That is the controversial question posed by Boise State Biology Professor, Greg Hampkin in an Op-ed he recently wrote for The New York Times.
In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?Just as with any other form of free speech, I am glad that the good professor is able to voice his opinions. Furthermore I am not really upset that these opinions were published in The New York Times. It is to be expected from one of the more liberal-leaning publications emanating from one of the more liberal-leaning regions of the nation.
|Glock 19: What you should carry if you haven't figured|
it out already.
What I find upsetting is how this sort of opinion is what gets blasted across our airwaves and Internets from day to day, while the general public is rarely exposed to a clear, concise explanation of the alternative point of view. In his piece Hampkin sarcastically asks if he can shoot students who cheat on tests, or if he can fire warning shots when they try to correct him using their laser sites. He asks if he should aim and shoot at the legs of students who get into a heated argument. He brings up the prospect of "drunken frat boys" firing guns into sororities because they are armed and the idea of "encouraging firearms within a densely packed concentration of young people who are away from home for the first time, and are coincidentally the age associated with alcohol and drug experimentation, and the commission of felonies."
First of all, to that last part: What? The commission of felonies? Lol?
I don't really expect Hampkin to read my response, but it should be written anyway. Just because a portion of society would rather ignore and deny truth and logic does not mean we should shut up about it. So here goes.
First there is the overall point that cannot be stated enough that making guns legal does not make them magically appear in a place just like making guns illegal does not make them magically disappear from a place. Is the professor not aware of the gun laws in Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, or dare I say New York, where his article was published? I'm assuming he does not. If he did would would realize that the bulk of gun crimes occurs in these cities and other large cities like these with incredibly restrictive gun laws. These gun laws are shown in study after study to have no positive benefit in relation to gun crime. You would think that stuff like scholarly, peer-reviewed studies would matter to a professor at a university.
Now to address some of the specific issues about which Hampkin writes. One of the reasons it is disappointing that articles like that of Hampkin receive so much attention is that he is so ignorant on all matters relating to guns and self defense. I know he was joking, but within his jokes he still revealed his ignorance. "But given the velocity of firearms..." The what? Are you throwing them? Are you throwing your firearms? I know it might seem nitpicky, but your firearm really should not have velocity. The bullets exiting the muzzle should have velocity, and that is what he meant to say obviously, but then he really didn't know how to say it because he does not know the first thing about guns.
Correcting him with laser sites? That is a clear, gross safety violation, as virtually any gun owner will tell you.
Shooting students who cheat on tests? I know this is a big joke to the professor, but how is that question productive? Obviously you cannot shoot students who cheat on tests.
Shooting at students who are in a heated argument? Let me be honest. It's not really necessary to hit each of these one by one. I'm not a lawyer, and this should not be taken as legal advice, but most jurisdictions will not give you the protection of the law for firing upon someone unless you are acting in clear defense of yourself or others against a threat to life and/or grievous bodily harm. Does that mean if you do act in defense of your life that you won't go to jail? Not necessarily. Basically it is a measure of last, last, last, last resort. There you go. I hope that clears things up a bit.
What about giving guns to drunk frat boys and kids who are at an age associated with drugs and alcohol? Well "making it legal to carry them on campus" and "giving them guns" are really two different things aren't they? Let me refer to one of my earlier points. Making them illegal does not make them disappear, and making them legal does not make them appear. If drunken frat boys (who clearly have no regard for the law because they are apparently wielding firearms while drunk) want to carry guns then they will regardless of the law.
And if they do decide to carry legally?
Fun fact: Some studies have shown that concealed handgun permit holders tend to be much more law abiding than the average citizen. Still other data shows that police officers are three times likely to murder someone than those with concealed handgun permits. Wait, what?
That's just murders. What about the total number of people killed by those with concealed handgun permits vs. the total number killed by police officers?
The Violence Policy Center, a center with a clear agenda to increase gun control regulations in the United States reports that between May 2007 and March 1, 2014 608 private citizens have been shot by "Concealed Carry Killers." Are those numbers comprehensive and accurate? I don't know, but let's just go with it for now.
So how many people have been killed by police in that same time period? Would you be surprised to find out that there doesn't seem to be a convenient website that tracks those numbers? Wikipedia has some stuff on it, but is it accurate? Who knows. According to one source an estimated 500 to 1,000 people are killed by the police in the US per year. Some of the Wikipedia data would seem to back that up, and there is more data to support that as well. But let's just estimate on the low end: 500 per year.
So in the same time period that 608 private citizens have been shot by "Concealed Carry Killers," about 3500 have been killed by the police.
Question, Mr. Hampkin: Who is it you're worried about carrying guns on campus?
There is, of course, a silver lining to this whole story. Comments. Comments are the junk food of all reading. Like junk food, they have become a bad habit of mine. As soon as I finish an article I jump to the comments to see what people are saying. Disgusting habit. You know what I love about this article though? I like all the professors from random universities around the country pledging to quit the day that guns are allowed on their campuses. Because to me, the ignorant, bigoted, liberty-hating people who hold that position are not the people I think should be teaching and leading the future of this nation.
So please, Mr. Hampkin, step aside with your friends and let responsible professors help raise up a new generation of men and women who will take their own safety and security seriously without cowing to fear and ignorance.