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Random Shots: Guns, Russ, DeTocqueville, Sanity, and the Not-So-Wild West

I really don't like the smell of gunpowder in the morning. Time to clear the queue!

When Dodge City residents organized their municipal government, do you know what the very first law they passed was? A gun control law. They declared that "any person or persons found carrying concealed weapons in the city of Dodge or violating the laws of the State shall be dealt with according to law." Many frontier towns, including Tombstone, Arizona--the site of the infamous "Shootout at the OK Corral"--also barred the carrying of guns openly [Adam Winkler, "Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today?" Huffington Post, 2011.09.09].

  • Just like House Bill 1087, which seeks to create a larger market for the NRA's products, our gun fantasies about the Old West arose from the drive to make money. More from Winkler:

Why is our image of the Wild West so wrong? Largely for the same reason these towns adopted gun control laws in the first place: economic development. Residents wanted limits on guns in public because they wanted to attract businesspeople and civilized folk. What prospective storeowner was going to move to Deadwood if he was likely to be robbed when he brought his daily earnings to the bank?

Once the frontier was closed, those same towns glorified a supposedly violent past in order to attract tourists and the businesses to serve them. Gunfights were extremely rare in frontier towns, but these days you can see a reenactment of the one at the OK Corral several times a day. Don't forget to buy a souvenir! [Winkler, 2011]

Update 07:14 MST: Susan Aaron has a child who survived last month's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. She spoke to a legislative task force at Newtown High School last night:

We stop being the world's greatest country when we allow our most vulnerable citizens to be slaughtered because we might offend people by taking away their guns. We stop being something to be proud of when we love our guns more than we love our children [Susan Aaron, quoted by Brian Burnell, "Powerful Words Spoken at Newtown, Conn. Hearing,", 2013.01.30].

Meanwhile, economists are saying that requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance could do some good, just as it does with drivers. I will gladly back the cars-guns equation.


  1. bret clanton 2013.01.31

    " Many frontier towns including Tombstone, Az the site of the infamous Shoot out at the OK Corral also barred the carrying of guns openly." It also led to the killing of two unarmed innocent men, Tom and Frank Mclaury. William Clanton being the only armed participant on the Clanton side due to the fact he had just arrived in town to retrieve his intoxicated brother Ike. If you are going to quote history perhaps get it right first......

  2. bret clanton 2013.01.31

    After watching and reading your incessant blogging and commenting on this issue that in answer to whether you should be armed I have decided that of all the teachers in South Dakota you are the absolute last one I would want anywhere near a firearm......

  3. larry kurtz 2013.01.31

    bret makes a profound point: the value of guns being manufactured and smuggled into Mexico and Central America, touted as economic development, rivals that of whatever illicit medicines coming into the US.

    The double standard should be an embarrassment to the gun industry.

  4. WayneB 2013.01.31

    Re: Gun Ownership Liability.

    What a ludicrous idea. So me, my father, and my neighbor get to pay insurance premiums to exercise our constitutional right... meanwhile I somehow doubt we'll be able to extract that insurance money from the young people in inner Chicago who're shooting it out among themselves - the ones who are truly responsible for the crime.

    Sure, we can then get insurance companies to pay out when someone snaps and kills his wife, or what have you... but we already have tort law to take care of that. I already carry umbrella insurance to cover my arse just in case anything happens - someone slips on my sidewalk, or whatever. Why should I have to go above and beyond?

    Should you have to carry liability insurance to exercise your first amendment right to free speech? What would an insurance adjuster say is your risk of garnering a libel or slander suit for your blogging activities? Would you keep the Madville Times open if the Feds required to carry liability insurance (let's say $1,800 per year), plus get licensed every year?

    Should we have our right to freely associate subject to liability insurance?

    Would you support "Pregnancy & STD Insurance" forced upon all boys, girls, men & women past puberty through menopause? That way the people who are more likely to have unprotected sex can abate the cost they bring upon society & our healthcare system.

    Geeze, Cory. How can you so vociferously argue in favor of expanding rights for women to have control over their bodies and out of the other side of your mouth gnash your teeth at the people who want to exercise their right to defend themselves and be free from undue search & seizure?

    It galls me how you completely disregard the information we have when it comes to who commits gun crimes & where, and totally ignore a basis upon which to form sound policy decisions to really reduce violence in our country.

    Where in all of Dante's hells did the debate coach I knew, who talked so much of logos over pathos and ethos, go?

