The important elements of the debate over the activity versus dormancy of comet Shoemaker Levy 9 (S-L 9) are reviewed. It is argued that the circularity of the isophotes in the inner comae of S-L 9 as well as the spatial dependencies of the comae brightness profiles are indicators of sustained dust production by S-L 9. It is also shown that the westward tail orientations, which were formerly interpreted as a sign of the comet's dormancy, are not a good indicator of either activity or dormancy. Rather, the tail orientations simply place constraints on the dust production rate for grains smaller than approx. equals 5(micron). All the available evidence points to S-L 9 as having been an active, dust-producing comet. Synthetic images of an active comet are fitted to Hubble Space Telescope images of the S-L 9 fragment K, and its grain size and outflow velocity distributions are extracted. These findings show that the appearance of the dust coma was dominated by large grains having radii between approx. equals 30 (micron) and approx. equals 3 mm, produced at a rate of M approx. equals 22 kg/ s, and ejected at outflow velocities of approx. equals 0.5 m/ s. Only upper limits on the production rates of smaller grains are obtained. The nucleus of fragment K was not observed directly but its size is restricted to lie within a rather narrow interval 0.4 less than or equal to Rf less than or equal to 1.2 km.