Kopel: Guns in Parks: The Hoplophobes Travel Guide to the United States
The lawyer and gun-law writer David Kopel produced a serious, but hilarious, discussion of mental illness exhibited by gun-rights opponents. Writing on The New Ledger website, he said in the piece, "Guns in Parks: The Hoplophobes Travel Guide to the United States":
I was one of seven authors whom the New York Times invited to contribute a short essay on the new law, for the Times on-line opinion feature, Room for Debate. All seven essays, from diverse pro/con viewpoints, were pretty good, I thought. The comments from readers, however, were voluminous but often very weak. Many of them consisted of left-over talking points from the gun control debate circa 1971, with assertions that no serious scholar of the gun issue believes. For example, many commenters claimed that it is impossible to use a gun in self-defense, because the attacker (whether a human or an animal) will have the element of surprise, that ordinary people are not competent to use guns for protection, and so on. Yet even the strongest scholarly advocates of gun control acknowledge that there are about a hundred thousand defensive gun uses annually, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is conducted by the Census Bureau and the United State Department of Justice. (Other scholars argue for higher figures, but the key point is that no informed scholar claims that successful defensive use is rare or non-existent.)
Surprisingly, some of the commenters showed signs of mental illness. One commenter wrote that if he saw someone in a National Park with a gun, he would report the person for making criminal threats. (Well, watch out, gunnut gunwack gunsels. If I see your gun while I am visiting the parks, I will file a complaint accusing you of threatening me.)
Now perhaps that commenter himself is just an ordinary criminal, and for many years has been breaking the law by making false accusations against innocent people. On the other hand, the commenter might not have been intending to make a knowingly false report, but instead to have been accurately predicted what he, with complete sincerity, would do. A persons belief, without a sufficient basis, that other people are committing crimes against him, is a symptom of Paranoid Personality Disorder.
To read the rest of the post, click here.