Re: Guns Defuse Angst; Social Misfit Sees Error in Ways

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You might be feeling jealous right now that your state or nation is just so entirely sane that you never get to write letters about whether or not to the state should facilitate kids shooting each other.

No, but I'm still not over the fact that I live in a city where there was a front-page newspaper article last month on why the rent-a-cops in the public schools should be allowed to carry guns.

I'm with Jesse at Pandagon (commenting on the vigilante customer who started shooting when the Burger King he was eating in got robbed):

There are two ways of looking at this. The first is with the tacit approval of this brave man taking justice into his own hands and using his Constitutional rights to stop a robber in his tracks, saving a fast-food restaurant literally hundreds of dollars.
The second is that this guy got into a firefight in a public place, endangering himself, the employees and other customers and passers-by, is in serious condition in a hospital and probably could have died if a bullet had been a half-inch off, all to save a fast-food restaurant literally hundreds of dollars.
Let's talk about why the second way is correct. Simply put, you have the right to defend yourself and others - this, I cannot and will not disagree with. However, there's a reason that we train people to do this for the community at large, rather than trusting a group of residential commandos to lay down suppression fire every time someone wants to hold up a 7-11. Guns are dangerous. Very dangerous. They are designed to kill living things. Regardless of your position on the right to bear arms, a man nearly lost his life to protect the till at a Burger King. In terms of social cost, a law-abiding citizen's life is not worth ten hours' take of Tendercrisp sandwiches and shitty (but improved!) fries.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:03 AM
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Texas is deeply weird. I knew that, generally speaking, people have a right to carry concealed weapons there. My boyfriend's father works for Johnson and Johnson and used to travel to Texas a lot. They had to have a sign which clearly displayed that it was a no-gun facility.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:06 AM
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There are a certain percentage of college students who are crazy and want to shoot up their school. There are also a certain percentage of students and faculty who would intervene in the event of a school shooting with the force available to them. The issues are 1) whether crazy students are actually deterred from shooting people by the fact that guns on campus are illegal and 2) whether any shooting sprees that do occur are likely to be shorter and less deadly given the legitimacy and thus greater availability of lethal retaliatory force.

Now it's possible that the greater availability of guns on campus will increase the number of shooting deaths more than the ability to nip said shootings in the bud via gunshot from a civilian would decrease them, but this is by not necessarily the case.

The robber in the Pandagon scenario had a gun; was the customer fighting to "protect the till" or did he think that the employees or other customers were in danger? He may have been just the kind of reckless jackass Jesse implies, but it's not clear.

Disclaimer: I am from Texas but I don't have any guns. At least not in my current possession.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:12 AM
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As someone who regularly gets the mentally ill students (I attract them somehow), I really really really like being able to assume my classrooms are gun-free. I'm not worried about the ones who get the concealed carry permit. I'm worried about their suicidally depressed roommate.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:14 AM
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Also, fuck all the Walther Mittys. At 8am in French class at VA Tech, you might well have died even if you were armed. Reality is not an episode of 24.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:15 AM
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2: Signs like that are a bit of a shock for the uninitiated. I think the first time I saw one was on the doors of an Ohio supermarket, and just in time too, otherwise I totally would have forgotten to take the pearl-handled Derringer out of my garter belt.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:16 AM
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Haha, "Walther". Intentional pun?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:19 AM
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Yup. I think it was I don't pay's coinage the last time this subject came up. It's brilliant and I have stolen it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:20 AM
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3: You forgot issue (3) whether the greater availability of guns on campus will increase the number of shooting deaths not connected to spree killings: suicides, accidents, personalized murder/manslaughter, 'self-defense' in situations that would have remained sublethal in the absence of guns.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:23 AM
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I'm waiting for a firefight to break out on some campus where every participant thinks the others are "some nutcase with a gun trying to shoot up the school" and they are the hero trying to defend people.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:24 AM
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Yeah. My guess is that for every Seung-hui Cho stopped by a brave manly Walther Mitty, there will be forty suicides/dead girlfriends/accidents with drunken frat boys. Of course, those don't make the national news.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:25 AM
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9: Yes, that's something to factor in as well. If that were the focus of the opposition to the new law it might be more persuasive than OMG GUNZ BAD, which is how some of the letter writers will probably come off.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:26 AM
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3:
The robber in the Pandagon scenario had a gun; was the customer fighting to "protect the till" or did he think that the employees or other customers were in danger? He may have been just the kind of reckless jackass Jesse implies, but it's not clear.

Of course he thought the employee and other customers were in danger. He was still probably being a reckless jackass.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:28 AM
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i wonder how great a role differential regret plays in people's policy instincts. The regret that I think I would feel if I had a gun and it was taken away from me (I am a twiggy person with little upper-body strength) and used to cause additional harm is far greater than the regret I think I would feel if I were stuck in a classroom with a crazy person shooting, and I didn't have a gun.

I also have more faith in my ability to think creatively, do kooky or distracting things, or negotiate with a person who is very angry, sick, or confused, than I have in my ability to accurately shoot a weapon under pressure.

I can imagine many people who feel the opposite. I suspect that is where some of this pro-gun energy comes from.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:29 AM
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The building I worked in for the past seven years had a nice big Gun-Free sticker on it. The campus had a shooting a few years ago, too, when a disgruntled, failing student shot several of his professors to death in their offices, before killing himself. At the time the argument was definitely made by pro-gun types that had there been concealed-carry people around then the guy would have been taken care of -- the whole John Wayne image, you know. Cala is of course right that this is a fantasy.

I'm more convinced of the argument that the kind of people who get CC permits are not likely to be the crazies who shoot places up. But undergrads and guns, hmm, no thanks.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:30 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:37 AM
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I thought Cho's gun was legal, wasn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:41 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:46 AM
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If everyone is packing that could potentially make classroom debates that much more exciting.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:46 AM
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There are also the times where students decide to scare the bejeezus out of everyone in their class by using their handguns as speech props. This happened in a fellow-first year graduate instructor's class several years ago. No one was thrilled by that visual aid.


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:48 AM
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Maybe Texas should do this just to demonstrate to the rest of the country what a profoundly bad idea it is.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:49 AM
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21: I hope not. They tried that in 2000. Unfortunately, it took the country more than four years to get the message.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:51 AM
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Undergraduates with guns at Auburn University.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:51 AM
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||

I am not backing away from my pledge to foreswear criticism of Obama during his first 100 days, but goddammit, we're almost 3/4 of the way through and I'm still not seeing any signs of progress on this front.

Fortunately, this is an issue where concerted effort by the netroots could make a real difference...laydeez.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:51 AM
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15: I'm more convinced of the argument that the kind of people who get CC permits are not likely to be the crazies who shoot places up.

I am not convinced of this at all. In as much as CC permits are given out like candy in many jurisdictions, CC permit holders strike me as people who are paranoid, have fragile egos, unrealistic world views, and are prone to violence. In short, someone far more likely than average to be the kind of crazy who would shoot a place up.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:56 AM
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Apologies, I meant to post 24 on the Obama personality cult thread.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:57 AM
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Maybe Texas should do this just to demonstrate to the rest of the country what a profoundly bad idea it is.

I thought Utah had carry on university grounds. I know there was a court case about it. Maybe they changed the laws since the decision though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:58 AM
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IF THE DESIRE TO KILL AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO KILL CAME ALWAYS TOGETHER, WHO WOULD ESCAPE HANGING?


Posted by: OPINIONATED MARK TWAIN | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:00 AM
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CC permits are given out like candy in many jurisdictions

Indeed. The whole point of the "shall issue" language that the NRA fights for in CC statutes is to put the burden of proof on the government to show that the individual is unfit to own a gun, rather than the other way around. The contrast to driver licensing is even more apposite than usual.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:01 AM
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24: It's March. I don't know where you live, but here it's still a bit too cold most days to comfortably wear sheer blouses outdoors, I think. That may make Obama's failure on this front all the more disappointing, but it also makes the task all the more difficult.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:01 AM
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I thought Utah had carry on university grounds.

Yep, for about two years now.

issue (3) whether the greater availability of guns on campus will increase the number of shooting deaths not connected to spree killings: suicides, accidents, personalized murder/manslaughter, 'self-defense' in situations that would have remained sublethal in the absence of guns.

Far as I can tell, doesn't seem to have happened here. Of course, it's questionable whether the availability of guns was really affected as there's already loads of guns around in this state.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:04 AM
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31: Thanks, Cyrus. You've lifted my spirits. I was worried that Harry Reid had cut some kind of corrupt bargain with the Senate minority again, or that the bra manufacturers lobby had extorted a promise from the administration in exchange for staying out of the EFCA fight.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:05 AM
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The biggest argument against guns on college campuses is that they are generally centers of binge drinking, and nothing good comes from drunks having quick access to guns.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:06 AM
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I think it was I don't pay's coinage the last time this subject came up. It's brilliant and I have stolen it.

That *is* clever. Bummer IDP isn't hanging around here anymore.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:07 AM
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Cho's gun was legal, but he did not have a concealed carry permit. Most states -- and I'm not even looking up Texas -- are shall-issue, meaning the government has to have a reason to deny you a carry permit. Still, most gun violence isn't committed by people who have carry permits. (Though they may be more prone to hero fantasies.)