    You're proposing all sorts of ideas which are based on irrational fear - bathotic in nature - and not designed to address any of the ills we actually have.

    You're in a car accident.

    Your leg is broken. Your head is cut up pretty good from the glass. Oh yeah, and your steering wheel is broken & lodged in your chest.

    The EMT shouldn't be concerned about your broken finger - he should be sure that steering wheel isn't going to be the death of you. Figure out what the steering wheel is, Cory.

  5. oldguy 2013.01.31

    wayne are there any points that are being discussed about gun control that you are ok with?

  6. Donald Pay 2013.01.31

    Many newspapers and publishing houses have insurance to protect against lawsuits in spite of the 1st Amendment guarantee to free speech.

  7. Les 2013.01.31

    What are your ideas oldguy? I dont like pictures of innocent deaths anymore than you. Aussie land has less murders since theyve melted down the firearms, but, the violent crimes are up. Yes Id rather my loved ones survived a rape or assualt, but Id also rather have a smaller number of all assaults whether deadly or not.

  8. WayneB 2013.01.31

    Oldguy, you bet - there are plenty of ideas I like.

    Making sure the NICS (the background database) is fully up-to-date. Not all states are reporting fully; that should get fixed. I want to know everyone buying guns at Gary's Gunshop can legally do so.

    Incentivize people to secure their firearms, rather than threaten to penalize them. We're happy to incentivize people to install green energy technology in their homes, rather than to tax people for having less efficient homes.

    The key is to balance the needs of the society against the liberties of the individual. Our goal should be to always minimize governmental intrusion to the least amount necessary to ensure a reasonable amount of safety.

    Look at the crime statistics. Look where gun crimes are being committed (inner cities). Next look at ways to fix those localized hot spots. Police have had growing success using communities to create societal pressures to reduce gang violence. We need more outside-the-box thinking like that to help reduce our general crime rates.

    We're apparently terrified of guns and gun owners. There are somewhere between 300 - 350 million guns in America, yet there are fewer than 350 thousand crimes involving guns. That's pretty darn decent, all things considered, especially when overall violent crime is going down.

    I'm disgusted with Cory (or anyone else, for that matter) for implying I'm a dangerous person for merely possessing a gun. It's no better than any evangelical who thinks homosexuals are going to destroy the fabric of our nation, and corrupt our youth. It's no better than the conservative who hates anyone with brown skin.

    All I'm seeing is a different flavor of intolerance, and it sickens me.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2013.01.31

    Tough shit Wayne.

    The love of guns is insane. Ban carrying and concealment of guns in urban areas and limit pistol possession to law enforcement agencies (not law enforcement personnel).

    Suggesting that murders might be reduced with sensible regulation of guns and gun ownership has nothing to do with intolerance, it is a matter of common sense which seems to be remarkably missing in the minds of gun freaks.

  10. grudznick 2013.01.31

    Hard poop Mr. Wiken.

    We get to keep our guns. And our ball peen hammers.

  11. Jana 2013.01.31

    In an earlier post I think I saw that to do a background check and all of the man hours of paperwork for a conceal carry costs just $10.

    Looking at other states, it costs a lot more to exercise freedom and liberty because they at least want to cover the costs! What gives?

    Are we subsidizing the people who get conceal carry permits? Betty Olsen, are you a taker?

    Why are we giving welfare to gun owners?

  12. Old guy 2013.01.31

    Wayne, I agree with a lot of what you said. Wondering how you feel about the sharing of mental health records. The only big problem I have is the AS guns that fire 30 rounds. I can't see a good reason for them but I also understand, like a car, it is the nut that drives or pulls the tigger. Laws are for people that are law abiding as thugs don't care what law says as they will do what they want.

  13. Les 2013.01.31

    "Ban carrying and concealment in urban areas"

    Like only the criminal get to carry? What's in your closet son? You need to get off the farm and spend a little time in those urbane areas you speak of.
    Support no permits Jana, if you want no cost to the state. Tell me how they protect you. Our two permits took five minutes and we wrote a check for $20. $240/hour though I'm sure they couldn't accomplish that number.

  14. grudznick 2013.01.31

    You people have no right to see my mental health records. If there are any. Hypnothetically. Im just sayin...

  15. Les 2013.01.31

    We've already seen years of your mental health records Grud, both here and over at the college. Just any good at the hammer toss, ball peen that is?

