common sense and ‘gun-free zones’

When I attended Georgia Tech, there was a residential district – Homepark – just north of the campus where it was generally inadvisable to venture alone after dark, and the western edge of campus bordered on some stockyards and light industrial areas that were equally disadvised, but, aside from that, students generally did not feel uncomfortable or unsafe on-campus, even in the middle of the night. This feeling may very well have been born of ignorance, but crimes were relatively few and far between, and it seemed as though the lowlifes of the city surrounding campus kept out.

Likewise, the campus, like so many other college campuses, was (and still is) a “gun-free zone”, which was not really something I thought about at the time… except to note that the magical barrier at the school’s borders certainly did not stop a freshman girl from bringing her boyfriend’s shotgun into her dorm room and blowing her head off (It was a bit strange, given it happened in the building adjacent to mine, and I recall seeing her a few times around campus before she killed herself.).

Since my time, though, the campus has pretty much gone to hell:

Georgia Tech student Justin Myers recently had a very bad evening. He was expecting guests in his dorm room when four armed intruders greeted him at the door. They were able to steal merchandise and knock out two of the 19-year old student’s teeth for two principal reasons: 1) Armed robbers are always armed, and 2) Georgia Tech students are never allowed to have firearms on campus.

And this was just the most-recent in an ongoing crime (damn-near-) spree, including 58 burglaries in 2009 and 2010, and almost all of the crimes include the victim being assaulted.

In this particular case, the victim managed to scrape by with nothing more than a pistol whipping (note that “pistol whipping” requires the presence of a pistol, inside of the “gun-free zone” surrounding Tech) and a round of “kick him while he is down” (either of which could have ended the student’s life, if executed forcefully enough, or repeatedly enough), and lost his television, laptop, cell phone, and petty cash. What about next time? Will the student’s life be forfeit simply because he or she does not have enough cash on his or her person?

On the flip side, here is a novel concept: a non-zero number of students at Georgia Tech (an even larger number, when you consider graduate students) are 21 years of age or older, have no felony criminal histories, can pass background checks, and can learn how to operate fairly simple machinery – in short, they are eligible for Georgia’s Weapon Carry License (or whatever equivalent license their home states have to offer). Furthermore, if they lived anywhere else in Atlanta, and worked almost anywhere else, they would be permitted to own, carry, and have at their habitation whatever firearm they so desired.

So what is it about crossing the border of a college campus that would transform these otherwise-legally-eligible-to-bear-arms individuals into subcitizens incapable of being trusted with their own safety and welfare? Even looking past the hoplophobes’ pants-wetting reactions at the thought of college students actually carrying firearms (if they were otherwise legally permitted to do so), what about simply allowing them to keep them in their dorm rooms? Again, these people could keep firearms in their apartments if they lived off campus – what switch in their brains is thrown once they cross into the school proper? Is it not common sense to realize that they are the same person, both on and off campus?

As usual, the positions of anti-rights nuts are about as devoid of common sense as those who believe the moon is comprised of cheese, and, as usual, the only people who suffer for those anti-rights nuts’ stupidity are the victims – the criminals will carry their firearms wherever they damned well please (Is it not common sense to recognize this simple fact?), and I would imagine that they are very thankful to the hoplophobes for taking the steps to disarm their intended targets. One wonders how “gun control” advocates can look at themselves in the mirror…

In any case, were I still a student at Tech, I would be looking into, and investing in, alternative forms of defense – as far as I am aware, both pepper/OC spray and tasers are legal in the state of Georgia and at Georgia Tech, however, they may fall under “Unauthorized possession of Weapons and/or dangerous materials or chemicals” per the Student Code of Conduct. Barring those, the school has no shortage of self-defense classes, which are not free, but at least are cheap, and will get you out doing something. And, as always, the standard mantra of, “Awareness, awareness, awareness,” applies – travel in groups, keep to the light, be mindful of your surroundings, etc. etc. etc.

History has proven that criminals are not only aware that “gun-free zones” guarantee disarmed victims, but criminals also prefer disarmed victims. Is it any wonder why they are preying on college campuses?

(Courtesy of Curses! Foiled Again!)

13 thoughts on “common sense and ‘gun-free zones’”

  1. In my University days at UCSC the girl I knew threw herself from a 4-story window onto concrete, and the guy went for a swing in the tress above campus. She was cute and smart and funny and I tried to get to know her…

  2. Also given the psychological profile, and Modus Operendi of spree shooters, one wonders if they would even have planned their spree in the first place if they thought there would be a chance of and armed citizen returning fire before the standard police response time. That response time is what they bank on to get what they want done, and when the time is up, they generally save the last shot for themselves.

    Living in Massachusetts there are collges and schools on every damn corner. I actually take extra steps, say when shopping in Harvard Square, to make sure I stay on public property while armed ‘lest I cross that Magical boundary which takes a lot of squinting just to notice.

    Oh and one more point, I assume you went into the Navy after college, rather than the other way around. I knew lots of 21+ undergrads who had enlisted right out of High school and when they finished their 4 years they used their experience and the GI bill to pursue a degree. I knew a bunch of GI Bill undergrads, and that was in the late 90s, I suspect there are a LOT more guys like that around college campuses now that we have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention the land invasion in Pakistan the peace freaks don’t want to talk about), and a lot more who will make the same choice once they get back home.

    And these students have spent their time as the anti-rights “Only Ones” class. They have been trained in machine guns, rifles, tanks, trucks, and explosives. Maybe we can trust them to pack a pistol?

  3. It’s worth a note that the Georgia Tech chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is pretty good sized, relatively. I think there’s hope down there.

