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Professor Meets Gun
June 6, 2008 - 10:37am



Today, UD visits the National Rifle Association. She'll talk to a woman who works there, visit the museum, take a look at the shooting range they have in the basement.

Their headquarters is just across the Potomac River from UD's George Washington University office in Foggy Bottom, a quick cab trip from the Vienna/Fairfax-George Mason University metro station in Virginia.

But of course the NRA is a world away from UD herself. UD -- a typical professor at least in this regard -- embodies the blue state background that makes guns alien, frightening, disgusting things, and the NRA an outrage.

UD's husband, also a professor, thinks the Second Amendment should be repealed. He thinks her NRA visit a species of insanity.

From UD's first announcement, about a month ago, that, in the wake of last year's campus massacres, she wanted to learn more about guns and American gun cultures, Mr. UD has been appalled. "You're weird," was the best he could do. Later he settled into staring at her when she mentioned, for instance, that commentary on her other blog about her desire to overcome her ignorance about guns had been profuse, all of it favorable or neutral.

Last night, the eve of her NRA visit, Mr. UD calmed down enough to have a civil chat with her over dinner at Lebanese Taverna in Rockville, Maryland's new town center.

He expressed his belief that it's very hard to have a peaceful society when guns are significantly outside the possession of the state. He recalled going, under the auspices of US AID, to the National Archives, with a group of visiting foreigners who worked in international aid, and then giving a talk to them about the Constitution. "When I opened it up for questions, they didn't want to discuss freedom of speech or any of that. They wanted to know about our bizarre Second Amendment..."

Bizarre it may be -- to UD, her husband, many other professors, many other observers. But off she goes. She'll record her impressions here, at Inside Higher Education.


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