Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gun Control Debate

I have to post this, as it will be the only time I will ever get link love from an liberal, professor's blog.

I actually watch bloggingheads.tv sometimes. I know no one else does, because it is just pundits swapping spit. Last Friday I tripped over this interchange between John Horgan and George Johnson commenting on the VTech massacre. Obviously, they don't agree with most concealed-carry laws.

I looked up Mr. Horgan's email address and followed up on the issue. We had a very civil discussion, via email, and as he has seen fit to post the interchange on his blog, I will reciprocate. He did clear the post with me before throwing it up.

Here's the exchange that was cross-posted at his site. He edited certain things but the he only deleted maybe 1%:

Mr. Horgan,Of course, you must live on the east side of the Mississippi.
It’s always a wonder to me that it is only liberal, “gun-control” people like
you that will use phrases like “blow them away” (in reference to Kaus’s
commentary.) Every pistol course I have ever taken stresses the de-escalation
angle in any given situation. Your argument that a concealed-carry holder would
have resulted in a “gunfight” or something, is just as adolescent as your
accusation of the pubescent obsession with firearms. A trained, licensed firearm
owner could have ended that hell a lot quicker than the police were able to do.
In fact, if you look at it objectively: Did the police prevent anyone from being
killed? Did they actually stop the perpetrator? No and no. He killed at will and
killed himself when he decided he was done. The police merely held the doors for
the EMTs who were getting the wounded off-scene before the police performed an
all but unnecessary investigation, which is ongoing. Ben Hopkins, Albuquerque,

Ben,I teach at a college, and Kauss’s suggestion that maybe we should put
more guns in the hands of these hormonal, stressed-out kids going through sexual
and career identity crises and coupling and breaking up and consuming buckets of
booze every weekend–well, it’s beyond stupid. Also I’ve known some very
experienced gun people who’ve suffered from horrible gun accidents through bad
luck, or because someone in a fit of rage grabbed a gun, and incidents in which
good gun folks get bad guns folks breaking into their homes or whatever are
vanishingly rare and in no way counterbalance the harm guns do. But hell, I’m
just a pansy east coast bleeding heart liberal dove, so I’m not gonna sway
someone like you. John

Mr. Horgan,Touche on the point about college kids being armed. I failed to
consider that these are exactly the kind of people who can take a normal event
(i.e. sexual rejection, social slights, etc.) in an extremely exaggerated way.
Hell, we were all that age once and I, for one, did not hold a concealed carry
license until I was into my 30’s. I’m not sure the same argument would apply to
professors, though. As an example, Israel has encouraged if not required certain
teachers to carry concealed since the ’70s. Previously, Arafat’s thugs loved
nothing more than terrorizing a school full of Israeli children. One never hears
about these things taking place in Israel anymore. I’m not saying arm
second-graders, but a teacher/professor who shows the willingness and skill to
responsibly carry may well deter future events. Best regards, Ben

Ben,Academics, who are among the most neurotic, embittered people on the
planet, especially when they’re up for tenure, packing heat? Maybe it makes
sense in Israel, but I sure wouldn’t want to be at a school where profs carry
concealed weapons.John

John,Empirically, I would have to agree with you when it comes to
professors. The only professor I actually know is retired professor Richard
Berthold. If you recall, he was the UNM professor who said after 9/11 that “I’d
vote for anyone who could fly a plane into the Pentagon.” I still think that if
the education community would take appropriate steps, they would be able to find
responsible adults to be armed. Thank you again for the exchange. It is rare
nowadays to have an intelligent difference of opinion that is argued civilly
without degenerating into the normal internet flame-war, or insult-fest that
seems to be the staple on both the left and the right.Ben

It was an interesting conversation and I'm not
sure that either one of us conviced each other. Nonetheless, it was
interesting to talk civilly with a person who disagrees with me so fundamentally
on an issue we both felt strongly about.

Maybe there is hope.

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