March 17, 2014
It appears that Americans are increasingly naming their babies after their guns. According to Laura Wattenberg of the Baby Name Wizard Blog, there has been a huge increase in the last decade in naming infants after firearms trade names.
"I cross-checked lists of firearms terms and manufacturers with names given to five or more babies in the most recent statistical year (2012) and/or 10 years earlier (2002). I ended up with a list of 15 gun-related names, including brand names like Ruger and Colt as well as general terms like Gauge and Shooter. The decade-long popularity trend was crystal clear:
"Every name on the firearms list rose significantly over the 10-year period.
"The average rise was over 500%. Five names which didn't appear at all in 2002--Beretta, Browning, Savage, Trigger and Wesson--showed up on the 2012 list."
Wattenberg judiciously pointed out that names like Colt and Cannon might not actually be firearms-related, but it's hard to avoid the conclusion that names like Beretta, Kimber and Ruger honor those manufacturers.
I guess we should have seen this coming when people started tattooing themselves with the Browning buck logo or the Ruger eagle. I'm not so sure I think permanently inking a company name on yourself or naming your child after a business enterprise is ever a great idea, but clearly brand loyalty is strong in some people.
Wattenberg also astutely put the cultural aspect in context:
"Some gun owners perceive their lifestyle as being threatened by those who don't understand them or share their values. Choosing a gun name, then, can summon up happy memories of hunting with your dad--or be a statement of cultural defiance. It's an in-group statement, designed to speak to those who share your cultural touchstones."
There's no question that naming Junior something like "Galil" or "Sturmgewehr" expresses your position, though I'd suggest it preempts him a bit from having his own position.
But, as Wattenberg notes:
"Consider, too, that gun names were always popular for dogs, suggesting that a love of guns is nothing new. A foxhound named Trigger would never have surprised anyone. Today, parents are more willing to "pull the trigger" on that kind of eye-catching name for babies, too. Just as we're naming our pets more like children, it seems that we're naming our children more like pets."
My advice: name him Bob. It's spelled the same way forwards or backwards, you never have to explain it, and you never have to worry that some company head will take a Rose Garden meeting with a Democrat president.