This weekend’s 10th anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech is already providing grist for the mainstream media and gun prohibition lobby, with very little attention paid to efforts aimed at giving students and faculty a “fighting chance” in the event of another such outrage.
Anti-gun-rights lobbying organizations continue to defend so-called “gun-free” campuses and oppose efforts to change self-defense advocates call “victim disarmament policies.”
Within days of the rampage by Seung-Hui Cho that left 32 people dead and 17 others wounded, an ambitious movement originally called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus was founded. The idea startled anti-gunners whose only response to the mayhem in West Ambler Johnston and Norris Halls was to demand more gun control.
In the decade since the April 16, 2007 attack, the student group has evolved to become Students for Concealed Carry. They created the “Empty Holster” protest movement to underscore the erroneous notion that disarming the wrong people makes them safer.
That much was evident last Nov. 28 when a Somali refugee named Abdul Razak Ali Artan rammed a car into a group of students at Ohio State University and savagely attacked his victims with a knife. By sheer coincidence, an armed campus police officer was nearby due to reported chemical leak in one of the buildings and he fatally shot the would-be terrorist.
Much has been written about the pros and cons of concealed carry on campus; lots of emotion, plenty of conjecture.
According to the SCC website, the organization has some 43,000 members, and they are scattered across the 50 states. They fought a campus ban in Colorado and have pushed for concealed carry on campus laws in other states.
By no small coincidence, there is currently a case pending in Seattle regarding a shooting at the University of Washington in January during a raucous protest against an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos. A felony assault charge has been filed against the shooter, a woman whose attorney is arguing she fired in defense of her husband.
The UW is among the majority of campuses that prohibit firearms, though that didn’t prevent the 2007 slaying of Rebecca Greigo by a stalker ex-boyfriend against whom she had a protection order, but it had not been served. Jonathan Rowan was an alien who had overstayed his visa by about ten years, was being sought by immigration authorities and he was armed with a stolen handgun, so there had been no background check.
Whether with a firearm, knife or speeding car or any combination, violent attacks on or off campus don’t happen on a pre-arranged schedule. Neither do killers call ahead to let you know they’re coming.
But for those who are present if and when an attack occurs, proponents of campus carry contend that the intended victims should at least have a chance to fight back.
If that becomes part of the discussion this weekend, and beyond, then self-defense advocates have made some progress.