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!)