  16. Matt Groce 2013.02.01

    Hey Old Guy! (that was a lot of fun to type) Think of it this way, we still regulate what kind of car you can drive. Just think of the term street legal. We don't let people drive around in Indy cars, 'cause that would just be dangerous. We leave those to the professionals.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.01

    Wayne, my implication about you and other gun owners does not need to be taken personally. When you enter a room with a gun, a circular saw, or a bottle of nitroglycerin, you create a danger that did not exist a moment previously. I trust, Wayne, that you are a responsible handler of these items, but even you can make a mistake. Even if you have brought any of those items into the room to reduce some other potential risk, you have increased the immediate risk. We can still debate the actual value of "X times real minus Y times maybe." But no matter who you are—cop, carpenter, expert chemist—X is there, and you make it greater. That's no insult; that's an honest assessment of present risks.

  18. WayneB 2013.02.01

    Cory, that's like saying "I don't trust anyone who drives a car, because by driving a car they immediately increase the risk of a car accident." Yet we bus our kids to school - without seatbelts even! - and accept that risk.

    We live in a world of risks ... best to choose which ones to keep us up at night.

    Sure, people make mistakes. That's human. Turns out I'm more likely to get wrongfully shot by a police officer than a civilian on the street.

    Heck, in South Dakota you're much much more likely to get killed in a car crash than you are murdered or accidentally shot.

    So stop making it sound like we're a bunch of yokels hootin' n' hollerin' with guns out, out to destroy the fabric of society. When you start making rational arguments which might actually help reduce violent crime (which is still declining), and stop couching everything in fear, then I'll stop taking it personally.

    And Mr. Wiken:

    You're entitled to your opinion, but if I said homosexuality is insane - it goes against the reproductive drive of nature and is aberrant behavior detrimental to society, which must be suppressed, you'd call me a bigot. And you'd be right.

    I don't love guns; I love my freedoms and my liberties. I cherish the right to defend myself against those who would do me harm, and I'm sorry, but I'm not confident in my ability to fend of two thugs with my ball peen hammer. Nor would I relegate my wife to using harsh words to fend off a rapist. Thankfully we live in South Dakota, so the likelihood of that happening is slight compared to urban centers.

    Taking away handguns is a much better idea than banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as handguns account for a majority of guns used in crimes.

    But here's the tough feces:

    They also account for a majority of guns used to prevent/defend oneself from a crime.

    Washington DC didn't see a compelling decrease in gun crimes following their ban. Homicides a rose dramatically, then dropped close to pre-ban rates before the Court ruled it unconstitutional. There's not enough data after the ban, but it looks as though the homicide rates are further plummeting now that it's again legal to possess a handgun in D.C.

    So, at worst a handgun ban doesn't seem to prevent violent gun crime. At best, it doesn't reduce it in a significant fashion. We don't see conclusive evidence in Chicago that a handgun ban will keep handguns from being used in murders. Banning guns just doesn't do the trick.

    That's not a response based on emotion or gut intuition; it's based upon data.

    I'd much rather we redirect our resources to ensuring violent people are off the streets, rather than incarcerating non-violent offenders. I'd rather my tax dollars go to keeping inner city police forces strong, than to creating more layers of bureaucracy to keep track of all the guns owned by Farmer Ted. If Cichago & DC could afford more police officers, maybe folks wouldn't feel as much of a need to arm themselves for defense.

    I'd really rather my tax dollars go to making sure inner cities kids get good schooling, hot meals, and a way to grasp onto the American Dream to pull themselves out of the reciprocating life of crime & poverty. I'd rather help someone become a tax-paying citizen than let them continue on the black market & illicit drug trade.

  19. Ann 2013.02.01


    You don't seem to understand what it is like to lay awake, sweating and trembling, hugging your Bushmaster, waiting for a crazed gang of 20 first-graders to break into your home to do you violence.

  20. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    WayneB dont you need to pass a test to get a license to drive a car?

    The Blindman

  21. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    Dont you need insurance for the car that you drive?

    The Blindman

  22. LK 2013.02.01


    I can't speak for Cory, but since I have commented a lot on this pistolier bill and you believe I promote fear, I'll take a minute to comment about your self-perceived marginalization.

    I don't want guns in school. I don't care if a kid has a hunting rifle locked in the trunk of his car so he or she can go kill Bambi or pheasants or ducks or geese or varmints after school. I just don't want guns in the building. I view that limitation in the same way I view shouting fire in a crowded theater. There are limits to all rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

    Without snark, I am willing to concede that every gun owner in South Dakota is a better human than I and will receive a larger mansion in Heaven on Judgment Day than I will. That fact doesn't mean guns belong in civilian hands in school buildings.

