Two Republican state senators are trying to pass a bill making it legal for students, faculty, and staff to carry guns on college campuses in Tennessee. The governor and Senate Speaker, also Republicans, are opposed to it. So too is the president of Middle Tennessee State University where I and my family work.
I for one like the bill. I think everyone on campus should be armed.
As a Jew, I would carry an Israeli made Uzi on campus as a sign of my Jewish affiliation. I would urge others to carry other ethnically associated weapons. Germans should carry Lugers, Brits Walther PPK’s. I would also keep a nine millimeter handgun in a holster on my hip, and another in the waistband of my jeans in the small of back.
I would of course be well trained in the use of these weapons, but I would have no hesitancy regarding their use: anyone who threatened my safety would be fair game. Unfortunately I am easily frightened. Knowing that everyone on campus may be carrying a gun, and knowing that I cannot know in advance who will suddenly snap and start shooting, I would feel justified in drawing and perhaps even firing my weapon whenever anyone abruptly put a hand into pocket or purse. True they might simply be reaching for a pen, but I cannot be sure, and must strike first to protect myself.
There are over 2500 faculty and staff on my campus, and around 27,000 students. As of 2006 1% of Americans were in jail at any given time. I think this means that 300 people on campus are potential criminals. But that doesn’t count all those criminals who avoid capture and plead out. So, without bothering with actual facts, let’s assume that 10% are potential killers. That is 3000 people out to kill me. Would you walk unarmed into a crowd of 3000 people bent on your destruction?
Of course not, but as a professor, I have no choice. Everyday I step onto the campus seething with thousands of would be killers I am risking my life. I have a right to protect myself. And because I can’t be sure which of the people I pass on campus are among the 3000 murderers enrolled or employed by MTSU, I am within my rights to shoot anyone who scares me.
I would, of course, grant the same rights to everyone else, so I expect to hear lots of gunfire during the day once this bill becomes law. I would of course have no choice but to return fire in the general direction of the shoots I hear, and that will make things all the more interesting.
You may or may not agree with me. I don’t care. This law will be passed eventually. And when it is, I for one am going to buy lots of stock in companies that make bullets.