Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Final Blog Post

Firearms have become a point of debate of the culture of the United States. The balance between the American gun culture and the high rate of violence related to firearms is what fuels either end of the debates spectrum. Throughout media sources and other forms of informative discussion, the true debate points and issues have been skewed. Often issues like this have led the public opinion to be radically split, but leaves very little true research, leaving it based on the opinions and ideas of the perceived audience. Therefore, the use of sociological quantitative measures and studies should be used to find the true issues at hand, and allow for proper effective legislation to be born from the truth.
By taking the opinion out of the equation and using more of the quantitative research methods rather than the qualitative methods, it allows us to find the truth behind the numbers in the reports seen throughout the United States when it comes to guns. However, there needs to be a better understanding of what the terminology is, what types of firearms are talked about most, the purposes they are marketed to serve as well as the crimes that are committed with them. There are several different categories of guns throughout the United States and with each category comes different sets of laws on ownership and use, some having more restriction than others. Along with different laws by category, there is also different laws by state and some which encompass the entire country. One example of legislation varying wildly by state are those related to pistol permits, specifically those which grant concealed or open carry, and in some states both are legal. The difference is best shown through visual aid provided below.
Image result for concealed carry  
As you can see there is an effort made to hide the firearm by the choice of clothing and an appropriate holster to safely maintain the weapon. This style of carry is often popular because it will not draw attention often nor will it make the firearm owner an immediate target to possible criminals. The difference with open carry is obvious, the open carry style makes no attempt to hide or conceal the firearm, which in turn displays the firearm. This method can still be achieved safely using the proper equipment, however, it becomes a focal point and draws much more attention.
            More information which is important to firmly grasp on this topic before doing any research is what crimes related to guns are common and which are not while discussing what they are defined as. Gun-related death has continued to be an unfortunate aspect of the culture and has been a larger issue in the U.S. than several other developed Nations according to B.B.C., as the United States has nearly double the gun deaths of Canada and six times the rate of the United Kingdom. Yet, there are areas of the United States which have higher rates of violence and death related to firearms than others. With that information, there lies the question of how cultural factors and differing state legislations impact the death-by-gun statistics in America.
            The Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) in October of 2003 conducted research on the topic of gun violence in America to put together a recommendation and report study as part of the Task Force on Community Preventative Services. The purpose of this report was to research violence, suicide and unwanted injury caused by firearms to find trends in the data. The task force found that many of the gun laws already in place including bans on specific guns and ammunition as well as waiting period restrictions had a mixed effect on the violence related to guns (C.D.C., 2003). Whereas other versions of laws that have been created have had more consistently effective results. Some examples of these are laws keeping children away from firearms, zero tolerance gun bans in and around schools, and a mixture or combinations of laws (C.D.C., 2003). This group also highlighted the issue of growing concern about gun violence, especially with younger offenders trending throughout news. Yet, according to the study, gun violence has been declining (C.D.C., 2003). Though this study was conducted between the years of 2000-2003 and published in 2003, these issues have stood the course of time in the U.S. as well as the laws discussed in the study. This year alone (2017) as of December 10th there have been 57,744 incidents alone, including 14,560 deaths and 29,507 injuries (Gun Violence Archive, 2017). This data shows that the issue has several different aspects of the issue at hand, which in turn will require different legislation. Furthermore, the incidents happen in different ways and amounts in different areas across the United States. The map below shows the United States points of incidences which occurred throughout 2017 to December 10th as a product of the same organization (Gun Violence Archive, 2017).
Incidents in 2017  
This visual aid illustrates how there are more incidents in certain, often more populated areas, which will require a series of area-related laws.
            Through continued sociological research, the truth behind gun and gun control myths can be determined. By using these truths that come out of the research there can and will be progress made to create tailored legislation for the issues currently facing gun control. Though this is a process which will require time and expense, however successful research leads to the possibility of creating a safer country while maintaining the liberties put in place by the United States forefathers.
1)      Anon. 2016. “Guns in the US: The statistics behind the violence.” BBC News. Retrieved December 10, 2017 (

2)      Anon. 2017. “Gun Violence Archive.” Gun Violence Archive. Retrieved December 10, 2017 (

