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Friday Nerd Blogging: Gun Control, Dragon Control, and Star(Buck) Power

November 22, 2013

I realize I am putting my Twitter standings at great risk by potentially appearing to make light of an important social issue.* But when I found this treatise on the importance of tighter regulations for dragons I couldn’t resist sharing. Happy Friday!

Game of Thrones – Dragon Control by TheShortsShow

*Though I hate to disagree with anyone whose work I admire so greatly, and though no one can really argue with Katee Sakhoff’s call for gun safety, as a political scientist I must say that Sakhoff is wrong on gun control. First, there is important evidence from experimental studies that on average, children (especially boys) cannot be trained in gun safety reliably enough to prevent the sort of accidents in the article to which her tweet referred, so the idea that training children in gun safety will solve these problems is mistaken. Second, her claim that tighter gun laws can “never happen in the US” flies in the face of much evidence to the contrary. US history is replete with norms – civil rights, women’s suffrage, etc – pushed through by the federal government against the vocal opposition of a conservative minority, and eventually accepted. Comparative examples (like Australia) suggest the same could ultimately be true for guns, and the lynchpin would be conservative leadership in favor of stricter rules. Given Sakhoff’s new standing with the gun lobby on the basis of her tweet and star(buck) power, she herself could exercise a positive or negative influence on this debate. On the other hand the backlash Katee received simply for expressing a divergent view was decidedly inconsistent with deliberative democracy.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.