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I Resigned as Professor at University of Kansas to Protest State's Gun Laws


#1

I Resigned as Professor at University of Kansas to Protest State's Gun Laws

Jacob Dorman

Ethan Schmidt, may he rest in peace, received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas history department in 2007, the same year I started as a professor there and a decade before I resigned in protest of the state’s determination to allow concealed carry on campus. In the span of time that I published one book, Schmidt published two, all while teaching a heavy course load at Texas Tech and then at Delta State University in Mississippi, states that allow concealed carry everywhere, including on college campuses.


#2

While I respect your right to your opinion and your willingness to take personal action consistent with your opinions, I have to say I think you're way off base. Leaving a job over it seems like a dumb thing to do based on an emotional reaction.

I think you vastly overstate the danger of properly licensed concealed carriers as well as discount the deterrent value with statistics that are missing some important context.

I agree that "mass shootings" are exceedingly rare (and badly defined, usually by partisans). The vast majority of homicides are individual crimes both on campus and in the rest of society. So, your thesis is, the odds of a carrying civilian stopping an individual murder are very low, and the danger posed by additional weapons on campus outweighs any benefit.

First off, "Everytown for gun Safety" is not just a "non-profit", they are a clearly partisan anti-gun group with deep ties to Michael Bloomberg and an with an agenda. Their "statistics" are well known and easily proven to be junk data based on bad definitions with the intent of spinning the conversation. They regularly conflate murder and suicide numbers to make murder look 3x more rampant. They include justified homicides and police use of force in "gun murders". They include adults involved in shootings outside school hours as a "school shooting". So...if that's your source, either you're partisan, or you don't check your sources which isn't great for a college professor who should have better critical thinking.

Regarding FBI statistics about how many shootings were stopped by armed civilians and unarmed, your point seems to be that the value is negligible vs. the perceived danger. Well, Most defensive uses of a gun do not involve the gun being fired and the CDC (right wing ideologues they are) estimate between 500K and 3 million defensive uses of guns annually. Point being, most of those are never reported and though you may not value them, the very large numbers of people who avoided potential violence sure do. Also, aren't those few lives saved worth it?

Regarding your cite that "Amateurs carrying firearms on campus have caused more casualties than they have prevented"....did you have a source for that? I did some searching and couldn't find anything. Was that also from Every Town for Gun Safety, or the Violence policy research group, or LCAV? So, barring a cite from a non-biased source, I'm not convinced.

What I do know is that concealed carriers are in aggregate, less likely to commit a crime than a police officer, and generally more accurate than cops involved in shootings. Stats on cops "hit rate" are hard to find because police don't tend to keep statistics that can come back to haunt them, but in the one NYC study I found, cops fire an average of 11 rounds and hit their target between 10% and 25% of the time. Cops are not magically anointed marksmen and their training isn't actually that rigorous. Your average gun enthusiast who goes to the range once a month shoots a LOT more than your average cop.

All the "blood in the streets" hyperbole gets old. It's emotionally driven dreck. Look at states for which CCW rates have skyrocketed...and guess what, violence and murder don't go up as predicted. Why? because gun owners are normal people, not wanna-be clint eastwoods or bubbling anger ready to explode.

What expanded carry does is allow the small percentage of people, maybe 5%, that are interested, willing, and able to pass all the background checks to carry concealed in case of violence. If only 1 in 20 carries, then it's correct they are more likely not to be there. So what? It's still more likely than a cop being within seconds away and the awareness that there may be resistance changes the psychology of attackers.

You feel less safe? OK. You're entitled. But your feelings don't make you right. If I feel more safe when CCW is expanded, why am I axiomatically the "right wing nut job" and you're fears are correct? Where is your actual data (besides flacks like Everytown).

Your comments about "Republicans" is also telling of your bias. Clearly you don't like or value guns. That's fine. But don't confuse that with the moral high ground. I'm a California Democrat. I also value self reliance and understand that NO ONE can take responsibility for my personal safety. Not the police, the government, or a school. Like they say, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

Its not about the gun...its about the Right.


#3

Joined one hour before posting.
I still kinda feel safe.


#4

From a discussion I had elsewhere I remember being astounded that in the US, there is an average of around one mass shooting per day. So I looked up the numbers again.

Using the FBI's definition of Mass Shooting - "FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter."
2013: 253
2014: 268
2015: 284 (PBS says it's 375, probably methodology matching the switch below)
2016: 384 <--methodology change in 2016
2017: 123, so far this year, to May 10th.

In what freakin' world is that 'exceedingly rare'?

All I keep hearing as explanation are variations on a theme from a sobering The Onion headline: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.


#5

I look at concealed carry as a women's rights issue. A weapon is a great equalizer. Your comment on "most defensive uses of a gun do not involve the gun being fired" rings true as I personally know of several cases where exactly that happened, and of course there was no report made.

In Alaska, the concealed carry law was copied from Vermont and introduced into the legislature by a liberal Democrat. It is clear that the right wing does not have a monopoly on demanding a right to self defense. Let's not forget that the Black Panthers thought the right to self defense was a fundamental right.

Look particularly at item #2 in the above link.


#6

Yeah, and how's that working for you?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_in_the_United_States_by_state <-- sort it by homicide rate.

What about the homicide rates in countries with strict gun laws compared to the USA?


#7

I used to teach. I remember when concealed carry was enabled in my state. My school posted a "no handguns sign" on doors (sure, a sign keeps out mass shooters/murderers).

I can tell you this. It did affect my teaching detrimentally.

Your statements about emotions neglects the fact that emotions are no more, or less valid than ideas--they both only exist in your head, not in reality.

Suggestion to understand this feeling: Get a teaching job. You stand in front of class, and get ready to return a failing grade paper to the guy in back, the guy always in a black trench-coat (post Columbine), who has stated since day 1, "I shouldn't be in this stupid class. I already know how to right." And this is in Denver, within several miles of the Columbine High-school Mass Shooting. (The Aurora 16 Massacre was only 18 miles away from Columbine. Coincidence?)

Now if that would not alter your classroom/student interaction--then you might consider teaching as a long term option, if needed.

But I'm totally with you about defending yourself, but a 12 gauge (or semi-auto rifle--whatever) against a drone is not much of a defense. (or for that matter, defense against your local militarized police via the Drug War police.)

The Posse Comitatus Act was done away with in the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill. We are all open targets.


#8

The comments here represent just one more way the US-left is becoming indistinguishable from the fascist right.


#10

Homicide rates in countries with strict gun laws compared to the USA?

LIke Russia and Mexico?

...or is that different?


#11

So what you're saying is that the reason that the homicide rate in the USA is so high is because of something fundamental about American society, about American ethos?

I'm inclined to agree.


#13

@so called "george orwel"

Wow.

Talk about up is down black is white:

Gun nut projects emotional reactions of his own, FUD like denialism and laughable claims of 'bias' onto professor's rational analysis and decision to back it up with his own personal action.

Therein- alonside cowardice, lies the problem with Americans and their dysfunctional and deadly obsession with guns.


#15

From the Wikipedia page you cite:

State/Population/# of Murders/Rate
Alaska/737,709/59/8.0
Arizona/6,817,565/309/4.5
Vermont/626,088/10/1.6

Three states with identical concealed carry laws. So your point is?