Monday, August 13, 2007

Firearms on Campus

I said I'd post this this afternoon, I know. But, I started putting it together, and once I decided to link to the statutes instead of copy/pasting all of the relevant parts, and paraphrase here, it kinda just kept going, So, here it is.

This is the Colorado state statute regarding unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds. And this is the statute concerning restrictions on a Colorado Concealed Weapons Permit, or CCW.

Please notice that the first statute says "NO! Unless its a handgun, and you have a permit."

The second statute restricts this again, stating that a permit holder may not carry on the real property of a public elementary, junior high, or high school, unless they are a peace officer, participating in an extracurricular activity, or employed by a school district in a position that requires the use of deadly force.

Colleges aren't mentioned there, are they?

Thats right folks, its legal for me to carry my handgun on my college campus. There is nothing in the student handbook, either, that restricts me from doing this.

Now that I've got the legalities out of the way, lets look at the question.

How do I feel about gun-free zones on campuses, in light of the Virginia Tech shootings? Well, since we've already cleared it up that my campus is not a gun-free zone, lets look at the Virginia Tech shootings, shall we?

I admit, my knowledge of the Virginia Tech shootings is limited to what I saw on the news, and thanks to the media's obsession with it, I probably missed some things, after I reached the point where I was just tired of hearing about that psycho, and started tuning it out. So, if there is something that I have missed, or something that I am misinformed about, please, feel free to correct me.

So. Here we have one student, already having had therapy, the mental kind, who goes out and buys a couple of guns. From what I understand, the student is somewhat anti-social, spends a lot of time in his room, etc.

And this student decides to drop a package in the mail to a news network, and then kill a couple of people.

But wait! He's not done yet, he walks (or drives, I don't know) across campus, and starts killing *more* people!

People who, according to their state laws and school student handbooks, are not carrying weapons. This makes it a very bad day for them.

However, I'd like to address something here, something that's bothered me since I started hearing about the whole shebang.

How is it that this nut-job managed to kill himself??

A building full of college students, presumed to be adults, and professors, who really should be adults, and the most resistance that was mounted was barring the door against him.

Granted, if unarmed and faced with an armed attacker, I wouldn't jump up and run at him, but most of the people in that building just laid down to die.

How did our society get to the point where this was possible? Not one person attempted to disarm him. Not one person attacked him directly, which considering what I know of his mental malfunctions, only fed into his "I'm invincible and better than all of you, so you deserve to die, because you can't stop me" mindset.

Not one big football player tackled him while he was reloading. Not one art major threw paint brushes at him. Hell, they didn't even throw their Lit books at him.

Armed or not, no one should simply allow themselves, or those around them, to be shot at, and possibly killed, in that situation. No one.

Would guns being allowed on that campus have changed anything? I doubt it. Its possible that the people who blocked the doors, if they had been armed and trained, might have taken the little worm out. Maybe. But, I can't see it. Those people had a survivor's attitude, and thats fantastic, don't get me wrong. I just don't know if they had the mindset and the capability to shoot another human being, if they had had training with a firearm and if firearms had been allowed on campus.

The way I see it, the entirety of the problem, and yes, I do believe that it is a problem, is not the gun/weapon safe zones on college campuses. A good chunk of it is the mindset of entirely too many of our nation's young people.

"It's the cops' job to protect me."

"It's Security's job to protect me."

Might as well be saying the tooth fairy will protect me. Don't get me wrong, I admire and respect the people who go into professions that are all about protecting other people and enforcing the law, and that includes the military.

But they can't be everywhere. Police officers are not clairvoyant, they are not Super Man, and they simply cannot guarantee every single person's safety at all times. Anyone who expects them to needs a swift kick to bring them back to reality, and in some cases, a cranio-rectal extraction.

Each and every person should be capable of protecting themselves, or at least fighting back in some way against an attacker. Not everyone is mentally "built" to carry a gun, that's just a fact of life. But, our society, as influenced by the anti-gun side of things, has "evolved" to the point where a lot of people don't even realize that such things could happen to them.

It's an extension of the teenage immortality thing, I think.

It can happen to you. If you don't think so, well, neither did those kids at Virginia Tech.