But I don't see any way this isn't fantasy land. 1) Many undergraduates would be too young to carry, depending on the campus 2) So I guess it's the liberal professoriate who is supposed to defend their intro classes? I'm going to negotiate for hazard pay. 3) This is so far into hard cases make bad law territory it's ridiculous. (Here's an idea. Next time you find a dead RA and a dead female undergrad, don't assume it's *just* domestic violence and continue with business as usual.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:09 AM
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I don't think I mentioned how much the comment linked in 24 irritated me the first time around. But since it's been revived, let me make that known.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:09 AM
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24: Not clear whether the 100 day pledge concerns both Obamas, but on this one the blame falls on Michelle, sleeveless and braless being a risky sartorial synergy.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:10 AM
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I don't really need to read past 5 to know that Cala is, as usual, completely right.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:21 AM
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The proposed law will undoubtedly also impact the whole grade-inflation issue.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:22 AM
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36: Your disapproval would carry a lot more weight if commenters had to worry that you might be packing heat.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:23 AM
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||

Somewhat off topic:

I found an old buck on Google Books, but I can only view or print even-numbered pages. Is the problem 1.) my computer, 2.) my printer (very unlikely) 3.) a Google error, or 4.) fiendish Google malfeasance intended to piss me off?

The book was printed around 1820, so it's not copyright.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:27 AM
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The proposed law will undoubtedly also impact the whole grade-inflation issue.

"Teach, I need to keep a 3.57 gpa, if you get my drift..."


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:29 AM
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41: S/B buch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:35 AM
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Can teachers disarm students before they send them to the principal's office?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:37 AM
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Caroline's kindergarten is clearly marked as a gun-free zone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:40 AM
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Caroline's kindergarten is clearly marked as a gun-free zone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:40 AM
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The biggest argument against guns on college campuses is that they are generally centers of binge drinking, and nothing good comes from drunks having quick access to guns.

I'm not sure that's a complete argument. I mean, it could be applied just as well to cars, or power tools, or balconies.



Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:43 AM
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Speaking of Texas, remember that grad student who made the crazy video about the non-uniqueness of humanity, then shot the camera and then killed his whole dissertation committee? That was freaky.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:43 AM
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Can teachers disarm students before they send them to the principal's office?

One would hope the teachers have studied Krav Maga or something similar.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:44 AM
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Speaking of Texas, remember that grad student who made the crazy video about the non-uniqueness of humanity, then shot the camera and then killed his whole dissertation committee? That was freaky.

The shooting the camera part, maybe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:46 AM
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47: Students typically don't keep powertools in their dorm rooms or bring them to parties. Generally modern dorms are also designed with drunks in mind, and don't have balconies. Drunks and cars is an ongoing national issue.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:51 AM
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Oftentimes freshmen aren't permitted to have cars on campus (usually for reasons of space, as well as first-time-away-from-home drinking worries), at non-commuter schools. And I'll worry about drunken access to power tools when power tools become common methods of murders and suicides.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:59 AM
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51: so why not ban alcohol instead of guns?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:00 AM
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Alcohol is already banned for ~95% of undergraduates, what with the national 21-yr-old drinking age.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:02 AM
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At a classical residential school, most students are under 21, and campus security is obligated to enforce all laws, so there is in fact an alcohol ban.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:03 AM
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re: 53

That's an interesting set of priorities there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:03 AM
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54/55: that's my point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:03 AM
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when power tools become common methods of murders and suicides

Nail Gun Killings Ruled Murder-Suicide


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:05 AM
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Most colleges currently offer a host of information and programs for incoming students on responsible drinking*--they could easily offer similar information on responsible gun ownerhsip.

* Even though it is supposedly illegal, for most incoming students.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:07 AM
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they could easily offer similar information on responsible gun ownerhsip

"Don't bring your fucking gun to school" sounds like a good, responsible message that the colleges should be putting out.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:10 AM
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I guess it just seems to me that if you're going to accept a general right for adults to carry concealed handguns (which is itself controversial, and I'm not sure it's a good idea, but Texans have such a right), having an exemption for college campuses doesn't really make much sense to me. Unlike prohibitions set up by individual businesses, in this case you're really almost entirely neutering the right, at least for anyone who lives on campus. If you accept that this is an important right (again, controversial, but Texas...), it's hard for me not to see the current ban as overbroad.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:16 AM
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So why limit it to college students who are on their college campus? (A college student off campus can have a gun.)

Why not make it illegal to have a gun until you are 25?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:20 AM
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pwned by Brock.

Also, AWB refused to come sit in on my gun class. I even offered her the chance to shoot an uzi.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:22 AM
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Why not make it illegal to have a gun until you are 25?

Fine by me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:25 AM
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If smoking in public buildings can be banned, I see no reason why guns should be treated any differently.

Also, AWB refused to come sit in on my gun class

Every single time I see A White Bear abbreviated like that, I think of this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:28 AM
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KINDERGARTENS SHOULD BE CLEARLY MARKED AS ALCOHOL-FREE ZONES!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CARRIE NATION | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:29 AM
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64: come on now, rob. This feels to me like you basically just don't like guns, and so are happy to see them restricted as much as possible. Would you also be okay with raising the drinking age to 25? (The negative societal effects of alcohol are at least as well documented as those of guns. And despite these potential negative effects, both can be used responsibly, and there's a significant portion of the population that enjoys doing so.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:35 AM
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both can be used responsibly

Aside from ROTC training, what would constitute responsible gun use on a college campus?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:37 AM
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I even offered her the chance to shoot an uzi.

If I'm ever in Richmond I want to sit in on your gun class.

Sincerely yours,
Ragebunny


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:37 AM
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If it's not a "gun-free zone," it's a "Gun! FREEZE!!! zone."


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:38 AM
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65: are we talking can be or should be? I don't think there are many people who thinks guns can't be banned in public buildings.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:39 AM
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69:

Yes! As long as it doesn't eliminate the rage from Ragebunny.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:39 AM
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Also all you bostonians should come to my show's opening.

There will be alcohol, but it'll be a gun-free zone.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:41 AM
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68: that was a response to 64, Apo, which didn't have anything to do with college campuses. But, to answer your question, in a state that has decided to grant responsible adults a general right to carry concealed weapons, responsible gun use on a college campus could involve just carrying a gun around on one's person, responsibly. Guns don't need to be fired in order to be "used"--even most gun-nut cowboys hope to fire their guns as infrequently as possible, or never.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:43 AM
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SJC drew a lot of students from rural MD who liked to go hunting on the weekends. They were allowed to keep guns in a safe on campus and check them out when they wanted to go hunting. This seemed reasonable to me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:43 AM
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I wish I could go to mcmc's show!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:49 AM
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75: I have never heard of this. Who? That seems like a crazy liability for the school to take on. Where could you hunt? The only gun I remember was in the possession of someone on your floor (I think? Or maybe just spiritually belonged there -- pbuh) and his was illegal and a really bad idea, as most everything this fellow (pbuh) did.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:49 AM
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67: In response to that, I want to start by asking what the point of having a concealed carry permit on campus is. Obviously, it's not hunting/target shooting -- as uses, those have nothing to do with concealed carry. So we're talking self-defense only -- responsibly enjoying the use of guns is neither here nor there.

At that point, we're talking pragmatics -- what keeps law-abiding people safest? I wouldn't be surprised if the actual effects are pretty small -- there aren't many spree killers to be shot down like animals by fearless bystanders, and maybe there wouldn't be many idiots accidentally shooting someone in an argument in a bar that got ugly.

But there are a bunch of reasons to think that concealed carry would do less good and more harm on campuses than elsewhere. Less good: campuses are already fairly heavily policed compared to the world in general; your odds of being far from a campus police officer are pretty low. More harm: while a 21 year-old may be a legal adult, the high concentration of barely adult people seems to me to increase the chance of stupid accidents; likewise with binge drinkers; likewise with people disinhibited by living outside their normal social contexts.

I'm actually not sure what the current state of the law is that we're talking about -- blanket ban on concealed carry on all college campuses by law? Individual colleges are now allowed to ban concealed carry on their campuses? If it's the latter, I'd tend to think that it made sense to leave it up to the colleges.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:52 AM
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If I'm ever in Richmond I want to sit in on your gun class.

Enthusiastically seconded. I'll even bring some wine to liven things up.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:52 AM
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75 seems reasonable to me. There is a big difference between that and Concealed Carry. Concealed Carry in general seems really bad to me because if I'm out in public and some jackass nearby has a gun, I at least want to know about it, so I can get as far away from him as possible. They should at least have to carry them out in the open.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:53 AM
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77: I believe Dm/tri S/leski had this arrangement, and he would just drive back out to whatever backwoods he grew up in and shoot deer. I may have the person wrong, but not the arrangement.

I don't think it is a crazy liability. You don't have to travel far from Annapolis to find wilderness.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:54 AM
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78 seems more like a response to almost every comment of mine except 67, than a response to 67.

You find it implausible that someone could enjoy carrying around a gun even in the absence of using it? "I enjoy carrying it because it makes me feel safer" seems likely to me.

I'm curious whether these are state schools or private schools (if there is a legal difference between the two on this issue).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:57 AM
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81: Then why wouldn't he just leave his gun at his own house? Oh well. Neither here nor there.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:59 AM
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"I enjoy carrying it because it makes me feel safer" seems likely to me.

If it doesn't actually make you safer, it doesn't seem like the sort of enjoyment that's worth catering to, or at least not enough to override an institutional actor's interest in controlling the presence of firearms on its property.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:59 AM
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I'm hardly anti-gun at all, but the majority of the strong pro-gun people seem to be irrationally fearful, almost demented, potentially brutal men who seem to be acting out a fantasy script in real life.

And the laydeez too! How could I have forgetten the lovely, irrationally fearful, almost demented, potentially brutal laydeez? I deserve to be shot by the Garterbelt Glock Feminist Avenger.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:00 AM
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I'm wondering whether there's any difference in where someone lines up on this issue and on conceleaed carry generally. I mean, I'd expect the correlation to be relatively strong, but I wonder if it's close to perfect.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:01 AM
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VA permits open carry in a lot of situations. There was a recent news story about a bunch of guys who regularly got together at a restaurant with pistols strapped to their hips and raised a ruckus when the owner kicked them out. Not sure what the outcome was.

