Fear thy classmate

Jesse Taylor of Pandagon writes:

Some college professors in Texas want to allow concealed carry on campuses, except in dorms, because that would just be silly.

Keep in mind that during the Virginia Tech shootings, the first shootings happened in a dorm.  The shooter then went to an academic building, chained the exits, and proceeded to go on his rampage.

The problem with concealed carry isn’t the concealed carriers.  It’s all the bullets they would fire at the unknown shooter, or at the kid who was carrying a stapler and dressed in dark clothes.  You know, whatever.  It’s highly unlikely that concealed carry would make mass shootings more likely – it is, however, highly likely that when someone is insane enough to decide they want to kill a few dozen people, a disorganized, untrained armed response is likely to make the situation far more dangerous to all involved.

I’ve been thinking about gun violence and the firearms fetish in American society a lot lately, especially since Binghamton, which hit very close to home for a number of reasons.

The more I think about it, the angrier and more indignant I become at the thought that I could just be shot, for no reason, in my own damn country, on my university campus, as I leave my office, or walking back from the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong here –I want to work in Afghanistan, and I barely blinked in Serbia when a little kid shot off a handgun in a bus stop a few feet from me. What I won’t tolerate is feeling menaced in my own country, which has not experienced an internal armed conflict in a century and a half and where there is no reasonable justification for the civilian population to be armed to the teeth.

There are people who argue that someone like me should stop whining, buy a gun, learn to shoot, and be able to defend myself if need be. But I don’t want to be part of a peacetime society in which all human interactions are influenced by the fear of what lethal weapons might be concealed in every jacket or laptop bag.

There are 12,000 gun deaths every year in this country, and those are just the fatalities. I agree with Bob Herbert: this is “an insanely violent society.”


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