Mark Steyn: Let's be realistic about reality

From one of the leading voices of the "right-wing blathersphere";

"I live in northern New England, which has a very low crime rate, in part because it has a high rate of gun ownership. We do have the occasional murder, however. A few years back, a couple of alienated loser teens from a small Vermont town decided they were going to kill somebody, steal his ATM cards, and go to Australia. So they went to a remote house in the woods a couple of towns away, knocked on the door, and said their car had broken down. The guy thought their story smelled funny so he picked up his Glock and told 'em to get lost. So they concocted a better story, and pretended to be students doing an environmental survey. Unfortunately, the next old coot in the woods was sick of environmentalists and chased 'em away. Eventually they figured they could spend months knocking on doors in rural Vermont and New Hampshire and seeing nothing for their pains but cranky guys in plaid leveling both barrels through the screen door. So even these idiots worked it out: Where's the nearest place around here where you're most likely to encounter gullible defenseless types who have foresworn all means of resistance? Answer: Dartmouth College. So they drove over the Connecticut River, rang the doorbell, and brutally murdered a couple of well-meaning liberal professors. Two depraved misfits of crushing stupidity (to judge from their diaries) had nevertheless identified precisely the easiest murder victims in the twin-state area. To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with "the erosion of intellectual self-defense," and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and "safe spaces" that's the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we "fear guns," and "verbal violence," and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ''The Three Musketeers.'' What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?"


Nadir said...

Hey, Six!

I'm sure you and your other Oakland County neighbors (the county with the highest rate of concealed weapon licenses in Michigan) think that all Detroiters should arm themselves to lower the high crime rate in the city, right?

How would you feel about that? Just curious...

Paul Hue said...

I am fascinated by this question: does increase in gun ownership increase or decrease death from guns? I am very curious for the answer.

I do believe that the Founders meant by the Second Amendment that citizens would defend themselves from each other and the state, and that an armed citizenry would form govt militias, and keep such militias "well regulated."

However, I do support gun regulations. I am very interested in learning: would greater gun possession by students and faculty at VA Tech have led to more shootings, or reduced the likelihood and extent of this shooting? Very important question.

Paul Hue said...

Six: It seems to me that the info in Nadir's questions answers itself. If Oakland county has lots of concealed weapons (does it? Does having the highest rate in MI translate to a high rate?) coincides with low crime rate (or, at least higher crime rate in Detroit with lower concealed weapons rate in Detroit), seems to suggest that more guns in Detroit -- among the decent, law-abiding people -- would lower the crime rate in Detroit.

I'm one of the people who believes that the people in Oakland county very much want crime rates in Detroit to lower, and want the people there to prosper and thrive. Perhaps the people in Oakland county have some good ideas for the people in Detroit to consider. Lots of concealed handguns on the persons of non-criminals might be such a suggestion.

sixstringslinger said...

Hey, you never know Nadir. It might just make that gang-banger, crackhead, or meth addict think twice about bustin' into somebody's house if he thought there was loaded handgun waiting for him on the other side.

Maybe not of course, but one thing's for sure; the hundreds of gun laws currently on the books ain't workin'. They don't make anyone safer except those people who don't obey them; the criminals themselves.

Paul Hue said...


Here's the downside of gun ownership: the gun owner flips out, angry at kids trampling over his yard, he argues with them, gets his gun, then shoots them. However, maybe this guy flipped due to experiencing crime over the years... crime that would have been reduced drastically by more gun ownership.

I'm unsure.

Tom Philpott said...

Sounds like Six might be packing.

Wonder why other Western countries have almost no gun ownership--and vastly lower crime rates?