30 September 2006

Interesting Finds in Student Op-Ed pieces

OK, I'll admit...I was expecting to find anti-gun op-ed's all over the board when it came to discussions over gun rights. Surprisingly enough, I found a fairly good balance, which encourages me about our universities being places where a diversity of ideas can thrive.

Sure, you had the clueless anti's breathlessly spouting off about matters they know nothing about, but often, you could find someone a little more reasonable able to lay the facts out in a well-informed manner worthy of higher education.

Here are my findings thus far:

Daily Toreador (Texas Tech): "Let's repeal the Second Amendment and start over with new gun laws that actually make sense." (14 Sept 06, h/t A Keyboard and a .45)

Collegiate Times (Virginia Tech): "While allowing a licensed person to carry a gun on campus sounds like a good idea to the author of 'Cars kill more people than handguns at Virginia Tech' (CT, Aug. 30), I strongly disagree." The short article brings a new level of sophomoric pontification: the "opinion lite." (31 Aug 06, h/t The War on Guns)

Daily Beacon (University of Tennessee, Knoxville): [regarding the sunset of the AWB]--"Gun nuts, rejoice! It's easier to kill people! Police, fear!" (21 Sep 2004) And you have a visiting professor from Australia pontificating about the wisdom of his country regarding gun control (6 November 2000) Admittedly, though, a sensible editorial gets through, like this one from 1999.

Badger Herald (University of Wisconsin, Madison): "Given these shocking statistics [from the all-knowing Brady Bunch], why is America’s party of the 'moral majority' working so vigorously to push such immoral legislation? Perhaps what is most disturbing is the hypocrisy offered up in pro-gun rhetoric." (8 Feb 2006) But, there is a voice of reason on occasion: "The misconception that this bill will increase violence by putting weapons in the hands of those who mean to cause harm is a stereotype and fear tactic." (6 Feb 2006)

The Daily Texan (University of Texas, Austin): Couldn't find many op-ed articles online, but did find a long article on "Ladies' Night" at a local gun range--"I exhaust two boxes of bullets and then return the gun to Lucas. 'Did you have fun?' he asks, and I tell him I did." (7 Dec 05)

Yale Daily News: Nothing you could find online, strangely enough. You would think with all the future politicians that go through that school, there would be more discussion on national issues.

Harvard Crimson (Harvard University): Nothing recent. Do a search for "guns" and the most recent relevant op-ed piece comes from 2004, again, dealing with the sunset of the AWB. It was a reaction to an earlier editorial on the same subject, but showed some very good analysis. "The editorial on Sept. 13 ('An Assault on Democracy,') laments the Assault Weapons Ban’s expiration as though the law actually had practical effects other than to annoy gun owners" (27 Sep 2004).

The article he was referring to, however, was typical leftist fantasy: "The ban is ending, not because it is unpopular or unnecessary, but because of a failure of the democratic process, because of the influence of a hugely powerful special interest group on national politics." (13 Sep 2004)

The Chronicle (Duke University): Again, nothing terribly recent. You have to go back to the AWB sunset of 2004 to get an Op-Ed dealing specifically with gun-related issues. Here, you get a rather balanced view, from leftist hysteria "'We have increased the risk factor for this community,' RCND director Marcia Owen said. 'The availability and accessibility [of assault weapons] has increased the risk to public health,'" balanced with those a little more familiar with what was really going on: "[A gun store owner] added that she had seen no increase in sales of such weapons at her store in recent weeks [after the sunset]. The ban, Duke argued, had essentially no effect."

The Lantern (Ohio State University): Ohio's debate over CCW earlier this year also sparked debate about it on campus. The author does a very good job talking about what goes into CCW, and recognizes some of the challenges facing a university environment (whether or not to allow it on campus), but he was concerned about the predominantly anti-gun attitudes he saw in the OSU student government.

My conclusions so far: the universities seem to pretty well reflect our society's views on gun ownership overall. As with the rest of the U.S., in the microcosm of the university, those that tend to be anti are usually inexperienced with guns. But, in their quest to fulfill their need to spout their opinion, they find they have little to go on except a gut reaction, or at best, someone else's opinion, like the fellow from Virginia Tech who said that someone else's opinion "made my point for me."

No, this person is just jumping on the baa-baa bandwagon. You haven't really done much seeking for yourself.

But then, someone comes along and tries to take their gut reaction and embellish it with a little philosophizing, like this aristotle from the Daily Toreador:

"Guns are made for one reason - to kill people."

12 years of public schooling, a couple of years (at best) at an institution of higher learning, and the best he can come up with is a knee-jerk generalization.

Happily, the guy from OSU has the best answer to such hastily-prepared judgements:

Real-world examples abound throughout recent history about laws restraining gun ownership leading to increases in violent crime, erosion of individual rights, oppression and even genocide. As with many issues, however, if you try you can find statistics that support either side, it comes down to common sense. Criminals do not pay attention to gun laws, and a world without guns does not create a world without hate, murder and deadly weapons.

Taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens is the easy way out; this action does not make the world safer; increased education and awareness would do more. The real solution is finding a way to suppress the illegal gun trade and to start enforcing existing laws. As the world's military power and leader in gun manufacture, we must admit that is a difficult challenge.

Give that student an A+

I think I'll make this a fairly regular feature of my blog.

1 comment:

JR said...

Good post and a good idea. I would like to see more of the same. I have made this my "Blog of the week".