The mindset you need is that it not only can happen, but that it most likely will happen, and that you'd better be prepared for it when it does. Simply having a little training in crisis management, through any of a dozen high-pressure classes like CPR, firearms training, etc., might have saved lives at Virginia Tech. I mean the kind of classes that help teach you to shove that little screaming voice to the back of your head and think clearly about the situation.

If someone had been thinking clearly, they might have jumped him in the hall while he was reloading.

If someone had been thinking clearly he might not have been able to line them up on their knees.

If someone had been thinking clearly, he might have been stopped sooner than he was, and he might have gotten his day in court, and gone to jail, instead of eating his own gun.

Sure, you might say that he's dead now and better for the world, blah blah blah... but obviously being incarcerated was the last thing that he wanted. He killed himself rather than sit in a cell for the rest of his natural life, or face that strap-down table and the needle. So, what better punishment?

Anyway, Pop I hope that answers your question.

7 comments:

Pop said...

Hi, Farmgirl;
Yep, good job. I am glad to find out that your college is not a gun-free zone. Truth to tell, I didn't know there were any colleges that allowed legal carry - I see that I made a bad assumption.

I do think you're right about the mindset issue, too. Somebody pulls a gun, everybody else just assumes they have to do what he says. But many, many mundane objects can be used as weapons in a pinch. And I'd personally rather die fighting than on my knees - at that point, you don't have anything to lose.

Thanks for your views.
-Pop

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I'm reminded of something.

Several years ago (!), when I was but a wee police recruit, an academy instructor made this point.

"The perp has managed to take away your sidearm. You don't carry a backup. Your baton is lying somewhere in the bushes; no help there. You're out of OC spray; the perp has been using it for breath freshener. You're exhausted from full-on fighting for nearly 10 minutes, and you're facedown with your own weapon at the back of your head.

Just remember, it only takes 6 or so pounds of pressure on the side of the knee to destroy it and disable the bad guy, even if for only a few seconds.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.

Always cheat, always win."

Anonymous said...

"Granted, if unarmed and faced with an armed attacker, I wouldn't jump up and run at him, but most of the people in that building just laid down to die."

I just recalled that in military doctrine, when you're running into the enemy's guns, you're harder to hit than if you remained still or just walk towards them. Also, I refer back to arguements for the current GA "stand your ground" law; running away is a real good way to get yourself killed.

What would I do? None of us can answer that question until we're faced with the problem, but we can tell our first reaction. My first reaction is that if I have my gun, I'll use it, but if all I have is my bare hands, I'll do all the damage I can. Count me as another with no intention of dying just because some freak says so.

I agree with you about the mindset of "it's the cop's/security's job". And that mindset is contradictory to the courts rulings that police are under no Constitutional obligation to protect We the People. (Those rulings were made so the cops couldn't be sued for long response times, IIRC.)

As usual, I'm liable to think of more.

mustanger

farmgirl said...

Mustanger--

Screw that buddy, a moving target is much harder to hit than a still one, sure. But even harder than a moving target is one you can't see. Those rooms were filled with desks, chairs, etc, I think some of them were even lecture halls.

I'mma sneak up on the bastard and take out his kneecaps, or retrieve his nuts for earrings.

Anonymous said...

"But even harder than a moving target is one you can't see. Those rooms were filled with desks, chairs, etc, I think some of them were even lecture halls.

I'mma sneak up on the bastard and take out his kneecaps"

Farmgirl, If that's an option, I'd go for it too. I wouldn't argue with the tactical use of concealment or hard cover. But I was picturing someone the badguy caught flat-footed. Either way, if you know there's a loony hunting everybody...

mustanger

Old NFO said...

Good Post! Very well thought out. The biggest generational difference is the kids today have never been in real combat. Everything is a game and if you lose, so what, just hit the reset button. We came through Nam, and even today, 30+ years later, there are still sounds that will make me drop to the floor/ground in a hearbeat. I also have a CHL, and I shoot IDPA regularly. It is, in my opinion, one of the best "training aids" available for getting in the mindset of moving, cover and firing from odd angles/locations.

Drew said...

I had wondered the same things about our victim culture. The only guy who charged the shooter was a holocaust survivor, Liviu Librescu. 75 years old and the only one with the will to fight.
I guess they don't make 'em like they used to. He saw evil as a child, and could recognize it there, too.