I love it when a tragedy turns into an employment opportunity. I just wish this one didn't involve weaponry. I really wish it didn't involve weaponry and education.
Somehow, the NRA has a different perspective. They have offered bills in 15 states - and were defeated 15 times. Yet, they continue to insist that a well armed community can police itself and defend itself from terrorism.
This, despite the fact that, as reported by the Sun Sentinel, that
Florida A&M police chief Terence Calloway.... cited a 2009 poll of campus police chiefs that found just 5 percent supported the idea. And a 2014 study produced by Ball State University found similar opposition among college presidents, while polls of campuses throughout the country have regularly turned up student opposition in the 70 to 80 percent range.I was at a shooting. It was chaos. A passerby was armed. He chose to throw a plastic lawn chair rather than fire his weapon.
That's right. The only armed man besides the shooter selected lawn furniture as his weapon of choice. He worried about hitting an innocent in the cross-fire. He worried about being identified as the assailant by the police. He took the least lethal course of action because he was well-trained and thoughtful.
Our shooter was angry. He was passionate. He was self-absorbed. He knew he was right. He was a man on a mission, a person poised on the edge who toppled off into the abyss.
I knew a lot of people just like that when I was in college. We were protesting the draft, the war, racism and inequality. We were angry and passionate and we knew we were right.
We didn't have weaponry to prove our point.
I remember the outrage when the National Guard opened fire on the students at Kent State. Guns on campus seemed an outrageous overreaching. College is a place to learn, not to dodge bullets. There was an emotional disconnect between the rifles and the kids.... a disconnect which was appropriate but which seems to have disappeared over the passing years.
We teach our youngest students to use your words when conflict arises. How effective can that mantra be when teachers and support staff are armed?
Perhaps we are desensitized to the enormity of the awfulness; these mass shootings happen so often that Tucson is a long-forgotten memory. But it is very real to me, to my family, to my friends, to the survivors' community, to those who have lost a loved one or been damaged ourselves.
A good guy with a gun threw lawn furniture at the shooter.
That's a dispositive answer to an awful question.
More weapons are not the answer.