I love college kids

Because they’re so ignorant, but at least they’re really enthusiastic in their ignorance. Found a fun little op-ed in the Vanderbilt college paper that really stands as a shining example of how full of crap most college kids are. And I’m not excluding myself from that, I’m sure that when I was a sophomore in college, I was pretty much entirely full of crap.

In one way, it’s not really fair – I doubt that I receive any honest debate, because usually 19 year olds are such ardent believers that it is entirely inconceivable that their ideology could be wrong…of course, that doesn’t make the fisking any less fun for me.

Firearms remain a distinctly American obsession. Unsurprisingly, this feverishly religious fixation has ordained guns alongside the infallible icons of baseball, apple pie and NASCAR. While the rest of the civilized world has abandoned such instruments of technological feat and individual dignity, we have survived this strange, globally endemic wave of demasculinization by preserving our right — constitutional right, that is — to bear arms.

Ah, the redneck trifecta – NASCAR, gluttony, and firearms. Because anything that the masses like must be bad, right? I do really enjoy the subtle implication in there that because we still believe in our constitutional right to bear arms, we’re somehow uncivilized. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I can manage to hunt and peck words out on this new fangled electronic typewriter thingy.

Things have changed since 1787. Guns still, in some sense, represent power, freedom and revolution, possibly in socially underdeveloped and politically unstable countries or in the National Rifle Association headquarters. However, other devices have replaced those antiques and proven to be our modern leverage against institutional authority. Personal computers, the Internet and even YouTube have created an inversed Orwellian state, where the people constantly monitor the regime for signs of deviation from the ideal.

You know, I actually believe that the pen is mightier than the sword…but the pen needs the sword as well. You see, there are people who don’t like the pen, and they have lots of swords, so when they come to silence the pen you’re going to need a sword of your own. Side note, this kid managed to get the required anti-NRA dig in in the second paragraph, so he’s right on the format. But he is right – things have changed since 1787, and we do have personal computers, the internet, etc. Since the First Amendment covers modern technological innovations, shouldn’t the 2nd Amendment cover…modern firearms?

In the light of new revelations of school shootings, one of which occurred and one of which was thwarted, we must ask why these terrifyingly similar incidents still happen even after Columbine, even after Virginia Tech, even after those painful, frustrating moments where we vowed to implement change, even after realizing guns are no longer weapons of self-preservation for ordinary citizens. Today, guns are necessary tools for the police, military and recreational hunters, not for a mentally instable 14-year-old.

So, who is supposed to protect ordinary citizens from the Very Bad Men that exist in this world? Can you guarantee that there will be a police officer at every corner, by every house just in case they’re needed? Of course you can’t, and to act on such a guarantee would place us square into a police state.

One thing for sure, the problem is not that guns are inherently evil. In the same spirit, the problem is not that our young boys are playing games with fake guns. The problem is that our young boys are playing with real guns. The problem is that those young boys are also bullied, mentally volatile, naive, vindictive and suicidal. The problem is that the parents and the schools leave them unattended, unmonitored and unknown.

Actually, this is the first smart thing that is written in this entire essay. Guns and video games aren’t the problem – there are serious social and economic issues at the root of most of the gun crime in America. It’s not coincidence that most of the nation’s violent crime occurs in economically depressed areas, but instead of actually addressing the issues that cause the depression, most people would rather focus on the device used to perpetrate the crime.

Resolution of this dilemma will most likely take decades, if not generations. It will involve the participation of you and me as socially responsible, genuinely concerned and proactively conscious citizens. We can learn from our European and Asian counterparts in a manner that does not interfere with our cultural identity but in a way that requires us to be open, sensible and reasonable. Even in rural America, where the gun speaks law and order, we must gradually evolve into a culture where law and order are fully sufficient for civil stability. In the meantime, we must stop exploiting the Second Amendment to justify our pathetic, quasi-patriotic, petty imitations of antediluvian, cowboy-esque individualism. Rather, the clause should be respected symbolically in the context of its historical reality, progressive activism and unconventional wisdom. In short, our society must be willing to gamble on mutual trust and mutual peace. The prospects are too tempting.

Aaaaaand…we’re right back to foolish idealism. The mindless glorification of non-American society, the stereotyping of gun owners as redneck cowboy-wannabes, belief that we can “all just get along”, and topped off with a delicious cherry of “let’s make the world a better place”. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so damn tragic.

I’m sure that one or two of you will think I’m being too harsh on this kid. You’ll say, “But Ahab, he’s just 19, he can’t know any better”; and I’ll say that he’s got to learn some time. The last paragraph of his essay is the part that really gets me, because it’s actually the most foolish and misguided of the whole thing. People do not just “get along”. Unfortunately, some people are violent, malevolent assholes who enjoy hurting their fellow man. I mean, look at this sentence:

we must gradually evolve into a culture where law and order are fully sufficient for civil stability

What the hell does that even mean? Law and order is civil stability; that sentence is just a pile of nonsense.

