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August 3, 2010: Guns

This pinch-hit topic has come up a number of times over the last couple of years. Some people have asked "Do guns make us safer?" and "What is the fascination with guns?" On Tuesday we will explore these and other questions.

Jay Griffith and Tiffany and Mitch Spence will lead the discussion. Jay has arranged for his brother-in-law, Tony Latham, a retired Fish and Game Officer and 19-year firearms instructor to join by phone to contribute to the discussion.

Prep Materials:

Read the comment below from Jay for an introduction to his perspective on this topic.


  1. Jay Griffith7/30/10, 12:21 PM

    From: Jay Griffith

    My fellow thinking again groupies,

    I was asked Wednesday if I might take on this next Think Again event since Carri is unable to. I said yes if Mitch would tag-team it with me since I think we may be "out-gunned" in this group regarding the topic.

    Seriously though, I don't have a dog in this fight except to say I understand and support sane, well regulated, and educated gun ownership. But it's not on the top of my list of causes. The only guns I own are the ones my father has given me. I have only shot them with him. And I have done so because it means a lot to him. It's not something I enjoy but he does a great deal. I would put it in the same category as golf. I will do it if asked to by people I care for to be with them. Unlike the guns though I don't own any golf clubs.

    As for hunting, I have hunted once or twice when I was about ten. I remember helping my father skin a deer. Oh, and as a boy I went shooting prairie dogs or pot-guts on my cousins farm since they were ruining their fields. I don't hunt, not because I'm against humane legal taking of game for food, but because I don't enjoy killing things. I eat very little meat because of this. I even feel bad killing spiders so usually leave them alone. I don't feel bad about killing flies and mosquitos though.

    My wife's family are avid hunters. They hunt and fish all the time and eat all of it. They are also avid environmentalists and Democrats I believe.

    I am not a member of the NRA nor any similar organization. And I do think there needs to be better education, training, and licensing of guns. There it is—I've shown my hand and the limited extent of most of my knowledge on the subject.

    That being the case I have arranged for my brother-in-law, Tony Latham, to get patched in from Carmen Idaho (near Salmon Idaho) to speak with some authority and experience on the subject. Tony is a recently retired Fish and Game Officer from that area whose fame spread far and wide throughout the whole western United States. He not only did undercover work catching some of the worst and most callous poachers, but also enforced the law as an officer of the peace in the surrounding region. He has also been recognized and applauded for catching and help convict major water polluters. Tony was also a certified police firearms instructor for 19 years. He continues to be asked to teach a method he developed for on-site ballistic analysis. He just returned from Alaska from such an engagement. And he is an avid hunter. Interestingly, just today he was quoted in Reuters regarding the bear attack in Yellowstone.

    Tuesday I will share a powerful experience my father had as a 17 year old that had a huge impact on why he carried a concealed weapon up until 8 months ago—he is now 84.

    Like most issues that are politicized, polarizing, and carry heavy emotional baggage, it helps to understand those who think differently than oneself. Isn't that why this group is called "think again?"

    I suggest that you come with questions to explore—especially to ask Tony. Please post them ASAP. And feel free to post suggested study materials as well.

    To get us started here's an interesting interview that I just happened to catch a week or so ago on Radio West.

    I'm sure Mitch will have some valuable things to say and pose for our consideration.

  2. Tiffany Ivins Spence8/2/10, 8:21 PM

    Are guns better to have in the house for protecting one's family? For example, I was advised that wasp spray is just as good (or better) to have around in case of a burglary?

  3. Tiffany Ivins Spence8/2/10, 9:02 PM

    Here's an interesting link to a Time article "Boom in Gun Sales Fueled by Politics, Economy" (Apr 2009):,8599,1889886,00.html

  4. Jay, where's the radio west interview? I don't see a link. Just a period :)
    Tiffany, what if the burglar is armed with a gun? Would you still opt for the wasp spray?
    Everyone, here's a comedic take on what I think lies at the heart of much of the debate.


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