As many of you are aware, President Peterson recently interviewed with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution concerning proposed gun legislation. He said when asked if he supports the carriage of concealed weapons on campus, “Absolutely not.” Despite what you may think, I’m inclined to agree with him. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for exercising the Second Amendment – just not in this case.
Here’s my logic: when you step forth onto a government institution, you sign away certain freedoms for the general benefit of your peers. This sounds incredibly 1984, I know, but consider why you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater – bottom line, you’re putting those around you at risk.
Imagine, for a second, that someone decided to use the First Amendment to spark a deadly stampede for the exit. Is the Second Amendment so far removed from this?
I don’t mean to imply that I think there are homicidal maniacs at Georgia Tech, but I do think tensions run high here, tempers can flare, and things can get out of hand. The argument for guns on campus implicitly dictates that all Georgia Tech students are mature, responsible adults. For the most part that may be true, but there are those for which this is not the case, and giving them the opportunity to arm themselves could be a huge mistake.
But let’s get past the argument that perhaps arming students could increase the chances for inter-student violence and return to the notion that all of us here at Tech are mature, responsible, and brilliant adults. Let’s introduce the scenario that most people fighting for concealed carry on campus are probably most concerned about John (or Jane, to be polite) Doe who lives in Towers and has a 7-10 pm chemistry lab in the basement of the CoC. Say John has a run-in with a mugger who surprises him from behind with a weapon. If John were armed, he would immediately draw his weapon and…
Now, wait a second. There is no chance the average student would have time to draw that weapon unless the robber first announced himself before jumping out, unless that student was actually Howard Darby. The only way the student would have time to ready himself for defense would be if he carried that weapon in his hand.
“Alright,” you may be thinking. “Clever enough, but you still haven’t considered an even more heinous possibility: the chance that armed students may be able to neutralize a campus-wide killing spree like the one that occurred at Virginia Tech. Surely you would want to prevent such a disaster, wouldn’t you?”
The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes,” and my heart goes out to the families of all those affected by the disaster. But arming students simply isn’t the way to get it done. Maintaining our assumptions that all Tech students are mature, responsible, and brilliant, I posit the following. Assume the shooter has taken command of a recitation class and has disarmed and subdued his classmates. Should one or even a team of Tech students barge in there to the rescue, at best one and at worst most of the students in the scenario would be seriously if not critically injured. College students are not police officers, and say what you will about the APD, but in a firefight, I know who I would turn to (or get behind, more like). President Peterson makes an additional point on the aforementioned scenario which is worth repeating: units responding to the VT tragedy were looking for an armed student. There was no time to sift the good guys from the bad. Quoth President Peterson, “I believe if a student had a gun, he would have gotten shot.”
I agree, and I prefer not to borrow trouble.