Part 6 Etzioni Suffers From Terminal Hoplophobia

Larry Pratt
Part VI — Prof. Amitai Etzioni Suffers From Terminal Hoplophobia, An Irrational Fear Of Guns

I have read that the term “hoplophobia” — which is from the Greek root “hoplon,” or weapon — was coined by firearms instructor Colonel Jeff Cooper. It means an irrational aversion to firearms. And if ever there was a person suffering from hoplophobia, it is Professor Amitai Etzioni.

In our lengthy interview with Etzioni, when we told him he was definitely afflicted with hoplophobia, he said: “A loaded gun is like playing with fire. You get away with it some time. But most of the time you burn your house down.”

This analogy, however, like most of what Etzioni says, is absurd. Those of us who advocate the use of firearms for self-defense do not, of course, advocate that anybody should “play” with a gun.

In any event, answering the fool according to his folly (Proverbs 26:5), we ask Etzioni this question: “So, since fire, like guns, can, indeed, be misused, are you also for outlawing fire?” He says: “No.”

    Q: OK. So, are you for outlawing all the other things that kill a lot more people accidentally than guns do? Why just pick on guns?

    Etzioni: I would surely not want people to run around in their homes with some kind of a turned-on torch at all times with a flame on with the hope that one day they may have to burn something. That’s exactly what we are talking about. [A gun is] a very dangerous technology. And running around with it loaded at all times because one day someone may come in, is a very dangerous way of keeping us safe.

But, once again, Etzioni’s analogy here is preposterously asinine. It is ridiculous on its face. The firearm equivalent of someone running around his house with a “turned-on torch all the time” would be a person running around his house firing his gun all the time. We do not advocate this. And we know of nobody who does.

At another point in our lengthy interview, attacking the idea of using guns in self-defense, Etzioni says: “I presume you’re talking about loaded guns. I mean, there’s no sense keeping the bullets in one drawer and the gun in some other when someone jumps into your back window or breaks down your door.”

Exactly, we say. Correct.

Etzioni continues: “And of course next you have to keep it with you because there’s no sense getting upstairs in the bedroom and somebody comes into your kitchen.”

Right, we say. True.

Etzioni: “So, you run around the whole day with a loaded gun for years until someday maybe somebody comes…. And even if you have it with you at the right moment, most of us who are not hardened criminals are not very quick on the draw. Shooting a short gun is not that easy. You have to really know what you’re doing.”

But, this is more nonsense from a man who speaks gibberish fluently when it comes to guns. The truth is that — although Etzioni may be unaware of this fact — millions of Americans have guns in our homes for self-defense and we really do know what we are doing.

When we ask Etzioni what he would like to have by his bed if somebody was breaking into his home, he says: “First of all, an alarm on my door.”

    Q: And suppose this alarm is disregarded and the intruder suddenly appears in your bedroom? What would you like to have by your bed then?

    Etzioni: I’d like to have by my bed 911.

The Professor, obviously, has not read the book Dial 911 And Die (Mazel Freedom Press, 1999) by Attorney Richard W. Stevens. This frightening, must-read book reveals what it calls “the shocking truth about the police protection myth.” As James Bovard observes, correctly, in his Introduction to this book: “[It] is the perfect antidote for the belief that people don’t need guns because the police promise to protect them from everything from terrorists to muggers to things that go bump in the night…. But police protection in most places is typical government at work — slow, inefficient, and unreliable.”

Moreover, as Stevens documents in detail, dialing 911 is no guarantee your life will be saved. Many times this system fails by either breaking down completely or being busy when you call. And criminals can cut your phone and power lines making any calls impossible. But, even if the police arrive immediately, there is, in most States, no legal obligation or duty to protect individuals. As Bovard says: “There is no substitute for citizens owning the means to defend their own lives. Even the most advanced cellular phone is no substitute for a good .38 special.”


But, of course, this is not true for those suffering from terminal hoplophobia — individuals such as Prof. Etzioni. The scariest thing he can imagine in a home is not an intruder but a privately owned gun! Talking at length with Etzioni, one realizes the truth of the slogan of the National Negro College Fund: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”