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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Zundel: Protecting oneself is a human right

By Aaron Zundel

Another school shooting, another bout of confusion and outrage and another national media outlet descends on our campus to point its cameras and gawk at our students and our campus gun policy. After CNN leaves, there’s always another round of arguing over guns and another round of harsh feelings on both sides of the political aisle. This is becoming a pretty standard (and tiresome) routine.

Among the angry, increasingly divisive rhetoric being tossed about on the gun issue, many students paint outlandish “what-if” scenarios to support their respective positions. “What if a psychotic student brings a bazooka into the Union building?” “What if there’s some cosmic misunderstanding and two permit holders blow each other away and kill 60 other students in the crossfire?” None of these are really constructive.

The reason for the rhetoric is obvious: Most people on this campus, including many in the administration, aren’t interested in being constructive. People love to debate the gun issue because, more than anything else, it’s such a great ideological battleground — the enlightened, peace-loving beatniks vs. the macho, patriotic Rambos. As a student body and a school, we really have to get beyond this if we’re to keep from tearing ourselves apart. In order to do this, we’re going to have to take a look at the way things are, as opposed to the way we want them to be.

Nobody worth including in this discussion wants a shooting to happen on the U’s campus. Still, everyone included in this discussion has to open his or her eyes and admit that the eventual occurrence of a shooting is a very real possibility, even if it’s not likely to involve a bazooka or a misunderstanding.

Further, words have a lot of power, but not enough to reliably prevent violence, and feel-good signs reading “Gun-free School Zone” are as ineffective and childish as a suit of armor made out of cardboard.

Personally, I agree with the peaceniks. Guns don’t belong on campus and neither does violence. But just because something doesn’t belong here doesn’t mean we can forcefully keep it out. If anti-gun supporters and the administration are willing to institute drastic, sweeping new security measures to ensure that no student can set foot on campus without anything more dangerous than a ballpoint pen, then enacting rules about who can and cannot carry guns seems a reasonable course of action.

Until we have metal detectors and security guards posted at every entrance to every building on campus, the anti-gun (and current administration) position of “we’d rather risk everyone’s lives than our own ideology by ‘banning’ guns on campus” is a hollow, selfish and moronic stance perpetuated by those who have never been required to check their ideas against the reality of the outside world.

“I’m willing to run the risk of being shot in a school massacre,” the anti-gun students say. “So long as we take reasonable measures to keep guns off campus.” That’s fine. People get to make their own choices. What’s not fine is to demand that everyone else make that same choice. That’s called fascism.

When sufficient protection isn’t provided by others, people ought to be able to protect themselves if they choose. It’s a human right. What’s not a human right is to demand that other people jeopardize their own safety so that we might all have a false sense of security.

That’s just the way things are.

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