    I'm not going to picket gun ranges. Gun owners can have all of the skeet shooting competitions they desire. I'm not going to call for the end of hunting season. In fact, unless work puts me on the road, I will stay off of federal, state, and county roads during the opening weekend of most hunting seasons. Hunters can have the roads to themselves that weekend with my compliments. Heck if one of my old TVs gives out and you or anyone else wants to shoot it to smithereens, let me know it's yours. I hope you have a good time and clean up the mess afterwards. That doesn't mean guns belong in schools.

    I'm guessing gun owners compose a majority of South Dakota citizens. That fact neither keeps me awake at night nor makes me feel safer. It also doesn't make me look at them as a group favorably or unfavorably. The only group I condemn with a broad brush are the people who think they have to talk loudly in movie theaters. I despise those people whether they own guns or not.

  23. WayneB 2013.02.01


    I did pass a test to drive a car. I also took a driver safety course.

    I also submitted to a background check to purchase a firearm. That test said I was legally qualified to own one. I even took a hunter safety course.

    I'm debating taking the Utah certified CCW course; I've heard great things about it.

    However, I shouldn't have to keep & prove I have insurance in order to own a gun. Even the article Cory referenced had a well thought out reason NOT to impose insurance:

    "When a person purchases a gun, she may not consider the possible harm that might come to others from the eventual use of the gun. Adding the cost of insurance might make the purchaser bear the full cost of the gun in the future, which could easily exceed the purchase itself. After all, registering a car requires insurance on the grounds that cars can cause involuntary harm to others. The insurance forces the driver to bear those costs that might come to pass that are borne by others in an accident.

    But the logic is not quite as neat as it might appear. Many people already buy and own guns illegally without license or registration. Adding the cost of insurance would further discourage honest gun ownership. That would make matters worse, not better. And is it so obvious that all guns are harmful to others and that gun ownership should be made more expensive to every owner? When an honest, law-abiding citizen uses a gun in self-defense, it often protects those nearby who are unarmed. Perhaps gun ownership should be subsidized for honest people. I don't think this is a good idea, but raising the cost of gun ownership, particularly for good and honest people who are likely to use a gun only in self-defense, is not a free lunch."

    Moreover, do we really, honestly believe the people who intend to cause mischief with their guns are going to go out and purchase insurance? We can't even get everyone who drives a car to carry insurance - 1 in 7 don't have any, and there are a whole heckuva lot more accidents with cars than guns.

    Car accidents account for about 34% of all accidents nationwide. Makes sense to require you insure yourself against the harm you might do. Guns account for less than one percent. Not worth the cost to society to mandate, enforce, etc.

  24. Eve Fisher 2013.02.01

    Agreed, most gun owners are nice, respectable, normal, law-abiding citizens. And then there are also those - and there's at least one in every town - like the guy in Alabama who beat a dog to death in front of God and everybody, scared the crap out of everyone, but no one did anything about him: and he is currently holding a boy hostage because he doesn't want to make his court appearance. What do you do about these? They have the same right to own guns as you do. And they insist on owning guns.

    Also, just a few basic statements of fact (no judgment is meant to be implied): (1) guns don't kill people, people kill people; but you can't shoot someone without a gun; (2) guns are made for no other purpose but to kill someone or something; and this is specifically what they are sold for. We regulate everything else that is made to kill you, from tobacco to drugs to poisons. (Try buying cyanide some time. You'll get visitors.)

  25. WayneB 2013.02.01


    And I've agreed with you & Cory that seeking to put guns into South Dakota schools is warrantless. We all agree it's not a good idea for whatever reasons we have. I'm not particularly concerned about the risk of an accidental shooting (South Dakota had more traffic accident injuries in a year than the whole US had accidental shootings). I'm concerned we're overreacting to the risk of an attack in South Dakota, and taking the wrong steps to feel safer. We don't need to raise taxes to get armed security into our schools. We don't need to let teachers/administrators pack heat. I'm happy with the status quo - and maybe educating counselors more to look for warning signs, but I won't hold them accountable if something horrific happens and we miss it.

    But Cory's not stopping there. These past few weeks he's been on a bender, trying to figure out all sorts of ways to make us gun owners pay more for the right to bear arms, or limit our ability to possess firearms. His logic is absent, so I have to assume it's purely a pathological response.

