The word university lost significance in South Dakota in 1989 when we decided to call Northern, Dakota State, and Black Hills State universities because College just didn’t sound impressive enough. (Funny: Mines does fine being known as School….)
So I suppose I shouldn’t breathe too much fire over Aberdonian Justin Hoffman calling his gun school the University of Sparta. It’s clear even without Kaylyn Deiter’s quote marks that Hoffman isn’t running a university; he’s just trying to keep folks full of fear and Fox News from shooting their toes off:
In February 2014, Northern State University graduate Justin Hoffman launched an endeavor that would ultimately become what the “university” is today.
Hoffman said he was motivated to start the business in response to the gun-related tragedies, such as the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting in 2012.
“I was working at a gun shop at the time and kept having people come into the store and buy guns who didn’t really know what they were doing with them,” Hoffman said. He started teaching classes privately, gaining such a large amount of interest that he decided to take his private business public [Kaylyn Deiter, “Aberdeen Business Offers ‘University’ for Guns,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.07.13].
Lots of people buying guns who don’t know what they are doing… and so, responsible gun shop owners, you don’t let those people walk out of your stores with guns, right?
But never mind university; let’s talk Sparta! If Hoffman were really training Spartans, he’d train us to kill our sickly babies and flog (pistol-whip?) the survivors to make them tougher. The Spartans were also bad at training whole, integral people who appreciated the full universe (ah, back to the root of university!):
It is the standards of civilized men not of beasts that must be kept in mind, for it is good men not beasts who are capable of real courage. Those like the Spartans who concentrate on the one and ignore the other in their education turn men into machines and in devoting themselves to one single aspect of city’s life, end up making them inferior even in that [Aristotle, via Wikipedia].
I suppose a Spartan university professor could argue that I am somehow a beastly machine for ignoring the martial arts and focusing on the pen instead of the sword. But consider that we don’t live in Sparta, where we daily face the predations of invaders who must be fought off by every citizen taking up arms in mortal combat. Rarely will you pick up a gun and use it to protect your rights and improve your quality of life. You can use this blog every day to better understand and improve your world. If you want bang for your buck, you don’t buy a gun-training class; you ring the tip jar on Dakota Free Press!
(Hmmm… maybe I should rename the blog again, call it Dakota Free University….)