Editorial Board of The Daily Aztec of San Diego State University. An independent newspaper.
Issue date: 11/29/07
The tragedy of the Virginia Tech shootings in April left behind a lingering, uneasy feeling about school security, much like the aftermath of the Columbine shootings in 1999. Two sides quickly rose to provide an answer to students' desperate calls for protection: Add heavier restrictions on gun regulations or loosen current restrictions. The latter, being the more overtly extreme and irrational, seems to have hit a new low.
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, with a membership of 8,000 students, is a non-partisan group that promotes the importance for students with handgun licenses to be able to bring their guns onto college campuses. The Virginia Tech incident only fueled the group's cause. It argues that if colleges allowed students to express their Second Amendment right on campus, it would be a safer place.
The truth actually lies polar-opposite with Students for Concealed Carry on Campus' claim. People can't fight fire with fire. Adding more guns to the equation doesn't create a more peaceful environment - campuses will instead be more prone to violence.
Guns being permitted on school grounds could have detrimental repercussions, including accidental firings, gun thefts and an increased risk of violent behavior because of provocation by peers or professors.
School should be a safe haven where students feel comfortable and secure; however, it's also a culprit of anxiety, experimentation and, therefore, impulsivity. Stress, frustration and guns don't make a mix to take a chance with.
Putting students' and the faculty's lives in immediate danger by allowing student gun owners to carry their guns on campus is irresponsible, impractical and counterproductive. Instead of preventing a disaster, campuses would be vulnerable to chaos.
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus claim they're deprived of their right to self-defense. But the refutation to their argument isn't about restricting freedoms - it's about responsibly laying out laws that won't create chaos; it's about the right thing to do. What's flawed about the radical group's rationale is that no one on campus should have a gun except for police officers. A college is an institution for higher learning. Students shouldn't be transporting weapons to class or be concerned about the possibility of other students concealing weapons. Also, a student shouldn't need a gun to protect his or herself because campus should be a safe, controlled environment.
If students should organize and promote any change regarding protection, it should be to increase safety on school campuses via weapon scanners, security cameras and police.
Students shouldn't have the right to bring weapons on campus, but they should have the right to feel safe while on campus.
To which I replied,
To the Editorial Board,
You presented an editorial that is poorly written, poorly reasoned, and riddled with hoplophobia.
(Hoplophobia is the irrational fear of firearms and other forms of weaponry. Col. Jeff Cooper, who coined the term, stated, "the most common manifestation of hoplophobia is the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user." It is as though firearms emanate evil waves of influence on anyone unfortunate enough to be in the immediate vicinity, forcing them to violent acts against their will. Paranoia toward those who do not fear guns and might carry them is also quite common.)
Yesterday, someone went to class on our campus with a concealed firearm. He or she did not shoot anyone. No one stole his or her gun. It did not go off “accidentally”. Social order did not break down; chaos did not ensue. Why, no one even peed their pants! You did not feel one bit less safe because this person carried a concealed firearm on campus. He or she felt much safer.
I’d like to take a moment to lead you through your Chicken Little moment.
Q: How can you conscientiously characterize the peaceable pursuit of the human and civil right of self-defense by responsible adults as extreme, irrational, radical and low? May I assume you have similar views of the other groups on campus that pursue their civil rights?
A: Of course not. You are capable only of such an emotional response to concealed carry because of your hoplophobia.
Point of fact. Fire is often fought with fire, and quite successfully at that.
Q: Is a law-abiding person who has a concealed carry permit and carries while off campus more prone to commit a violent act when on campus?
A: Of course not. That law-abiding person is no more likely to commit a violent act on campus than off. The percentage of concealed carry permit holders who commit violent crimes is statistically insignificant. This is a manifestation of the paranoia that often accompanies hoplophobia.
Q: Since you are so concerned with the possibility of “detrimental repercussions”, could I correctly assume you advocate and stump for banning all vehicles, bathrooms, kitchens, swimming pools and five gallon buckets, tobacco products, alcohol products and fatty foods?
A: Of course not. You do not have an irrational fear of those inanimate objects, even though all of these have orders of magnitude more “detrimental repercussions” than firearms.
Q: If a student or faculty member conceals a firearm in a holster on their person, how is it likely to be stolen or accidentally fired?
A: It is not likely to be stolen or accidentally fired. A human agent must act in both of these circumstances. Just in case you do not know, if no one knows you have it (concealed, remember?), it cannot be stolen, and someone must pull the trigger on a firearm before it will fire. Remember, there is no evil aura to rat out the gun.
Q: You say school “should be a safe haven where students feel comfortable and secure” and then describe it as a place of anxiety, experimentation, impulsivity, stress, and frustration. Did you intentionally omit violent crime, particularly against female students, on your weapons-free campus?
A: No, I am sure the omission of violent crime was not intentional. I am sure it is difficult to think of predators on campus who target unprotected students when those evil guns are being discussed. That being said, I fully agree that those who are incapable of dealing with anxiety, stress, and frustration, and those who are prone to experimentation and impulse are poor candidates for firearms ownership, much less a concealed carry permit. But you should not penalize those who are not debilitated by these conditions.
Q: How does allowing responsible, law-abiding adults who carry off campus suddenly become “an immediate danger” to the lives of students and faculty when he or she steps across the street onto a college campus?
A: One does not become “an immediate danger” when stepping onto campus with a concealed firearm. The responsible, law-abiding adult merely changes location, not intent. The percentage of concealed carry permit holders who commit violent crimes is statistically insignificant. This fine example of your paranoia and hoplophobia is emphasized by your contention that the mere presence of a firearm would lead to chaos. There are hundreds of millions of guns in this country that have never been used in any kind of crime.
SCCC members have been deprived of their human right of self-defense on nearly every campus in this country.
The refutation of their arguments must necessarily be about restricting their right.
No campus can provide enough policemen to keep every student “safe” every moment of every day.
Laws do not create order. Laws define crime and the punishments for conviction of crime. You keep saying chaos. I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Even if only cops have guns… Grow up. Criminals do not pay any attention to any law they don’t like. Gun-free zone worked really well at Virginia Tech and Columbine, didn’t it?
A student shouldn’t need a gun. Again, grow up. Let’s leave this adolescent denial of truth behind us and move on to living in the real world. This is not Utopia and there really are bad guys out there.
A student may need a gun. There is no such thing as a safe controlled environment. There are few environments more controlled than jails and prisons. Never been an assault or murder in a jail or prison, right?
A maniac could drive onto campus tomorrow, get out of his vehicle, kill ten students, get back in his vehicle and drive off campus. Tell me how a weapon scanner, security camera, or police officer could stop him.
If you cannot be responsible for your own safety, you cannot be safe. All responsible adults should be allowed to carry a firearm anywhere they have a right to be.
And may suggest the Editorial Board get a good English grammar, a style book, and a dictionary?