developments in Campus Securitization: Building and Resisting the Policing Apparatus,” Counterpoints 410 (2013): 79–104.

61

Brucato and Fernandez, 85.

62

Vuori, “Campus Carry.”

63

Brucato and Fernandez, “Socio-Technical Developments.”

64

Xavier Guillaume, Juha A. Vuori, and Rune S. Andersen, “Making Norms Visible: Police Uniforms and the Social Meaning of Policing,” in Visual Security Studies: Sights and Spectacles of Insecurity and War, eds. Juha A. Vuori and Rune S. Andersen (London: Routledge, 2018), 150–70.

65

Brucato and Fernandez, “Socio-Technical Developments,” 88; Guy Oakes, The Imaginary War: Civil Defense and American Cold War Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 46–47.

66

“Options for Consideration.”

67

Jef Huysmans, Security Unbound. Enacting Democratic Limits (London: Routledge, 2014).

68

Rune S. Andersen, Juha A. Vuori, and Can Mutlu, “Visuality,” in Critical Security Methods: New Frameworks for Analysis, ed. Claudia Aradau, Jef Huysmans, Andrew Neal, and Nadine Voelkner (London: Routledge, 2015), 85–117.

69

Bubandt, “Vernacular Security.”

70

Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework.

71

Jarvis and Lister, “Vernacular Securities,” 168.

72

Scott Melzer, Gun Crusaders: The NRA’s Culture War (New York: New York University Press, 2009).

73

Steele, “‘Ideals that were really never in our possession,’” 248.

74

Steele, 251.

75

Kevin Lewis O’Neill, “Armed Citizens and the Stories They Tell: The National Rifle Association’s Achievement of Terror and Masculinity,” Men and Masculinities 9, no. 4 (2007): 459.

76

Ole Wæver, “Conflicts of Vision: Visions of Conflict,” in European Polyphony: Perspectives beyond East-West Confrontation, eds. Ole Wæver, Pierre Lemaitre, and Elzbieta Tromer (London: MacMillan, 1989): 301.

77

Georg Löfflmann and Nick Vaughan-Williams, “Vernacular Imaginaries of European Border Security Among Citizens: From Walls to Information Management,” European Journal of International Security 3, no. 3 (2018): 387.

78

David Burnett, “Why Race Matters—and Doesn’t—for Campus Carry,” Students for Concealed Carry, June 6, 2020, https://concealedcampus.org/2020/06/why-race-matters-and-doesnt-in-the-campus-carry-debate/, accessed April 4, 2021.

79

Jarvis and Lister, “Vernacular Securities,” 170.

80

Jarvis and Lister, 173.

81

Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, “Vernacular Theories,” 42, 45.

82

Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, 48.

83

Lee Jarvis, “Toward a Vernacular Security Studies: Origins, Interlocutors, Contributions, and Challenges,” International Studies Review 21 (2019): 118.

84

William A. Callahan, Cultural Governance and Resistance in Pacific Asia (London: Routledge, 2006), 99, 109.

85

Callahan, 108.

86

Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework.

87

Bigo, “Security and Immigration.”

88

Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, “Vernacular Theories,” 43.

89

Jarvis, “Toward a Vernacular Security Studies,” 12.

90

Bubandt, “Vernacular Security.”

91

Jarvis and Lister, “Vernacular Securities”; Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, “Vernacular Theories.”

92

Michael Sheringham, Everyday Life: Theories and Practices from Surrealism to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 2.

93

Limor Shifman, Memes in Digital Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014), 15.

94

Shifman, Memes in Digital Culture, 99–118.

95

The dildo features prominently in two documentary films about the movement: Come and Take It (2018), co-directed by P. J. Raval and Ellen Spiro, and Cocks Not Glocks (in production) by Audra Webbe.

96

Sanders, “Never Met Her.”

97

Kelsey Bradshaw, “Dildos descend on UT Austin in ‘Cocks Not Glocks’ protest of guns on campus,” mySanAntonio, August 24, 2016, https://s.hdnux.com/photos/51/22/13/10822389/3/ratio3x2_2300.jpg, accessed May 10, 2021.

98

Tony Bennett, “The Politics of the ‘Popular’ and Popular Culture,” in Popular Culture and Social Relations, eds. Tony Bennett, C. Mercer, and J. Woollacott (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1986), 6–21.