3)      Anon. 2003. “First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 10, 2017 (

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Throughout this class, we have discussed and studied what makes sociology so important and the basis of not only what it is but why it matters. We have stressed the point of importance that social scientists must have ways to reach the public attention, or else their research becomes unheard of to the majority of the people it could have potentially helped. With that, the relevance of the study to everyday life or decision making must be there, because if it is not, again the majority of the public readers will not take note of the research. Naturally, it is just as important to think about the values of public sociology while designing and carrying out your research if it is the avenue of which you hope your project to go. However personally, I believe that you can make your sociological research more based on public sociology after the fact while presenting your findings. All and all it is still an important aspect of sociology to be able to reach more people of all classes and demographics with your research unless it is very specialized to be helpful for some people.

I believe the class held me to a higher standard of sociology that I had not fully experienced yet, which in turn made me more efficient and a more well-rounded sociologist. Specifically with reaching out more through public sociology. All of these questions that have been answered have been, in a sense, what has been the guiding force of the class, and because of that, we have all grown as deeper thinking and more sociological students.     

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sociological Research on Guns

When using sociology, the aim is to find trends and structuring in aspects of how the human society works. Understanding guns within the U.S. and the public opinions on different aspects related to them are best shown through a sociology perspective with data and statistics to back it up. One article which hits on several aspects of gun control and public opinion is an article entitled "Public Opinion on Gun Control" written by Lisa Wade on December 17th in 2012. Of this article, there are several charts which include analysis of the statistics which have been collected through survey analysis and census data and then presented in the article through secondary data analysis.
The article opens with background knowledge about the topic of gun control including a chart explaining the current interest in guns and gun control. It continues to explain through charts and analysis that there is differing support of gun policies and current gun legislation as well as how that aspect has shifted through the last few years in the United States.

Finally, it concludes with a section on gun-related deaths. The author illustrates that through sociology it is difficult to prove correlation that more legally owned guns lead to more gun deaths, especially since there are factors such as population density, level of stress, and differing opinions on guns which affect the death rate tied to guns.

This piece of sociological perspective shows how the public often views guns and gun control and ties that to the current statistics about guns. It is important to understand both the background and how statistics are shown in current climates, especially when hoping to prevent some of the violence related to guns and protect innocent lives. By finding trends and focusing on how the public functions with how the gun climate is currently can lead to a better understanding further in the future. 

Wade, Lisa. n.d. “Public Opinion on Gun Control - Sociological Images.” Sociological Images Public Opinion on Gun Control Comments. Retrieved November 7, 2017 (

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How Sociological are Cultural Products?

with the discussion last week about sociology within popular media sources, it is important to also see into the realm of cultural products. Cultural products have more of an organic source, coming more from a perspective of the people who are either considered activists related to the topic or can be someone directly affected by a topic of discussion, whereas popular media relies heavily on news media and mass reporting.

Finding a sociological perspective within cultural products has proven to be a challenge. Often, the cultural product may appeal to opinion and emotional response such as within quick clip posts and products which are designed to create a quick amount of awareness in a memorable way. Some of these products include political cartoons, protest signs, and apparel, as well as memes which have been rapidly growing in popularity, especially within the younger and more easily influenced community. It is easier in most cases to find and understand a sociological perspective within a cultural product when it is delivered in a video or speech, where it is important to fill time and add validity through supporting facts and data collected through research.

It is my personal belief that certain topics produce further possibilities to find sociological perspective within the cultural products produced related to them. Every topic has some form of an emotional draw to it. However, the topics which relate more to direct human issues drive the culture products to be formed around that human aspect. This correlation seems to draw more emotion-based products, especially when considering the aspects of cultural products which are already difficult to find sociological perspective within.   

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cultural Products on Guns

Cultural products are an important piece of influential, and often opinionated forms of media coverage on highly debated issues of interest. Most Americans acquire some of their more opinionated views from certain cultural products, which may include political cartoons, protest signs, political based comedy, and several other forms of communicating an opinion about a certain social issue.

