Comedy gives Cocks Not Glocks greater chance at staying power

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

In this past year of activism both in favor of and against Senate Bill 11, a law permitting concealed carry of firearms on public campuses, the recent anti-campus carry movement Cocks Not Glocks distinguished itself by the way of its highly unconventional efforts.

Shedding the traditional approach of impassioned speeches and a commitment to stern composure, the Cocks Not Glocks movement is a brazen work of satire. The protesters wholeheartedly embrace its absurdity, donning sex toys as the icon of their movement and adopting slogans such as “you’re packin’ heat, I’m packin’ meat.”  

Yet the Cocks Not Glocks organizers’ choice to create a satirical protest movement was a highly strategic one and one that will benefit their cause long-term.

Ethan Thompson, associate communications professor at A&M Corpus Christi, states that satire challenges establishment ways of thinking, often by combining serious topics with crass or taboo mediums for discussion.    

Through satire, participants “engage with multiple discourses from a variety of political perspectives while undermining the legitimacy of those discourses,” Thompson writes.

Both pro- and anti-campus carry groups have no shortage of talking points and studies to promote their views, but satire is a tool traditionally reserved for those out of power — in this case, students with little political access. The pro-campus carry wing, whose platform is institutionalized in the status quo, has little use for deriding its own establishment.

Cocks Not Glocks, while not a replacement for traditional political organizing, has already proven itself valuable to the anti-campus carry movement in tangible ways. According to the group’s Twitter page, the event also registered over 400 individuals to vote, providing people otherwise indifferent with access to the ballot.   

Mia Carter, associate English professor and plaintiff in the recent lawsuit regarding campus carry, wrote in an email that Cocks Not Glocks has also dealt a blow to the oft-repeated argument of the “good guy with a gun.”

“Those of us on campus that are protesting … know that there are responsible, mature and well-trained gun owners,” Carter wrote. “There are also terrifying extremists. The Cocks Not Glocks’ activists have posted the hate mail they have received … exposing the extremists at great risk to their own well-being.”   

Most potently, the protest engaged students who otherwise would not have attended a traditional political protest and exposed them to the activities of like-minded organizations, such as Gun Free UT and Students Against Campus Carry. As described in the commitment model developed by psychologist Charles Kiesler, even small actions taken by individuals of their own free will — say, showing up to a gathering and getting a free phallic souvenir — creates an obligation for individuals to continue working towards an overarching goal.

In this case, the goal, says Cocks Not Glocks organizer Kailey Moore, is to create a venue for UT to opt out of campus carry. In the meantime, the organizers hope to capitalize on the momentum of the protest.

Sun is a business honors, accounting and government junior from Sugar Land. Follow her on Twitter @sun_diane.