Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guns on campus...yeah, that's a good idea.

I'm no freaky gun control nut. I grew up in NH and have a number of hunters on my mother's side. In fact we had a couple of rifles in the house as a kid, no big deal. I support bans on automatic weapons and assault rifles as well as certain types of ammunition. I also support as rigorous a waiting period/background check as we could come up with. Would any of this have stopped a horribly disturbed young man from killing 32 on the campus of Virgina Tech in Blacksburg, VA? Not likely. What would have stopped him? I can't pretend to know, but one thing is for sure, the thought of our young people going to school armed is not one that inspires a great deal of confidence in me. I was listening to D&C again this morning and Callahan was proposing the idea that if one of these kids in the building Cho was shooting up had been armed it might have all ended differently. That may be so, but one thing I know is that if students were allowed to posses firearms on college campuses they would be a far different place. I've been a college professor before, I can imagine the possibility of an upset student griping with me over his grade and potentially brandishing a gun in an effort to get me to change my mind. I can also imagine groups of drunken young men getting into altercations with each other (as happens every weekend on every campus in the country) and these instances ending in gun violence. Is that what we need? Do we need to turn the quads of our college campuses into the streets of the Old West? I feel horrible about what happened to the community of VT, I can't pretend to understand what they are going through but how on earth is allowing students to have guns on campus going to make this better? Maybe what we should be focusing on is how was it that this wildly disturbed young man was still on campus? He'd been reported for stalking a couple of times, had teachers request his removal from their classes because they were scared of his writings and, let's face it regardless of what you think about what he wrote, he had no apparent skill as a writer. How was it that he was in decent academic standing as a senior English Major when he wrote like a jr. high schooler? As a society we have shown less and less respect for the judgement of our teachers over the years, it shows in this case. If a students removal is requested by one of his prof's should the administration take that VERY seriously and consider removing the student from school? I realize the rights of the individual are important, but aren't they outweighed by the rights of the majority? We have a right to be safe on our campuses, that doesn't mean you expel every kid who wears black or writes dark poetry but isn't it clear that the case of this young man went well beyond that?

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