I was on a mailing list with a guy who back in the (IIRC) 60s used to wear a huge revolver strapped to his hip when he rode his bike on the roads in CA. He claimed it lead to drivers giving him a respectable berth.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:03 AM
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84: Although, a blanket rule banning guns because they are not safer in the hands of irresponsible people seems comparable to a blanket ban on alcohol because it is not safe in the hands of irresponsible people.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:05 AM
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an institutional actor's interest in controlling the presence of firearms on its property

But the amount we cater to institutional actors' interests in controlling what happens on their property is generally severely circumscribed when that property happens to be someone else's place of residence (especially when the institutional actor is the state (I'm still not sure whether that's the case here)). Could an apartment complex ban gun possession?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:08 AM
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Could an apartment complex ban gun possession?

I would think so. They ban pets and smoking and grilling on the balcony.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:10 AM
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Togolosh is referring to www.vcdl.org.

LB, you seem to be implying that the campus crime rate lower than the non-campus area. Is that true?

Emerson mentioned that the pro-gun people seem irrationally fearful. I would say that both sides do a tremendous amount of unhealthy stereotyping.

The people that I have seen getting concealed handgun permits are mostly very responsible, safety oriented people.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:11 AM
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90: it was an honest question to which I didn't know the answer (and one that I imagine might vary by state). Could they ban alcohol?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:12 AM
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(I ask 92 because I imagine the threshold for banning alcohol must be lower than that for banning firearms, what with the second amendment and all.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:13 AM
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86: I generally support shall-issue laws WRT concealed carry. I think letting college students carry on campus is bugfuck crazy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:13 AM
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94: interesting. Why? Does the 3rd paragraph of 78 cover it, or are there other reasons?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:15 AM
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93: You'd think so, but the number of gun-free campi surely exceeds the number of dry campi by a fair bit.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:17 AM
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Campus crime rates appear lower that the surrounding areas because schools like to solve problems internally, without much publicity. In fact, certain crimes like date rape and drug dealing, are very common on residential campuses.

I would accept concealed carry laws as a part of a co-ordinated plan to fight date rape on campus, if it could be made to fit with the rest of the strategy.

As it is, most administrations don't like to admit that they even have a problem.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:18 AM
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91: The people that I have seen getting concealed handgun permits are mostly very responsible, safety oriented people.

This is true. Still, the "mostly" in that sentence is what worries me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:19 AM
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Fine, will, but the people I know seem really fucked up. Even when they're under control, which one of them isn't, they seem to organize their lives around violent potential events, as if they're waiting for their chance to blow someone away. And sometimes you only find this out after you've known them for awhile; many of them can maintain perfectly in ordinary contexts.

In practice, this isn't that big an issue, and I don't put a lot of energy into fighting it, but a lot of those guys are self-pitying, demented shits.

And no, I won't tell them that to their faces, because who knows, that might be the moment they were waiting for.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:19 AM
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93: The 2nd Amendment only regulates what the government can ban. A private party leasing out his/her private property has alot more leeway -- unless of course local laws limit that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:19 AM
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responsible gun use on a college campus could involve just carrying a gun around on one's person, responsibly

See, I interpret this as "responsible gun use in a campus setting consists of not using it". At which point, I have to wonder what's the point, then, beyond the obvious compensation issue?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:20 AM
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100: sorry, should have been more clear, I meant public housing.

101: the "compensation issue"?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:27 AM
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the "compensation issue"

gun = penis


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:30 AM
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Allcampuses should have sharpshooters posted to take out anyone who seems to be carrying a gun.

Hard choices, folks. Hard choices.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:35 AM
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74
even most gun-nut cowboys hope to fire their guns as infrequently as possible, or never.

They say that's what they hope and they might even believe it, but that doesn't mean it's true. Likewise (analogy alert), the goal of the Iraq war was democracy promotion, millionaires believe the Laffer Curve works, and just to be bipartisan about it, Ted Kennedy believes a wind farm on Cape Cod is a bad idea for reasons that have nothing to do with NIMBYism.

Meanwhile, on earth, there's a strong although admittedly not absolute correlation between supporting looser gun control laws and cowboyish attitudes about a bunch of other government policies, such as military interventionism and strict law-and-order mentality. It seems a safe inference to me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:36 AM
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103: Ah. I was stuck on financial compensation, and was confused.

A friend in college always carried around a gun (not on campus, but otherwise in life generally), and not infrequently would start shooting things when he got very drunk. Not people, fortunately, although his aim was not always good.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:37 AM
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93: The 2nd Amendment only regulates what the government can ban. A private party leasing out his/her private property has alot more leeway -- unless of course local laws limit that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:37 AM
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both can be used responsibly, and there's a significant portion of the population that enjoys doing so.

Brock, do you really see using alcohol as being functionally identical to using guns, for the purpose of this conversation? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, from what I gather, I've never heard of an instance of gun use on a campus that I thought was responsible, by any normal definition of that term.

Of course, my perception of this is colored by accounts in the liberal media.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:38 AM
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Anyone can double post, but spreading it out like that takes skill.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:38 AM
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And he would get PISSED if anyone tried to take his gun away. Like trying to take car keys away from a belligerent drunk, only, you know, the thing was loaded.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:40 AM
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I've never heard of an instance of gun use on a campus that I thought was responsible, by any normal definition of that term.

Of course, "Sophomore John Doe carried his gun to class today in a concealed manner and did absolutely nothing with it that would arouse any attention" is unlikely to make the nightly news.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:40 AM
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The only gun I remember was in the possession of someone on your floor (I think? Or maybe just spiritually belonged there -- pbuh) and his was illegal and a really bad idea, as most everything this fellow (pbuh) did.

Dude, you guys went to school with Mohammed (PBUH)? SJC is so crazy.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:41 AM
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110 to 106. 108 see 74.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:41 AM
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111: But that's no more "gun use" than carrying a credit card in your wallet amounts to using it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:46 AM
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112: We did! He wrote -- well, his gf wrote it down for him -- a really great freshman essay about taking over each of the dorms in turn on his way to Chase-Stone, which everyone knows has the sweetest rooms.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:49 AM
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114: Right. We can all agree if, instead of prohibiting guns, we prohibit any behavior that would allow anyone to be aware of the presence of a gun on campus.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:50 AM
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114: if I'm understanding you correctly, then, you shouldn't have a problem with anyone "carrying" guns on campus, as long as they don't "use" them. Which, given the same sort of defense-of-life-that-is-facing-immediate-threat exception that exists (explicitly or implicitly) for virtually all laws, is the only right anyone is asking for. No one is asking to be allowed to shoot them recreationally on the campus quad.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:55 AM
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LB, you seem to be implying that the campus crime rate lower than the non-campus area. Is that true?

I didn't mean to imply that with respect to crime generally; more that crime where lethal force would be a reasonable means of self-defense is probably lower on campus than off. If I'm in Hyde Park at night, I'm going to feel safer once I get on university grounds, because the campus police are patrolling. In an area where the surrounding community is pretty safe, there's probably not much difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:56 AM
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117: The worry is that the ready availability of guns will lead people to violate the prohibition on the frivolous use of guns; that granting the right to carry a concealed gun means conceding that in practice there will be a certain amount of gun use under circumstances that all sensible people would deprecate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:58 AM
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117: Right - which is why I favor the general policies on campus now, and wouldn't want them changed. If anyone had gunned down the Virginia Tech shooter, I'm guessing that he or she wouldn't have been prosecuted. If, on the other hand, someone had been seen carrying a gun on campus, that individual would have faced some kind of punishment, and that's how it should be.

Under current regulatory regimes - and for that matter, any regulatory regime I can imagine - you have freedom to do pretty much anything you want to, as long as you don't get caught.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 11:59 AM
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119: Is there good evidence that total "frivolous" handgun incedents increase when concealed carry is allowed? Or is this just intuition? (Genuine question.)

Wikipedia seems like it might not be the most objective source on this topic: "Considering that Florida has a population of about 18.3 Millions, it means that only 2.2% of the population have elected to bear the burden of carrying a handgun, thus, it follows that a minority has increased the perceived cost to criminals in such a way as to reduce overall crime rate (for permit-holders and non permit-holders)."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:06 PM
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you shouldn't have a problem with anyone "carrying" guns on campus, as long as they don't "use" them

That's like saying I don't have a problem with people driving drunk as long as they don't get in an accident. Which is true as far as it goes, except that the likelihood of a drunk driving accident is astronomically higher for somebody driving drunk than somebody who is not. So.

We're running aground on this, though. I'm willing to grant people a right to carry guns, if they're willing to grant property owners a right to insist they not carry them on their property. As you've noted above, this is trickier for state schools than for private schools, which I would think are completely within their rights to say what is allowed on their private property.

Pointless aside: The fact that it's Texas makes me want to point out that Texas (like California) is well-known far and wide for enacting utterly stupid and self-defeating legislation, and if the Texas legislature has granted this right, I'm inclined to believe it an inherently shitty idea.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:07 PM
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Under current regulatory regimes - and for that matter, any regulatory regime I can imagine - you have freedom to do pretty much anything you want to, as long as you don't get caught.

Just like on the veldt.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:11 PM
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Is there good evidence that total "frivolous" handgun incedents increase when concealed carry is allowed? Or is this just intuition? (Genuine question.)

