March 03, 2008
The Utah Exception
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
Last summer I made the mistake of returning to my alma mater, from which I (barely) graduated in 1963 when it was all male and one-half its present enrollment. When I was a student I always had a couple of guns in my room, and one of our fraternities was rumored (probably correctly) to have 70. No one cared. We had no security force, and there was not a locked door anywhere on campus. At the end of each semester, I would take textbooks that had annoyed me and give them a dose of 00 buckshot in the quarry above the campus.
Now, everything is locked, there are enough campus cops to subdue Bagdhad, and scattered around the campus are blue poles with phones in them, and signs that say: "If in trouble, call." I wonder what would happen if I tried my book-shooting antics now.
Massacres are becoming as much a part of campus life as projectile vomiting and political correctness. This is because any murderous geek who wants to go out with a flourish can be assured of two things about colleges: No one there will be armed except the campus police, and in the time it takes them to arrive, he can complete his slaughter and put the gun to his own head. And then, when the smoke clears, the media will descend, giving him his 15 minutes of fame, rolling around in the sorrow and suffering like a dog digging its shoulder into a dungheap.
Public universities in Utah permit students who have licenses to carry to bring handguns on campus. So far, there have been no shootings in Utah. This is all very un-PC, unenlightened, Red State, redneck, and all that, but I think it will make Utah's classrooms less attractive to potential psychopaths than those of the other 49 states.
We shall see.