The latest word going around is that Fred Thompson’s campaign is DOA. I remember watching as he started posting guest editorials over at National Review Online, show his command of any number of issues. Check out this, tastefully posted right after the Virgina Tech Shootings:
The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. More to the point, incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.
Still, there are a lot of people who are just offended by the notion that people can carry guns around. They view everybody, or at least many of us, as potential murderers prevented only by the lack of a convenient weapon. Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus…
Supporting, though contrary, evidence from Great Britain, where strict gun controls have led to violent crime rates far higher than ours, is also common knowledge.
So Virginians asked their legislators to change the university’s “concealed carry” policy to exempt people 21 years of age or older who have passed background checks and taken training classes. The university, however, lobbied against that bill, and a top administrator subsequently praised the legislature for blocking the measure.
The logic behind this attitude baffles me, but I suspect it has to do with a basic difference in worldviews. Some people think that power should exist only at the top, and everybody else should rely on “the authorities” for protection.
Fred Thompson is looking to capture the “Reactionary People Who Don’t Think Through Things” vote, a huge market in the US. You should read the page – it may be the worst op-ed I’ve seen this year. The statistics aren’t clear on any of these points. The data, for those who have actually critiqued it, is hopelessly distorted by the fact that most people own rifles to protect themselves from bears and hunt deer (and thus don’t live in a place where there are street gang), and I really want to know by what metric England has worse violent crime than we do.
I forgot about it shortly after reading it, but now that I’m teaching I’m actively wondering how differently I’d teach if I had to assume that a majority of the kids in my class had a gun on them. Specifically I would have made the very challenging test from last week much easier. And I’d have to bring an AK-47 to class, and leave it on the desk during lecture to establish dominance over the students. I’d also have to practice my quick-draw, in case a student pulls a pistol on me during a quiz.
This is really bad idea. I’m glad his campaign is going nowhere.