Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dear Greg Hampikian

The original title for this post was going to be: "When May I Shoot My Unlettered Biology Professor?" (clips feed magazines; magazines feed firearms, not the other way around; shooting someone to stop a deadly assault isn't, as his article implies, actually a punishment; being dismissed for cheating, however, is) with the runner-up candidate title being, "Why The Biology Professor Should Bother Sitting In A Physics Class From Time To Time" (he thinks that firearms have some innate velocity different from, say, a pen or pencil in a bag; he fails to demonstrate an understanding of ammunition: hollow points expand upon entry, thus increasing their surface area and thus reducing their penetration profile; this in turn works mischief to the goal of hitting vital structures located deep within the body - one reason, among others, that better than 6 out of 7 shooting victims survive the ordeal). These were wordy and no doubt awkward for a feed reader; thus, the cordial title you see above.

The individual mentioned above has written an article appearing in the New York Times regarding a recent legislative move taken in one house of the bicameral Idaho legislature which will, if passed and signed into law, permit concealed carry on the campuses of Idaho's tertiary schools. To this professor of both biology and criminal justice, it would seem that if there exists a law which makes the doing of a thing permissible, it thereby follows from the existence of such a law that the law is an advertisement for the doing of that thing. Now, I know many of you are thinking that sounds absurd, for I thought it so at first blush too. Upon a moment's reflection, however, I must now confess my approval of his schema.

As a professor of criminal justice, I am sure the good doctor is aware of and concerned about youths and alcohol consumption, for as he sarcastically repines, "The problem, of course, is not that drunken frat boys will be armed; it is that they are drunken frat boys." This is a problem that is, one can readily see, easily traced to the encouragement of legislatures throughout the nation. Indeed, this is a rampant problem in the United States: 45 states in the Union unashamedly have been for years positively encouraging underage men and women, boys and girls to get drunk. What is worse, one should think, is that these states have been pressuring these children's parents to foist upon their children these evil libations. The curious reader will by now have in his mind a lingering question about what it is that I mean.

In all but 5 states, there are explicit laws which permit underage children (and adults, but that's another topic for another time) to drink at home (and depending on the state, in other approved locations) with parental consent. A note from dear old mom is all it takes to tie one on. Clearly, these legislatures have been paying mere lip service to the notion of wanting to abate the problem of youthful, alcohol-induced exuberance by on the one hand writing laws imposing stiff criminal penalties for those who procure for, collude to procure for, or sell to children alcoholic beverages while, on the other hand, encouraging parents to encourage their very own charges to eat, drink and be merry. Once again elected representatives have the professor's feet in both sides of their mouths by way of coveting the votes of both the prohibitionists and their rival bootlegging parents, two groups who it might seem difficult for one elected body to simultaneously woo, and on the same subject! Quelle surprise.

I am uncertain for what purpose the professor adverts to the university's "Shared-Values Statement"; does the professor operate under the delusion that students' legal rights can be abrogated by such a document? To the extent that I'm aware of how the law operates, my rights are neither enhanced nor diminished by the existence of such a nice-sounding but empty assertion that the school attempts to provide a safe feeling environment. I wonder how effective a bulwark against being raped invocation of that policy statement was in this case. Perhaps, but for the apotropaic incantation of that policy, this woman's rape ordeal would have been immeasurably worse. There's a curious artifact of that event which shouldn't go unmentioned: the men dispatched to have a come-to-Jesus talk with her rapist were all armed. No doubt that was a fluke.

Now, of course, one should note that more than half of the states permit concealed carry on college campuses. Idaho is among the 29 states that do authorize it, but each college has heretofore been able to set its own policy. That's true in a lot of states too. A quick reading of campus shootings shows that the shootings which have occurred on college campuses have only happened in either (a) states that ban carrying on campus or (b) in states in which conceal carry is authorized subject to the decision of the school administrators, who have in turn elected to prohibit concealed carry on campus.

1 comment:

harryrag said...

Greg Hampikian has represented the following convicted sex offenders:

1. Amanda Knox - convicted of the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.

2. Bradley Roberts - convicted of kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl.

3. Dennis Dechaine - convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a 12-year-old girl.