by David Safier

How times change!

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Way back in the 60s, when some police forces were using strongarm tactics to bust up anti-war demonstrations and memories of the horrendous use of local police in the south during the civil rights movement were still fresh, the counter-culture was not fond of the police. As a matter of fact, the police were disliked and distrusted on general principle.

“The police are keeping us safe!” the other side said in response. “They’re doing what they need to do to maintain law and order. They know what’s best for us. Next time your house is robbed, try calling a hippie!”

At the time, if I remember correctly, most police officers supported the NRA and were against the “outlaw guns” crowd. “If the police don’t want to restrict gun ownership, it’s because they know guns keep us safe,” the NRA and their supporters said.

A popular bumpersticker read, “Support Your Local Police.” That was code for “Get a haircut and go back where you came from, you dirty hippie-commie!”

Now, many officers and their police departments are wary of the NRA’s extreme stances on gun ownership. And the police chiefs of our three universities say, let’s not allow guns on campus. Some of us ex-dirty-hippie-commies are applauding the wisdom of our boys in blue, while the old “Support Your Local Police” crowd poo-poos these foolish officers of the law who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Both sides look pretty ridiculous on this one, to be honest. Our eagerness to prove ourselves right—and to embrace those who support us and belittle those who don’t—makes fools of us all.

(And by the way, Guns in Schools is not a simple left-right issue. Mike Bryan and I had a spirited argument about this over lunch the other day. I’m happy to report, no fists were thrown or shots fired. We parted friends who agree on most issues but disagree on this one.)

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