Guns on campus: The safety question
Gun rights activists have a new adversary, said Christina Cauterucci in Slate.com: “Dildo-wielding college students.” Last week, a group called “Cocks Not Glocks” handed out 4,500 sex toys at the University of Texas at Austin, and encouraged the lucky recipients to “openly carry” their new gifts to class. The purpose? To mock a new state law that allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns in most places on public college campuses, including dorms and classrooms. Dildos are a “particularly apt” instrument to show the absurdity of the new Texas law, since it’s still a misdemeanor there to openly display a sex toy in public. Guns, the protesters argue, are a lot more dangerous than dildos. Most students and faculty members at UT worry that the presence of guns in classrooms will have “a chilling effect on free speech,” said Tom Dart in The Guardian.com. Who wants to argue ideas with a student with a Glock in his backpack?
“The stupidity, it hurts,” said David French in NationalReview.com. If you were teaching a class at UT, who would be more likely to shoot you: a student who took the trouble to get a concealed carry permit or someone who didn’t? The latter, of course. On gun-free campuses, students have zero protection from crazed shooters, save “a handful of law enforcement officers” scattered across the whole university. Responsible armed civilians can make a huge difference—as they did during the 1966 University of Texas massacre, when students used deer rifles to return fire on the shooter, Charles Whitman, pinning him down in the campus tower until police could get to him. The sophomoric protesters at UT need to ask themselves a simple question: “If you’re in a classroom, and a criminal opens fire, would you rather have a dildo on your desk or a revolver in your backpack?”
“But campuses are already safe,” said Bill McCann in the Austin American-Statesman. Awful as they are, massacres such as the one at Virginia Tech are extremely rare. One of the biggest causes of death on campuses is suicide, and this law will surely lead to more of them. Don’t forget the problem of binge drinking, said Bloomberg View.comin an editorial. Drunkenness causes high rates of assaults and rapes on campuses, as well as 1,800 alcohol-related deaths every year from falls and other accidents. Add guns to the already “volatile elements” of youth and alcohol, and “the results could be disastrous.”
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