I don't know, but I believe there's convincing evidence that the number of gun injuries in households with guns is much higher. I'm not being flip; the point being that these kids with concealed handguns will then keep them in their dormrooms at night.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:14 PM
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Is there good evidence that total "frivolous" handgun incedents increase when concealed carry is allowed? Or is this just intuition?

There may be good evidence, but if there is, I don't have it at my fingertips. I'm speaking ex recto.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:18 PM
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That's like saying I don't have a problem with people driving drunk as long as they don't get in an accident.

That seems a lot closer to saying you don't have a problem with anyone shooting guns on campus, as long as they don't hit anyone (or anything of value). But this is why we ban analogies.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:23 PM
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No one is asking to be allowed to shoot them recreationally on the campus quad.

Well, why aren't they? Where's the fun in carrying a gun if you can't get off a round now and then?

Even when they're under control, which one of them isn't, they seem to organize their lives around violent potential events, as if they're waiting for their chance to blow someone away.

This accurately describes a local "security guard" (a glorified night clerk, really) who shot a kid a few years ago. The guy had a concealed carry permit and a history of confrontations and when a tipsy undergrad smart-assed him one night, he killed him.

this is trickier for state schools than for private schools

If schools can restrict some of the rights of students in loco parentis, then I fail to see why they can't restrict the right to carry guns on campus grounds.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:24 PM
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That seems a lot closer to saying you don't have a problem with anyone shooting guns on campus, as long as they don't hit anyone (or anything of value). But this is why we ban analogies.

I don't have a problem with analogies, as long as they don't not clarify anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:25 PM
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Does the 3rd paragraph of 78 cover it, or are there other reasons?

Yeah, pretty much. Take college students, spread them through the population at large, and I'm fine with them having concealed-carry permits. Stick a ton of 'em in one place and the collective IQ drops. A lot.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:25 PM
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Is there good evidence that total "frivolous" handgun incedents increase when concealed carry is allowed?

My recollection when John Lott was outed as Mary Rosh was that someone made a comment that the title of his book "More Guns, Less Crime" was a double lie: shall-issue laws didn't result in more guns, and they didn't result in any change in crime. The implication of that is that no, there's no good evidence to that effect.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:28 PM
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this is why we ban analogies

We ban analogies because using analogies is like _____.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:33 PM
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restrict some of the rights of students in loco parentis

This is my sense as well, but I am not a constitutional lawyer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:34 PM
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||
I think my 11-yr-old son has a girlfriend. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:40 PM
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Now is the time for you to morph into your superhero alter ego, Loco Parentis, and snatch him from her clutches.


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:40 PM
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133: overwhelmingly likely to be harmless, no?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:41 PM
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I think my 11-yr-old son has a girlfriend. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

Doesn't it entirely depend on whether she's hot?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:45 PM
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Dude, he's in 6th grade. That's classic time for the beginning of the "wait, maybe girls aren't icky" phase.

In fact, I think I had my first "boyfriend" just around March or April of my 6th grade year. Our boyfriend-girlfriendness consisted of holding hands after school, me mocking his pathetic French accent, and occasionally talking on the phone. And I think maybe one kiss on the cheek.

As they say, harmless.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:48 PM
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and snatch him from her clutches

Or clutch him from-- um, never mind.

135: I don't know from overwhelmingly, but probably, yes. I believe I know who it is (thanks to Facebook, but don't tell read). Anyhow, it just seems so... early. Eleven?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:51 PM
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Is there good evidence that total "frivolous" handgun incedents increase when concealed carry is allowed?

There's pretty good evidence that frivolous incidents of all sorts increase when young people find themselves in the relative freedom of a college campus.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:52 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it. (Although I do admit that I'm hoping for the sake of my own peace of mind that Sally follows the late-bloomer path of the women in her family. I'd probably get concerned and hovery if she had a boyfriend two years from now.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:56 PM
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My 12 yo is also a sixth grader. He's discovered that if you "like" someone you don't know well enough to be in any danger of having to actually approach, while making yourself accessible to a bunch of other girls who are "just friends," you can get a hell of a lot of positive attention. I think I'm OK with that as long as he's very careful not to be unkind, but damn is it ever different from my own experience at that age.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:57 PM
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Allow me to clarify my "not sure how to feel". My initial reaction was "Go on with your bad self, you precocious young fellow!" But then higher up the brain stem came the question, "And if he was a girl, your initial reaction would be what?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 12:59 PM
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Easy availability of guns increases the use of guns. This isn't merely intuitively obvious, but empirically demonstrated.

You make something easier, you get more of it, ceteris paribus. It seems close to axiomatic to say that countries and jurisdictions with less effective restraints on gun use get more gun use.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:01 PM
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"And if he was a girl, your initial reaction would be what?"

"Well, at least we won't have to worry about her getting pregnant..."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:03 PM
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Ha!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:04 PM
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142: I think that reopens all the age-difference conversations we've had. I'd be a little concerned, but not really worried, if Sally were talking about a boyfriend of her own age at eleven. Once you get into an age difference, it's a whole different kettle of worms.

If the girl is a peer, while he might get his feelings hurt, or hurt hers, I don't see there's much risk of anything particularly bad happening, and your initial reaction's probably fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:05 PM
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I had a boyfriend in nursery school. We spent a lot of time hugging and holding hands.

Of course, he is a self-mortifying Opus Dei priest now. No lie.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:08 PM
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he is a self-mortifying Opus Dei priest now

Something you did?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:11 PM
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Brock, you tell a story about a friend who wore his gun everywhere, would shoot things when drunk, and you wonder why I'm not a fan of allowing that in my classroom? I will surely admit that a gun never drawn never harms anyone, but... this is hard to square a stance with your story of your friend shooting stuff while drunk. Why, in other words, should I assume that the only shooting that will happen is the authorized self-defense from bad guys, rather than, say, drunken college students deciding to shoot things for fun?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:12 PM
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148: I like to think so.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:14 PM
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Do you have a lot of students stumbling around drunk in your classroom, Cala?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:14 PM
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151: One of the MIT frats had a regular cocktail hour in the back seats of a giant lecture hall during a freshman chem class. But I'm fairly sure no one was armed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:17 PM
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No, but I currently have none carrying weapons either. Nor do I have mass murderers. There are, however, many drunken undergraduates on campus, every single weekend.

The assumption I'm pushing on here is that the concealed carry permittee will always behave properly, thus, the appropriate scenario for assessment is one in which the gun stays nicely holstered on his belt. But that seems like a big assumption to make, especially given that the problem introducing guns is meant to solve is exceedingly rare.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:20 PM
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We had seminars twice a week that met 8pm-10pm -- I definitely went to seminar loaded at least once a year. Other folks certainly did more often. Also Friday night lecture (theoretically mandatory) was rife with drunks. I am amusing myself thinking up what drunk, angry, and armed Johnnies would shoot each other over at lecture.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:22 PM
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I wouldn't even trust the campus security guards around my local U with guns. Students?!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:23 PM
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And seriously, "oh, they will never be dangerous in class with their guns" is really hard to square with the students I have had who were a) delusional and insisting they were the Ubermensch b) delusional and insisting that they alone could see the connections c) suicidally depressed and in my office crying for help. I will spot you that all concealed carry permittees are fine upstanding citizens. I really don't want their crazy roommates having crime-of-opportunity kind of access to firearms, especially given dorms where d) one cannot always choose one's roommates and e) the premises are less secure than a house or apartment.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:24 PM
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I definitely went to seminar loaded at least once a year.

Alcibiades-style?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:25 PM
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(And Cala, no, I don't "wonder" why you don't want guns in your classroom--I assume it's because you don't see any benefit whatsoever to their being there, and believe there is a very small chance they could somehow lead to tragedy. Which is all fine with me. But I'm only pointing out that there are countervailing interests here, and anyway bans in classrooms and bans on campuses are quite different things.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:25 PM
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Then your 151 makes no sense. "One only need worry about guns on campus if students being drunk in class is common." Ookaay. I sometimes give bad grades to crazy students.

On the other hand, I'm beginning to think the best way to undermine the Texas law is to point out that at many universities, only the liberal professors will be able to carry guns, on account of the age requirement. Perhaps I shall seed stories of students being forced to renounce Christianity... at gunpoint!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:29 PM
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157: Yes! I barged in late to tell a tutor that despite being the ugliest man in Annapolis, I found him the most attractive.

(Seriously, though, nearly everyone who finished with any time to spare showed up drunk to the seminar at which annual essays were due. And then there was the seminar interrupted by Senior Prank, at which seniors burst into the room and forced drinks into our unwilling hands. I wonder if they are allowed to do any of this stuff anymore.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:30 PM
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Didn't Chesterton write a novel about refuting the pessimism of secular philosophy by shooting at professors? This may be the thought process underlying the legislation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:31 PM
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||

From WaPo:

New General Motors chief executive Frederick A. Henderson said today that the company's restructuring plans must "go deep, go harder and go faster" in order to comply with the demands of the Obama administration....

I guess if Hummers don't work, you gotta try marketing to the laydeez.

|>


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:34 PM
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This feels to me like you basically just don't like guns, and so are happy to see them restricted as much as possible.

As opposed to pro-gun types, who basically just like guns and want as many happy-making opportunities as possible to have them close in their daily lives.

The people that I have seen getting concealed handgun permits are mostly very responsible, safety oriented people.

