Effective advocates are entrepreneurial, constantly trying to tie their preferred remedies to any potential problem that comes up in the news. This is the only way we can make sense of Students for Concealed Carry‘s effort to present their prime concern (allowing college students to pack weapons along with their book bags each morning) as a solution to the problem of sexual assault on campuses.
Let me confess that as someone who works on a college campus, I think the demand is ridiculous, dangerous, and completely counterproductive to the goal of making college life safer.
I’m not alone in these beliefs. A story in today’s New York Times lays out arguments for and against concealed carry on campuses, noting that they are now being rehearsed in some state legislatures. If young men knew that the young women in their sites might be carrying lethal force, they would be more careful, gun supporters claim.
Even if they could be armed themselves? And, what of the alcohol-fueled, uh, celebrations that are often the initial staging areas for sexual assault? It’s hard not to think of what else guns might bring to the party.
All that said, I learned of Students for Concealed Carry from this odd repurposing–against sexual assault–and the resulting Times story. The new rationale also led to the group welcoming the first woman onto its Board of Directors (the website wasn’t updated to include her as of this morning). I’ll bet the story generated more attention to SCC and its fundraising appeals than anything else since the group’s inception. Provoking opposition and even ridicule isn’t always bad politics.
Watch to see the turnout at SCC’s “signature” event, the empty holster protest, scheduled for the first week in April. (Is this really an April Fool’s prank????)
Note: Like many professors, I have given lectures (and, more likely, grades) that disappointed students, relying on the premise that they are largely unarmed. Then again, surely if my A students (the mythic “good guys with a gun” ) were also packing, I’d be protected….