By KATIE BARLOW and REBECCA SABER
With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.
Welcome to the zoo! This is a new blog where both the Republican and Democrat viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just to present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half! The topic this week: concealed carry on campus.
In the past 50 years, every mass shooting with greater than four casualties (the only exception being the shooting in Tucson, Arizona) has taken place in areas declared “Gun Free Zones,” or as some people like to call them “areas free of weapons carried by law abiding citizens.” Obviously, it is easier to attack when it is guaranteed that no one can fight back. Unfortunately, many stories of gun self-defense (in NOT gun free zones), especially those with no shots fired, like “Attempted Rapist Scared Away, No Shots Taken” don’t make national headlines. A study preformed by Cramer and Burnett demonstrated that the average citizen was capable of successfully utilizing a gun in self-defense without being tempted to violence, shedding light on a small sample of the estimated tens of thousands to as high as two million cases of defensive gun use each year.
Self-defense with a gun is a right because although police officers are an amazing defensive resource and respond quickly, violence can occur in a span of minutes. It is advantageous to be able to respond immediately in order to stop or slow the shooter down until police arrive and handle the situation. In Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, a student stopped a mass shooter by grabbing his gun from his car. Those valuable moments it took the student to reach his car allowed the killer to continue shooting; the death toll was nine students and the shooter almost escaped. Gun laws prohibiting concealed carry in school gave the killer that time. There are many other stories like this, such as the Appalachian Law School incident in Grundy, Virginia, and even a junior high incident in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Situations like these demonstrate that concealed carry should be permitted on campus. Students and professors have the right to defend themselves and their peers rather than meander around in a hunting ground for innocent victims, AKA a “Gun Free Zone.”
The Elephant in the Room
A gun in your hand makes pulling the trigger a possibility. If you don’t have a gun, it will make it infinitely harder to kill someone. A college campus should be a safe haven for learning and growing, not violence. When going to bed at night, students should worry about schoolwork and parties, not whether they should buy a gun for protection. In the last 238 days, there have been 247 mass shootings (classified as more than four victims). There have been 142 school shootings since that horrific day in Sandy Hook. Clearly, we have a problem. For me, the most terrifying thought is not knowing if the student sitting next to me has a gun stashed in his backpack. Why should any student have to contemplate that question? In many universities, professors have begun using “trigger warnings,” alerting students of potential PTSD triggers. If we are so concerned about student safety that we consider giving a warning about a violent scene in a novel, why is it that guns could even be considered as a commonplace, legal item around campus? Students will contemplate whether they should challenge a peer in class for fear of provoking a potentially lethal interaction. Professors will question the grades they distribute in case one student takes it the wrong way. Fights that once were fistfights could become shooting matches like in an old western standoff. Colleges are hubs for overdrinking and high emotions; what if one person takes it too far? Just last week, nine students were killed at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. The shooter, a 26-year-old, brought six legally purchased guns to campus. How is it possible that he got his hands on that many lethal weapons? And then, because of the law, was legally allowed to carry them on campus?
It is not enough to excuse this behavior with “People who kill are mentally insane” or “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” A person suffering from a mental illness is capable of ending lives because of the weapon he holds in his hand. The statement, “It’s my Second Amendment right” should never trump making it safer for lives on every college campus. Too many dead bodies are proof enough. How many people have to die before we, as Americans, say “Enough”?
Until next time,
The Dapper Donkey