I think a lot of pro-gun people have a sort of fetishistic relationship with guns, as a talisman of personal power, safety, etc. Something that represents a combination of aggression/assertion and safety/protection would have powerful fetish significance. The human attachment to symbolic fetishes is very widespread and powerful and has nothing to do with how responsible or safety oriented someone appears on the outside. The safety aspect could even be part of the gun fetish because it gives you so many opportunities to commune with your fetish object -- cleaning the gun, training with the gun, etc. It's also possible that the fetish object calms aggressive impulses -- fondling my gun makes me feel safe and warm so I feel less drive to act out. Also that it encourages responsible behavior -- my fetish makes me feel more powerful and hence I am more motivated to take responsibility than when I felt powerless. Psychology is weird, is all I'm saying.

Some of the anti-gun side may have opposite sorts of issues with fearing the talisman of the gun, but the argument for guns being actually dangerous is a much better one than the argument for guns offering real practical protection you need. (Hunting is a different issue entirely, there guns really are a tool in a real activity).


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:34 PM
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What if, instead of guns, students were permitted flails?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:37 PM
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Pikes. I would have liked to bring a pike to class.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:38 PM
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I sometimes give bad grades to crazy students.

See? See? They need some way to defend themselves!


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:38 PM
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I want ninja stars!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:39 PM
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165: concealed carry should also be permitted for your pike.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:39 PM
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Bastard swords! I always like bastard swords.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:40 PM
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We never went shooting drunk, and we did occasionally go shooting in the wilds of central MA, but friends of mine routinely played with jigsaws and power drills while loaded. In unrelated news, I went to Harvard.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:40 PM
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Shooting guns on acid is supposed to be super fun. Never got a chance to do it, personally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:41 PM
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163: I pass the NRAs National Firearms Museum every day on my way to work, so I took a look at the website to see if it might be interesting to visit. The message I took from what they decided to put on the website is that the museum is dedicated entirely to fetishism and historical revisionism, with nothing on what seem to me to be the obviously interesting subjects, like how guns work, the evolution of firearms technology over time, how firearms design trades different performance metrics depending on the application, or basically anything that told any story other than "guns are cool and the founders wanted everyone to have a personal rocket launcher."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:43 PM
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162: I'm admittedly no expert, but I do believe that it is a misconception that harder and faster is really the best go-to technique.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:44 PM
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172: The Armory Museum in Springfield, MA, likely meets your requirements a bit better.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:45 PM
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But I'm only pointing out that there are countervailing interests here

You have asserted a countervailing interest, but the closest you've come to describing that interest is this:

"I enjoy carrying it because it makes me feel safer"

Which brings us back to some variation on apo's compensation theory. Which doesn't seem like a countervailing interest that I should care about.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:47 PM
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One of the few cool experiences in my absurdly overmilitarized Boy Scout troop (you're teaching us to march?) was a demonstration of the history of the rifle from some local gun jut who had a musket and flintlock rifle and all sorts of other fascinating old guns.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:48 PM
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A loaded gun never draw can still be dropped and shoot someone.

That said! I'm disappointed that this thread hasn't become a series of hilarious fantasies about gun-packing pregnant professors and the students that fear them.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:50 PM
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176: "Do you like gladiator Leatherstocking movies, Billy?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:51 PM
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gun-packing pregnant professors

Visualizing Heebie as the latest cover-girl in Knocked Up 'N Toting?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:51 PM
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173: Di is a delicate flower.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:51 PM
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I'm admittedly no expert, but I do believe that it is a misconception that harder and faster is really the best go-to technique.

You were expecting state of the art technique from General Motors?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:53 PM
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heebie need not pack a firearm to instill fear, contrary to what I suggested in 40.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:53 PM
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176: Aw. Sifu Tremain.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:53 PM
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133: I found out last week that there was a bit of a rumor going around Rory's class that she'd dumped a particular boy because she knows more about pi than he does. Whether it's the appropriate response or not, I chose to feel amused.

Honestly, "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" mean seriously different things to kids that age than they do to us.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:53 PM
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Visualizing Heebie as the latest cover-girl in Knocked Up 'N Toting?

Which has now been called into existence somewhere on the internets.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 1:58 PM
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185: Not originally my joke, but Bitch's. I can't find the post of hers, but it's somewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:01 PM
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179: exactly.

185: someone else I can sue!


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:02 PM
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185: ...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:03 PM
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And here's the source. Oddly, googling the phrase got nothing -- I had to google the site for "knocked" and look through the hits.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:04 PM
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184 - Perfectly reasonable to ditch someone for cluelessness about pi. Pi is awesome. Mmmm, Pi.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:05 PM
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What if, instead of guns, students were permitted flails?

What if divinity students were only permitted to carry non-edged weapons?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:09 PM
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168: IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:10 PM
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172: I bet they have Swedish leather cannons. You can buy one even today for only $6600. Every firearms museum needs one. (No picture, unfortnately.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:13 PM
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191, they need to at least be allowed their mortifying devices.


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:17 PM
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191: Would modern day warrior priests use Mace in combat?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:18 PM
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194: We normally call those "defense committees."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:23 PM
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193 - That's an awesome link. I had no idea I could buy naval artillery for less than the price of a new car. I hope they actually work, coz when I finally build my own house I'd love to have some serious home defense options. Just in case. Nothing says "get off my lawn" quite like 24 pounds of grapeshot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:27 PM
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I wouldn't even trust the campus security guards around my local U with guns. Students?!

I wouldn't trust the campus security guards with students, no.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:28 PM
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Is there anything more delightful than looking around for ways to fund one's research, when one is neither a graduate student nor a tenure-track faculty member, and one additionally wants to get oneself trained up in some new research methods while one is at it? I think not! It's an exercise in being showered with affirmation and lollipops and big fluffy clouds of happiness and hope, that's what it is!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:34 PM
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198: That too.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:34 PM
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Alas, they're replicas, and probably build to non-function.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:35 PM
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Shooting guns on acid is supposed to be super fun. Never got a chance to do it, personally.

Be the change you want to see, Sifu.

You're thousands of miles away from me, right?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:38 PM
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199: A Google image search for "abandon all hope ye who enter here" produces a decidedly non-worksafe image in the first handful of results, even with safe search on.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:39 PM
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201: I don't think you're right, John. "C.R.A.'s selection of quality replicas ranging from fully functional pieces to decorative items will enhance even the most sophisticated cannon collection, and please every artillery fan. If you have any questions regarding ballistics, explosives or metallurgy, please do not hesitate to call us. We look forward to hearing from you!"


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:40 PM
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201 to 199


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:41 PM
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203: hmm, not for me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:41 PM
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199: Hang in there, you're less than a ream of paperwork away from ponycorns! Hooray!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:45 PM
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re: drunkenness (160, etc.)

My 2nd year English Lit tutor used to regularly open a box of wine during seminars, for the students to drink. A couple of glasses of red wine really got the discussion flowing. All very civilized and I remember them as being really excellent seminars ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:47 PM
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Re: the 11 year-old's girlfriend.

Apo, didn't you lose your virginity at age 12, or something?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:49 PM
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at age 12, or something

something = 15.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 2:55 PM
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I think a lot of pro-gun people have a sort of fetishistic relationship with guns, as a talisman of personal power, safety, etc.

Do you really know that many people who are pro-gun?

I'm going to go LB on you (minus the eloquence) and ask whether you really have much empirical evidence to make that statement?

I am a liberal Democrat. Since I started teaching this class (6-7 years ago?), my views have changed dramatically as I have spent more time around actual gun owners. I suspect that many people's views on these issues are a result of tv and newspaper generated stereotypes.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:10 PM
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||

Wow, my Professor just began the class by announcing that she's never taught an undergraduate class before. This strikes me as fairly brave.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:12 PM
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212: But she's familiar with tv, newspaper and blog generated stereotypes of undergrads.



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:15 PM
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And with all internet traditions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:15 PM
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||

Wow, my Professor just began the class by announcing that she's never taught an undergraduate class before. This strikes me as fairly brave.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:15 PM
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Hooray double post. I hope she's not armed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:17 PM
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Do you really know that many people who are pro-gun?

I think I know a lot of gun-owners at least, and this borders on speculation but I think a lot of them would say that this legislation is a terrible idea. My feeling is that the NRA is ramming this through in order to push the battle lines further away from any issue they actually care about.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:18 PM
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Will, I've met them.

"Gun owners" is not the same as "strong pro-gun people". Guns have a sacramental value for a lot of those people. They're nuts, and under some conditions, dangerous. And some of them have a civility and steely self-control that masks their deeper feelings, which you don't want to know.

I'm willing to concede the issue to those guys, but I'm not going to change my opinion of them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:21 PM
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I know plenty of gun owners. Most of them are very strong NRA supporters; o newspaper stereotypes, you are my family.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:24 PM
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Although, a blanket rule banning guns because they are not safer in the hands of irresponsible people seems comparable to a blanket ban on alcohol because it is not safe in the hands of irresponsible people.

Ah, but you see, one of these is designed to alter brain function and one of them is designed to end it.

Also, fuck but 191 is hilarious.

Also also, Cala is still rocking the house.

I have to say, had UNC had a pro-concealed-carry policy when I was a high school student, I would have gone elsewhere. I grew up in the country and learned to shoot and care for rifles and will not have a gun in my home, period, because I don't want to have to do what guns are used to do and I don't have any fantasy of defending my home from a horde of ninjazombies. I have to wonder if part of the drive for this on the part of legislators is to attract baby wingers to Texan institutions and drive baby lefties elsewhere.

the museum is dedicated entirely to fetishism and historical revisionism, with nothing [...] other than "guns are cool and the founders wanted everyone to have a personal rocket launcher."

