Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson has ignited something of a tempest by publishing a hysteria-laden inquiry from the father of a 24-year-old woman who, he discovered, owns a handgun and hollowpoint ammunition, which Dickinson incredibly suggested is “explosive.”
So bizarre was this exchange in Dickinson’s June 12 column, which ran in the Washington Post, Omaha World-Herald, Portland Oregonian and other newspapers that Charles C.W. Cooke, writing at the National Review online, wondered if it wasn’t the worst advice column ever written.
Seattle’s afternoon drive-time conservative radio host Kirby Wilbur at KVI-AM, did an opening segment on the column in his June 18 first half-hour.
The question that ignited all of this was signed by “Dumbfounded Father.” He wrote, “I discovered that my intelligent, hard-working, responsible 24-year-old daughter (who lives with me) is a gun owner! And it’s not a normal gun, either — it is a 40-caliber semi-automatic, and she has hollow-point bullets to go with it.”
Then dad added, “Amy, this is the kind of weapon a criminal would possess!”
He went on to explain that he gave his daughter three choices: Hand over her “weapon” to him, sell it or move out of his house.
“Dumbfounded” seems dumbstruck that “she says that I don’t trust her, and is barely speaking to me.”
The icing on this cake is Dickinson’s response: “According to my research, possessing hollow-point bullets is illegal in 11 states; is it legal in your state to own this sort of exploding ammunition?”
There is no small irony in how Dickinson is described by the Chicago Tribune: “Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. A solid reporter, she researches topics of interest to her readers and then answers their personal questions with empathy and gentle humor. Her informed opinions relayed with straight-to-the-heart precision have quickly made Amy Dickinson one of America’s premier advice columnists.”
Both Cooke and Wilbur reacted to the dad’s concerns, and Dickinson’s reply, with similar amazement. A .40-caliber pistol is, indeed, a very normal gun, both observed. Wilbur acknowledged having even owned a pistol in that caliber. Major law enforcement agencies issue such sidearms to their officers. They’re popular with law-abiding citizens who are licensed to carry. Some competitors like them for their ballistics. Translation: They are in common use by honest men and women, evidently including “Dumbfounded’s” intelligent, hard-working, responsible daughter.
As for the advice columnist, she apparently didn’t research this subject much, else it would be obvious that hollowpoint bullets do not explode. They do expand, on the presumption that they will not over-penetrate the intended target while expending all their kinetic energy in the target mass.
This particular advice column offered a glimpse inside the frantic mind of an anti-gunner, who probably votes and supports every cockamamie gun control scheme on the landscape.
And it revealed the advice columnist as needy of sound education regarding firearms and ammunition. Call it friendly advice.