Recently, I gave a speech at Bucknell University, during which I urged responsible citizens to consider gun ownership – carefully explaining that certain people ought not to own firearms. I also urged those who would qualify to obtain a concealed carry permit (CCW). Finally, I talked about the need to change gun laws to stop mass murders inside “gun-free zones.”
Alexander Tristan Riley, a sociology professor at Bucknell, was “unable to attend” the talk but, nonetheless, offered a scathing criticism of the event in a letter to The Counterweight, which is Bucknell’s conservative student newspaper. In his letter, Alexander described my ideas on firearms as simple-minded. As an example, he claimed: “(Adams) believes that anyone who thinks that more effective record-keeping of firearms transactions is a good public policy idea is adequately described as ‘statist.’”
In reality, I referred to a woman who could not state unequivocally that a government form should not be required every time a weapon is taken from a gun safe as a “statist.” I added: “And if you cannot answer simple questions about gun control, you may be a statist, too.”
Obviously, I never said that “anyone” opposed to “more effective record-keeping” is a “statist.” This raises the question of whether Alexander Tristan Riley is illiterate or simply a liar. One can only assume the latter since he is writing letters to the editor about events he was “unable to attend.”
Alexander also stated that my idea that MLK Day should be replaced with a John Browning Day was “truly bizarre and ludicrous.” He tried to suggest that my reasoning for Browning Day was based solely on the fact that he invented a firearm responsible for killing more deer in America than any other. He failed to mention that my reasoning was also based on the fact that Browning’s inventions helped us preserve freedom (read: civil rights) for all by winning two world wars. This is approximately two more world wars than MLK helped us win – although I do acknowledge that he was our second greatest civil rights leader.
This kind of reporting by Alexander raises the question of whether he is illiterate or just very simple-minded. One can only assume the latter since he is writing letters to the editor about events he was “unable to attend.”
Alexander was also very upset about the fact that I have my NRA membership listed on my university webpage as a “professional membership.” I put it there because so many of my colleagues in the field have memberships in societies with words like “feminist” and “critical” in the title of the organization. Since those are obviously political groups – critical, for example, means “Marxist” or “communist” – I thought I would put an obviously political group among my “professional membership” listings. This was to see whether any hypocritical sociologists or criminologists would be critical of the NRA but not critical of the “critical.”
Alexander took the bait. I could have explained it all at the lecture had he the courage to attend. Perhaps he could have explained why he characterized me as an “extremist” in his letter. After all, I’m not a member of a communist “professional” organization. I’m only in the NRA – an organization many times larger than the total communist population of the United States.
In addition to calling me an “extremist” Alexander used the term “extremist” to describe the leadership of the NRA, which he ultimately characterized as a “fringe group.” The reason for the tantrum of name-calling was our supposed opposition to “more effective and rational gun policy.” But Alexander nowhere states what “rational gun policy” I oppose.
After attacking both me and the NRA leadership, Alexander attacked the Bucknell conservatives for circulating an email with survey results from a study by Gary Kleck. He said that “an organization made up of students at a university” should “better inform itself” before uncritically repeating the statistics like “gun extremists and bloggers on the Internet.” He added that “experts” who “actually do research on these matters” have found “significant problems with them.” But a cursory examination of his vita shows that he is not one of those sociologists doing “research on these matters.”
Alexander mentioned the notion of “scholarly consensus” in the final sentence of his letter to the editor. But he said nothing about the fact that fifteen refereed publications have shown that CCW laws reduce homicide rates while zero studies show that they increase them. That was really the major theme of the speech that Alexander was “unable to attend.”
But, thank God that just days after my speech a former law enforcement officer with a CCW was “able to attend” church in Colorado when an anti-Christian bigot came in opening fire while in possession of 1000 rounds of ammunition. In stark contrast to the cowardice of a sociologist who cannot attend lectures - or back up his letters that criticize the lectures he missed with relevant facts - she exhibited true courage. After asking her God for guidance, she drew her weapon and calmly felled a psychopath who then ended his own life in humiliation. In the process she certainly saved dozens of innocent lives.
As I said in my talk at Bucknell, we must empower the innocent citizen with a CCW that will help him to protect both self and others. But, perhaps I should have said “her.” Some “men” are simply not up to the task and, hence, too cowardly to even discuss the issue with those willing to return fire, intellectually speaking.