Utterly typical. This is part of why I think it's a waste of time to play fair when engaging the Right, or at least it's not unfair to make sure there is always an ACT-UP-style bleeding edge involved in leftism: the Right does not play fair and always aims for the unreachable extreme and it never seems to cost them anything in terms of results.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:32 PM
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209, 210: A friend of mine who grew up on a ranch in MT was first, as he put it, "rolling around nekkid with a girl" at age 12. He now has a daughter soon to turn 12 and finds himself fairly unnerved. I told him he hasn't much to worry about, since his daughter is not a farm kid, and as we all know, farm kids and preachers' kids are up to stuff.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:32 PM
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Would your family support this legislation on the premise that the NRA supports it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:32 PM
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222 to Cala.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:33 PM
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On the grounds that had those kids been carrying guns Cho would have been shot dead.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:35 PM
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Sometimes it seems like none of us really knew the real Cho.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:39 PM
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Yeah, and if Cho had reasonable cause to expect those kids would be able to stop him with their guns, he would have used pipe bombs or something.


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:39 PM
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220: In many college towns there are roving ordes of gays who invade your home and force you to marry them. Fact.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:45 PM
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Also, 217 is what I was trying to say with the last part of 220. This smacks of nothing so much as a chance to bring up gun control so they can say, "Look! Liberals want to take away your baby Jimmy Sue's guns! What will they take next? Jimmy Sue itself!"


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:46 PM
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210: that was back in the dark ages. Kids these days are more advanced.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:46 PM
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227: I sort of accidentally came out of the closet in 12th grade when someone made pretty much exactly that claim and I had a somewhat caustic reaction. Heh.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:49 PM
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Did they realize that you laughed because you were.... one of them?

Was your laughter properly hideous?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:53 PM
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My feeling is that the NRA is ramming this through in order to push the battle lines further away from any issue they actually care about pretend that gun control is still a live political issue in order to preserve their fundraising and their power. See also MADD.

I know plenty of gun owners. Most of them are very strong NRA supporters; o newspaper stereotypes, you are my family.

Huh. The gun-owning redneckish types I grew up around decided that the NRA was a bunch of hacks that just wanted their money 20+ years ago.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:54 PM
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farm kids and preachers' kids are up to stuff.

Man oh man, are farm kids up to stuff. I went away to college, and people treated me with a certain amount of deference to my presumed bad-ass Manhattanite sophistication. (These were not people with particularly good interpersonal judgment, mind you.) And I'd be sitting there trying to look cool, shocked out of of my gourd at these stories the kids from Michigan were telling: "Yeah, my friends and I drove into Ann Arbor once to score some heroin. When was that... I remember Bobby was driving because he was a couple of years older, and he'd just gotten his learner's permit... I guess I was around thirteen or so."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:55 PM
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The author of 227 speaks the truth. I was forcibly gay married 7 times in college. If only I had gone to Liberty instead...


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:56 PM
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233: The Yooper-Detroit relationship produces some vivid conjunctures.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 3:57 PM
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[F]arm kids and preachers' kids are up to stuff.

Like my brother and me, our father and uncle were preacher's kids. There are still, I believe, elderly people in southern New England who twitch at the memory of their savagely horrible manners.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:00 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:21 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:22 PM
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Where did everyone go? Entertain me, you bastards.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:36 PM
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They're all off shooting up college campuses, I should expect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:39 PM
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OK, topics for discussion... How would you best describe Heebie's expression here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10441316@N07/3392646264/in/pool-unfogged


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:43 PM
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I don't know myself, beyond "awesome", but it's very Heebie somehow.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:45 PM
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Did you know Konstantionos Porphyrogennetos was called that precisely because his purplebornness was dubious?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:49 PM
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I see wiki thinks its because the dozen or so co-emperors was even less purple, which I suppose might make sense.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:50 PM
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Pleased with herself?
Radiant?
WTF is this thing?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:52 PM
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I am now following my sister and my 65 year old dad on Twitter, which is just weird. And they're both writing in English for no clear reason.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:54 PM
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God, I had totally forgotten about Romanos II.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:55 PM
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I hate when that happens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:56 PM
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241: "disbelieving"


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:57 PM
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246: why are YOU writing in English? Trying to dumb it down for us dumb Americans?


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:58 PM
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George Maniakes was so called because he hung out with Swedes and Norwegians (mostly Harald Hardrada) and picked up their ways. Drunkenness, pillage, rape, and occasional Christian devotions, what with Harald's bro being a bloody-minded saint.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 4:59 PM
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Zoe Karbonopsina: Byzantine empress, or hipster starlet?


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:00 PM
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I should spend more time keeping up with the Flickr pool -- I'm not really a photo person, so I forget it's there. But that is an amazing picture. I remember feeling like that -- you get to eight, eight and a half months and are huger than you could possibly imagine, and then somehow you get huger still.

It's kind of like getting to the top of a roller coaster -- this slow process of moving forward to apointwhereeverythingisgoingtostartmovingreallyfastandbeingreallyscaryandI'dliketogetoffnowbutIcan'tAIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:01 PM
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I believe that an Emperor Gustav ruled for a month or two in the last few years of Western Rome.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:01 PM
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I was sent a copy of Simon Critchley's On Humour in Dutch for no good reason. The problem is that all the Dutch folks I know who might be interested can read it as easily in English. Free to a good home, though!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:03 PM
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Yeah, where has everyone been lately? Are they just burned out on commenting and bored of this particular watering hole or are they working? Wondering where soup is.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:11 PM
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(NOTE: Ibn Fadlan was employed by the 'Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad when he was accused of an
illicit love affair that would ruin his reputation and his career. He agreed to leave town on a
mission to open diplomacy with the Bulgars, as a way of getting out of the public eye, and out of
possible scandal. En route to the Bulgars he fell in with a group of Viking marauders. Here he
describes them in a letter.
The Northmen
They are the filthiest race that God ever created. They do not wipe themselves after a stool, nor
wash themselves thereafter, any more than if they were wild asses.
They come from their country in the North, anchor their ships in the Volga River, and build large
wooden houses on its banks. In every such house there live ten or twenty, more or less. Each man
has a couch, where he sits with the beautiful girls he has for sale. Here he is as likely as not to
enjoy one of them while a friend looks on. At times several of them will be thus engaged, each in
full view of the others. Now and then a merchant will come to a house to purchase a girl, and find
her master thus embracing her, and not giving over until he has full had his will.
Every morning a girl comes and brings a tub of water, and places it before her master. In this he
proceeds to wash his face and hands, and then his hair, combing it out over the vessel. Thereupon
he blows his nose, and spits into the tub, and leaving no dirt behind, conveys it all into this water.
When he has finished, the girl carries the tub to the man next t him, who does the same. Thus she
continues carrying the tub from one to another until each man has blown his nose and spit into the
tub, and washed his face and hair.
A Viking Funeral
I was told that when their chiefs die, they consume them with fire. When I heard that one of their
leaders had died, I wanted to see this myself. First they laid him in his grave, over which a roof
was erected, for the space of ten days, until they had completed cutting and sowing his funeral
clothes.
At the death of a rich man, they bring together his goods, and divide them into three parts. The
first of these is for his family. The second is expended for the garments they make. And with the
third they purchase strong drink, for the day when the girl resigns herself to death, and will be
burned with her master.
When one of their chiefs dies, his family asks his girls and pages, "Which one of you will die
with him?" One will answer: "I." From the moment he utters this word, he may not go back.
Mostly, though, it is one of the girls who volunteers.
Page 2
Regarding the man of whom I spoke, one girl answered "I will." She was then entrusted to two
other girls, who kept watch over her and accompanied her everywhere she went. The people were
preparing the dead man's funeral clothes, and this girl gave herself over to drinking and singing,
and was cheerful and gay.
When the day had come that the dead man and the girl were to be committed to the flames, I went
to the river where his ship lay, but found it had already been drawn ashore. The dead man lay at a
distance in his grave, from which they had not yet removed him. Next they brought a couch,
placed it in the ship, and covered it with Greek cloth of gold, wadded and quilted, with pillows of
the same material. An woman, whom they call the "Angel of Death," came and spread articles on
the couch. It was she who was to slay the girl.
They drew the dead man out of the grave and clothed him. They carried him into the ship, seated
him on the quilted covering, supported him with the pillows, and brought strong drinks, fruits,
and herbs to place beside him. Finally they brought a cock and hen, slew them, and threw them
in, too.
The girl meanwhile walked to and fro, entering one after another of the tents which they had
there. The occupant of each tent lay with her, saying, "Tell your master I did this only for love of
you."
It was now Friday afternoon, and they led the girl to an object they had constructed which looked
like a door-frame. They lifted her and lowered her several times. Then they handed her a hen,
whose head they had cut off. They gave her strong drink and admonished her to drink it quickly.
After this, the girl seemed dazed. At this moment the men began to beat upon their shields, in
order to drown out the noise of her cries, which might deter other girls from seeking death with
their masters in the future.
They laid her down and seized her hands and feet. The old woman known as the Angel of Death
knotted a rope around her neck and handed the ends to two men to pull. Then with a broad dagger
she stabbed her between the ribs while the men strangled her. Thus she died.
The family of the dead men drew near, and taking a piece of wood, lit the ship. The ship was soon
aflame, as was the couch, the man, the girl, and everything in it.
At my side one of the Northmen was talking with my interpreter. After their conversation I asked
my interpreter what he had said. The Northman had said:
"You Arabs are stupid! You would take him who is the most revered and beloved among men,
and cast him into the ground, to be devoured by creeping things and worms. We, on the other
hand, burn him in a twinkling, so that he instantly, without a moment's delay, enters into
Paradise."


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:12 PM
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Posting's been slow. I'd apologize, but that would imply that I've been carrying much of the weight around here posting-wise lately, which would be untrue. Even though the comments don't have much to do with the posts often, when there aren't enough posts, the comments die off.