I’m sure that this kid has the best of intentions – but his ideals are just that, high minded ideals that have nothing to do with the real world where everyone else lives. I can only hope that the result of his publishing such a foolish missive will result in some sense being pounded into his skull.

Edit/Update: Uncle has his way with the piece.   I especially love this line: I, instead, don’t gamble and take steps to ensure my own safety. And all the hippie, tree-hugging mutual trust bologna in the world isn’t worth a hill of beans the very second someone breaks that mutual trust your gambling on.

Uncle’s way with words will never cease to amuse me.


  1. I’m constantly amazed that anyone, especially idealistic kids, are so hostile to an authentic grass-roots citizens organization whose passion is the Bill of Rights.

    Who is teaching these folks to HATE the NRA?

    And second: can you imagine a college student who is consumed with empowering the police and the G. W. Bush administration to the exclusion of common people?

    It’s a crazy world!

  2. The problem, as I see it, is these “idealist kids” (used loosely as I am much an idealistic kid myself) are seriously buying into the extreme polarization of politics right now. College kids, tending towards the extremes of both ends of the political spectrum anyway, are especially influenced by the black and white, right vs. left, no common ground atmosphere.

  3. I’ve never been a fan of cars driving in a circle. Those cross-country races appeal to me more often than not.

    From what I hear, there actually are quite a few gun owners in Europe, particularly Spain and Germany.

    I’ve met an anti-gun professor, however I think I could have hammered the RKBA into him. He was not “virulently” anti-gun, just passively anti-gun (his reasoning: guns cause harm, therefore guns are bad).

    I’ve also met a pro-gun professor, so I guess it balances out.

  4. Being a 19-year-old college kid, myself, I have to say I’m a bit offended at being lumped in with this guy, both for myself and on behalf of my friends, who are also 19- and 20-year-old college kids. Three of us, myself included, are actually gun owners; a fourth enjoys shooting and comes with me whenever I go to the range, and the rest are all clear thinking folk who pretty universally see gun control as rather silly. I should also mention that of eight people, no fewer than 7 of us (again, myself included) are registered democrats.

    That said, it is with considerable shame that I must admit that I, too, was pro-gun-control, for a time. But then, in 10th grade, my father took me to a gun (and militaria) show. To my surprise, the only flags displayed in the arena were the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Maryland (hung from the ceiling, as they often are in stadiums and arenas) – no nazi flags or pointy hoods or anything silly like that. And there were even minorities there (besides the Asian guy at the “made in China” tables, where literally everything for sale was made in China). Since then I’ve gone to as many gun shows in the DC area as possible. But that wasn’t quite enough to fully convince me of the silliness of gun control philosophy.
    In 11th grade I took AP US History, and near the end of the year, we had several debates. We were formed into groups of four, each group assigned a topic (at random), and split into teams of two to research and debate the topic (the teams also assigned at random). The topic my group was assigned was gun control, and the team I was assigned to was the pro-gun-control team.
    During the course of my research, I found it especially difficult to find credible statistics supporting gun control; whenever I looked deeper into statistics that seemed promising, I always found that they were either presented in a misleading (often bordering on downright dishonest) way or they had some other terrible flaw that the other side would no doubt use to rebut my argument. When reading court decisions and opinions by legal authorities, I found myself thinking things like “boy, this Scalia guy’s a dick, but on this I have to admit he’s got a point.” So eventually I gave up on gun control, and, as a result, my efforts at finding evidence to support my argument in the debate. I went to class that day with nothing but a few notecards and a lot of rhetoric and psuedo-sociology.
    Needless to say, we lost the debate. But although my team lost, I like to think of that day as a victory for America, because facts, reason, and intellectual honesty won the RKBA side another convert…or five…
    And so it was that I became the gun-owning Maryland liberal, and 19-year-old (for now, obviously) college kid, that I am today.

    As for the 19-year-old college kid mentioned in the original post, I’d say he’s got some research to do, but, due to a lack of intellectual honesty on his part, he probably either won’t do it or he’ll only examine sources that agree with his preconceptions.

    And I appologise for the long comment, but I suppose here it’s warranted since I am bringing a unique and relatively important perspective to the discussion… 🙂

  5. someone needs to drop this ninny off in the inner-city of DC and force him to walk out on his own 2 feet…
    he’d be singing a different tune very quickly

  6. Hey college kid, It is a pleasure to meet you. If everyone had your integrity, there would be no need for this discussion. I fear, however, that most on the other side are not people of good character with an honest difference of opinion and are, in fact, either elitists and presume to be elite themselves, or are simply evil, wishing for control over others, knowing that kissing ass and denying truth is the “team to be on”. Of course, that only works in a very limited world, which they will soon leave, but there are still plenty of opportunities in politics for the dishonest powermonger.

    Anyway, it is a pleasure to see a young man with his own mind who is courageous enough to adapt his opinions to reality rather than adapt his perception of reality to his opinions.

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