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09-27-2007, 6:11 AM

Guns in the hands of responsible citizens can save lives the police can’t
Published Thursday, September 27, 2007.

Last week, America experienced yet another school shooting in what has become a string of senseless acts of violence on college campuses. Now more than ever, it is vital to assess the safety policies in place at all levels of our society. The most important of these remains the right of private citizens to carry their own firearms. Anything less invites catastrophe.

This week, authorities arrested an 18-year-old man believed to be responsible for the shooting of two innocents on the campus of Delaware State University. One of his victims remains in critical condition as of this writing. Of course, these events are reminiscent of last April’s Virginia Tech massacre, in which 32 people were slaughtered in cold blood. If found guilty, the Delaware State shooter deserves the same fate that the barbarian who wreaked havoc at Virginia Tech should have received had he not killed himself — ***a swift and just execution. However, the real question is what should be done to help prevent these atrocities from occurring in the first place.

Many are naive enough to place unswerving faith in the system. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the brave men and women of the local police forces were unfairly crucified for their failure in responding to the threat. Though our police forces should always be the first line of defense in protecting lives, it is foolish to place faith in them alone. When inevitably imperfect institutions fail us, it is the moral right of private citizens to take matters into their own hands. The First Amendment has received much play on this page lately, but the Second is arguably just as important. Sadly, the right to bear arms remains under siege by the machines of special interests.

The campus of Ohio University is a designated “forbidden-carry zone,” an undemocratic concept that plays directly into the hands of evil. On paper, this means guns cannot be carried on campus. In reality, there is no truly reliable mechanism in place to stop a potential shooter from butchering at will. Yes, the university has taken a number of admirable measures to prepare for emergency situations in recent months. But the most obvious measure — allowing students and faculty to carry handguns for self-defense if they choose — is foolishly prohibited.

Of course, the idea of allowing such a thing would be dubbed crazy by the apologists and enablers. These flower children lack even the most basic understanding of the nature and motivations of evil people. They are willfully blind to the existence of evil, so they see no need to arm the innocent and save lives. When you speak out for gun rights, they will hit you with such mindless platitudes as “guns never solve anything.” I encourage these people to say such things to the parents of the fallen from Virginia Tech and see what sort of response they get. A gun in the hands of a responsible citizen could have ended the bloodletting then, just as it could end potential rampages on campuses nationwide.

Murderers operate outside the law. They will secure the means to carry out their intentions regardless of the policies in place. Thus, prohibitionist policies only succeed in aiding and abetting those very murderers. This is perfectly okay with the apologists, who seem to think that you can hug murderers into submission. I’m not sure what the headcount has to be until these people wake up and realize that in the time between the first shot and police arriving on the scene, innocent lives hang in the balance. During this lapse, it falls to private citizens to protect themselves from the sort of savagery we are seeing on our campuses.

In the meantime, Ohio University remains pathetically vulnerable.

Joe Vance / jv407004@ohiou.edu