The news has really sucked for posting purposes. I can work up nameless dread, but not an actual concrete opinion about anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:14 PM
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Who was George Maniakes, you ask? Who?

Only the first and next-to last Catepan of Italy. That's who!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:16 PM
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253 was graphically very effective on my browser.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:17 PM
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I misread my source. There were many Catepans. We regret the erros.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:19 PM
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It's pretty funny, but also pretty mind blowing when I think about it. You're reading about an actual event that he witnessed. Now that's a foreign country.

I'm reading a book about the vikings, with a lot of new scholarship etc. So I've read a ton of references to and paraphrases of, Ibn Fadlans account of the vikings before, but they all left out the sex, and didn't do justice to the horrifying craziness of it.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:21 PM
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This part:

Every morning a girl comes and brings a tub of water, and places it before her master. In this he
proceeds to wash his face and hands, and then his hair, combing it out over the vessel. Thereupon
he blows his nose, and spits into the tub, and leaving no dirt behind, conveys it all into this water.
When he has finished, the girl carries the tub to the man next t him, who does the same. Thus she
continues carrying the tub from one to another until each man has blown his nose and spit into the
tub, and washed his face and hair.

sounds like Hell's Angels sort of thing to do. It's like these guys are who the Angels wish they were, with the tattoos and the axes and the concubines. I've wondered whether there might not be an unbroken chain of a tradition of this back to the Vikings, in the NCO corps of the various intervening armies 800 AD to the present. (Sort of like Kripke's unbroken chain of uses of the word "gold" back to its first idenification designation as such.)

In the version I read the washing was in order of precedence, with the last guy washing mostly in the higher-ranking guys' spittle.

I imagine that Nietzsche would blame Christianity for destroying the noble Norse spirit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:28 PM
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I've read in some book that the vikings got a bad rap, at least the viking nobility was fairly cleanly by medieval standards.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:33 PM
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I have an inaccessibly-packed book arguing that ca. 800-1000 the Vikings were the Europeans with the most trade and contact with Istanbul and Baghdad (there's lots of acheological) and that they were starting to form a Baltic / North Sea cultural sphere, until Normandy was taken, at which point the center of gravity shifted back to the Mediterranean. The Normans invaded Sicily about the same time they invaded England.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:33 PM
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"archeological evidence"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:34 PM
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262: Can you give us the title?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:40 PM
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258

The news has really sucked for posting purposes. I can work up nameless dread, but not an actual concrete opinion about anything.

A feeble excuse. Yglesias has 18 posts today. Incidently do you buy his competitive pressure story ?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:43 PM
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Well, the norse were quite important in international trade, and then they stopped being so, but I don't see how the normans would have caused that.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:48 PM
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Buy it? I figure he genuinely does feel the pressure, but I don't know if it's self-imposed or if it's a realistic perception of what employers/potential employers want.

I would say he's now writing more posts than I'd prefer him to; there seems to be something going up every thirty seconds and I lose track of whether any of them are interesting.

A feeble excuse.

Indeed. Actually, it's more the family/job than the news; somehow I've been having trouble coming up with a chunk of time at home to actually find something interesting on line or have a thought, and then write it up. I've been getting home and having stuff to do until I'm falling asleep, and then waking up with no time to do anything but get to work. (And then I waste half the day at work commenting, which is half the problem.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:50 PM
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It's funny...it took me years after stopping blogging regularly before I reconciled myself with it. I kept feeling guilty about it, wowing about once a month to start posting and kept starting posts I never finished.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:55 PM
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I blogged for A Fistful of Euros for those who don't know, ie a group blog that always was active and had an audience.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:57 PM
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Yeah, it's not so much that I feel guilty about not writing because people will miss the opportunity of reading my deathless prose, but I'm really unhealthily attached to this comments section and all of you denizens thereof, and if the comments section doesn't get fed new posts, it gets duller and its coat stops being glossy and healthy. I don't worry about it at all when the other front page posters are lively, but I feel bad on slow weeks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 5:59 PM
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The Normans may have opened the road to the south, which had been blocked. They preceded the crusaders. Mediterranean trade was intrinsically much richer; the river route through Russia and the Ukraines was faute de mieux. (This is a followup to the Pirenne thesis that Northern Europe developed its own culture after Islam came to dominate the Mediterranean.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:01 PM
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In more important news, a Wobegonian eighth grader just won a national women's wrestling championship. The local team is co-ed.

The Hoover Institute report on the Wobegon ricin terrorists:

Living in an isolated economic backwater probably contributed to their chronic frustration. Given this lifestyle, coupled with the influence of living in a state with a strong history of grassroots political activism that sometimes included violence, it should come as no surprise that they began to seek people and institutions to blame for their problems.

And last, is there a consensus as to whether the singer's story in "My Boyfriend's Back" is legit, or whether she's a devious, instigating slut?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:05 PM
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Not news, but how about this guy? My opinion: if running around doing big dangerous silly stuff is your thing, that's your business, but I don't really understand the attraction of paying such folks to give speeches and write books and the like. Who's more likely to be a source of enlightenment: the driven person who thinks maybe it's hiding somewhere up the next mountain or down the next rapids, or the contented person puttering around smelling the flowers?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:06 PM
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I've actually blogged a bit recently, I suppose as a reaction to Fistful suddenly actually mattering. It's weird to know your yammerings is read by Paul fucking Krugman.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:07 PM
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Something else to worry about.

Without endorsing the specifics it seems plausible that if AIG has been ordered to liquidate its positions immediately they won't get the best prices. And distracting and enraging the AIG traders responsible by doing them out of their promised bonuses won't help. If you are really paranoid you would suspect this is intentional.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:08 PM
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Mmm. That one-degree-of-separation from the actual public discourse thing about blogging is an odd feeling. Not that many at all people actually read Unfogged, but things occasionally get picked up.

Krugman mentioned reading you? Very cool. I'd be ridiculously self-important for months after something like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:11 PM
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I've read an article about him several years ago, and wonder if it wasn't an Unfogged post.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:12 PM
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278: Insofar as I understood that, it seems like the sort of thing that's perfectly possible, and absolutely unprovable or preventable. Which is the problem with this whole goddam crisis -- are we being robbed blind? Almost certainly! Do I have any practical ideas on how to avoid it? Not a clue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:15 PM
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279: Krugman links to Fistful regularly, as do various other folks. Edward Hugh has become the goto blogger for euro econ analysis, and our traffic has tripled. The last thing he linked to was by a guest blogger, not Ed, so chances are decent he reads my posts too.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:17 PM
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For some reason I've never read Krugman's blog, as opposed to his column, regularly -- I think I hit a dull run the first few times I looked at it and figured he didn't have a knack for the form.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:20 PM
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Anyone know anything about the Conficker scare? There's stuff about it all over the place, but it may be a hoax too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:21 PM
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s/b "Sifu, please explain your friends' Conficker scare".


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:27 PM
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I would say the opposite. Krugman's an excellent writer, but his NYT columns are usually not that well written. He tends to condense long arguments in a way that's pedagogical but artless, and is humorless and sorta huffy. Without flair or personality. Part of it is being tripped up by the genre and not just

The blog has a lot of personality, like the things he used to write for his website back in the day.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:28 PM
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Here's a link to what he's talking about. Apparently it's supposed to detonate tomorrow.

http://www.osnews.com/story/21230/Conficker_Worm_Hoax_or_Criminally_Genius_Scheme_


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:33 PM
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There's an enormous, urgent last-minute buzz today, but the virus has been around for a long time. Some of the buzz seems to come from legit (so far) anti-virus people who're trying to sell something. No one is offering free removal except one company that I get warnings about when I try to run ("Bit defender", Romania).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:40 PM
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Anyone know anything about the Conficker scare?

I spent half the afternoon at the shop checking things on the system there. This is helpful, I think, on a rudimentary level. Also this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:44 PM
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281

... Do I have any practical ideas on how to avoid it? Not a clue.

Well it is unclear why you have to liquidate the positions if you know you aren't going to get fair prices. And ruling out bankruptcy is a mistake.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:57 PM
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285: all my friends who made viruses and so on are boringly corporate now. Well, except this one dude, but I don't think it's him. Probably foreigners. They do all the good virus work anymore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 6:59 PM
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Presumably someone who knows German.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:00 PM
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BWA HA HA HA.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:02 PM
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Velupillai Prabhakaran doesn't look quite as badass as you might expect.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/world/asia/01lanka.html?ref=global-home


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:04 PM
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Is there a story behind your email adress? It means view from a wall, or something, right?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:06 PM
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I'm disconcerted by the blob that says Oh my god everytime I visit bloglines.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:09 PM
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Random good news: http://washingtonindependent.com/36146/labor-wins-prevailing-wages-in-stimulus-package


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:11 PM
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As long as we're bemoaning about blogging, I have a secret fear that I've dumbed down Unfogged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:13 PM
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298: not single-handedly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:17 PM
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299: Yes, I blame the fetus. And Kobe.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:19 PM
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Mmm, Kobe fetus. All marble-y.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:20 PM
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I'm sorry, I meant fœtus.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:20 PM
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fåœTüç, maybe. It's so hard to express oneself sometimes. I blame the postmodern condition.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:27 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:30 PM
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...I feel another post coming on! Sit tight, everyone!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:31 PM
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You haven't though, Heebie.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:32 PM
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306 to 305. The pregnancy is a dead giveaway.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:33 PM
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Is there a story behind your email adress? It means view from a wall, or something, right?

That's exactly what it means. It's a device used in drama, where a character with a vantage point others don't have narrates something going on off stage. Used to relate events (often battles) that can't easily be shown on stage. It's closely related to the more common device Botenbericht, where messengers or letters inform characters (and the audience) of things that have happened.

