Tilting at Windmills


Earlier today, I gave my unsolicited opinion on the question of the right to carry firearms on college campuses. In doing so, I focused exclusively on college students, and I was called on my apparent condescension: there are many college students who do in fact flush the toilet and/or look both ways before crossing the street, and who are responsible young adults in many other ways. While I still do not believe that guns should be allowed on college campuses (in the possession of either students or faculty), it’s not just about the students. Well, it is, but not in the way I made it about the students in my last post.

So, forget going for the laugh, which really served little purpose beyond riling up the choir. I’m going to do two things:

1) I’m re-posting this little nugget, written in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting two and a half years ago. This is where I stand on the question of guns and gun rights.

2) I’m going to rethink my post from earlier today, ditch the sarcasm, and try to carefully lay out the reasons for which I feel the way I do about guns on campus. Where does my right to self-protection butt up against others’ right to be protected? Do measures that make us feel safe really make us safe, or is it an illusion with consequences we can’t understand until it’s far too late?

Enough. Please read…

2 thoughts on “Tilting at Windmills

  1. From the studies I’ve seen, the only countries that have really made a difference in gun violence are the countries that banned them altogether. Picking and choosing which guns we’ll allow or where they can be taken does little to nothing to prevent gun violence. Not that we’re even trying to do anything like that in Texas. The opposite, in fact.

    We could spend decades debating the intention of the 2nd Amendment, but what does it matter if the only way to stop the violence is to take the guns out of our hands entirely? Atomic bombs are considered too deadly to use except in the most dire of circumstances. Why should the number of murders matter? Every gun is a tiny bomb (though some of them aren’t so tiny) and our circumstances are almost never dire until we bring a gun into them.

    1. I don’t know. Coming from a rural area, and being a great fan of venison, I’m good with guns used for hunting (so long as one eats what one kills). Those guns do cause accidents from time to time, but on the whole, folks who use guns for hunting purposes tend to be much more respectful and responsible about them than other demographics.

      Legislation that takes into account legitimate needs (home defense, even) can be crafted, I think. Automatic weapons aren’t necessary in everyday contexts, for example. You can do a good bit of damage with a double-barrel shotgun, but not nearly as much as you can do with an AK. I have to say that a complete ban, as attractive as I might find the idea on a theoretical level, is likely impractical: this is where the whole “criminals don’t obey the law” thing kicks in. Also, Prohibition. It didn’t work with alcohol; it probably won’t work with guns. And in any case, pragmatically, if we ever want to start a conversation between pro- and anti-control people, we need to avoid such totalistic language. There are ways to minimize the damage without tramping into “cold, dead hands” territory.

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