LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Banning guns threatens campus safety

Saturday, September 22, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Do you feel safe on campus?

Now I understand that we have Fulton cops and campus security stationed on our campus, and they do a great job, but they cannot be everywhere all the time.

Many of you do not know about the crimes, which are sometimes violent and occur on this campus. Most rapes are not recorded because the victims do not want anybody to know what happened to them.

To me, this is an indicator that we are not safe from exterior threats. There is no magical gate that separates college campuses from public land. That begs the question: How can students, faculty and staff protect themselves from those who want to do us harm?

As it stands today, the state of Missouri allows citizens who have a permit to conceal and carry a firearm. Anyone who is 21 and meets the requirements can carry in most areas, barring post offices, government buildings, public K-12 schools, etc. But Central Methodist University and other schools have regulations that state you cannot possess a firearm on their campus, marking it a “Gun-Free Zone."

When I hear the term “Gun-Free Zone,” I chuckle because there really is no such thing. To clarify, a “Gun-Free Zone” is intended to bar all firearms from a specific location (with exceptions for the police). Basically, it is a sign that says, “Nobody here has a gun. We are all completely defenseless. Come attack us.” It is an invitation, and I firmly believe that “Gun-Free Zones” do not work.

Let us take a look back at shootings that have occurred in the past at Virginia Tech, Columbine, malls, etc. It obviously didn’t work then, so who is to say that it is ever going to? I believe that allowing permit holders to be able to carry their firearms on campus will decrease campus crime. It has been proven that more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens has a direct correlation to a decrease in crime (such as Utah State allowing campus carry, which resulted in the decrease of campus crime).

I am not advocating that every student be handed an M-4 when they register for classes. All I am asking for is that permit holders who already carry on a daily basis be allowed to continue carrying while attending classes. This is not going disrupt classes or even be noticeable, as it is concealed carry — meaning that nobody else knows that you are carrying. The permit holder will have their gun in a holster, hidden safely away from the public eye.

What you may not know is that in Missouri, 2 to 10 percent of the population carries, which means that when you do your shopping at Stop & Shop or gas up your car at Shell, there are people carrying their own personal firearms around you. You don’t know it, nor does it affect you in any way.

Omer Aswad is a student at Westminster College in Fulton. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Mark Foecking September 22, 2012 | 6:21 a.m.

"What you may not know is that in Missouri, 2 to 10 percent of the population carries"

Do they carry on a regular basis or do they just have permits? I have no objection to anyone carrying - CCW has a good record for responsible carry - but I think the reason it isn't particularly effective is most permit holders don't carry, because they need to visit or work in places that don't allow firearms.

I wonder, even if colleges allowed people to carry, whether enough people would to make a difference.


(Report Comment)
frank christian September 22, 2012 | 10:52 a.m.

"I wonder, even if colleges allowed people to carry, whether enough people would to make a difference."

In most of the cases that we know about, it would have only taken 1. Not?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 22, 2012 | 9:35 p.m.

I think CCW works mostly because the barrier to entry is relatively high, and only reasonably responsible people are getting the permits. If the barrier were low enough, there would almost certainly be problems.

And I marvel, once again, at the wall-brained hypocrisy of the Conservative crowd. Here they are, arguing point blank that prohibition is completely useless, and possibly counterproductive. Yet, for things like drug use or abortion, prohibition is championed as an effective, necessary deterrent. Go figure.

A *LOT* of people die from gunshot wounds in the US every year. (Zero deaths from cannabis overdose every year.) While the abundance of guns may not be the core problem here, don't give me the poppycock that even more guns is going to be even better. It won't. However, I'm not saying it will be substantially worse, either.

I work on campus, and I fully support the campus ban on firearms. I'm aware it does not entirely keep guns off campus, but it does provide a disincentive to show a piece on campus. Mizzou is a wonderful campus filled with really bright people. There's no good reason to be paranoid and feel the need to carry on campus. I'm happy to hold my end of the social contract that we've all got much better things to do at Mizzou than skulk around with guns in our coats, and am willing to trust that an overwhelming majority there agree.

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 22, 2012 | 10:37 p.m.

"we've all got much better things to do at Mizzou than skulk around with guns in our coats, and am willing to trust that an overwhelming majority there agree."

Is it not the minority that has done the killing, that you, simplistically ignore in your silly reference to the majority as having,"better things to do at Mizzou"? You and Obama!?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 23, 2012 | 12:46 a.m.

You can point out it's a minority, but can't wrap your head around just how infinitesimally small a minority it is. Statistically, worry about injury at an event on campus is very, VERY poorly placed attention.

I choose to attend campus in peace, with reasonable faith that everyone else there will do the same, and understanding consequences if I'm wrong. I will not be terrorized by a few nutjobs.

You, apparently, will?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 23, 2012 | 4:57 a.m.

Derrick is right, in that you're far more likely to be killed driving to campus that to be killed by someone acting out Virginia Tech. Terrorism, of all sorts, is so rare in this country that it's almost not worth worrying about.


(Report Comment)
frank christian September 23, 2012 | 11:03 a.m.

My post reviewed your comment, "things to do at Mizzou than skulk around with guns in our coats,", not whether you were brave enough to continue employment on our MU campus.

One poster rejects the danger because such a "minority" is apt to perpetrate it. The other refers to the rarity of "terrorism" in this country. This in a city (ours) in which bullet holes are shown in homes, private autos, almost nightly; in innocent bystanders, not as often. We, years ago had our first "drive-by" shooting ("killed driving")

The two posters have done what they do best, reduce a human problem to a few numbers, then give us those as the answer. What they will never do is consider "human nature" in their formulae.

"Gun free" zones, which may never be obtained without a lock and key entice the evil to do their act with little chance of harm to self. Advertisement of the right to carry makes the same cowardly criminal wonder if the act might not be worth the risk, to self. Do I need "numbers" to prove this truth? Let those at peace with status quo remain so. Let those believing a defense is necessary employ one, even if they "skulk" around our campus.

Did you hear of the drive by shooters that opened fire (not here) on a wedding party emerging from the church, while those in the wedding, immediately returned fire? "Terrorism, of all sorts, is so rare in this country that it's almost not worth worrying about."

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 24, 2012 | 4:13 p.m.

In other words, yes, Frank has been successfully terrorized.

I'm glad he is not part of our campus.

(PS: Why is this article still unlocked?)

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 24, 2012 | 8:44 p.m.

My bet is you wouldn't want me on your campus, terrorized or not.

"I fully support the campus ban on firearms. I'm aware it does not entirely keep guns off campus, but it does provide a disincentive to show a piece on campus."

One that would make this kind of statement, may not be terrorized, but, clearly, is trying to row his boat with only one oar in the water!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams September 24, 2012 | 10:20 p.m.

Speaking of JKarl, where is he?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 24, 2012 | 10:25 p.m.

Colonel Klink is out getting his Monocle prescription updated.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 24, 2012 | 11:12 p.m.

I say I'm glad he's not part of our campus, to which he retorts that he bets I wouldn't want him on campus. Boy, I'm glad we got that cleared up.

I go on campus regularly to show students that love and happiness are real and attainable. I demonstrate the rewards for hard work and dedication. I encourage students to develop a passion for something positive in their lives. The feedback I get from students proves that my ministry is successful.

If I'm only rowing with one oar, at least I'm doing so in sweet, clear, beautiful water. I have absolute faith it's better than the paranoid, shark-infested cesspool you're mired in.

I take back my original statement, Frank. I would like you to come on campus sometime. It's very accessible; it's the largest botanical garden in Missouri, and being around the students is always interesting, and usually very uplifting. I usually perform my ministry late Thursday mornings on Speakers Circle (in good weather).

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 25, 2012 | 7:16 a.m.

"I would like you to come on campus sometime."

That might be interesting. To see how you preach love, happiness, "rewards for hard work and dedication.", without mentioning wealth, or your utter disdain and hatred for those who have earned it, the idle "rich".

To state, "I fully support the campus ban on firearms. I'm aware it does not entirely keep guns off campus" without acknowledgement that "not entirely" means that those intent on doing harm are the ones free to do it at will, among the sheep at their disposal, shows a decided list in the "vessel of your mind". (Should I be the one preaching?)

The statement, also indicates that though the students, preparing themselves for the best and worst their one life can afford them, and I know where we are, the "shark-infested cesspool you're mired in", (the real world) it is you, paranoid and alone, that resides upon that little cloud, far above it all.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 25, 2012 | 8:20 a.m.

It would be an eye-opener for you, for sure.

The invitation is there. And, until you use it, you have absolutely no standing, or "skin in the game" for how the campus is run.

I continue to walk without fear.

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 25, 2012 | 9:09 a.m.

"I continue to walk without fear."

So, I suppose, did all those shot, killed, or wounded in their "Gun Free" confines across our country. Their numbers are small, do not compute well for those spending time arranging numbers to show the conditions with only the Masses, not knowing how to address their thought to needs of an individual human being.

When, if, you are able shed this incredible, liberal fault, you may, possibly, say something worth listening to. 'Til then, forget it!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams September 25, 2012 | 9:54 a.m.

"Colonel Klink is out getting his Monocle prescription

You might be right. I hear he was on campus and saw some rapidly-wrinkling 50+ y/o old narcissistic middle-age-crisis-plagued student-wannabe dressed in only shorts and shoes trying to impress coeds young enough to be his daughter at Speakers Circle while taking videos of himself to exhibit on Utube. The colonel's monocle may have fractured along with his rather stoic features that cracked into a deep belly laugh.

