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Does America Value Gun Rights More Than Students?

By April 17, 2007

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My political awakening rudely arrived on May 4, 1970 when I, then a college freshman, learned of students shot to death on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Students just like me... young, naive, eager to embrace the world.

A new generation of college students experienced similar political awakenings yesterday, April 16, 2007.

The two tragedies were different in many ways. In 2007, students and professors were shot by a fellow student. In 1970, students were shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard.

But the basic cause of the multiple murders is the same: guns on college campuses. And the acceptability of guns in institutions of higher learning.

I do not, for the very life of me, understand why guns... any guns... should be allowed on college and university campuses. However, in post-9/11 America, I stubbornly concede that campus police need weapons (of some sort) to defend students and themselves, and to maintain order.

Most high schools today have weapon or metal detection systems, as well as zero tolerance policies for weapons on campus.

Furthermore, high schools today routinely practice elaborate campus lockdowns, in anticipation of just such emergencies as the madman equipped with two guns and loads of ammo yesterday at Virginia Tech University.

Questions, Questions, Questions
Why are colleges and universities not as prepared as American high schools for guns on campuses?

Why have colleges and universities not enacted tough, zero tolerance policies for guns on campuses?

And why, in God's name, did VTU not proceed into full, immediate lockdown, as any high school would have done?

Today, all Americans of good faith MUST ask themselves... Why free and easy access to guns? What constructive purpose does it serve? Why, oh why, is widespread gun violence acceptable in America?

Yes, a new generation of college students learned a hard political lesson yesterday: America values its gun "rights" more than its college students.

Related Reading
32 Killed in Virginia Tech Massacre, About.com Guide to Crime
When Tragedy Strikes: Eleven Tips for Your Workplace Response, About.com Guide to Human Resources


April 17, 2007 at 4:33 pm
(1) kim says:

I thought I’d share this article from Mother Jones (in case you haven’t already seen it).

…Maybe it’s because, in the wake of such a terrible tragedy, the president feels the need to mention in the ensuing press conference (through a spokesperson) that the right to bear arms is still important.

I thought that was incredibly tacky, if not just heartless.

April 17, 2007 at 5:32 pm
(2) usliberals says:

Thanks, Kim!

Tacky, heartless and incomprehensible.

I honestly don’t understand… will never understand… how people can CHERISH guns, especialy more than people. Are they that frightened and angry?

April 18, 2007 at 10:37 am
(3) Ed says:

I don’t ‘cherish’ any of my firearms, but I couldn’t imagine myself wanting the use of one more than if someone was running around my dorm shooting everyone.

Yeah, I would have tried to take the insane student down.

Who wouldn’t want that?

April 18, 2007 at 7:27 pm
(4) Skatha says:

Just stupid!
If someone had a gun on campus,lives might have been saved.
There are many honest, sane. reliable people walking around with guns not killing people! This guy was a nut. He went off campus and bought guns with the intent of killing people. If he couldn’t have bought a gun legally he would have bought one ilegally or used something else. Do you really think he would have just said, “Oh well, I guess I can’t kill anyone because I can’t get a gun.” ?

April 20, 2007 at 10:57 am
(5) Tim says:

“Weapons-free” campus policies are nothing more than saying “come and get us, we don’t have the means to fight back”. Murder is already against the law. Do you really think the perp cared about the law. He actually used the law to further his carnage, because he knew no one would be able to stop him, because the law-abiding had to leave their defensive weapons at home.

April 24, 2007 at 9:41 am
(6) Carla says:

Even if the 32 students had guns they would still had been attacked because you could not shoot what you could not see! So those who proclaim defending the second amendment needed to realize that those 32 believed in the Constitution also!

April 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm
(7) Tim says:

What do you mean can’t see? If the good professor who gave his life trying to block the door would have been armed, he could have been able to stop the perp before he got in the room. Obviously he saw the perp, so he could have been able to shoot, IF he was legally able to have a defensive weapon at his disposal. I’m not following your thought of the dead 32 believing in the constitution, though. Could you explain?

April 24, 2007 at 9:48 pm
(8) MarcusStoic says:

All of these “might haves” from the gun nuts are purely specualitive. If this psychotic young man were held to the intent of the law and not allowed to have weapons, this tragedy well might have not happened.

