Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Ah, my non-lawschool readers, allow me to introduce to you the gunner. A gunner is a sub-species of human, known for florid language, pompous carriage, and an unparalleled eagerness to volunteer in class in an effort to "share his thoughts." The gunner is also characterized by a naïve belief that he/she is original. It is best not to confront the gunner on this idea as he/she may become violent.

Today my morning class was thoroughly infested with this noxious creature. Not only did members of the species constantly congratulate one another on their brilliant thoughts, one student even congratulated the professor on his "nice" arguments. The professor, a brilliant, kindly, and humble man, seemed amused and "thanked" the student for his approval. I was choking back my laughter.

Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to read the following email sent to me
around this time from M. Babe, who is also in the class. EZ got the same email, and I heard him snort. I know if I had read it, it would have been all over.
From: M. Babe
Sent: Tue 4/18/2006 10:30 AM
To: Laaw-yuhr, EZ
Subject: add another notch to the gunner vernacular belt

"My concern is . . ." has been officially added to the Gunner's Guide to Pompous Introductions to Brilliant In-Class Commentary: A User's Guide to Taking Text Notes* and Disguising Them as Your Own Novel Ideas.

Peruse the Guide to find familiar favorites, such as:
"My discomfort lies in . . ."
"I'm trying to reconcile . . . "
"Harkening back . . . "

and anything involving the word "tautology" or any derivative thereof.
And subject to contextual interpretation:

"Essentially, what the Court is saying . . . " (which can also be used by non-gunners in an attempt to buy time when called on in class).
Honestly, the people really talk like this. And they sound ridiculous. I'm all for saying what you have to say with confidence, but I think students should remember they are still in fact students and should couch their thoughts in slightly more respectful, deferential language.

Or if you're me, you just shut up altogether not caring if people think you're stupid. Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

*For non-lawyers, text notes are small articles following a case in the text book. These notes generally consist of excerpts from law review articles (written by law professors) presenting different interpretations of important cases and/or rounding out the law in the area with a short survey of other related cases.

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