By now, you’ve probably read about the shooting at the University of Texas. A lone gunman entered the campus with an AK-47, shot off some rounds and ultimately killed himself. Fortunately, this time the shooter was the only one killed. In response to yet another demonstration of just how easy it is to bring a deadly weapon into a “gun-free” zone, John Woods can only respond that ultimately, “the system worked.” The last time I heard such a ridiculous comment Janet Incompetano was attempting to take credit for the underwear bomber’s failed attempt to blow himself up in midair.
In reality, the University of Texas got lucky. If the shooter had decided to do more damage, there would have been no one to stop him. Fortunately, he did not, but we won’t always get lucky. In the face of yet another demonstration of the complete and total ineffectiveness of the Brady Campaign’s “just ban it” ideology, the solution is not more sirens. The solution is not more security officers—that is, unless the school is willing to pay for armed bodyguards for the entire student body. The solution is to once again allow legal self-defense on our college campuses. No, this won’t stop all crimes, but it will give potential victims a chance.
Woods likes to point to an apparent need for officers to be able to identify the perpetrator. There are two major problems with this argument. First, the perpetrator is usually dead by the time police arrive on the scene. And even if the perpetrator were still alive, there is little reason to believe the police would be unable to identify him. That’s why they have to go through training. When police are off campus, they have to deal with this possibility on every response. Second, self-defense isn’t just about “mass shootings.” Legal self-defense on campus allows students, faculty, staff, and anyone else withing the campus boundaries to defend against any crime, not just the ones that make national headlines. Mass shootings may be uncommon, armed robberies, less so.
It’s time to face reality. “Gun-free” zones don’t work; “gun-free” zones never have worked; “gun-free” zones never will work. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? I think it’s time we tried something else.