99

Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 17–18.

100

Jenkins.

101

Camille Roth, Antoine Mazières, and Telmo Menezes, “Tubes and Bubbles Topological Confinement of YouTube Recommendations,” PLoS ONE 15, no. 4 (2020): e0231703; Lauri Paltemaa, Juha A. Vuori, Mikael Mattlin, and Jouko Katajisto, “Meta-Information Censorship and the Creation of the Chinanet Bubble,” Information, Communication and Society 23, no. 14 (2020): 2064–80.

102

Jean Burgess and Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández, “Mapping Sociocultural Controversies Across Digital Media Platforms: One Week of #Gamergate on Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr,” Communication Research and Practice 2, no. 1 (2016): 79–96.

103

Vaughan-Williams and Stevens, “Vernacular Theories,” 47.

104

Löfflmann and Vaughan-Williams, “Vernacular Imaginaries,” 392.

105

Brucato and Fernandez, “Socio-Technical Developments,” 86.

106

Brucato and Fernandez, 87.

107

Vuori, “Campus Carry.”

108

Melzer, Gun Crusaders.

109

O’Neill, “Armed Citizens.”

110

Melzer, Gun Crusaders.

111

NRA, “NRA Stand and Fight: America Speaks For Itself,” YouTube video, 4:30, January 16, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-phl2d_n60, accessed October 10, 2019.

112

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

113

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting”

114

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting.”

115

“Active Shooter Incidents”; Blair and Schweit, “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents”; Joel A. Capellan, “Lone Wolf Terrorist or Deranged Shooter? A Study of Ideological Active Shooter Events in the United States, 1970–2014,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 38, no. 6 (2015), 395–413.

116

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

117

Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework.

118

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting.”

119

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

120

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

121

Montgomery, “Groups Converge for Mock Shooting”; see also http://dontcomply.com.

122

DontComply.com, “Mock Mass Shooting”; NRA, “NRA Stand and Fight.”

123

Clara Eroukhmanoff, “It’s not a Muslim ban!’ Indirect Speech Acts and the Securitisation of Islam in the United States Post-9/11,” Global Discourse 8, no. 1 (2018): 5–25.

124

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

125

McCann; see also the Students for Campus Carry Facebook statement on the performance: https://www.facebook.com/ConcealedCampus/posts/10154445019417622, accessed May 5, 2021.

126

Louise Amoore and Alexandra Hall, “The Clown at the Gates of the Camp: Sovereignty, Resistance and the Figure of the Fool,” Security Dialogue 44, no. 2 (2013): 93–110.

127

McCann, “Let’s Go Gun Crazy.”

128

Sanders, “Never Met Her.”

129

Amy B. Wang, “Texas Gun-rights Activist Slammed for Graphic Film Portraying Shooting of a Student Protester,” Washington Post, September 13, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/09/13/texas-gun-activist-under-fire-for-graphic-video-portraying-the-death-of-a-student-protester/, accessed May 4, 2021.

130

See Ana Lopez, “What Would You Do If You Saw This Terrifying Video Of ‘You’?” Refinery 29, September 1, 2016, https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/09/123294/cocks-not-glocks-gun-activist-violent-youtube-video, accessed May 4, 2021.

131

See Laura Hernández-Ehrisman, this volume.

132

Lopez, “What Would You Do…?”

133

Wang, “Texas Gun-rights Activist”; Rhonda Fanning, “‘It Was Terrifying’: Campus Carry Protester Feels Targeted By Gory YouTube Video,” Texas Standard, September 6, 2016, https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/it-was-terrifying-campus-carry-protester-feels-targeted-by-gory-youtube-video/, accessed May 4, 2021.

134

Wang, “Texas Gun-rights Activist.”

135

Fanning, “‘It Was Terrifying.’”

136

Wang, “Texas Gun-rights Activist.”

137

Juha A. Vuori, “Deterring Things with Words: Deterrence as a Speech Act,” New Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Journal of Central & East European Politics and International Relations 24, no. 2 (2016): 32–50.

138

Rhonda Fanning, “‘It Was Terrifying.’”

139

“Arrests,” Crime in the United States, 2014, https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-43, accessed May 4, 2021.

140

Rhonda Fanning, “‘It Was Terrifying.’”

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