  4. If forced to find alternatives, I’d be willing to bet they don’t ban baseball bats, lacrosee sticks, field/ice hockey sticks, or cricket bats. Of course, that requires the wherewithal to use them.

    Being that I’ve got 5 and 7 year old boys, I’ve noticed that the aluminum kid-sized bats are about the same size as billy clubs or night sticks.

  5. Thanks for the link!

    It’s worth noting that Georgia Tech’s policy appears to be substantially the same as Virginia Tech’s. We all know how well that worked out.

    I suspect there are a LOT more guys like that around college campuses now that we have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention the land invasion in Pakistan the peace freaks don’t want to talk about), and a lot more who will make the same choice once they get back home.

    Virginia Tech has a full-time Corps of Cadets. They are mostly actual military cadets – barring major screwups, they will be commissioned* as 2Lt’s/Ensigns upon graduation (or before, for those in 5 year degree programs). By the time they are 21, they too have been trained with machine guns, etc. Some stay and attend the local medical school on military scholarships as commissioned officers. Most are active-duty, not Reserves.

    So, even just looking at the 5th year seniors and the med students, we have a significant body of active-duty military on campus. Yet even as “only ones” they are barred by university policy from possessing a gun on campus, even if they have a CHP, while nothing will stop the criminally minded from bringing a gun on campus and killing large numbers of students.

    How is that “common sense”?

    * The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets is one of six senior military colleges outside the five federal military academies. Unlike other ROTC programs, all cadets at the Senior Military Colleges are guaranteed active duty commissions when they graduate.

  6. GT couldn’t change it if they wanted to. It’s a Board of Regent’s decision.

    But they don’t.

    Gesturing to his communications VP sitting next to him, Peterson noted that Jim Fetig was former military. Along with Fetig, Peterson estimated there were probably 50 to 100 people on the Tech campus that he might wish had a gun someday if an incident occurred.

    “But there are 19,900 that I would be praying didn’t have a gun,” he said.

    At least, as far as I know, he didn’t go as far as another president in the system and threaten to fire any staff who publicly disagreed. I guess that’s something.

  7. @ DirtCrashr: I never even spoke to this particular girl, I just remember sitting down, reading the news, seeing her picture, and going “huh” – I can only imagine it was stranger in your case…

    @ Weer’d Beard: Well, hell, where is that magical boundary? If I were to walk on the Tech-side of North Avenue, am I on-campus or not if I stick to the sidewalk? Certainly if I were to step onto the grass, but what about before then? The entire concept spanks of idiocy and a simple mind… which, I guess, adequately describes the entire anti-rights movement.

    The sad thing is that the hoplophobes will probably be the first to decry those GI Bill soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines as suffering from PTSD/shell shock/whatever else they can make up or grasp at, and thus unsuitable for carrying arms on campus, despite all of their training and experience… Hell, I had spent some quality time with a fully-automatic, honest-to-God M-16 before I was even legal to carry a firearm, and there are guys out there who are certified armorers and marksmen before that age. But, nope, the second you cross that imaginary, dotted line, you lose all self-control, and cannot be trusted with so much as a box cutter.


    @ ZK: ‘Tis true, and thanks for bringing that up… I think I friended them by way of Facebook, though they have been more quiet of late.

    @ Heartless Libertarian: Yeah… a 90-pound co-ed with an aluminium baseball bat is not going to be a whole lot more dangerous to a rapist than a 90-pound co-ed in general, but maybe that slight fang would be sufficient to deter him… Maybe it is time to start a fashion trend to bring back the Friar-Tuck-style staffs!

    @ Jake: No worries… caught my eye with my alma mater, and it went from there :).

    VT’s Corps of Cadets was actually the prime reason I did not end up going there… I figured if I wanted to go through the Academy experience (and they have the ROTC students live in special ROTC dorms, with all of the fun and entertainment that would bring – inspectoins, reveille, etc.), I would just go to an Academy. At least GT can lay claim to being one of the six oldest ROTC units :).

    Regardless, though, you bring a very valid point – the Corps is as close to actual, honest-to-God Only Ones as a college campus is likely to have as a student, and yet they are still barred from adequately defending themselves and others. ‘Cause that makes sense.

    And, as a minor nit, a reserve commission does not preclude active duty – in fact, I was commissioned under a reserve commission, and sent to a ship shortly thereafter. Two years into my commission, though, the order came down that all reserve officers were thereafter full, active-duty officers, and I assume reserve commissions left town as well. Reserve, active reserve, inactive reserve, and inactive ready reserve are all different things, though folks understandably tend to ball them all up at once.

    @ Unix-Jedi: Figures. I was never terribly impressed with the BoR when I was at Tech, and now that I know enough to fully appreciate their haughty, holier-than-thou self-absorption, I am even less impressed… Especially since even those 50 or 100 folks would be a damned decent improvement over what we have now.

  8. And, as a minor nit, a reserve commission does not preclude active duty

    True. I was aiming more at the fact that VT Cadets are guaranteed active duty by law, but you’re right – they’re all military officers, whether active duty or reserve, and realistically, while they’re still in college (at least here), the distinction is pretty much “academic”.

  9. Fair ’nuff… even with the removal of “reserve” commissions, ROTC guys could still get through all four years of schooling and end up without a job.

    And that would suck.

  10. I had not… and damn, that is a piece of work. I particularly love how they focus exclusively on the potential drawbacks of having otherwise legally-permitted students carry firearms at school, and none of the benefits… and how a Canuckistanian is lecturing us on the Constitution, while having no understanding of the same… and how the school supports the state’s laws but opposes any plans to change them… and how the administrators would abridge basic human rights on the basis of their own phobias… and… and… and… and… Yeesh, I could probably spend days fisking that nonsense.

    Certainly does adequately explain where the school is coming from, though…

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