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By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Friends of the Dover Council on Aging host different classes as part of their Lifetime Learning program. The latest fall session is a four-part series on the Second Amendment, taught by former Wellesley College philosophy professor Maud Chaplin.
On Thursday, October 4, a group of 10 members of the community entered the Dover Public Library for their second week of a four-week class about the Second Amendment. The course looks at the Second Amendment through a philosophical perspective.
“Philosophers try to understand and create a political system that they think will work and will be for the good of mankind,” said Professor Chaplin. “I want to look at [the Second Amendment] through that perspective.”
Chaplin explained what she wants to teach the class about the Second Amendment.
“Everybody points to the Second Amendment as the right to own a gun,” she said. “What I want to show them is what the Second Amendment actually says [and] how it was interpreted in the 18th century.”
One class member explained why she came to this specific program.
“I want to sort out how people defend the Second Amendment,” said Nancy Karis. “I just can’t imagine how people can use it to their advantage [when defending the use of] machine guns and [assault] weapons … I have such a bias towards gun control, and I want to look into how the other side thinks.”
In the beginning of the discussion, Professor Chaplin explained the significance of knowing about the Second Amendment and its history.
“The Second Amendment rules the question of gun control in this country,” she said. “I don’t think we can talk about it intelligently if we don’t know what [the Second Amendment] means and its history.”
Chaplin then explained why she thinks “context” is important.
“We have no idea what [the Founding Fathers] were thinking when [they wrote the Second Amendment],” she asserted.
To present why context is important, Chaplin explained that in 1792, militias were just part of life. In addition, she said that “having a gun was like having a car” at that time in history.
This program was just one of many programs run by Lifetime Learning. The coordinator of the organization, Michele Keleher, explained why her group organizes these discussions.
“We want to stimulate the senior population,” said Keleher. “We want to provide something of interest for the town.”
“It’s for people who want to continue learning,” added a board member of the Friends of the Council on Aging, Cindy Holmes.
The Lifetime Learning program was first created nine years ago. Professor Chaplin has been a part of the program since its inception.
“Many people have become fans of a particular teacher like Maud,” said Holmes. “She is really great.
The Friends of the Dover Council on Aging sponsor the Lifetime learning sessions twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. The session generally consists of four classes, which last around one and a half hours, once a week.
The current class has two more weeks to learn about the Second Amendment.