Guns on campus – yes or no?

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I wish to discuss if college/university students should be able to carry guns on campus, focusing specifically on case studies based in the United States of America, with conjunction to the laws concerning the carrying of weapons by civilians for their own protection, or because of crime initiatives. Firstly I wish to discuss the obvious dangers of such weapons in the hands of the youth, and the impact it has on the society, especially the school system, this will look at dominant negative issues concerning guns on campus. Secondly, I will look at the other side of the coin, concerning the necessity – including specific examples – of carrying guns and when the absence of weaponry has led to deaths and weak defence in the face of dangerous violations of the law. Lastly, I will look at the impacts the carrying of guns has had on the school system, and how guns have been used as the solution to solving gun crime, therefore a heavy paradox resulting in a cycle of constant dependence on weaponry by the youth.

Hypothesis: Carrying guns on campus has led to deaths that would not have occured otherwise, even as a way of countering gun crime by putting them in the hands of ‘more sensible’ students. It is dangerous for students to be carrying guns into school.

The carrying of guns has been a major topic of discussion, highlighted and criticised significantly because of the Virginia Tech shootings that took place in 2007 at the hands of a disturbed student by the name of Seung-Huic Cho who killed 32 people and wounded many others before finally committing suicide. This is a classic case of how societal deficiencies and pressures can lead a young person to take a gun into his hands in order to solve his problems and express hatred at the world. This kind of abuse of power would not have been as possible if guns were not so easily accessible and banned in the States completely. One of the students of Virginia Tech recalls on Fox news: “We were running. Girls were panicking, starting to cry. Everyone was like, get away from the windows. The shooting was like 15 minutes – like this constant bang, bang, bang. Then we heard voices in the hallway. That was probably the scariest. We didn’t know who was out there.”. It is clear from this attack that both students and teachers were helpless. It is enough to have scarred the lives of many, leaving them in constant fear within their own classrooms even long after the incident as anyone with as much planning and irritation with the world could walk in and do the same. The Virginia Tech Massacre is enough in itself to show the dangerousness of the carrying of weapons on campus, because it demonstrates an examples against the argument of self-defence, but shows a case where the gun has been put into the hands of a student whose intentions were clearly led by unstable mental conditions and a bleak outlook on the world.

Looking at the pro-guns side of the argument however, we can then look into the less highlighted examples today of when it has been very necessary for the student to be carrying a weapon, most likely due to reasons of self-defence in a situation that has really been dangerous to such an extent that it could have been fatal for the student otherwise. Our example here is the taking place of the L.A riots. The area of concern has issues such as racial prejudice and segregation, meaning that the hatred is something that is taken by students into their classrooms so that without a weapon one can be left vulnerable, even if it is not necessarily put to use. An article on the ‘Red-Alerts’ website states that ‘Up to 600 Black and Latino students were involved in racially tinged violence at the Locke High School in South Los Angeles.’ “The kids were crazy, running from place to place, jumping on other kids,” said Reggie Smith, the school’s band director, who said he ran to pull students from the melee. “Some of my kids were crying because they were walking to class with friends and they got jumped.”. In such a situation, students may feel the need to carry a gun, even if not directly related to the violence that took place, or even if they have no link whatsoever to a gang organisation. Even the parents of such children could come to the reasoning that maybe it is not such a bad idea that their child carries a form of protection when the situation is so extreme on the outside of school. Therefore the carrying of weapons by students onto the campus may not be unheard of for a lot of people, and may become an accepted act in some areas of America.

However, while having looked at the pros and cons of students carrying guns on campus. I wish to delve further into the perceived necessities of such an action and how guns can be thought of as a resolution to the gun problems that took place in the first place. A prominent example of this is in the University of Utah where some students, after having heard about the Virginia Tech shootings, have taken it upon themselves to carry protection in the form of a gun hidden in their clothing. An article on CNN states how even a Professor of the university has taken the choice to arm himself before entering the campus; ‘Nick says his gun doesn’t make him feel immune from attack. “But I feel that I will be able to protect myself, and I’m confident in my training and my ability,” he said.’. Utah is the only state to allow weapons in all public universities. These measures are taken with the fear of a repeat of what took place at Virginia Tech. However, the difference here – that could mean this scheme has a positive impact on lessening gun crime – is that the weapon is placed in the hands of trained, mature students and officials. This means that those within campus are no longer such vulnerable targets for a would-be shooter or for any kind of organised crime to take place. However the question here is; are these people ‘mature/trained’ enough to not have to resort to the weapon on their person, which could result in a killing when the absence of a gun would not have resulted so.

In conclusion, I believe that although measures have been taken to reduce gun crime through the use of gun themselves, the weapon is highly dangerous thing and could result quite easily in deaths that would not have otherwise taken place. The Virginia Tech Massacre proved that when such an item is put into the wrong hands or is within easy accessibility of a person whose mind is not stable enough to cope with his own life, then the value of a life becomes very minor as it can be easly taken away with the pulling of a trigger. Any weapons in the hands of youth are, therefore, out of the question. The L.A. riots are an example of when hatred, racial tension and segregation can lead to the fear which pushes one to carry a gun, however it is fair enough to say that with a weapon the casualties and fatalities would be significantly higher. The absence of guns on campus in the first place would not have led to the students and teachers of Utah University deciding to carry guns themselves. In all, it seems that instead of allowing students to carry a gun on the campus, there should be efforts made to raise security in the learning environment, with more thorough checks done on pupils and teachers, as well as more work gone into identifying the problems of society e.g. segregation, peer pressure and bullying, and working to solve these problems instead of resorting to the use of a gun. If the weapon were not so accessible in the first place, there would be less chance that it could be used for violence and crime, and therefore there would be no need for it to be used in defence.

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