Joe vs. Laura
Editor and publisher square off to entertain, confuse and enlighten
Leave it to Texas, but more than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Governor Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favour of the idea. Now what is most amazing about this incredible advance for human society is that strangely Texas is lagging behind. Utah has already passed legislation allowing packing on campus. Even more liberal Colorado has passed laws allowing individual schools the right to allow or disallow hand guns on campus. Supporters of the legislation argue that gun violence on campuses, such as the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois in 2008, show that the best defence against a gunman is students who can shoot back.
Can anybody logically argue against this? I mean it is completely intuitive. If somebody pulls a gun in a public place, they will be shot dead by hundreds of citizen snipers before being able to inflict any harm. Let’s face it. Guns do not kill people, people kill people. Surely people intelligent enough to be attending university are capable of showing the self-restraint, cool headedness and poise packing requires. I mean if University students can not responsibly carry weapons, what hope is there for society?
But I would like to go further and say that packing students would have an even more positive effect on the general atmosphere of the classroom. Having been to University myself and attended more than my fair share of let us say heated debates, I can not help but wonder if all people involved might adopt a much less antagonistic tone if they knew that the person they were verbally insulting may likely be packing. I mean if I am approached by a man wearing sunglasses reaching into the inside pocket of his suit, I will immediately adopt a language which includes a whole lot of polite ‘yes sirs’. Now further, if the students know the professors are packing, you better believe the respect level will finally be restored. Think twice before texting in class. That tenured professor has given that same lecture for over thirty years. He may just be inclined to liven up the decade with a game of ‘shoot the cell phone out of the texter’s hands and then laugh at their facial expressions’. In case you were not aware, pretty much the only thing a tenured professor can do to get fired is murder someone.
Perhaps women will find even more comfort in a world of packing intelligentsia. Not many people know this, but females are on the whole better natural shots then men. Several factors are involved including a much lower centre of balance, much shorter arm length and often a lower natural pulse rate. I can think of no better way to shatter the glass ceiling than to pull your two side arms during the middle of a debate and start blasting shots at the roof. Nothing says ‘I mean business’ like being able to back up your words with bullets.
But by far the most promising aspect of a world of packing young adults is the prospect of the return of the gentlemans’ duel. For those who have not been to a post secondary institution, to say that there are a lot of strutting peacocks walking around would be an understatement. There are all the sports teams, the most intelligent academics, the fraternal circles and of course the musicians. All form of alpha males are in a mad four year rush to prove their prowess and accomplish what was in high school often still illegal. Throwing guns into this mix seems like a sure way to ensure that finally the nice guys do not finish last. One alpha male bites the dust, the other gets locked away. How could society not benefit from this?
I see this move as a tremendous step forward for modern society. Matter of fact, why not broaden the application of this principle. Now that it is legal and socially acceptable to pack at institutions of high learning, let’s take it the next step and encourage people to bring guns to church. If places of higher learning and intelligent discourse are a good place for side arms, what about places of heavenly design? I guess I spoke too soon. Last year in Louisville Kentucky, Pastor Ken Pagano of the New Bethel Church invited his congregation of 150 and others to wear or carry their firearms into the sanctuary to “celebrate our rights as Americans”. According to the church website, Pagano shoots regularly at the local firing range, and his sermon two weeks ago was on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.” In his own words, “God and guns were part of the foundation of this country.” Now this seems like true wisdom and intuitive preaching to me. Nothing says turn the other cheek like pulling a sidearm.
So half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns and to bar them from banning weapons.
Supporters say this will make campuses safer since the best defense against a deranged shooter is shooting back.
My question is this: why just guns? Why not tasers, AK47s and flame throwers?
Many university-goers, especially women, know the feeling of walking alone on a deserted campus and seeing a lone figure approaching in the dark. Now they can draw a handgun as they approach. Upon seeing the gun, the other person will also draw.
Here’s where reality could kick in.
Although I’m often a fan of poetic justice, if somebody pulls a gun on campus and starts shooting, it’s insane to think a bunch of terrified English Lit students are going to take the guy down. Whoever thinks the university population would make a good militia obviously hasn’t been to a campus pub in a while.
Do students have the required self-restraint, cool headedness and poise?
Exhibit A: college bar any night of week. Exhibit B: college dorm, any night.
Exhibit C: gutter outside of dorm, any morning.
I certainly do not put more faith in university students than I do in other young people. University students are susceptible to the pressures of debt, malnutrition, and existential questioning far more than the average person. Besides that, D-F students are walking time bombs – or in journalism, the B and lower students (B was a fail in first-year journalism at Carleton University). There should be as many steps as possible between a desperate student and a gun.
Here’s another dilemma: most university students these days are women. Most gun owners are men. Men are also far more likely to murder and commit suicide with a firearm. I don’t see this restoring any gender balance on campus. Suicide is also the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 year olds and firearms are the most common method for suicide. Any professor will tell you how many students think their life is over because they’ve flunked an assignment.
If I taught at a university in Texas, I would definitely conduct assignment reviews through bullet-proof glass.
Even if guns did protect students and teachers from the “bad guy” can you imagine the disorder when the cops arrive and there are a dozen students shooting at one another? If anysidearm is allowed on campus, when do you know when to run?
If getting kids out of the classroom and back into blue-collar jobs, here is the answer. And if Microsoft or Mac wants a good partnership, the gun lobby is probably a good one. Online courses are going to soar among the gun-shy.
You could, of course, reinvent universities to be like penitentiaries with lock-down areas and bullet-proof walls, doors and windows. What better way to stimulate the mind than to be totally deprived of sensory stimulation?
I think I’ll opt for that online course, instead.