Washington College (MD) Campus Gun Ban Leads to Jacob Marberger’s Suicide

My father had an explanation for why people commit suicide: “They’re so happy they can’t stand it.” Hungarian context aside, Washington College student Jacob Marberger – whose disappearance led to a Washington College (MD) campus lockdown – spiraled down to suicide after he displayed a gun at his fraternity. An antique gun . . .

Marberger had been wanted on four charges after authorities said he displayed an antique gun at his fraternity house last month. Phi Delta Theta fraternity kicked him out last week and last Sunday he resigned his position as speaker of the senate in the college’s student government.

Chestertown Police Chief Adrian Baker told WTTG he was scheduled to have a hearing based on the school’s honor code. Baker told the Fox affiliate Marberger didn’t make any threats against the school or students. It closed proactively.

One assumes that Marberger knew of Washington College’s Safety and Accident Policies and Procedures, which includes the following:

The possession, storage, or use of fireworks, firearms, ammunition, explosives, weapon replicas, or other weapons, including any dangerous article or substance with the potential to injure or discomfort a person, including knives with blades of three inches or longer, is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of Washington College.

Clear enough. Also clear: the policy didn’t cause Marberger to take his life. But there is no indication that the student intended anyone any harm. In this case, the liberal college’s zero tolerance policy didn’t save a life. One wonders if it ever has or, indeed, could. Our condolences to Mr. Marberger’s friends and family.

[h/t Mike]

comments

  1. avatar Mark N. says:

    Well, maybe the policy did not cause the suicide, but one has to wonder if the consequences of the policy–this young man’s total loss of status and pending expulsion–was sufficient to push him over the edge./

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      If he was that close to the edge, then it’s likely that something was going to push him over it eventually.

      If you must blame some outside force, blame a culture that does everything it can to raise children to adulthood without ever having to experience failure or loss, and doesn’t allow them to develop the skills needed to deal with setbacks. This is where “everybody gets a trophy” leads.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Naw, I’d rather blame anti-gun democrats.

      2. avatar Dustin says:

        It’s not merely the lack of ability to cope with losing and setbacks, but the treatment of those who experience it. If you don’t win everything forever always, you’re going to be treated like absolute shit, and be made to suffer every day for the rest of your life. If I were a part of this evil, fucked up society, and cared anything at all for what it thinks or does, I’d probably kill myself, too.

      3. avatar William Burke says:

        Yeah, NAILED that one to the wall.

      4. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

        Jacob Marberger’s Suicide Prompts an Outpouring of Condolences and Accusations of Bullying

        http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Jacob-Marberger-Suicide-Washington-College-Hawk-Mountain-Cheltenham-352949961.html

        Wait until ‘Moms Demand Action’ that he used a Maryland-declared ILLEGAL gun! An antique 7-shot .22 caliber revolver from his dad’s collection.

        http://heavy.com/news/2015/11/jacob-marberger-washington-college-student-missing-gun-threat-hazing-phi-delta-theta-facebook-page/

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Nobody seems to me mentioning the gorilla in the room.

      What have fraternities turned into if the brothers snitch out their own frat brothers?

      That is unlike any frat I have ever had exposure to, and that’s been a few.

      Oughtta re-name it Kappa-Gutless-No-Balls…

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        Fed up with hearing about BS “brother this” and “brother that”. If you aren’t of the same blood then you’re not “brother”

        Bro.

        1. avatar WedelJ says:

          Just because someone is my brother doesn’t mean we share blood, and just because we share blood doesn’t mean you will treat me like family. I choose to call those I deem worthy “brother”, not based on mere coincidence, but based on actions. Please, unfuck yourself. Bro

      2. avatar clickboom says:

        I went to college 15 years ago and frats were as lame as can be back then, too. Just a bunch of pussyfied trustafarians paying $500/mo to have friends (that put things in each others’ butts)

    3. avatar Don says:

      The title of this article is totally bogus. Policies of the university and laws in Maryland may be unreasonable but had nothing to do with this guy killing himself.

  2. avatar CJ Minnesota says:

    “Marberger had been wanted on four charges after authorities said he displayed an antique gun at his fraternity house last month. ”

    What is “displayed” supposed to mean here? Did he lift his shirt? Display it tucked in his waistband with some inappropriate comment? Did he bring it out, lay it on the table, and invite others to admire the craftsmanship accomplished in the days of old? The use of the word “displayed” is horrible at best.

  3. avatar dph says:

    I’m confused, did they close the college because he killed himself or because he disappeared and might have been armed? Either way, really nuts.

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    Strangely enough, I think Courtney Love said it best, to a crowd parked outside Kurt Cobain’s residence after he off’d himself. She had the crowd chant with her “A_ _HOLE, A_ _HOLE, A_ _HOLE . . .”

  5. avatar Hannibal says:

    It no more led to his suicide than his joining that frat did…

    He decided to kill himself. It’s on him.

    1. avatar Mk10108 says:

      Absolutely. The measure of a man is overcoming being knock off the ladder (for whatever reason) and climbing it again.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        …”is overcoming being knock off (sic)”

        I am at a loss. Rarely a day goes by without seeing the woefully incorrect usage of the infinitive form (“to knock off”), instead of the correct form of the verb, “…is overcoming being knockED off” six or seven times, or more. It’s as if the correct conjugation has been outlawed.

        Yet they would never think to use, “…,being f*ck up”, because it’s way off base and sounds stupid.

        1. avatar Nobody says:

          I seem to recall that you left this space for quite a while due to your prick becoming your personality. Perhaps becoming the grammar police would not be wise – especially given your recent complaints about problems with the edit function.

          You oftentimes post valuable comments. Respectfully, please don’t return to what you were.

    2. avatar Publius says:

      Yes, but the school’s retardation lead to his future being ruined, which lead to his decision to kill himself. Without having everything he worked for taken away, he wouldn’t have had the desire to end his life.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Washington College’s Safety and Accident Policies and Procedures:

    “The possession, storage, or use of … any dangerous article or substance with the potential to injure or discomfort a person … is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of Washington College.”

    Clearly they enforce this ban with respect to both pillows and nylon stockings, correct? After all, violent criminals have used both to asphyxiate and/or strangulate their victims.

    And why are knives with blades shorter than 3 inches (requirement omitted from the snippet above) okay? Last time I checked, a violent attacker could use a 2 inch blade to easily sever someone’s carotid artery and cause death within a minute or two from exsanguination (blood loss).

    Finally, what about fists and feet? Violent attackers use their fists and feet more often than rifles and shotgun to murder their victims. Why isn’t the college enforcing a ban on fists and feet?

    1. avatar Bob201 says:

      And with the 3″ knife prohibition I have to say this: What do they have against kitchen cutlery?

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Nothing.

        As long as it stays in the kitchen…

        1. avatar Tim says:

          No, it’s not even allowed in the kitchen:

          “is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of Washington College.”

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of Washington College.”

          So how does the cafeteria staff prepare meals?

          How does the landscape crew cut the grass? Cut the shrubbery, etc?

  7. avatar AL L says:

    Interesting policy – perhaps some interpretation needed? …”including any dangerous article or substance with the POTENTIAL to injure or discomfort a person…” Literally interpreted, this policy has now prohibited students and other humans, in fact other animals, motor vehicles, etc. from the campus. After all, even squirrels have the POTENTIAL to injure or discomfort. Other humans? Yes! Automobiles? Yes! OK, so the administration has banned themselves from their own school. Perfect liberal solution – BAN EVERYTHING!

    1. avatar Bob201 says:

      But that is how it works. It is impossible to police everyone who has a banned item when everything is banned, so it is up to the enforcers to decide when to enforce the rule or law. So, if everyone is carrying banned items, the enforcers can choose those in the crowd that meet other traits such as skin color, political leanings, or religious affiliation. This was a favorite tactic of the British before the American Revolution just like most other tyrannical regimes throughout history.

    2. avatar Jacob McMerth says:

      Your words are causing me discomfort.

  8. avatar JohnT says:

    So “…..any dangerous article or substance with the potential to injure or discomfort a person…. is prohibited”? Discomfort seems a pretty broad term. I’m sure my NRA membership card would likely “discomfort” some special snowflake at today’s colleges. But does it constitute “a dangerous article or substance”?

    1. avatar Bob201 says:

      I have heard that a paper cut can kill.

      1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

        a paper cut from your NRA membership card will likely land you on the terrorist watch list and no fly list.

  9. avatar Mike in NC says:

    “potential to injure or discomfort a person” … Discomfort? Really?!

    I’m beginning to think it is time to raze the whole university system, reinstate trade guilds for a generation or three and then try to rebuild a system of higher education with self-reliant students who can do without safe spaces or trigger warnings unlike the current spineless generation.

    Oh, almost forgot… get off my lawn!

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Separation of school and state would likely be sufficient.

      1. avatar Bob201 says:

        That is a constitutional amendment i could get behind.

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget microaggressions!

      Because every little thing offends them. They are so sensitive about it – they will post the entire incident online and whine, cry, and take a huge dump… of hatred. They are victims of society and they need your support and sympathy.

  10. avatar Paul G says:

    Forget potential, that policy itself discomforts me, and many others, to be sure. Time to ban that policy.

  11. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I think a lot of things would cause this young man to off himself. I’ve been in dire straits in my life(like NOW) and never considered taking a dirt nap…at least know the rules of your elite left-wing college kid…

  12. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    Isn’t this the guy that had his room flooded with a garbage can full of water?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      To do that right, Danny, you gotta get a surplus weather balloon, then fill it with a garden hose.

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/221812629457?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82

  13. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Or drives you insane, as in the case of Nietzsche

  14. avatar Michael Haggerty says:

    The title of this post is very misleading. Respectfully, I ask that it be changed.

    I am a WC alumni and am involved in the community’s response to these tragic events. There are a complex set of factors involved, and gun policy is only one small piece of the puzzle.

    The law in MD is that no one under the age of 21 can possess a handgun. Campus policy is that guns cannot be kept on school grounds, which makes sense given most the student body is undergraduates. During my time there, students would keep guns at the local gun club, and no one ever complained about it.

    While the facts are still being discovered, the rumor is Jacob reported sexual harassment at some point recently and was ostracized for talking about it. We don’t know this to be true and members of the community are working with the administration. This would have happened before any incidents with the gun.

    From what I can tell, the administration acted in a very reasonable way prior to the situation escalating after the police and media got involved. But it’s not safe to blame any particular factor in what happened, something went horribly wrong and a lot of good people are working to identify whatever issues may exist and address them. Stories like this do little to contribute to a constructive outcome.

    1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      Jacob Marberger’s Suicide Prompts an Outpouring of Condolences and Accusations of Bullying

      http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Jacob-Marberger-Suicide-Washington-College-Hawk-Mountain-Cheltenham-352949961.html

  15. avatar PavePusher says:

    Is the fraternity house on college property? If not, the school owes his family about a billion dollars. If it is, they owe Constitutional Rights a refund.

  16. avatar JEFF HOSER says:

    Given what I’ve read regarding the “precursors” to this suicide, I’d be more inclined to take his “roomies” and frat members to task. Seems to me the victim’s frat members conveniently “forgot” one of the fundamental precepts of every fraternity; “supportive” fellowship. Acceptance of the student’s membership in a fraternity came with an implied “quid pro quo” obligating every member to render “aid and assistance” to one accepted into their body. It seems, rather than acknowledge that obligation, some members chose to harass and persecute the victim until he committed suicide. The local prosecutor might well be advise to consider manslaughter charges.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      frat members chose to harass and persecute the victim

      This.

  17. avatar gsnyder says:

    A person owns their reactions. Suicide by firearm has no place in the firearm discussion world as it is a behavioral issue of health. That said the school is oppressive in its policies, preparing no one for the world beyond.

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