Timothy Hsiao starts out “I am an ethics professor, and I carry a concealed handgun in the classroom. In the event of a mass shooting, I am the first line of defense between my students and an attacker. I refuse to let myself and my students be victims. Campus carry is simply an extension of our natural right of self-defense. Our right to life follows us wherever we go, so the right to defend our lives must also accompany us. Whether I am at home, in my car, at work, or in the classroom, I possess the absolute and unrelenting right to defend myself against unjust aggression. Because firearms enhance that right, there exists a strong presumption in favor of being allowed to own and carry a firearm as I go about my daily business.“
As he advances his argument, it becomes clear how irrelevant virtually all the noise about “gun control”, “mass shooting” numbers, Trump’s rhetoric, the Second Amendment, 8Chan, “white supremacy” and yada yada yada is. The only issues worth discussing are YOUR right of self-defense, and whether carrying a gun increases or lessens your own anxiety. Murders, shootings, assault, etc. WILL happen, no matter what. Will you defend yourself and others, or will you be a victim?
He continues: “That presumption may sometimes be overcome (such as in courthouses, prisons, or airports), but only if the government assumes the special responsibility of protecting those citizens whom it disarms through the coercive power of the law. In other words, if the government is going to tell us we can’t carry guns in a specific area, thus impairing our ability to defend ourselves, it must assume a special responsibility to protect us. It must serve the function our guns would provide had we been allowed to carry them. If the government requires us to disarm ourselves before entering a specific area, it knowingly puts us in a position of increased vulnerability. It must therefore assume the special responsibility of making up for the gap it has created by increasing protective measures.”
How quickly and effectively can we be protected from an armed assailant when we are unarmed? How long will we have to wait, how many shots will be fired, before the police show up? “Police responses almost always come after someone has already committed a crime. According to data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, only 47.3 percent of all personal crimes in 2008 were even reported to police. Of these crimes, only 28 percent of police responses came within five minutes of reporting, 30.3 percent within six to 10 minutes, and 33.5 percent within 11 minutes to one hour of reporting.“
“It is absurd to think one forfeits the right to defend his life simply by entering a classroom. The right of self-defense is essential to our very dignity as human beings. Although we may sometimes partially delegate this responsibility to others, we can never delegate it completely. Even in the most secure college campus, the police response to an active shooter is measured in minutes. But when seconds matter, it is up to students and faculty to defend their own lives. And they cannot do this without a reasonable and effective means of self-defense.“
“Many opponents of campus carry argue college-aged students are prone to excessive alcohol consumption and other reckless behavior that would make carrying more dangerous. While this may be true when considering college students in general, this does not take into account the fact that concealed carry permit holders tend to be more law-abiding than non-permit holders across all age groups. The common stereotype of college students as reckless party animals does not apply to the subset of students who are licensed to carry weapons.“
“Another objection is that civilians don’t have enough training to defend themselves and others while under pressure. This objection is simply false. First, one does not need to be an expert with firearms to use them successfully. As I’ve pointed out, studies consistently show that individuals do just fine when defending themselves with firearms, despite their relative lack of training compared to police officers. Even for the untrained, guns are still their best bet. Just as some defense is better than no defense, having a weapon is better than having no weapon at all.”
“The final objection I wish to consider is that guns don’t belong in classrooms because they have a “chilling effect” on the free exchange of ideas. As a professor who lectures on controversial topics all the time, I regard this as pure nonsense. Self-protection is the guardian of free expression, not its enemy. A world in which we are the most free to express our ideas is one in which we are entitled to protect ourselves from persecution for holding the ideas we have. This isn’t to say we all must carry guns on us at all times, but that self-protection complements free speech.“
While his arguments are logical, he left out the most important reason NOT to carry a gun around with you. Read this little meditation by Wyatt Edward Gates: “However, it is possible to escape fear and anxiety by understanding the fundamental impossibility of security. Fear evaporates when we realize there is no safety possible, and that striving for it only makes us suffer more. There is no safety or security. We are fundamentally impermanent. We will end. There is nothing to defend.” The best reason NOT TO carry a gun around: Striving for safety (from unpredictable events) can heighten your anxiety by reminding you of what you are anxious about. The best reason TO carry a gun: Believing you are safer can lessen anxiety, even if you really aren’t safer.
Am I “speaking out of both sides of my mouth?” Yes I am, because both principles–opposites of each other–are true. Given that the “probability” of being killed by a “mass shooter” is significantly less than the probability of dying in or from a vehicle, but no one is suggesting making access to vehicles more difficult, what are the real issues? Personal anxiety is the most obvious, and the subjective nature of anxiety makes both carrying a gun and not carrying a gun equally irrelevant for policy decisions. Policy decisions must be based on more enduring principles, if we want our freedom-loving culture to survive, and even thrive.
It is a universal normative truth that individuals are responsible for their own actions. Only a culture that rejects this truth—as the current academically-fueled culture does—could claim that access to weapons is the cause of people choosing to use weapons to kill other people. More than that, such a culture encourages people to think along its lines and to act willfully and violently but without responsibility; after all, responsibility is a cultural belief that is only “true” to the extent that one agrees with the culture. Do you believe in personal responsibility? If you’re a “policy maker” and you tout “solutions” which restrict access to the inanimate object that can be misused, rather than allowing responsible individuals–most of us–to discharge their duty of self-defense, you don’t believe in personal responsibility. Which countries produce politicians and policies who scream the loudest for GUN CONTROL? Those countries which operate the most pervasive welfare states, abdicating personal responsibility for an illusion of security. They’ve already lost the battle for freedom.