Friday, October 23, 2015

Another Shooting Today

I clicked over to the BBC for a quick look at the world, and I saw a report of a shooting near Tennessee State University at Nashville:
One person has been shot dead and three others wounded in a shooting incident at Tennessee State University in Nashville, US police say.
Police in Nashville tweeted that the violence arose after an apparent row over a dice game on Thursday night.
A 19-year-old man was killed in the argument, and three female students who were passing by were wounded.
The latest incident comes a week after three people were wounded by gunfire at an off-campus party near the college.
The suspect fled the scene on foot.
A university spokeswoman said the two men involved in the argument were not students and were believed to have been gambling.
The report is short, and says that the two men involved in the argument weren't students, but three female students passing by were wounded.  And, it says, three people were wounded a week earlier at an off-campus party near the college.

Our state legislature is, among other things, proposing that concealed carry be allowed on campuses of the state system here.  I know that folks off campus conceal carry at times, and I know that this incident happened off campus.  But it still worries me, allowing people to carry guns into campus buildings.

A couple of years ago, a really good student of mine, one of those gentle men who's kind and who study well, who's sort of geeky in the best way, was walking through the dorm entry area (you know the sort of area, where there's a TV, sitting places, and so on), when another male student, quite drunk and a good deal bigger and tougher than my student, started beating up my student.  Other students pulled him off, but he still got in a few punches.  The bruises lasted visibly for a few weeks.

If the drunk student had had access to a gun, my kind, smart, geeky student might have been killed, or more seriously injured.

Despite all the "specials" every deer season offering cheap beer and ammo at local gas stations, guns and alcohol are a bad combination.  Add young men with less self-control than we'd like, and it's a worse combination.

Even so, I worry more about students using guns to commit suicide.  If they don't have easy access, then committing suicide is just a little more difficult, and maybe a little less successful.  Access to a gun makes it so damnably easy.


  1. I second this post 210%.

    Duncan Black, I think it is, who runs Atrios, tells a story of when he was in school, of a fellow classmate who came home drunk to his -- dorm? Frat house? can't remember the exact detail -- and found someone had eaten the sandwich he had left in the shared fridge.

    Angered, he picked up the gun he kept stored on top of the fridge and fired it at the dartboard on the wall. The bullet went through the wall and struck one of his friends in the belly.

    Filled with remorse, the student put the gun to his own head and killed himself. (His friend survived, btw.)

    Guns mixed with young men, even leaving out alcohol, are a terrible idea.

  2. I'm pretty much an agnostic about this particular issue, but this does strike me as the fundamental problem with the "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" rhetoric -- it presupposes that people are inherently good or bad, forgetting that people who are basically good make impulsive, disastrous choices all the damn time, and those choices are very often the product of opportunity and circumstance.

  3. Amen.

    And by the way, the same (extended) weekend brought another "thank goodness they didn't have guns" incident on a college campus: . It sounds like they managed to do some quite-serious damage (for reasons/motive yet mysterious) even without a firearm, but there are still some major advantages to fists over guns when drinking and testosterone are in play, not least that beating someone to death takes longer than shooting them to death, and that allows more time for somebody to intervene (though I'm not sure how this episode was brought to a close).