Professor Greg Hampkian (courtesy boisetate.edu)

The New York Times never ceases to amaze me. My most recent NYT WTF: an op-ed by a biology and criminal justice professor at Boise State University entitled When May I Shoot a Student? That, friends, is one sick headline. Try reading it as a survivor of a school shooting, or the parent, friend or teacher of someone mowed-down by Seung-Hui Cho. Professor Greg Hampikian’s anti-gun agitprop is beyond the pale. And yet there it is: “In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?” If you haven’t read it, prepare to be appalled . . .

I am a biology professor, not a lawyer, and I had never considered bringing a gun to work until now. But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.

I have had encounters with disgruntled students over the years, some of whom seemed quite upset, but I always assumed that when they reached into their backpacks they were going for a pencil. Since I carry a pen to lecture, I did not feel outgunned; and because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point. But now that we’ll all be packing heat, I would like legal instruction in the rules of classroom engagement.

Laughing yet? Me neither. Professor Hampikian’s opening salvo reveals that the academic lives in cloudcuckooland. Does he not understand that yes, one of his students could reach into a back pack and pull out a gun right now? Does he seriously believe that a piece of paper declaring Boise State University a “gun free zone” would stop a mentally unhinged student from unleashing death and destruction in his peaceful academic enclave?

Millions of Americans with concealed carry permits (or openly carrying firearms) know the legal rules of engagement: you are allowed to use deadly force if you or other innocent life face an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm. Which is the codification of common sense, if you think about it. Which Professor Hampikian has, but not in any sensible way.

I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive. For example, if I am working out a long equation on the board and several students try to correct me using their laser sights, am I allowed to fire a warning shot?

I’m thinking the Prof cribbed that example from the New York Homeland Security Director who used his laser sights to liven-up a Powerpoint presentation. Which is kinda ironic, given that this moronic attempt at humor comes from the same sense of elitism that informed Jerome Hauer’s cavalier attitude to firearms.

If two armed students are arguing over who should be served next at the coffee bar and I sense escalating hostility, should I aim for the legs and remind them of the campus Shared-Values Statement (which reads, in part, “Boise State strives to provide a culture of civility and success where all feel safe and free from discrimination, harassment, threats or intimidation”)?

I guess that the Prof missed that whole “an armed society is a polite society” thing. And yet there he is, at Boise State University, enjoying the safety created and maintained by Americans’ Second Amendment protections. I wonder if Professor Hampikian is of Armenian descent. If so, he might want to consider what it’s like to live amongst a disarmed populace. Specifically, the Armenian genocide. Let’s see him make fun of that.

The problem, of course, is not that drunken frat boys will be armed; it is that they are drunken frat boys. Arming them is clearly not the issue. They would cause damage with or without guns. I would point out that urinating against a building or firing a few rounds into a sorority house are both violations of the same honor code.

More elitism: let’s diss the fraternities. And paint all college students as emotionally immature and psychologically unstable people. Which is certainly true in some cases. As it is with college professors (e.g., the “esteemed” Illinois professor who murdered his family as a teen and the Alabama Professor who shot and killed three of her colleagues). But I guess it’s better for everyone to pretend that everyone’s disarmed at Boise – because it’s illegal.

In terms of the campus murder rate — zero at present — I think that we can all agree that guns don’t kill people, people with guns do. Which is why encouraging guns on campus makes so much sense. Bad guys go where there are no guns, so by adding guns to campus more bad guys will spend their year abroad in London. Britain has incredibly restrictive laws — their cops don’t even have guns! — and gun deaths there are a tiny fraction of what they are in America. It’s a perfect place for bad guys.

You gotta give Professor Hampikian credit: his use of reductio ad absurdum is masterful. But his “humor” rests on a bedrock of misdirection. It insinuates that the murder rate at Boise is zero because of the gun ban (discounting the small matter of Virginia Tech). He also uses Britain as an exemplar of gun ban paradise, when the result is a far more violent society than ours. Not that you can compare apples to oranges . . .

Again, the United States Constitution protects Americans’ natural and civil right to keep and bear arms. Regardless of the perceived danger to innocent life and academic freedom posed by the Boise Bill allowing legal firearms on campus, all Americans have a right to protect themselves by force of arms. Imagine a similar op-ed making fun of voter’s rights or freedom of speech. Would the New York Times publish it? I think not. Speaking of a lack of courage . . .

I want to applaud the Legislature’s courage. On a final note: I hope its members will consider my amendment for bulletproof office windows and faculty body armor in Boise State blue and orange.

I wonder if Colin Goddard would find that funny.

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101 Responses to When May I Shoot a Professor of Biology? Metaphorically Speaking . . .

    • I just sent an e-mail to the president of the school he teaches at, asking if he was aware one of his faculty members fantasizes about murdering students. I also pointed out that if a student were to write a similar article about shooting faculty, it would most likely result in the immediate arrest of the student. Trying to comment on the newspaper is probably a waste of time, writing his boss has a much better chance to have an effect. Would any of you want your kid in his class, knowing that he might decide that today is the day to thin out the student population?

      • I don’t think he’s a threat to students. He probably meant he was going to empty his clip in to his M1 garand. 😉

  1. ###Does he seriously believe that a piece of paper declaring Boise State University a “gun free zone” would stop a mentally unhinged student from unleashing death and destruction in his peaceful academic enclave?####

    Yes, and with every fiber of his being.

