A shooter practices her aim. Concealed carry is prohibited on OSU’s campus, a policy some say leaves students more likely to be victimized by campus crime.

A shooter practices her aim. Concealed carry is prohibited on OSU’s campus, a policy some say leaves students more likely to be victimized by campus crime. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Letter to the editor:

As you all (should) know, an armed robbery occurred last Thursday morning at the Huntington Bank on South Campus. A separate armed robbery was committed there Sept. 14. In addition, we’ve all recently received emails of other robberies occurring, one of which involved a student who awoke to two strangers pointing guns at her in her own home, and the other one involved burglars armed with knives who charged through a student’s front door as he opened it. Crimes occur on a regular basis on and off campus. Luckily, a convenient link to “Safety Tips” was placed at the bottom of the Sept. 26 email we received. We should all follow this link and look at how the University Department of Public Safety suggests we respond if we are ever the victim, God forbid.

The university gives many good pieces of advice, including: be aware of your surroundings, if they only want your property, don’t resist. Don’t walk alone. If you are ever in danger and your life is threatened, have no fear! The Ohio State University has come to the rescue with one particularly ingenious piece of advice: Get angry! Scream! Shout! I found this valuable piece of advice incredibly insightful, considering that everybody here on campus planned to remain quiet and peaceful while his or her life or limb are unjustly taken (please pick up on sarcasm).

This, my friends, is what to do if you are attacked, according to OSU. Get mad and yell at your attacker and scream for help. Besides the obvious “no duh,” isn’t there another reaction you may have? Isn’t there something missing here? Isn’t there something else you can do if you are attacked, perhaps something this esteemed university, for some reason, did not feel comfortable endorsing? How about fighting back?

I won’t completely tear our great school to shreds, we’re all patriotic Buckeyes here and I understand, somewhat, where the school is coming from. Containing violence and preventing students from getting hurt are their top priorities.

However, I’m also sure they’re highly persuaded by the fallacious and misleading argument that less violence ensues if the victim does not return the violence. True, if the victim would rather not fight back for any reason, that’s their choice. I strongly believe, however, that something else must be said, and I am going to say it.

We all, as individuals, have a right to our own safety and security, and therefore we all have a right to protect and defend ourselves. My only question is, why don’t we ever hear that? We may be quite an advanced civilization but some ancient and timeless rules still apply: If your life is threatened, you may protect it. If someone is using unjust force on you, reciprocal force is justified. It is politically incorrect, maybe, but I still must say: If your life is at risk and you can’t run, put your attacker’s life at risk instead. Or, at last, I may simply propose the best option: Get a concealed carry license.

On campus, as we all know, law-abiders are disarmed. The fight for expanding our right to self-defense onto campus is an ongoing battle. But there is no reason to surrender our rights off campus, in our homes, and in our community. They have, thankfully, not yet been taken from us. Yes, once you go through the required training, submit to a background check, and obtain the required identification, it is legal to carry a concealed firearm. And unlike our university, I want to be the voice that encourages students to defend themselves. I want to be the voice that says you don’t have to be a victim. Although OSU policy forbids it, elsewhere Ohio law allows you to carry a concealed firearm with the proper license, unless prohibited by a business owner, etc. This right to carry is, by extension, the right to defend yourself when threatened.

In today’s society, the thought that an average law-abiding citizen can carry a concealed firearm might seem foreign or just unnecessary. Well here is my simple reply that we’ve all probably heard before, and yet many continue to simply ignore these facts. Do those who commit these crimes and robberies have concealed carry permits? Do they go through the required training, submit to a background check, and obtain the necessary identification? No, because believe it or not, all people are not like you. They are not all law-abiding citizens. They do not carry firearms legally, and they certainly do not carry firearms for self-defense. They are lawbreakers, and by definition they pay no mind to the laws and regulations surrounding firearms and the lawful carrying of a firearm. How else, I ask, could they possibly bring a gun onto campus property, when there are signs posted in nearly every door that state “Firearms Prohibited?”

Call this a scare tactic if you feel the need, but I call it the honest truth. Absolute security is far from guaranteed on this beautiful campus and all its surrounding area. Our police, as much as they deserve our trust and respect, can rarely prevent somebody from breaking into your flimsy college house and they cannot follow you down every dark alley. Come to your rescue they surely will — once you can find a phone, usually after the crime has occurred and once you’re finally out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, that time is often much too late to prevent anything. The police are reactionary, rarely can they be preventative. That’s usually up to you.

We law-abiders may not all feel the need or have the desire to get a concealed carry permit, but we do all have the right. On campus, and in places of business where guns are prohibited, we should and must submit ourselves to their policies because we are law-abiding citizens. In our homes and in most of the off-campus community, however, we do have that right. Make no mistake, with a concealed carry permit comes absolute responsibility, and that might not be for everyone. But no matter where you are, whether you’re legally carrying off campus or properly disarmed on campus, you are not helpless, and we all have the God-given right to use a lot more than our voices if we are attacked. Be smart. Be responsible. Be cautious. But be brave.

 

Sam Zuidema
Chairman of the OSU College Republicans
zuidema.1@osu.edu