I’m still playing over at Quora.com. I’ve recently had an interesting exchange on the question “What can gun owners learn from non-gun owners?” with REDACTED who advertises himself as a Theoretical Biologist at MIT. I won’t reproduce the whole thread, but I will pick out two excerpts from his comments:
(A)s soon as I learn that someone owns a gun, and is pro-gun ownership without heavy regulations, I totally judge them to be uneducated and conservative. Responsible or not, having a gun comes with a mentality of thinking it is ok to buy a killing device. I am happy to do that, because I have yet to meet an intelligent, well educated person who is pro-guns in real life.
But that’s not QotD. This is:
I was never against having guns for shooting ranges, I am against them as means of self-defense (or freedom).
So rare to find one willing to state that in public.
UPDATE: With respect to the comments here, do you see why I like playing over there? Talk about a target-rich environment! ;D
UPDATE 2: Now that I’ve made him aware that I quoted him here, he’s apparently deleted the comment that started the thread these were taken from, thus eliminating the entire thread. Interestingly enough, I can still access them, just not from the post in question. Reasoned Discourse™ strikes again! The guy IS the archetype!
For archival purposes, here’s the last part of that thread-in-question:
With respect to your admitted bias, I received a very interesting email this evening and got permission to pass it on. To wit:
“I work in downtown Boston…right across the river from REDACTED. If you can get him to commit to a definition of intelligent and well-educated that isn’t equal to ‘agrees with me,’ I would be happy to produce myself at a Boston Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts so he can, in real life, see a ‘well educated’ pro-2A person, who is also not a conservative.
“Although there’s a reason I normally stay quiet and listen while people like yourself are talking, I should be able to meet any bar for reasonably intelligent that he’s likely to pick. Credentials =/= intelligent or educated, but I wouldn’t trust his personal assessment, so credentials as a proxy would seem to be the way to go. In that vein – I have a Ph.D. from Harvard in Genetics, a Mensa membership card, and am a former Goldwater scholar.
“I self-identify as mostly libertarian – while he’s likely to see some of my views as conservative, I also have plenty that fit well with the liberal stereotype (e.g. I am an atheist that has no problem with gay marriage and would very much like the government to refrain from any involvement in reproductive health/decisions).
“My gunnie creds are pretty solid. In my own right, I am a NRA instructor, former SAS instructor/coordinator, former Hunter Ed instructor, former Board Member for a state 2A-rights organization, etc.
“I am happy to be Exhibit A in this instance.”
So if you’d like to broaden your experience with an educated non-conservative, there’s a volunteer willing to meet you right there in Boston! Let me know. I think this get-together would be FASCINATING.
The fact that he brings up mensa, after harvard, is quite puzzling.
The fact that Harvard is a rather conservative school, is well-established to me.
The fact that he contacts you, not me, for this, is also not clear.
The fact that he thinks he is exhibit A, is not too impressive either.
He is a very typical libertarian.
His gun certifications make me doubtful of whether I feel comfortable meeting him in person, I rather stay online, but I am willing to meet him if he promises not to bring any guns.
If we meet and I am proven false, I will happily change my statements and judgement about gun enthusiasts. He may define intelligence and education as he wishes.
Full disclosure: I’m a blogger, and I used a couple of excerpts from your comments there in a post this morning:
The Smallest Minority (This post – Ed.)
This respondent is not a member of Quora, has not read the thread(s), and sent me an email rather than leaving a comment on my blog – thus did not see your opinion of Mensa prior. And Harvard is conservative? Compared to UC Berkeley, but …
I will forward your response and see where it goes from there.
I am not sure if you were allowed to do that.
You put me at considerable safety hazard, by reproducing my full name and location. And by choosing specific parts of my writing you selected out of context, without my consent, in your own personal domain.
Even if this is legal ( not sure) , it is certainly unethical, which just makes me more worried that you own a gun.
You advocate individual rights, while you take the matter of my privacy completely in your own hands.
I beg your pardon? You’re posting on a public forum. Your information is available with a quick and simple Google search (as is mine). You have a Facebook page! And you’re worried about me “outing” you? And GUN OWNERS are paranoid?
