The author of University Diaries, UD, will be going to a gun show, and plans to contact someone about a trip to the range.
She compares two extreme viewpoints there.
First Amitai Etzioni, a GW sociologist:
If one holds, as most studies do, that guns provide more danger than protection, and notes that other democratic societies greatly limit private gun ownership, one is naturally troubled by the threat that the new scholarship may help to overturn a strong and long-established endorsement of gun control laws by the Supreme Court. With so much at stake, should scholars refrain from conducting studies that might have grave unsettling social consequences?
… Would my colleagues put on their web site a study that demonstrating how to make the Ebola virus in a kitchen sink? Would they publish ways to make nerve gas in one’s basement? As I see it, when the results of a publication may well be fatal on a large scale, great weight should be given to social prudence.
… [M]y good colleagues in law schools [should] consider whether they should devote themselves to an academic pursuit other than undermining the Supreme Court rulings that have rendered gun control possible and legitimate…
To her credit, UD:
…finds Etzioni’s analogies — an individual in possession of a gun is a deadly virus, a nerve gas — as well as his aristocratic conviction that the possibly correct reading of one of our nation’s more important documents ought to be kept from ordinary American citizens, pretty stunning.
Stunning indeed, not least because Etzioni is comparing Second Amendment scholarship, not guns, to Ebola and nerve gas. We’ll assume ignorance, not malice, to be behind his comments about “most studies” and “a strong and long-established endorsement of gun control laws by the Supreme Court”.
Second, she cites GW law professor Robert J. Cottrel, who says:
[A] society with a dismal record of protecting a people has a dubious claim on the right to disarm them…. [I]t is unwise to place the means of protection totally in the hands of the state….
[T]he ultimate civil right is the right to defend one’s own life…. [W]ithout that right all other rights are meaningless.
Both of these quotes are from NRA websites; UD is not relying on one sided sources. She is honestly and thoroughly investigating guns and the Right to Keep and Bear.
Whatever conclusions she comes to, whether she elects to become a gun owner or not, she will have honestly earned her opinion, and I for one will respectfully listen to whatever she has to say.
I didn’t realize this was going to turn into a series. I’ve retitled the posts so far, but have left their URLs untouched so as not to break any existing links. Note that my numbers are not consistent with UD’s.
Posts in this series: