Annals of Disarmament: Life in a Gun-Free Zone


By Ginny Kruta

This morning I was awakened by a text message at 2:30am. That isn’t necessarily odd, as my husband is a baker and is occasionally (OK, more than occasionally) at work at that hour. Except it wasn’t my husband. It was the emergency text alert system from my school – Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. But I’m getting ahead of myself. SIUE, like much of the state of Illinois, is a gun-free zone. It’s not even legal to store a weapon on campus, which essentially means that aside from campus police, no one is armed. Which is awesome, because that means we’re all totally safe . . .

Except the text message I received this morning suggested otherwise in a big way.

A little after 1:00 a.m. today, according to Fox News, two suspects robbed a 20-year-old male student in Cougar Village (an SIUE apartment complex) at gunpoint. Only one of the suspects was armed, but surprisingly enough, when none of the victims are armed, that’s generally enough to do the trick.

The questions running through my mind were simple enough:

How exactly does an armed robber get into a gun-free zone? Doesn’t he set off an alarm of some sort? Aren’t there automatic sensors for that kind of thing? And if there aren’t, how can any politician claim that a gun-free zone is anything other than a euphemism for a “conveniently disarmed victim zone”?

Whatever the case, the words “gun-free” don’t make me feel any safer as I head to class less than 12 hours after receiving that message. With a .38 Special tucked discreetly into my bag.


Ginny Kruta is a political science and history student and a mother. She writes at Live, from the Catacombs. This post originally appeared there and is reprinted here with permission.