Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre by Douglas Kellner provides a well researched analysis of recent mass killings in the United States including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber, and the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. Through an at times exhaustive examination, Kellner deconstructs these violent rampages and applies his considerable expertise as a critical social theorist. The result is a book that may overwhelm the reader with its abundance of information, yet will keep the reader shuddering with the recognition of just how much violence we in the U.S. appear to be willing to accept.
Guys and Guns AMOK is presented in four chapters: Chapter 1 – Deconstructing the Spectacle: Race, Guns, and the Culture Wars; Chapter 2 – The Situation of Contemporary Youth; Chapter 3 – Constructing Male Identities and the Spectacle of Terror; and Chapter 4 – What Is to Be Done? The book also has an extensive introduction and notes sections. It is an academic book and may not be the best selection for readers new to the topic. For those newly interested in the topic, the film Tough Guise by Jackson Katz may be a better first choice.
Guys and Guns AMOK examines popular U.S. culture and its glorification of guns, violent masculinity, war, youth alienation, celebrity and media spectacle. Through deconstruction of the non-stop, 24/7, mainstream media coverage that violent episodes receive, Kellner exposes the agenda of anti-gun control advocates and individuals on issues of race, gender, white male identity politics, and gun laws. He also educates the reader on what issues don’t receive much media attention like that the vast majority of gun deaths in the U.S. are routine killings, fatal gun accidents, and suicides (which guns don’t cause, but make easier). Guys and Guns AMOK also places the right-wing extremist view on the second amendment and gun ownership in context with the rapid changes the U.S. is experiencing in regards to race, gender, politics, global economics and the restructuring of capital. Remember the offense taken to Obama’s comment in San Francisco last April regarding certain groups of people experiencing hard times and clinging to religion and guns? Guys and Guns AMOK will provide some historical context and perspective on that viewpoint.
The author Douglas Kellner is a professor at UCLA, he has written extensively on the subjects of media, culture, terrorism, war, democracy and (stolen) elections.
Douglas Kellner, Guys and Guns Amok: Domestic Terrorism and School Shootings from the Oklahoma City Bombing to the Virginia Tech Massacre, (Paradigm Publisher, 2008).