    I don't think I'm any better than anyone else. I don't think I'm any worse. I definitely don't think owning a gun makes me a worse person, a less safe person, or a more disrespectful person.

    I've tried very hard to make sure not to judge other people for their lifestyles and their beliefs, but I'm tired of getting judged for mine by the very folks who demand tolerance and an open mind.

  26. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    WayneB I'm playing the Devils Advocate here. Using your logic we should do away with all auto insurance
    "I also submitted to a background check to purchase a firearm. That test said I was legally qualified to own one. I even took a hunter safety course."

    Wrong that test only said there wasn't a reason that could be found that would set off an alert.

    The hunter safety course was meant for just that hunting, not personal protection. Shouldn't a test be given every five years like driving a car? You know eyesight, mental capacity, things like that? It only makes sense to try to keep people as safe as you can, not just for the people that are around the one doing the shooting but for the shooter their self.

    I know a lot of people that shouldn't drive that have been taken off of our roads because of the things I mentioned above. Shouldn't we have some expectation of the same from those handling a weapon?

    Before you get fired up about this you should know that I have spent my whole life with guns. I have spent more time hunting then probably any living person in the state of SD. It was my job, I trained hunting dogs for a living for over thirty years. In that time I averaged over three hundred days a year hunting and the rest working with dogs and guns.

    I no longer handle firearms because I'm to blind. I no longer drive because of the same reason. I could if I had to but "nobody" should have to worry about me doing either of those things, should they?Wouldn't it also be prudent to do the same with anyone that wants to conceal carry? People change both mentally and physically. I did.

    Things go wrong, shit happens, I have been shot at intentionally twice while hunting, I had a friend shoot himself in the ass while hunting. And I have had to take weapons away from people that went a little crazy while hunting because they were jeopardizing the safety of the others on the hunt.

    Isn't it time to bring a little sanity to the situation.

    The Blindman

  27. larry kurtz 2013.02.01

    Dithmer for governor.

    How an Austrian gun became America's gun: Fresh Air.


  28. Linda Simmon 2013.02.01

    I have a friend in Montana, a former teacher soon to be a teacher again. she owns a lot of guns and is a terrific marksman with a pistol. She performed an amazing and helpful experiment....she entered the high school in business garb and on a later day in black snowmobile suit with her hair hidden. No one stopped her, no one asked her to go to the office and get a visitors pass. No one is posted at the unlocked doors during basketball games, etc. Our schools have not felt justified spending money on security and have not been held to the standards they set for themselves. Oh, an armed trained deputy or policeman/woman may be something but if our schools can't keep teachers test scores safe then we are safer with the status quo than adding guns to the mix. Discipline first, don't even talk about guns till you keep your doors locked and fire exits alarmed and visitor passes on every visitor in the building and an intercom system that works.

  29. WayneB 2013.02.01


    I don't advocate getting rid of auto insurance any more than I advocate mandating insurance to own a firearm.

    We all are at much greater risk of being involved in a traffic accident than an accidental shooting.

    In 2008, there were 15,500 accidental shootings in the US, 680 of which were fatal.

    In 2008, there were 15,900 + traffic accidents in South Dakota alone, of those there were 5,708 injuries & 121 fatalities.

    Far far more people are injured or die from vehicle accidents than from firearms accidents. Why would you require equal or greater restrictions on the one that is the lessor risk to society? Not just a little bit less of a risk, but a significantly smaller risk.

    If accidental shootings were 10% of all accidental fatalities, that's probably a reasonable threshold to look at figuring out ways to abate the risk. But intruding into people's lives to try & fix 1%?

    People cause more problems for themselves & others by engaging in unsafe sex practices. More people contract STDs each year than are harmed by guns, yet don't you agree it sounds crazy to even suggest requiring people to carry insurance against accidental pregnancy & STD transmission? Isn't it absurd to make people register their genitals and submit to STD tests every year to ensure they're safe?

  30. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    WayneB why do you even compare deaths due to car wrecks, STDs, and guns. There is not a single thing to equate those things except the deaths that might or might not happen after the fact.

    Lets try to come at this from another direction. If you have three kids, two get killed in a car crash and one gets shot and dies in that way, aren't they still all dead?And yet the only thing that correlates between the two types of death is the fact that they are all dead. You cant compare two different kinds of death and the rate of death versus life and reach a logical conclusion that one death happened because it was statistically more dangerous then the others and therefore of more importance. But that is in essence just what you are trying to do here.

