Gun Sales, Well-being, and COVID-19

Gun sales have reached record highs since the spring of 2020. Current estimates suggest that 2020’s year-to-date gun sales exceed all of 2019’s sales by one million units (Grant 2020). Even August, which saw the smallest growth in gun sales so far in 2020, had a 57.8% year-over-year increase in gun sales (Grant 2020). Breaking August’s numbers…

Social Movement Perspective: Understanding Black Lives Matter and the #Tally19

Sociologists are interested in the interplay between structure and agency. While individuals theoretically have the agency to make the choices they want, these choices are constrained by factors out of their control, such as their social class, or social location. Social movements scholars, in particular, are interested in the agency that comes into play when…

Welcome Back!

To the returning and new students, staff, and faculty of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), welcome to what I’m going to call The Year Like No Other. I am pleased and honored that you have chosen to be a part of COSSPP at what I believe to be an important moment…

George Floyd and the Future of Police Misconduct

This piece first appeared in The Beacon. The death of George Floyd at the hands of a cop with a history of excessive force complaints has spurred protests, demonstrations, and riots across the nation. Unfortunately, the violence some protesters have unleashed on these cities is likely to exacerbate existing cultural and political schisms, making meaningful…

Research Spotlight: Police Officer Use of Force and Citizen Complaints

While competing narratives have taken shape in American society little is known as to how officers choose to use force in situations and if there is any racial or gender bias during police encounters that amount in heightened levels of force used. To study this subject more meticulously I analyze citizen complaint outcomes for police use of force from two cities: Indianapolis and New Orleans. Analyzing citizen complaint data from these two cities serves several purposes.

There Is More to Women’s Political Participation than Voting

Journalists covering the 2018 mid-term elections enjoy spinning out narratives about cleavages in American society when it comes to voting. The gender gap is one of the tales they can weave together through data and first-person accounts. While gender differences in voting patterns are certainly important, it comfortably fits with a broader tendency to downplay women’s leadership and engagement throughout history. It is critical that we remind journalists, our students, and ourselves, that the gender gap in voting does not capture women’s political contributions or their political diversity. Women’s engagement matters well beyond their votes.       

Like All Black Lives, All Black History Matters

It’s important to remember that Black history is more than just slavery, Jim Crow, and reconstruction. Black history started way before the slave trade began, and it’s being made everyday by Black people of all ethnicities, skin tones, genders, and sexualities. Make the effort to explore it all, because like all Black lives, all Black history matters.

The Take A Knee Movement: A Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Whether or not you agree with the Take A Knee movement, we need to understand it in context. It reflects a desire to make America’s promises available to all citizens, and a legacy of using controversial tactics to push all of us to think more deeply about uncomfortable issues. It is the modern day civil rights movement.