Posted by: L | April 23, 2007

Keep and Bear Arms – VT Shooting & Guns on Campus

Some comments from Keep and Bear Arms on my article, “More Guns Laws or Fewer Idiots”.
I am posting them, because I want to comment on my implied support for gun-free zones on campus:


“Taking a momentary aside from the point;- I’ve yet to know any person having undergone the extensive formalities involved with securing for themselves a State-required permit for lawful carry of a concealed weapon as ‘packing heat’. In stark contrast, what is realized by persons who are permitted and other Moral and Conscionable persons, permit required or not–but having assumed their Duty as an American Citizen to provide themselves with Arms for their own Defense is the solemn and additional weight of responsibility for protection of other persons. Forgive my uneducated instinct, but a measure of transparency is indicated within the wording used by an ex-English teacher Lila Rajiva, suggestive that she herself does not ’pack heat’.

Comment by: Slowburn 2 (4/19/2007)
The Crucial Understanding.At the risk of insulting the intelligence of Lila Rajiva, my impression is such and open to any necessary correction; that specific decisions were in fact made by at least two ‘authorities’, Faculty and State legislators–the former prohibiting the carrying of a personal defense weapon even by ‘qualified’ individuals under the penalty of expulsion, and the latter failing to Secure the “Right” of individuals to carry a firearm for defensive purposes on campus. Regardless of their intent–such persons have in fact committed Immoral Offenses.

Comment by: Slowburn 3 (4/19/2007)
For certain ‘authorities’ to intentionally and knowingly establish laws, prohibitions or penalties depriving only those who would abide by such laws and prohibitions from possessing an implement which another person could readily use against them in a “Rights”-Violating Act is Immoral.
This primary and most fundamental principle is

My Comment:

My position on the bearing of arms on campus has not been extensively thought out, and I admit that I did not know that on many campuses (including that of George Washington University – see the posts on legal issues raised on Chris Wallace’s show), security personnel do not (or can not) carry weapons. That – to me – is amazing, considering the very open nature of many campuses.

I don’t actually object to guns on campuses (which are often sprawling, dangerous places), but then, what happens in a classroom? Are we going to have metal detectors and frisking before each class, or is the teacher supposed to be able to deliver herself of a lecture on Rousseau and a few rounds from a firearm with equal aplomb should she become the target of, say, a student irate about his grades?

That goes a shade beyond the traditional requirement of faculty to maintain discipline, it seems to me….

In a confined space, as in a lab or a classroom or a plane, the same rules should not obtain – since people are not equally able to protect themselves or move out of danger. At least, that’s my intuitive thought on this.
There ought to be an argument here that by-passes the “rights” language altogether, thereby leaving the second amendment substantively uninfringed.

I need to think about this a lot more, though, before I feel I can stake out a position one way or other. In any case, I admit the use of the phrase “packing heat” was intended to load an argument I made on intuitive grounds that the classroom situation is analytically different.

One way to go is suggested by Alexander Cockburn in a recent Counterpunch article:

“A better idea would be for appropriately screened teachers and maybe student monitors to carry weapons. A quarter of a century ago students doing military ROTC training regularly carried rifles around campus. US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently recalled regularly traveling on the New York subway system as a student with his rife. Perhaps there should be guns in wall cases, behind glass, at strategic points around campuses, like those fire axes, usually with menacing signs about improper use.”

Get rid of psychiatric drugs, not guns he said. And then bring in the posse.

About time, probably.


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