    This reminds me of the man that went to the neighbor to buy a team that the neighbor had for sale. The neighbor says " have you ever seen a better matched pair of horses?"The mans looks a a little while and then tells his friend "you know if the Shetland was eight hands taller or the Clydesdale was eight hands smaller, and if the Clydesdale was fifteen hundred lbs. lighter or the Shetland was fifteen hundred lbs. heaver, and the Shetland was brown instead of a paint they would look just alike.

    The only thing that was alike about those two horse was that they were in fact horses. Just like the only thing alike about three kids dying is the fact that they are dead. How they died is irrelevant when being compared statistically. Dead is Dead

    The Blindman

  31. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    "Isn't it absurd to make people register their genitals and submit to STD tests every year to ensure they're safe?"

    Yet in high risk professions we do just that.

    The Blindman

  32. WayneB 2013.02.01

    "You cant compare two different kinds of death and the rate of death versus life and reach a logical conclusion that one death happened because it was statistically more dangerous then the others and therefore of more importance. "

    You bet I can. That's what we data junkies do. How on earth do you think insurance adjusters figure out how much to charge you for car insurance? Darts? A Ouji board?

    No. They keep track of all the accident statistics then compare you to your demographic. The more of a risk you are (as determined by everyone else's traffic history like you), the more you pay.

    Logically, we should spend more time, effort & resources worrying about and abating the risks of the things that are more likely to cause us harm. If you're blind, have a bad knee, a hangnail, and COPD, you don't worry about fixing your knee until you've taken care of your COPD - that's what's most likely to kill you.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.01

    Linda, I've heard others suggest that before we authorize schools to arm their staff, we should conduct a thorough audit of security procedures at every school. See if all the money we've spent on locks and resource officers and other security measures is being used wisely first. Then do a serious study of real and perceived threats in each community, alongside an analysis of the risks of firearms within institution walls. Then come back and talk about whether putting more guns in schools will produce any net benefit.

  34. Bill Dithmer 2013.02.01

    "No. They keep track of all the accident statistics then compare you to your demographic. The more of a risk you are (as determined by everyone else's traffic history like you), the more you pay."

    Exactly, they are comparing your risk demographically using traffic accidents and only traffic accidents for the data about traffic related deaths.

    Meanwhile you still want to compare apples and oranges for your data. That does not compute. If we loose fewer kids to say heart attacks then car accidents should we just forget about those that have bad hearts until their numbers are comparable to those in the car accidents?

    The Blindman

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.01

    Wayne, our cultural obsessions with cars and guns may have some similarities, especially in the harm those obsessions do to our health and safety. I'm open to a discussion of getting our culture to use both cars and guns less. That's a much broader discussion.

    Specifically on guns: Wayne's laying out of the injury and death stats from cars and guns raises my interest. I'll bet the same in true in European countries, where I'll take a wild guess and say that both rates are lower (I welcome stats to support or refute!) because access to both items is more restricted.

    But review the full cost-benefit equation: the two cars in my driveway provide my family utility every day. Like pretty much every other rotten, selfish, immediate gratification parent in the country, we strap our child in one or the other of those vehicles several times a week because those vehicles get her to school and cultural events, bring home food and supplies, and leave her (and Mom and Dad) more time to read books and play and rest at home.

    Any guns in my house add no such utility to the benefit side of the equation. Little food, no transportation, no added leisure... add those equations up, multiply by 300 million citizens, and you can make an economic case for restrictions on guns well before restrictions on automobiles.

    But at least we can agree that we want neither guns nor cars in our classrooms.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.01

    And LK, you come about as close to speaking for me as you can above. Great talking-in-the-theater analogy. I do not wish to condemn all gun owners. But gun owners who want to turn my school into their personal self-affirmation ground will incur my fullest ire.

  37. Douglas Wiken 2013.02.01

    Data Junkie? Data nonsense.

    Nearly everybody needs to drive to survive in this state. It is a daily part of life polluted too often with drunken drivers and distracted cellphone messengers. For all the totally needless injury needless guns cause and the small amount of time involved with them, it is absurd to pretend they are in anyway statistically comparable.

    And, "you'd call me a bigot. And you'd be right. " No, I would challenge your irrelevant, incorrect data. "Bigot" is not an argument and I try never to use that term period. You should not impute your own logical failings to other.

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