This is a letter I wrote our University President.
I am not normally one to write letters, but in light of tragic events at Virginia Tech and the suicide murder at UW just weeks ago, a lot has been going through my head. The thought that has been most prominent is how could one person with a handful of weapons wreak so much havoc without being stopped?
A Virginia bill was defeated in the subcommittee stage that would change the University’s policy on concealed carry, allowing college students and employees who were of legal age, that have successfully passed government screening, and have had the appropriate training. Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said he was happy to hear the bill had been defeated, “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”
To me, the this seems illogical. Every day, you and I go about our lives, and every day we encounter individuals who responsibly carry handguns; individuals who statistically are the least likely to commit violent crimes. Though I understand there are polarized views on handguns, the statistics are clear: each year, the Centers for Disease Control reports civilians, like you and I, prevent at least 500,000 crimes using firearms. Taking a comparative approach and looking to the world we see that Great Britain’s strict gun control has resulted in skyrocketing violent crime rates higher than our own, while Israel’s armed teachers have been preventing potential massacres.
During the mid 1990s which was also around the time the Gun Free School Zones act was created, schools started becoming hot spots for mass murders. Though the law was enacted to deter gang violence, it ultimately made schools shooting ranges for deranged individuals. Regardless on your views on guns, would you put a sign on your home that said, “Gun free zone”? Individuals who go on their killing sprees are insane, but they are not stupid; Virginia Tech’s anti-carry law did not deter Cho Seung-Hui, instead it made victims out of the students it was meant to protect. How many shootings have occurred at police stations, NRA meetings, or gun stores? By labeling our University as a gun free zone, we are inviting violence into our home. including
In light of the Virginia Tech massacre, on April 18th, the Tennessee House panel has voted ito repeal the state law that forbids the carrying of handguns on property and buildings owned by state, county and city governments…parks and playgrounds. By denying students the right to protect themselves, we are forcing them to rely on a higher authority to ensure their self preservation, judging from the events that have transpired that is not enough. Will UW continue to be swayed by anti-gun, anti-defense rhetoric; do we continue to choose to be reactive, how many more mass murders need to occur before we to start becoming proactive?