Friday, May 20, 2011

An Open Letter to Mike Villareal, Leticia Van de Putte and others who oppose campus carry

Dear Bexar County Democrats:

I have a question for you about your opposition to Jeff Wentworth's bill which would allow concealed carry on Texas colleges. It is a simple one, although I doubt you have encountered it yet. It is this:

Why is it okay with you that I am in danger every single time I go to my college's campus?

Opposition to this bill has all centered around claims that college campi would be made unsafe were it passed.  A problem exists with this belief, however: it is already not safe to go to college.

I'm not talking about mass shootings.  Those are incredibly rare, and I have never awoken in the morning and worried about encountering a spree killer.  What I'm talking about are the crimes which occur on a daily basis, both at my college and other colleges across this great state.

I am a student at San Antonio College.  I have been since 2008 (and yes, I know how it looks to have three years in at a community college; I just changed my major this academic year, and unfortunately a good many of my classes aren't useful for the new one).  Over the course of the time I have been here, I have grown used to seeing messages in my campus e-mail titled CAMPUS CRIME ALERT.  They are typically very similar: someone was robbed, or assaulted, or both.  We are also warned of off-campus crimes when they occur very near SAC; those are generally more of the same.  I am now an internet student, but even that requires occasional trips to campus, and I am well aware of the fact that I am endangering myself every time I go to buy my textbooks, deal with paperwork, or take an exam.  In fact, as I was taking a final exam for a literature course at the end of the Fall 2010 semester, a crime occurred on campus wherein two young men were robbed by an armed assailant.  As a result of this, one of them was sent to the hospital with serious injuries.  The criminal escaped.  He was reported to have run toward the very building where I was taking my test, and although the student body was told the building was locked down and searched, I can attest to the fact that neither campus police nor SAPD ever came to the SLAC lab where I and probably fifty other unarmed students were.

And yet, you have shown through your actions and statements both that you do not feel I should be allowed the most effective means of defense at my disposal.  I am blind without my glasses and have scoliosis (and therefore almost no upper-body strength).   There is virtually no way I would be able to win a grappling contest with a young, strong male who had mayhem in mind.  I have a 3.6 GPA, and an IQ of 140, both of which are typically held to be indicators of strong intelligence, and yet I cannot for the life of me understand why you believe I would be better off were I the victim of crime.  For obvious reasons, I don't agree!

You may well argue that adding more guns to the mix is not the solution. To that, I say: Have you not been paying attention?  There are colleges which allow weapons to be carried by their students, and violence has not risen at any of them.  Here in Texas as a whole, incidence of violent crime has tumbled since the legalization of concealed carry.  Here in San Antonio last year, we had 79 murders.  In the early 1990s, we had two years in a row where the murder rate topped 300.  Now, I am not claiming concealed carry has been completely responsible for that decrease; what I am claiming is this: It is demonstrably false to allege that allowing citizens to carry weapons will lead to any sort of increase in violent crime.  There is no principal of logic that lends any credence to the belief that allowing students to protect themselves while at school will be the one thing to have a different outcome.

Given that the main argument against campus carry is patently false, I am left with uncomfortable questions about the reality of your opposition to Sen. Wentworth's measure.  Have you been snookered by the erroneous claims of increased violence?  Do you prefer potential victims be easy pickings? Are you more concerned with the well-being of criminals than of law-abiding citizens?

I have my suspicions as to the answer, but I will await your response nontheless.


(And yes, boys and girls, I am sending this off, late though it may be.  I'll share any response with you.)

1 comment:

Mattexian said...

I would have been much shorter in my query, along the lines of "Why do you think it's better for students to be unarmed against potential attackers, when the latter demonstrate their unwillingness to abide by *any* laws?" I doubt they'll answer you, or if they do, it'll be a form letter offering condolences that you don't agree with them, but offering no reasoned explanation for their position.