Friday, November 18, 2011

Firearms & Islam in America

It's been a very busy week here; nothing really out of the ordinary in what was done, but somehow tonight I find myself especially tired.

My students gave some interesting lessons during their classes this week. Utah is a conservative state; the folks here love their guns. If I had known that in theory before, I knew this for a fact after one of Wednesday's presentations: One pair discussed firearms and whether they should remain legal (and to what extent) or not. Many of the young men felt that having guns was a necessity "for safety reasons," although several students, of course, disagreed. Of course, I mentioned to the class that this being, you know, Utah, the area is not especially crime-ridden in the same way that parts of the Bronx might be. (One student mentioned that she was from Fresno, which is a tad more dangerous that Utah.) The folks who felt that guns were necessary for protection were, I noticed, mostly the young men who were born and raised in Utah, while the folks who thought that line of argumentation was a bit silly had lived elsewhere. Interesting (and of course uscientific) correlation.

In any case, I was reminded of Eddie Izzard mention of the NRA slogan that guns don't kill people, people do; but that the guns help in this regard:

Another student discussed attitudes towards Muslims and Islam in America. I was a bit worried, prevalent attitudes being what they are, but I was pleased to notice that my student gave actual facts about Islam, and that my students also recognized that the media has had a huge impact on presenting incorrect perceptions of Muslims and Islam. (It angers me no end when I hear entire religious populations disparaged based on the misdeeds of a select few who act so badly and gain international notoriety becaus of it.)

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