Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick Drawing on Campus But Not in Art

I am not a Texan. I have no claim to being one other than the fact that my dad was from East Texas and maintained all his life that "There is NO other place on earth besides Texas." This extended to our discussions of heritage and ancestry as well. I know darn good and well that my dad was Anglo (red hair and freckles are a dead giveaway), so his people certainly did not "come from" The Lone Star state, but he took such pride in it that I could hardly argue. All of this to underscore that Texans are a breed apart: that's neither good nor bad, just fact. As a result of the state's heritage, attitudes toward weaponry are decidedly different. I was always a bit suspect of a place in which drive-through liquor stores were commonplace, and the idea of carrying weapons at the same time adds one more element of danger that I wouldn't care to experience. Since 1995, the good citizens of Texas have been allowed to carry concealed firearms as long as they are licensed. There are 461,724 people in the state licensed to carry a concealed weapon if they so choose. State legislators have the right to bring guns into their chamber, as does the governor Rick Perry, who often carries one when he jogs. To be honest, there has not been a mass shooting/murder in Texas since 1966 when Charles Whitman killed 16 people from a tower on the UT campus in Austin. Like in most other states, carrying firearms on college campuses in Texas has been forbidden...but that's about to change. The glockenspiel player in the marching band may well be toting a Glock, too.
Following the campus shootings at Virginia Tech in '07 and Northern Illinois in '08, states around the country have been debating the benefits of arming staff and students alike on campuses. Twenty-three states to date have rejected the idea since 2007, though Utah has embraced it for their college students. The rationale for enacting such legislation (which will happen in Texas this year) is that licensed, trained students and staff would cut down on the number of innocent people killed during such a rampage which has played out in classrooms across the country. If nothing else, knowledge of classmates packing heat would serve as a deterrent to such acts taking place.
Maybe, maybe not.
As a result of training I'ver had at a police training class, I know that it's not as easy to shoot someone as one might think. Our instructor noted that even among police officers, the first shot usually goes into the ground as the officer (a trained professional) raises the gun to fire. In my experience (as an unprofessional), my first shot in a shooting situation went into an apartment building behind the perp. The next one was fatal, but I continued to fire six more times because I just couldn't stop. Really. Now, imagine five people pulling out weapons in a crowded classroom doing just that...carnage...perhaps.
But, as I noted, I am not trained to use a handgun.
But I do like embroidered shirts with pearl buttons.
That might be as Texan as I can get.
But let it be noted that a legislator in my state proposed that teachers have access to weapons in school, too.
I guess one doesn't need to be from Texas or Utah to have scary thoughts.


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