Thursday, June 30, 2005

Firing Back

I've noted before that I think Dave Kopel's argument in favor of guns for would-be genocide victims is very impressive--and this is coming from a definitive gun-skeptic.

Well, he's at it again, noting the recent gun confiscation round ordered by the Zimbabwe government. But this time, he's got a challenger: PrawfsBlawg guest blogger Kaimi Wenger. She notes that Mormon's had both guns and the right to use them in mid-19th century America, and that did little to stop the rampant anti-Mormon violence that occurred in the era. This strikes pretty close to the heart of Kopel's claims, since he is arguing that as an empirical matter, a disarmed population is a necessity for massive state-sponsored violence against a given ethnic group. The experience of the Mormons isn't true. And by the way, even if you don't buy and/or don't care about anything Wenger is saying, you should read her post anyway. It's a fascinating account of a chapter of American history I knew nothing about--and I consider myself a history buff. She also tells it well.

I'm sure that Kopel would argue that the presence of guns prevented the bloodshed from being worse than it would of--there wasn't, to be sure, a Mormon genocide. It's a good response, but Wenger's post still seems to keep some of its bite. I'm holding off judgment for now, but both sides are making stellar arguments.

UPDATE: Mark of Pseudo-Polymath points me to some more spectacular posts on the subject by Walloworld (see here and here) and Winds of Change. Great stuff all around.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Bill Wallo at Wallo World had some good criticism of the "guns prevent genocide" idea. The posts were a few weeks ago, I'd recommend hunting them down.