Or, he may just be taking time off.

I don't know which..........

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 25, 2012 | 10:09 a.m.

frank christian wrote:

"So, I suppose, did all those shot, killed, or wounded in their "Gun Free" confines across our country. Their numbers are small,"

Yes, they are.

I have no objection to people carrying on campus, or pretty much anywhere. But unless you get it to where there are a couple of people per classroom that are packing, it's not going to change the situation materially. A wacko gunman can still open up and kill a lot of people before a CCW holder (or police) takes care of him. Many of these guys shoot themselves anyway - do you think the prospect of being killed deters them?

I think this is more about the ideology of carrying rather than building a credible deterrent. Not enough people carry (or even want to carry) to matter much in deterring crime. It's really not going to make campus any more or less safe if we let a few people, other than police, carry.


(Report Comment)
frank christian September 25, 2012 | 10:49 a.m.

Mark, you give us numbers again. "unless you get it to where there are a couple of people per classroom that are packing,". You refer to 2 or more as the necessary number of armed people to make conditions safe for the large majority, both numbers, of which you will use in your next chart.

I am aware that most of these killers seem so deranged that they are ready to end their own lives. Is that not reason enough to damn a No Gun zone as useless? I would bet that practically no CCW participant does it because of any thought of how many other souls they might save. They want to exercise their Constitutional right to defend themselves against a perceived harm. We know many instances of honestly armed citizens, saving their own lives as well as others, are never reported to the public. I no longer contribute, but the monthly NRA magazines were literally full of those reports. Why must folks, imo, liberals, continually foist meaningless "feel good" rules and regulations upon honest people which only make their quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, more difficult?

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer September 25, 2012 | 11:23 a.m.

I'm hopping on to say thanks to Frank Christian for stopping by the newsroom this morning so we could take your picture. I'll look forward to publishing your From Readers contribution. Thanks for responding to our invitation.

(We're publishing a series of responses from readers about what motivates them to be politically aware and involved, and Frank's will publish soon. Here's the first one:

I'd also like to invite any of you to come by the newsroom. We're on the third floor of Lee Hills Hall, at the corner of Eighth and Elm. We have our morning news meetings at 11 on weekdays, where we critique our coverage and brainstorm future coverage. You're all welcome anytime.

Joy Mayer
Director of community outreach
Columbia Missourian

(Report Comment)
Elizabeth Conner Stephens September 25, 2012 | 11:36 a.m.

Just to follow up on a couple of questions on this thread:

J. Karl Miller is on vacation, and his column will be back next Wednesday (Oct. 3).

This article is available because it is a letter to the editor, which we consider a submission from readers. Other categories that are always open are From Readers and Obituaries.


Elizabeth Conner
Opinion editor

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 25, 2012 | 4:36 p.m.

Obviously, you focus on, and are controlled by, the freak. It's grossly irrational.

You are always welcome on campus, by me as much or more than anyone. I was going to recommend a visit to Ellis Library; maybe drop in on a business class lecture in Bush Auditorium; listen to the bells in the Student Union Tower chime the hours.

Mizzou really is a wonderful place. It's filled with youth and energy and ideas and information and movement and sound and trees and flowers and lots of really, really incredible people. I find it very uplifting and inspiring to be part of this institution every day.

Please consider a visit to campus some nice afternoon this fall or next spring. You can avoid me by avoiding Speaker's Circle on Thursdays, and enjoy everything else the campus has to offer.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 25, 2012 | 5:02 p.m.

Well... I didn't see Joy's posts earlier. Turns out Frank has already taken me up on the offer!

(Report Comment)
frank christian September 25, 2012 | 7:18 p.m.

D. Fogle - To imagine that you would suggest a "visit" to the MIZZOU campus as a revelation for me, supplements "irrational", in your post, with ridiculous!.

Just for kicks, along with everything else that you so graciously invited me to experience. I can add that I heard the chimes of Memorial Tower when WW2 (not considered a social program, which you and yours believe, is a war)had stopped construction on anything resembling a Student Union around the tower.

I have to add memory of a Tribune article of some years ago, about an entrepreneurial Columbia citizen who started his business selling U of MO text books out of a wheelbarrow, on the sidewalk, in front of Memorial Tower. This gentleman pursued his idea until he and his family named it MO Book Store. I know there was a sale by family, but last I can account for, is the report that they operated 14 outlets around the nation, including UCLA.

The difference between a man with a cart and a multimillion dollar corporation could be explained and admired by most being lucky enough to be legally referred to as American. Not you! Why not?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 26, 2012 | 9:03 a.m.

I walk without fear. You walk without humor. That's why.

(Report Comment)

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