FACEOFF: Guns on college campuses

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Written by: Samantha Harfenist

A new bill proposed by members of the Texas House would allow licensed faculty and administrators to carry guns on college campuses.

I’ll admit that the thought of mass amounts of college students walking around with guns in their bags and jackets makes me cringe. However, I have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

It’s hard not to react emotionally, after all our generation has witnessed. From Columbine to Virginia Tech, it can be argued that our generation has seen more of a loss of security in our schools than any other. I’m no exception. I cried at the images of slaughtered students in the Columbine high school. I helped raise money for our fellow college students in the nightmare that occurred at Virginia Tech. Our illusion of school safety has been shattered time and time again by our peers bringing guns to schools.

But we must see beyond our emotions to the logic, to the facts. If we start to challenge the rights given to us by the Constitution, we start down a dangerous path that could prove more perilous than any previous tragedy.  For losing any freedom, whether it’s the right to freedom of speech or to own a gun, is an insult to the countless number of people who have sacrificed themselves for our liberties.

Much like the coveted First Amendment of Freedom of Speech, many of us may take for granted The Second Amendment, which guarantees us the right to own a firearm. With a few exceptions, such as a criminal record, most people may purchase a gun and use it for protection.

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Although it sounds trite, this can be proven by the choices people who own the guns make. Some use it to take a life. Others use it to save one. Even though I have fired a gun at a range and found the experience mildly enjoyable, I generally wouldn’t want to own one. However, I know what it’s like to be stalked, and that’s a kind of fear many can’t imagine unless they have experienced it first-hand. I didn’t buy a gun. But from the cases of stalking I’ve heard of — ex-boyfriends breaking into women’s homes and watching them sleep — I might have thought twice if that happened to me. The police can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to respond to an emergency. How quickly do you think a burglar, rapist or stalker could attack?

Even if you wouldn’t own a gun or take it to school, don’t be so quick to condemn those who would. I wouldn’t be thrilled at glancing over and seeing a classmate with a gun strapped to his belt, but I don’t like walking to my car alone at 1 a.m. either.

We can’t let our past traumas blind us to the facts. Challenge any one of our Constitutional rights, and it opens Pandora’s Box. Rather than seeing guns as killing machines, remind yourself that they are also used for protection.

Who knows? A classmate might just save you with one.

College is a place of learning, not the Wild Wild West Written by: Juan Gallo

As the masked gunman points his weapon at the unsuspecting victim in the college cafeteria, a fellow student pulls out his gun and yells, “Freeze.” Next, a dozen more students pull out their own weapons. A vicious gunfight ensues leaving more than 30 injured or dead. As much as it may seem like it, this is not a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie. It’s a possible real-life scenario that could occur if laws are passed to allow students and faculty to carry guns on college campuses.

A popular saying immediately comes to mind. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Who in their right mind would believe that the best way to combat gun violence is to allow everyone to carry a gun everywhere? I’ll tell you who. According to gun control advocates, Texas and Arizona are the most likely to pass these laws — big surprise there. I’m sure if legislators in Texas and Arizona had it their way, we’d all be riding around on horses and forming posses to hang criminals at high noon.

It’s not even necessary to mention the cases of people shooting themselves (Plaxico Burress) or of children getting a hold of their parents’ guns and accidentally killing themselves to prove that this is a moronic idea. Does anyone really think that the average American can be trusted to know what to do and how to manage a stressful situation in which people’s lives are at stake?

The idea here is to have a bigger stick than the other, right? I believe that idea was most popular among who? I don’t know, cavemen? And since we are all obsessed with finding the Missing Link, it does make sense that we would just volunteer to disregard our education, our intellect, and reduce ourselves to people who cannot reason or evolve in order to come full circle.

Can’t anyone see that the proposed “solution” is the problem? We would prefer to equip ourselves with arms in order to shoot our neighbor because we don’t trust our fellow man? Why can’t we see that we can live with love, hope, forgiveness and a belief that, if we put our minds to it, we have the power to end violence and hate without resolving to violence and hate? But I know, I know; these peaceful, non-violent ideals are reserved for the tree-hugging hippies like me who can imagine a world without guns, racism, prejudice and with equal rights for all.

Let me just ask you to do this. Next time you’re in class, look at those sitting around you. Would you really feel more comfortable if you knew that your classmates were hiding a Glock pistol in his or her backpack in case something went down?  Could you trust people put the safety on their gun before they left the house so that it won’t misfire in the middle of college algebra?  To think that inner-city children dream of going to college to escape the violence that confronts them every day. With this new law, we are asking them to embrace the very violence they struggled to escape.

I suggest that if these laws pass, we change the American slogan from “Land of the free, home of the brave” to “Kill or be killed,” or “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth…to hell with turning the other cheek.” There is no patriotism in this idea. There is only selfish fear and cowardice, and if laws like this are passed in our country, the idea of living in Canada looks better and better.

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