It's related to my dissertation, because it has to do with the relationship between what is depicted on stage and what is described in words.

It's called teichoscopia in English. (Also Teichoskopie in German, but I like the Germanic term better.) Our classicists here can tell you where the name comes from.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:36 PM
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You haven't though, Heebie.

I have!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:39 PM
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I can work up nameless dread, but not an actual concrete opinion about anything.

Free associating: Years ago, I heard a retired op-ed columnist explain that she had just run out of opinions. She further explained that there was a gulf between the kind of fleeting opinion that crosses your mind when you see a story in the morning paper, and the framing necessary to shape that opinion into a 700-word essay several times a week.

Never having had that kind of deadline, I can't really empathize. But it was bewildering to me at the time, and now, in the age of blogging, even more so.

Speaking of opinions, I've just started reading How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? and so far my opinions are: a) fascinating raw material, b) definitely could have used a better editor, c) good heavens, but this man can torture his analogies and mix his metaphors. Any Brooklynites reading it?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:46 PM
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Hey, I'm only saying you haven't written any paeans to Micky Kaus.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:48 PM
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It's called teichoscopia in English.

This sentence cracks me up.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:49 PM
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Should I be embarrassed to admit that I genuinely thought 306 was responding to 305?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:50 PM
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I would say the opposite. Krugman's an excellent writer, but his NYT columns are usually not that well written.

I would say the opposite (so, the same as LB says, in other words). The blog I find a bit dull and overly technical. The column is one of the few I read regularly: it's consistently interesting and well-written, and I think he generally manages to simply/condense without too much oversimplification.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:54 PM
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313: No.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:56 PM
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it was bewildering to me at the time, and now, in the age of blogging, even more so.

I'm not quite following. I'd think that writing a column, or blogging (in an opinionated, rather than an open-question, manner) would carry with it the burden of being willing to defend your position against all comers.

I can see "running out of opinions" in two ways: after years and years, you might feel you've stated your position on virtually everything, and have begun to repeat yourself. You might become sheerly bored with yourself. Or, after years, you might become tired of feeling the need to have an opinion about everything.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:57 PM
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But you should be embarassed to drag me back to earnestness again.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:58 PM
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315 to 309.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:00 PM
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Oh yeah, both possibilities in 316.2 are perfectly plausible. I was responding (in my head, I wasn't rude enough or presumptuous enough to think I was sufficiently well-informed to do so in public) to the writer's contention that she was out of opinions, which by her explanation seemed to be similar to your 316.last, but not quite identical.

Of course, my own biases on this issue are fairly strongly held and certainly colored my response.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:04 PM
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I think that blogging's a lot easier than developing a column, at least how I do it. LB's posts, for example, generally have a well-developed point and supporting evidence, more like a column. But the anecdote relating style - I can't imagine running out of "And then my student said THIS ridiculous thing! And I drew a boob on the board!" style posts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:08 PM
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Krugman's columns aren't badly written. He's good at condensing arguments. But they don't have a lot of personality, humor or flair, surely.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:19 PM
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268:Incidently do you buy his competitive pressure story ?

I do. At a minimum, I buy that he believes it; but I also am inclined to accept his informed judgment on this.

Do you not buy it? Why not?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:20 PM
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308: Ohh! Oh! It comes from Book 2 of the Iliad, where Helen spends a fair whack of time pointing out various Greek heroes to Priam and explaining their backstories. She does this from the wall of Troy (teixos means wall and skopia means something like lookout place). To a classicist, the teichoskopia is this scene, specifically.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:25 PM
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319.1: I suspect I'm thinking chiefly of having an opinion, in blogging, as something like what Yglesias does -- see his remarks on high-volume blogging linked in 268 upthread. I not infrequently think, "dude, it's incredible that you have an opinion on everything. Don't you get tired? Don't you sometimes feel that, hey, you don't actually quite know where to land on x or y question, that you can see both sides?"

Kevin Drum has a take on that here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:29 PM
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I know a bucnch of stuff about antiquity, but it's like mostsly stuff classicists wouldn't necessarily know.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:30 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:31 PM
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Wait, so what is the book about the Vikings called?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:31 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:33 PM
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I bet if I didn't hate hate hate writing and had the the time I could probably come up with fairly novel non-stupid political opinions about stuff nearly as often as Yggles. It's a tragedy, it really is.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:33 PM
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Man, I should have gone to bed three-four hours ago.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:34 PM
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You mean John's book anyway, and that's lucky cause mine is in Swedish.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:35 PM
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329: I bet if I didn't hate hate hate writing

Tell me about it. How did I get into a job where I basically write for a living?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:35 PM
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330: Golly, it is pretty late for you, isn't it? Sleeeeep.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:36 PM
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Krugman's columns aren't badly written.

Readers often impose false dichotomies on journalistic writers. Krugman is among the top 1 percent of important public intellectuals, and among the top 20 percent of graceful newspaper opinion writers. Therefore, he's not a very good writer.

This works in reverse, too. George Will is near-useless as a public intellectual, so the fact that he can string sentences together coherently - and has a good eye for lifting quotes from others - makes him an excellent writer.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:36 PM
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Nah, stay up and tell us more about Vikings.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:37 PM
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331: I meant the one you were reading. I thought it was likely not in English, but that there was a chance it was.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:38 PM
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Look, what I did is compare Krugman's columns to his other writings.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:38 PM
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Will is actively harmful in a skillful, effective, malicious way.

But they [Krugman's columns] don't have a lot of personality, humor or flair, surely.

Shrill.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:39 PM
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Parsimon: As a result of your 298, and the recommendations of PC Magazine you linked to, I have stopped work for an hour so far to let Microsquish install updates on my computer.

I hope this was a real threat, or at least that something worthwhile is being installed on my computer.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:40 PM
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It was secret Swedish knowledge which isn't even shared with Finns.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:41 PM
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At school they sent us a link to a website which supposedly won't load if you've got the virus. One sec, let me fish it out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:41 PM
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The writer's a little weird and annoying anyway, though.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:41 PM
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...unless I deleted it. Shoot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:42 PM
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Why would Swedes confide in Finns? Finns aren't even European. Finally it ahas been proven


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:43 PM
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I really don't like it when blogs out-blog their RSS feed in a single day. If you write more than 15 posts in 24 hours, set your feed to more than the 15 most recent posts, people!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:44 PM
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327: "Eaters of the Dead", by Michael Crichton and Antonio Banderas.


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:44 PM
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I'm going to be under-prepared for my critical thinking class (again) tomorrow.

I think I'm going to show some "Yes we can" = "thank you satan" videos and rant for a while about what an utter failure of reasoning that is. That counts as a lesson plan, right?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:45 PM
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339: Yeah, I hope it was worth taking time out for too. (Perverse sentiment, that, but there you go. More sensibly, I say to myself: keep yer computer updated anyway, dummy.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:45 PM
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Any of you classicists, does "memento morituri" = "Remember you must die"? I can't understand the latin-to-english dictionary I found.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:46 PM
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I remember a couple of years ago when I praised Atrios writing to the sky, and you all were all you're crazy. Maybe you've seen the light now that he's doing more longer posts...although they're usually about urban planning.

But have you compared Atrios five word posts to his guest bloggers like Ackroyd, Carol. Or Thersites who can write when he's writing at normal lengnth. No one would read that shit. You're digging him without even realizing it. That man's a great writer, damn you.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:50 PM
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Assuming you read Atrios at all, you philistines.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:53 PM
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I picked up reading Atrios again late in 2007 and have been pleased enough with his bog. I also dropped some of the more frequent posting longer posters because I just couldn't keep up anymore.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:53 PM
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Indulgign myself with commenting here al ot lately have been really fun. I approve of you people.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:55 PM
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I think I'm gonna sleep now.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:56 PM
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349: You're conflating some things. The expression is memento mori -- memento is a future imperative and mori is an infinitive -- so, remember that you will die. I'm guessing that morituri (future participle) is in your head from morituri te salutamus -- we who are about to die salute you (apparently what the gladiators said).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:58 PM
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Atrios? Last I looked, he was writing the 5-word posts and telling people not to flirt too much in comments.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:59 PM
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Atrios' commitment to open threads and such means that at any given time out of work hours you're likely to see a bunch of 5-word posts at the top.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:02 PM
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322

Do you not buy it? Why not?

Not entirely. In part because I liked his blog better when he was posting less (which of course doesn't mean much). Also I haven't noticed other bloggers stepping up the volume (at least to the same extent). I suppose this could be quantified.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:15 PM
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355: Thanks, Oudemia! The more I googled, the more confused I got.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:19 PM
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I wasn't Becks style last night, just Weman style


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:14 AM
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John, my personal opinion is that Conficker isn't going to be a big deal, at least not necessarily today. So one variant of it updates today? Who says that means it does anything today? However, if you do not routinely run Windows Updates and you do not have updated antivirus software, please see to those pronto. A patch for the vulnerability it exploits has been out for some time, as have AV signatures. You can turn Windows Updates on so that they run automatically and there are plenty of good, free AV programs out there: AVG (I use this on the Windows partitions of my machines), ClamWin or Avira. You should also have something you can use to scan for spyware every now and then (Spybot S&D) and something that acts as a prophylactic (Spyware Blaster).

The most important thing, though, is to run updates. Yes, the world runs Windows. Thus, it's the most targeted OS. Running your updates is just being a good neighbor.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:57 AM
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They've chosen today to encrypt all our PCs at work. I assume this is so that if we get hit by Conficker they can blame the encryption s/ware and if the encryption goes tits up they can blame the virus.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 8:09 AM
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