The Texas legislature has passed Senate Bill 11, which allows college students to carry a concealed, holstered gun into college campus buildings. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill into law.
I'm a professor. I've taught at Ohio Northern University, Duke University, Seattle Pacific University, and now Southern Methodist University. I've been around. Let me tell you why I think this is a great bill.
- Campus Carry Is Great Exposure for Higher Education. College reputations aren't built on academics alone. We know Auburn from football, Tennessee from women's basketball, Butler from men's hoops. A campus shooting--and the more guns we can squeeze onto a campus, the likelier the chance one will go off--calls attention to that college for a week or so. It's like winning the NCAA championship--only more dramatic. All press is good press. Who doesn't want the press of a campus shooting?
Now let me take my tongue out of my cheek. I trust you've seen the sarcasm in this post. In fact, I'm bewildered by a state legislature that thinks students need guns to get to their cars at night -- rather than university escorts, campus security, a golf cart, or even a group of friends. Why solve with community effort what could otherwise be resolved by a gunshot to the head, right? Why risk running into a pole with a golf cart rather than shooting a shadowy but innocent figure in a parking lot?
I take this bill personally. Exactly one year ago today, as I write, on the evening of the shooting at Seattle Pacific University, I sat with students on the main quad, picking at the grass, wondering, grieving with each other, and barely praying. It was a poignant moment -- and deafening with grief. I can't help but believe that the alchemy of guns and alcohol and youth and late-night parties and stress runs the risk of accidental shootings. I don't want to see the images again: candlelight vigils; prayer meetings; flowers stacked on flowers on nondescript street corners and campus buildings. I couldn't bear it.