Guns on campus?
State Senator Pam Roach likes guns. Really, really likes guns.
That, perhaps, explains why she thinks it should be illegal for universities to ban guns from campus.
(Actually, it was her response to Sen. Ed Murray’s bill that would ban weapons at colleges hosting high school students. Neither bill is expected to go anywhere this session.)
The logic goes something like this: if concealed carry is legal on college campuses, then at least when the stalkers and disturbed gun nuts show up with their arsenal, you can shoot back. “I want to make sure the record reflects that Virginia Tech was a gun free zone, and results (were) painfully predictable,” said an NRA flack, talking about Roach’s bill. “Only the victims were gun free.”
I grew up back East. Every time I hear this, I keep thinking of Philadelphia. Last year, Philly’s finest–who, let us remember, are highly trained professionals entitled and obligated to openly carry guns–fired between 85 and 107 shots, depending on whose account you read, to kill an armed, deranged man in South Philly. Last New Years Eve the Philadelphia police chased a different armed man into a house full of partygoers and shot up the place, leaving one in a coma, one wounded, and one 9-year-old with a slight chest wound.
Remember: trained professionals chasing an armed man. And bystanders got shot anyway. That’s what happens when bullets start flying around. What happens when the good guys, fearlessly protecting themselves and us, have no training and are shooting back?
All that said, how do you protect yourself in a classroom? The Virginia Tech shootings scared everyone in academia, and poor Rebecca Griego’s case didn’t help. (Griego was shot and killed at UW last year by a deranged stalker.) Teachers sometimes have to piss off students; it’s part of the job description. What happens when that pissed off student comes back in with a pair of semi-automatic handguns?
There’s this tempting fantasy to imagine yourself as the John McClane-style hero, the one who singlehandedly shoots the attacker in the head and saves the lives of all those innocent people. Trouble is, those movies are fantasies.