April 24, 2007 at 11:45 pm
(9) Tim says:

marcus, It ain’t the weapon, it’s the person using it. Guns are inanimate objects, it takes a human to operate them. Last time I looked, murder was against the law, yet the psychotic young man didn’t seem deterred by the inconvenience of the law against murdering fellow human beings…

I’ve said it before elsewhere, I’d rather have my murder prevented than solved…I pray none of you are ever in a position to have to defend yourselves or your loved ones against an evil person bent on your destruction.

April 28, 2007 at 11:31 pm
(10) joey donuts says:

there will always be criminals, there will always be killing with knives, screwdrivers, etc every one is entitled to self defense if every child was taught the right way to handle a pistol or revolver we wouldnt have these problems stop being lambs led to slaughter arm yourselves it really is the only way no im not a gun nut but everyone has a right to self defense period .it dont matter you can try to eliminate all guns from the face of the earth or the us in the end only people with bad intentions will find out a way to get guns believe me only the rich and famous will try to have them are we expendable????? c’mon people, in isreal all teachers are armed practically all citezens are armed there is zero school crime look it up ive been handeling guns since i was 7 yrs old ,never once did i ever have an accident with a weapon im 44 now its not a perfect world its as simple as that people thanks

November 11, 2007 at 2:40 am
(11) Rick55 says:

It seems strange to me that these school shootings are happening more often lately as we get more and more gun control laws added to the books. Back before the 1968 gun control act, and the more recent Brady bill, you never heard of these things happening. Ms. White speaks about the “free and easy” access to guns in this country…I wonder if she has ever tried to buy a firearm legally, especially in states like New York or California? To have to navigate your way through the reams of paperwork, waiting periods, and background checks. Has she ever gone through the process of getting a pistol permit, or a CCW? I don’t think so. It took five and a half months for me to acquire my Connecticut state pistol permit after much paperwork, fingerprinting, photographing, and background checking…Not to mention the safety certifications, training, and referances. Now if you want to go to the back streets of, lets say, our nation’s capital, to buy one out of the trunk of a car, any fool with a fist full of drug money could do that. I don’t think that person cares about any of the 20,000 plus gun laws we have on the books to date. In the 1940s and 50s you could order a pistol or rifle out of your Sears mail order catalogue, and about the only paperwork you needed was a money order or check. School shootings were unheard of in those days. Are all of these laws really stopping the problem? How many more of our liberties and freedoms do we discard for our “so called” safety? How many more pieces should we tear out of the Bill of Rights to seek this utopian society Ms. White and her compatriots are looking for? Lord help us!

December 31, 2007 at 12:10 pm
(12) LUVMIGUNS says:

Your original question, “Does America Value Gun Rights More Than Students?”
The answer is a resounding ..YES..
The right for Americans to keep their arms close to them is in writing in our Constitution. Student rights are not. There is only one legal process to change this. A CONSTITUTIONAL AMMENDMENT

March 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm
(13) Conservativegunowner says:

gun free campus?? If you take the guns away from law abiding people, be it college campuses or an entire town/state, only the people who don’t follow the law will have them. I can’t see how that would make sense in anyones mind. I have the right to defend myself with deadly force if necessary, and if a criminal is threatening me or my family with a gun, how am I supposed to defend myself? A kitchen knife maybe? or maybe a pair of scissors.., come on, think this out before you jump on the liberal band wagon. Criminals kill people, gun owners dont. You must realize the very distinct difference there.

May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm
(14) Another Crisis says:

Along with all guns, all forks and spoons should be confiscated. Obesity is the number 2 cause of death in the USA with over 400,000 per year. Without forks and spoons, obesity would be eliminated and untold lives saved. Eating utensils cause needless deaths and should be eliminated forever.

May 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm
(15) Andrew Ring says:

This is a very simple solution which should please everyone.

You may have noticed that most if not all mass shootings occur in ‘GUN FREE’ zones. The state of Arizona thinks the “Gun-Free Liability Act” is the answer. Those who truly believe that gun-free zones are safe will not mind taking responsibility for them, will they?

My suggestion is to either amend the law to allow honest citizens to protect themselves by the use of a gun or to pass the law below which is being considered by AZ and some other states.

If you agree please contact your Senators and Representative. Ask them to consider AZ SB 1400 GUN-FREE LIABILITY ACT.

“Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Arizona:

13-3114 Gun-free zones; liability;

This state or any agency or political subdivision of this state or any person, organization or entity that establishes a gun-free zone is liable for damages that result from criminal conduct that occurs against an individual in the gun-free zone if a reasonable person would believe that possession of a firearm could have helped the individual defend against the criminal conduct. If the criminal conduct was the result of terrorism or adversely affected a child under sixteen years of age or a person seventy years of age or older, this state or any agency or political subdivision of this state or any person, organization or entity that established the gun-free zone is liable for treble damages.
“Gun-free zone means any building, place, area or cartilage or in or on any conveyance in which person’s right or ability to possess a firearm is infringed, restricted or diminished in any way by statute, policy, rule, regulation, ordinance, utterance or posted sign.”

June 5, 2008 at 7:26 pm
(16) Joe says:

All you people who wish to defending weilding a firearm for protection is stupid. Tell me why in every country that does not allow permission of any firearm is there considerably less gun crimes than in America? the WHOLE of europe doesn’t even have as many gun crimes as America. America is too caught up in their own fear.

Further more the constitution doesn’t say that everyone has the right to bear arms. It says the Militia has the right to bear arms for the defense of the country within periods of invasion. If my country doesn’t need legal gun sales why should yours?

June 6, 2008 at 7:22 pm
(17) Andy says:


July 3, 2008 at 1:14 pm
(18) J Settlemoir says:

Gun rights are just as important as the rights you liberals hold so dear. Just because you dislike firearms should be ban them all. If you are so concerned with student deaths, how about banning alcohol (again). Way more students are killed from alcohol than firearms and alcohol serves no purpose what so ever. Can you explain that?

July 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm
(19) Frank says:

I live 27 miles from the sheriffs office. Three times in the last 25 years I have left my home with gun in hand to force persons to leave my property. All three times the persons where intent on entering my home. By presenting myself with a firearm I was able to cause them to flee. I never hurt or killed anyone in any of these incidents. If on the other hand I had not had a gun I would have been forced to defend myself with other means which means they would have been closer and the chance for someone being injured or killed would have gone up. Why do you want to remove an effective means of self protection when I have never done anything wrong?

August 18, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(20) Jeremy says:

For the life of me I can’t understand why this topic is continuing to flourish. I am a proud gun owner and was raised with an awesome respect for guns. I was raised to know that they serve 3 purposes: collect, sport and protect.
I have carried a gun for the last 20 years and have never had to draw it or even consider it. I have been in several confrontations where some people might have been quick to draw a pistol because of the area I work in. I believe if we are going to have guns in the hands of people for protection, I am firmly in favor of making sure that every one of them take a self defense class and have formal gun training.
If I am ever in a situation where someone is attempting to seriously harm or kill my wife or children, I would draw without a doubt and remove the threat. And as the liberal crowd gathered around the shooting site and lit candles and prayed, I would go upstairs and tuck my kids in bed and kiss my wife goodnight – knowing that thanks to the mercy of God and Smith & Wesson, we all will have another tomorrow. If someone can’t understand that, I probably wont be able to convince them of too much of anything else.
Thanks for allowing me to voice my opnion.

November 8, 2008 at 5:29 am
(21) CJ says:

Where do you people get your logic from? If the VA Tech kid didn’t buy the guns legally, he would have bought them illegally like all the other criminals out there. Ask yourself this one question, if just one other student in that class room had a gun on him, do you think the VA Tech killer would have been able to kill and wound as many people as he did? Apparently, your not intelligent enough to answer that question….so don’t bother. If you fear for your life and your kids life that much…then dig yourself out a bunker, walk in, lock the door behind you, and don’t ever come out. Stay locked up in your hole and spare us your babble. Besides….how many people die each year in car accidents? Where is your high and mighty stance against automobiles huh? Thought so….your fat a$$ doesn’t want to give up your precious car now do you?

June 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(22) Jim says:

Joe(16) Why don’t you get your facts correct? Countries with the strictest gun-control laws also tend to have the highest homicide rates and hot burglaries where the home owner is home. Also guns in the US prevent 2.5 million crimes a year. That is 550 rapes per day and 1,100 murders per day by just showing the gun. In less that 0.9% of these cases is the gun ever fired.

Also keep in mind that most of gun related homicides are criminals shooting criminals.

School Zones are really Victim Zones. The violence there will continue to increase. If you are mentally ill, are you going to pick a police station or a school?

June 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm
(23) pro gun says:

I am very pro gun. If you look at countries that have strong gun control, there is a higher gun crime rate, such as the city of London as an example.
meanwhile, countries such as Switzerland where almost EVERYONE has guns the crime rate is low. I wonder why… maybe the criminal knows THAT HES GONNA GET SHOT IF HE DOES ANYTHING STUPID!!!!!!

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