Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Speculation from a former Only One

I found this trash in a local newpaper concerning armed college students on campus. The same boring and unfounded points are cited in this piece as in others: students are too drunk and stoned to be trusted; everyone will be shooting it out with the gunman because EVERYONE will be carrying a gun; the cops won't know who the bad guy is because every student is armed and shooting indescriminently while drunk and stoned; and my favorite, that students will kill themselves because they have a gun.

First off, nobody is saying that EVERYONE will have a gun. I doubt even half of one percent would carry, making these claims pretty silly.

Second, drugs and alcohol are not just problems that are found on campus, they're found everywhere, so playing this game of students having too many temptations around them to responsibly carry is false.

Third, suicide is also not just a campus problem, and guns do not cause it. It doesn't take a genious to figure out that firing a gun at your head will cause permanent death, and the same can be said for jumping from a tall structure. I have read about several people jumping from the Interstate 95 bridge over the Rappahannock river over the years. They just pull off onto the shoulder and jump. Should we ban gravity? Or maybe put up a fence around the bridge! That will surely stop someone from jumping off that particular structure!


There are some other things that don't add up, so let's take a look:
This is not really a Second Amendment right-to-bear-arms issue; it is a need and safety issue. Do students really need to carry guns on campus for their own personal protection, and would the presence of more guns there make college a safer place for all?

Actually, it is a 2nd Amendment issue. Why should an American's right end at the border of the campus? And need? Give me a break. As far as making it safer; it's not about making the school safe, it's about an individual's choice of personal safety. Few will carry a gun, and it sure won't make it more dangerous, so let students exercise their rights.

Within the last decade, the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a random sample of over 15,000 undergraduates from 130 four-year colleges. In that survey, 3.5 percent of the student respondents indicated they had a firearm at college. The study concluded that students with guns on campus were more likely to binge-drink, to drive drunk, and to suffer an injury severe enough to require medical attention.

So what your saying is that 3.5 percent of students defy the sanctity of the "Gun Free Zone" and bring a gun to school, rules and laws be damned, and then act beligerent. No shit Sherlock! Your signs don't stop people from breaking the law, and it's because of these people that folks like myself carry a firearm.

Were all states to allow students and others to carry guns on campus, the danger for everyone at affected schools would likely increase. We know, for example, that the No. 2 cause of death for college students is suicide. Some 25,000 college students each year attempt suicide, and 1,100 succeed.

Further, 90 percent of individuals who attempt suicide with a firearm succeed. If we do the math, as college teaches us to do, the success rate of college suicide could increase dramatically if students were allowed to possess guns on campus.

Speculation. And it seems that students already have guns anyways, so what's your point? And has it ever dawned on you that people that commit suicide with a firearm are very serious about achieving death, and that the lack of a firearm is not going to hinder their determination, making them chose another method?

If a student or a college worker is able to turn to a readily available gun as a means to resolve conflict rather than talking or walking away, the danger to all increases. Put yourself in the shoes of the campus police officer, administrator, instructor, or anyone else who must confront someone who could be carrying a gun under his sweatshirt. The tension automatically rises to a much higher level.

Again, your point is moot if 3.5 percent of the students already have guns. Campus police have to assume that everyone is potentially carrying anyways, and if a police officer is confronting a student then there is a gun within reach anyways - the cop's. The idea that students will automatically resort to using a weapon in a conflict is absurd. Here in the really real world, normal people don't resort to violence, especially those who carry a defensive arm. The folks who are dangerous carry them anyways, and they're the reason why good folks carry a defensive arm.

What about at Virginia Tech last April? Would armed students or professors have known who among those with guns drawn and firing was the real shooter who needed to be stopped? How should the police officers who flooded the campus looking for the shooter have responded when confronted by one or two or 50 students and others wielding guns as that mob ran helter-skelter across the campus quad? Could the situation, as terrible as it was, have become even more tragic had innocents shot other innocents in panic?

Here we go with the "everyone will be armed" and "massive firefight" strawman argument. Very few will chose to carry, so there won't be but a handful of armed students in a building at best. That, and if an armed student responds to a gunman, the exchange will last seconds, and the cops will arrive to find a dead bad guy or a dead good guy. Either way, it is fantasy to think that students will all pull guns and start blasting one another. Grow up.

Many people are fully capable of making good decisions concerning the firearm they carry on their persons, but the chances are really slim they would ever need to fire in self-defense or to save others.

The only true statement in this whole piece.

The statistics, even allowing for a once-every-40-years scenario such as Cho at Virginia Tech, hardly justify the extra danger created by allowing guns on campus.

Until your the unarmed person in the room with a lunitic gunman.

Your Second Amendment rights are safe; just don't take your gun to school.

Well, your rights are not really safe if they can be stripped from you when you go to school.

Clinton Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler who now serves as a crime-news analyst, lives in Spotsylvania County.

There you have it! Straight from the guy who is used to being the "Only One" armed.

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