Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A lesson in packing, like it or not

   In Texas, if you want to go to school, you have to have a gun. 
   Sure as shooting, that’s what it looks like, with a new law recently enacted in the Lone Star State. In fact, you may need to have a gun with you are at school. 
   When the so-called campus-carry law passed by the Republican-dominated state Legislature takes effect in August, public colleges will no longer be able to ban the concealed carrying of handguns on campus. Though the schools can impose some restrictions, they must generally honor a state-issued concealed handgun license on campus. 
   This means that, whether they like it or not, state universities and colleges have to buy into Texas’ wild, wild west packing culture.  Except in certain spaces, like a chemistry lab, there is no escape from firearms that can be used. 
   Lots of students and professors don’t like it, especially at the state university in Austin.  In a photograph accompanying a Los Angeles Times article, protesting students in the liberal community appear to be pleading, begging to be safe, to feel safe, in their classrooms, free of guns. That doesn’t matter. 
   It also doesn’t matter that professors don’t feel safe with the new arrangement and that some are leaving or turning down positions at Texas public colleges.  Never mind the concern that, as one professor noted, “a disgruntled student with a gun would ‘lose it,’ pull out the gun and shoot the instructor” or, as another mentioned, “Students get very angry if they feel they’re getting a grade they don’t deserve.  I have students who come in absolutely red-faced… ‘Why did I get this grade?’”
   There is concern that grading will be effected, most likely inflated.  Faculty have been warned to “Be careful discussing sensitive topics” and “Drop certain topics from your curriculum; not ‘go there’ if you sense anger; limit student access off hours…only meet ‘that student’ in controlled circumstances.”
   Never mind what this means about teaching and education.  Never mind about challenging ideas and opening minds.  Proponents say the new law will make colleges safer, with people able to take down a shooter.  (They also probably like it that ideas won’t be challenged and minds won’t be opened.)
   Never mind that education will be watered down to meaningless drivel.  What’s even sadder is that, in Texas, you’ll need to take a gun to school – to be safe.        

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