|EDINBURG, May 5 - As in its two previous sessions, members of the Texas State Legislature are pushing the insane idea of requiring universities to allow concealed firearms to be carried on campus.
Never mind virtually all of the university police departments in the State oppose the wacko idea. Virtually all university presidents in the state oppose the idiotic idea. Numerous college student governments and faculty senate have passed resolutions opposing the brainless idea.
Members of the Texas State Legislature appear determined to ram the barrel of this firearm bill down the throats of the state’s colleges and universities, then wait (gleefully?) for some lunatic or angry or depressed or jilted lover or suicidal student to pull the trigger as (bold)inevitably(bold) will happen.
So, here we go again, needing to stop something legislators should have had brains enough never to propose at all.
The myth in this country is the U.S. is a democracy. The gyrations of either Congress or the Texas Legislature to abundantly demonstrate that is a foul lie. In a REAL democracy, elected officials represent the interests and will of the people. As noted, the ability of people to carry concealed firearms is NOT the WILL of the vast majority of college and university students, faculty, administrators, or police.
Everyone in our colleges and universities want safe campuses. The vast majority understand allowing concealed weapons on campus makes them less safe rather than more.
Consider suicide. Suicide rates among college students have been increasing. Colleges and universities try to keep suicides quiet, but they occur on almost every campus. Two key contributors to suicide that particularly apply to college suicides are high stress, and isolation from family and friends.
As public schools continue to be eviscerated by anti-education state governments, and as universities struggle to maintain academic standards in the face of increasingly poorly prepared students, performance expectations of colleges can what becomes unbearable stress for some students. Feeling alone, highly stressed, and developing a sense of failure, suicidal ideation can become overwhelming.
Now, put a suicidal student in a dorm room with a firearm. Bang. One dead student, courtesy of the Texas Legislature. I say that because firearms are the method of choice for suicide in the U.S., with suicides by firearm accounting for over half of all suicides.
Do we really want to make it easier for college students struggling with the stress and isolation of college to off themselves? Apparently the Texas Legislature does; otherwise, those clowns would not be pushing a bill that will result in deaths of students.
Female students are particularly opposed to this bill. Many women are terrified of firearms. Knowing some students (overwhelmingly male) are carrying firearms does not make them feel safer, but more vulnerable and less safe. They are correct in those feelings.
Some supporters of concealed firearms on campus say women would be safer because they could carry a firearm in their purse or backpack. That will not make them safer, but will put their lives in greater danger.
First, when under attack, good luck for a woman fishing a firearm out of her purse or backpack in time to defend herself. More than likely, if she gets it out at all, it will be dumped on the ground where the assailant, now royally ticked off, is more likely to get it and use it on her, than she is likely to use it successfully against her attacker.
Even if she gets it out and into position where she could use it, there is the probability she will not be able to pull the trigger. For those who have not done it--and I really do not recommend anyone who has not to go out and try--taking a human life is not easy.
It is not unusual for soldiers in combat not to fire their weapon.
Even if she pulls the trigger, there is a low probability she will hit her target. When scared half to death, people with firearms, even those well trained in the use of firearms, are likely to spray rounds all over the place than place a round on target. Ask policemen who have been in a fire fight.
The recent shootout with the Boston bombers is an excellent example of police firing wildly. The brothers had one pistol; yet, over 250 shots were fired. That means the police were doing most of the shooting. Of those 250 rounds, fewer than 70 hit the car the brothers were hiding behind, and there weren’t 200 or so holes in the brothers. Where did the other rounds go? Most were fired wildly.
It now appears MTBA transit police officer Richard Donohue was shot by another policeman. During the shootout, the police were a greater danger to citizens and themselves than were the bombers.
Several years ago, a McAllen police officer was in my class. He recently had participated in a shootout at a residence. Pictures of the middle class home were shown on TV with bullet holes all over the front of the two story house. The officer was so unnerved by the obviously wild firing he decided to quit the force.
If police officers who take regular weapons training cannot use good fire discipline and place their rounds on or close to their target, what is the chance of someone with very limited firearms training, scared half to death, and being attacked putting a round on target? That is especially true given the fact the closer one human is to another, the more difficult it is to take human life, to pull the trigger.
So, our female students, even those who are carrying will not be more safe but will be less safe, as will be those around them. Just as crime data shows, people who have a firearm in their home are more likely to be killed in a burglary or an argument that escalates than people who do not have a firearm.
Now, put a firearm in the inexperienced hands of a 21 or 22 year old student in some kind of an attack situation. What is the likely outcome? It’s a lot like Daryl Royal used to say about throwing the football--three things can happen; two of them are bad.
Legislators who genuinely care about campus safety will kill this bill.
Samuel Freeman is a political science professor based in the Rio Grande Valley. His “Left is Right” columns appear regularly in the Guardian.