The course of evolution with cultural products has increased the amount of population they have been able to effectively reach. With so many forms of media and communication, it is impossible to ignore the social aspects and influence cultural products have. However, there is often a wide range of how much quality sociology based information. Often cultural products have some basis in true fact but are used in a way to produce followers to more opinions, whereas some of them try to use what the creator of the product believes to exhibit common sense.

I have always considered cultural products to be more of an every day and every one aspect of sociology. It is a product which rarely uses original research, but instead, uses emotional responses and previous research to produce new forms of product publication. I believe that it is something which solely requires the passion to feel the need to form the product. In my opinion, it makes this form of publication inspiring, but also unfortunately unreliable to true research development. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Popular Media and Sociology

Popular media is a form of informative reporting which has and continues to be a source for many people to find news on current events and issues facing society. However, how much of what is reported can be considered up to sociological standards, and what is really observed when looking at problems posed by popular media? Much of what makes a popular media report is how it is displayed for public consumption. Attention grabbing titles and the prospect of true research reports draw in people and often begin to set the tone for how the information will be presented. Often, what I have personally noticed is that the resources shown sprinkled into the presentation are there to add the perception of validity to what tends to be a one-sided way of looking at the issue.

Though some articles show information to inform based on one singular point of view,  that does not mean that there are no articles affected by this phenomenon. Several articles find sociological statistics on the highlighted issue, while others can be based on emotional response. A good example of the difference is in the media sources of the foster care system. The youtube video entitled "ReMoved" shows first-hand recreations of the broken foster care system, yet it is shown in a very emotionally led and non-sociological way. The video offers no statistical analysis or figures, yet it gets the point across that the system needs major updating. However, in the article "The Child Welfare System: Kids Falling Through the Cracks" written by Jessica McLaughlin and presented by Lawstreet News, Several facts and figures are presented including population statistics on different categories of foster care. It also brings up several current pieces of legislation to show the climate of the issue.

Though it is welcoming to see that several popular media sources do have a base in social science, as well as publishing less biased work in some cases, there are still concerns about popular media. With sociology making a comeback and starting to be more prevalent in media, popular media needs to be able to use more sociologists in their work. The publication of more social science can lead to a further reduction in bias and an increase of validity in future publications to come.   


Monday, September 25, 2017

Social Debate: Rights and Control Over Firearms in the U.S.

          Since the creation of the second amendment, social and political debate has filled the topic of gun rights and gun control. Due to this debate, much has been done in ways of research for fact as well as opinion formation. Since it is an issue which, by nature provides no true solution, it becomes a constant conversation of hypothetical situations as well as emotion, making it a social issue. I believe it is a topic in which every American citizen has some stake for either more gun control, more gun rights, or for a continuation for the present firearms legislation.
          There are three sources of popular media reports which I believe show some of the reasoning behind the opinions of each side of the arguments as well as describing some of what legislation is changing and why there may be issues in any form of legislation that is put into play in the United States. Links to these sources are found below for your convenience.




Though these sources do not cover all of what the gun debate is about and why it is such a complex social issue.

         The sociological perspective provided by these articles rest on the presentation of the reaction they believe to get from their projected audience. Examples of showing current changes in firearm legislation such as the article from reporter Gail Collins of the New York Times, where she mentions the radical changes some politicians are attempting to pass reported n such a way as to provide a reaction. There is also a good source of sociological and structural perspective within the NPR radio report by Nathan Rott and Jeff Landa, as they provided several statistic based facts rather than opinion to provide their point.

          More sociology based perspective in these articles would provide two added aspects to these reports. One being that there would be less bias within them, and the second being that the purpose of the work would be one based solely on empirical data. Similar to what I am attempting to accomplish here, sociological perspective is based entirely off of well collected and documented data, not baed on opinion or the desire to prove a point.

          However, some things to consider while taking in these articles or any piece of information about this topic should revolve around considering who is writing the article and why. The majority of information about this topic is heavily seeded in the belief that a point needs to be proven for one side or the other. This tends to make the information biased even slightly. There has been a fair amount research done to provide more sociological based statistics on this topic, but to truly see the whole picture one must see all of the research and not just whatever may help their beliefs on this issue.