If gun owners were 1/10,000th as dangerous as you make us out to be, there WOULDN’T BE ANY ANTI-GUNNERS LEFT.
There’s another related question on Quora – “What can non-owners learn from gun-owners” or words to that effect. How about this? That we’re normal, everyday people who aren’t hair-trigger (pun intended) killers just waiting to snap and blow away everyone in the closest Starbucks?
Good grief man, get ahold of yourself.
Yes, I selected excerpts from your comments. They were the most telling, so that’s what got excerpted. Welcome to internet infamy! Perhaps thousands of people will see your words!
Why else did you post them in the first place?
Hmmm, the safety hazard is not your judgement to make. If over then next 20 years half a million people read your blog (gross overestimate), there is a good chance there is more than a crazy person among them.
My uncle ( a successful surgeon) was shot paralyzed for life by a gun owner, a healthy but racist one, who profiled my uncle as an enemy foreigner in D.C. in 1980. Please give me some room to be paranoid.
What about the ethical perspective? do you think I get the right to stand by and discuss what I say when you present them out of context? No, you didn’t even inform me. That’s very very cowardly. Honestly, I thought you were radical but fair, that’s why I took a shot ( pun intended) to have a conversation. now I don’t even think that.
Why did I post them? because I was having a conversation with you, under your posting.
Thanks to this, I will never discuss these things with people like you. You get to say your stuff and applaud yourself, read some ethics, with an open mind, works on both fronts.
Also, in Quora’s terms of agreement:
(f) contains other people’s private or personally identifiable information without their express authorization and permission, and/or
We have already determined that what we were doing was NOT “having a conversation,” we were staking out our positions in a public forum. My condolences to your uncle, but there are crazies in every nation, and not all of them use guns (yes, I include homicidal bigotry as a form of insanity). And D.C. in 1980? Wasn’t that a gun-free zone then?
On the “out of context” argument, please go back and read the entire thread. They ARE the context. I did inform you, admittedly after the fact, but you’re more than welcome to respond in the comments. You needn’t leave an email address – anonymous comments are accepted.
I’m not radical, I’m fanatical – defined as “won’t change my mind, won’t change the subject and won’t shut up.” But I suspect you are the same.
It has been my experience that anti-gun people are of one of two types – those who have suffered direct or indirect loss from violence involving a firearm, or the merely philosophically involved. You are obviously one of the former, and for that reason your position is somewhat more understandable.
My posting of your comments was not unethical. What moral principle did I violate? Certainly not your privacy. I’m sorry you were offended/frightened, but that’s your perception, not my fault. Perhaps ten million people may eventually read THIS thread, and they can Google you just as I did.
Welcome to the internet.
My correspondent has replied:
“As I work in Boston and am not a MA resident, I will of necessity be sans firearms when I meet him. He can rest easy on that count.”
Contact information: [REDACTED]
Assuming, of course, that you’re not too frightened to carry through now.
With respect to subsection f) which you added above, please see the following under “Quora’s licenses to you”:
“Quora gives you a worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to re-post any of the Content on Quora anywhere on the rest of the web provided that the Content was added to the Service after April 22, 2010, and provided that the user who created the content has not explicitly marked the content as not for reproduction, and provided that you: (a) do not modify the Content; (b) attribute Quora by name in readable text and with a human and machine-followable link (an HTML anchor tag) linking back to the page displaying the original source of the content on http://quora.com on every page that contains Quora content; (c) upon request, either by Quora or a user, remove the user’s name from Content which the user has subsequently made anonymous;”
I’ll remove the link and description of you in my blog post, but it seems to me that subsection f) applies to posting HERE at Quora, not elsewhere. Also, it appears that I am remiss in not linking to this page in my blog post, per Quora’s terms, so I’ll be doing that instead.
See? Understanding of the law is a very important thing. Unless, apparently, you’re the President, and can just unilaterally decide what parts of the law you want to enforce or not.
I’ve edited just a tiny bit for readability, but that’s the end of a LONG thread exchange that he apparently doesn’t want anyone to read anymore.
I guess I can add another item to my list of things gun owners can learn from non-gun owners. I’ll leave it to you to determine what that item is.