VERSUS: Murga argues there are other, safer ways to protect oneself
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 01:02
A question has been raised recently about the safety at Oregon State University. This is due to the attempted sexual assaults that have happened in the previous weeks. It also contributed to a culture of fear that is beginning to manifest itself in much of the recent dialogue with students and faculty.
How do we keep ourselves safe? What will it take to make ourselves feel comfortable enough to walk down the street without the possibility of being attacked being forefront on our minds? But the biggest question is what can we do to solve this pressing issue?
Once again there have been suggestions for concealed carry and weapon ownership on campus. Currently, with compliance of Oregon state law, only officers on duty, members of ROTC or the Pistol and Rifle Clubs may have a weapon on campus. But others want to change this so other students as well can carry a concealed weapon on campus.
How does that make sense? We are already an incredibly safe campus. We have an efficient system of notifying police at night, i.e. the blue light system that allows the police to be at any location on campus in 90 seconds or less. That is faster than Jimmy John’s on a good night.
The ways in which we can defend ourselves are not limited to guns. Students are allowed to carry mace on their person as a way to defend themselves. But there is a potential new club on campus that aims to provide techniques of self defense to students.
The club is only in Wilson Hall right now, but is currently trying to become an official club on campus. Freshman Daniel Miller is the group’s founder and teacher of the martial arts there.
“[We are] not trying to focus on a specific style, just trying to focus on basic hand-to-hand skills for self defense in todays world,” Miller said. His club currently meets in Wilson Hall, and has meetings every Sunday at 6 p.m.
Alternative methods of protection, like mace in particular, are effective ways of to fend off attackers.
Guns on campus, however, is a non-issue, at most. The National Survey of Criminal Victimization suggested that a firearm was used for self defense only 100,000 times a year, with just the presence being used — that is, the gun was not fired — in a vast majority of cases. But many people who are pro-concealed carry still ignore this, and use anecdotal evidence to back their claims.
While in few cases owning a gun may have saved someone’s life, the vast majority of times it actually escalates a situation. This is the last thing we want to happen on campus or with one of our Oregon State peers. Unfortunately, guns escalate situations all too often.
I am tired of the false sense of security we give a gun. Not only is it a bad choice for self defense, it can easily cause collateral damage if used. For example, in August 2012, New York City police fired 16 shots into a man suspected of killing a former coworker. The shots also hit nine bystanders. Even with training, it’s easy to miss, as it was also reported that some officers were close enough to shake hands with the man.
The rationale of a concealed weapons owner saving the day from a shooter is unpredictable. Perhaps the gun owner will run or not even return fire. The idea of involving a gun is not a logical variable to introduce to in a dangerous situation.
Perhaps worst of all, the idea of someone carrying a gun into a classroom is threatening to everyone. I came to this university to learn, not to have my classmates bring a gun on campus out of fear.
There is no need whatsoever for civilians to carry guns on campus. We have a right to feel safe on this campus, and idiots walking around with a concealed gun like they’re G.I. Joe have no right to take that sense of security away from us.
Hunter Murga is a freshman in chemistry. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Murga can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.