    Academic professors are a firm believer in the concept that every person, from Jeffery Daumer to the worst thug in LA ,is fundamentally good . They don’t see the spree shooter as a mass murderer- they see him as a disturbed genious who was adversely influenced to act on his baser instincts due to the presence of a gun.

    As far as these ivory tower residents are concerned, there really is no such thing as crime or evil, just unfair social mores and people being distracted by outside agencies. See, it’s not the rapists fault he shot your daughter dead on MLK drive. It’s societies fault for not giving that poor soul a 100k a year job.

    Therefore, the No GUNs Allowed sign will stop a spree killing, because all people are basically law abiding except for the disturbed soul with psychological issues and access to a gun.Without the gun, he has no choice but to comply with the law. See how that twisted “logic” works?

    • The idea that these people think that others are “fundamentally good” is absolutely wrong. I’m pretty sure that no liberal things that people are “fundamentally good.” It goes against every law they enact. If we were fundamentally good than why should we not be allowed to carry guns? Why must there be speech codes, anti-discrimination laws, and zero-tolerance policies? Fundamentally good people don’t need heavy handed laws to dictate their daily behavior. I submit that the liberal attitude is that people are fundamentally stupid, bigoted, and evil.

      What they believe in is a hardline deference to authority. Some “authority” passed a rule and now it must be followed without question.

  2. Hasnt the whole “the streets will run red!” nonsense been dis-proven a thousand times already?

    So either this professor is playing the “as far as I know” card to excuse ignorance or he doesnt care about reality one bit and just wants to push his personal agenda onto everyone else.

  3. If he’s this arrogant about a subject of which he is utterly ignorant, imagine what a prima donna he is in his classroom. I taught college for four years, always armed. No problems.
    Another example of a man who has been educated far beyond his intelligence.
    I MUST compliment him on his taste in staircases, though.

    • I left academia because of attitudes like these. The only field with such an unholy combination of ignorance and arrogance is politics. Academia is a close second.

    • As a public safety announcement I feel I must point out that CDC statistics clearly show staircases result in more injuries and deaths than firearms per year.

    • Another example of someone who is an inch wide and mile deep.

      Being well versed and experienced with one thing does not make you capable of speaking intelligently on all things.

    • Nope. It’s only because of the relative safety of the city and state that he lives in that he can make such glib and wiseass observations.
      I encourage him to go work at a strip joint or any graveyard shift job on a rougher side of town, and see if he thinks personal defense is still funny.
      If I were a student of his and happened by while he was inside a burning car, I wouldn’t piss on him even if to spread the ashes.

      • Speaking of the safe state in which he lives: He received his biology BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Connecticut, not a science powerhouse. No surprise there. He tried Georgia for a time at several institutions. That didn’t work out. His publications appear in a remarkable collection of mostly third-rate journals, but the article most widely read, I am sure, appeared in the NYT in 2012. Entitled “Men, Who Needs Them?” it actually reads as perhaps the most sophomoric op ed you’ve ever come across. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/opinion/men-who-needs-them.html?_r=0

        Hampikian is just another example of a northeast lap dog liberal for whom the northeast had no use. There really should be an export ban. CT, please stop producing more of this idiocy than you care to consume!

  4. As long as we’re going to call for only releasing criminals and convicts (or the mentally unstable) after they’ve been adjudicated to be safe and normalized for society, I would call the case of Dr. St. James a story in success, assuming he hasn’t lived the last 40 years living a secret double life as a serial killer or something.

    We locked up someone who was dangerous, reformed him, and he’s lived 40 years as a successful academic and functioning human being. I wish this happened more often, to be honest.

    As for the op-ed, it is a wonderful piece of satire but completely off base logically. He ain’t no Jonathan Swift, that’s for sure.

  5. And would you believe that we are a trillion dollars in debt for the honor of having the likes of Professor Hampikian bestow upon us a thing we call ‘higher education’.

    No wonder this country is going to sh!t.

    • He received all of his higher education at the Univ. of Connecticut. Now, Connecticut is a state that eschews guns. Why did he leave? No need to be afraid in CT! Fits right in. No one wanted him? Not Boston, either? My guess is he simply wanted to live in a very white state far from truly competitive biology, while pretending to be a liberal. Just a guess, of course.

      I’ve been coming across more and more “liberals” who want to keep talking the talk, but who retreat to rural mostly-white states, like Idaho and New Hampshire. I’m starting to suspect that they’re actually rascists in drag.

  6. Another ANTI marionette regurgitating the same emotional fears repeated over and over and over………..
    The facts that rivers of blood haven’t flowed yet just amazes them.

  7. Get this , guys–this, uhhh, person is also a Professor of Criminal Justice. Either he is stupendously unqualified for that post, or it kind of gives the lie to that whole “now, I’m not a lawyer” schtick. The arrogant, smug, ahhh, person got under my skin bad enough that I followed up on the links, got his contact info at the school, and sent him an e-mail. If it’s OK here and anyone else is interested, I can post the addy.

  8. Maybe it’s just me, but I believe the professor may be a bit mentally disturbed. It seems he is fantasizing about shooting students.

    • Seems eager to get in his first gunfight. A lifetime in the ivory towers left him doubting his manhood and abilities?

    • Has his ranting reached the specificity of a threat yet? At best it might be time for him to get one of the mental health evaluations that the academic crowd is so fond of invoking on everyone else.

  9. When can you apply the brakes to your car professor? When you need to? See teach, it really wasn’t that difficult.

  10. I am of Armenian descent and I recognize this guys name as Armenian as well.

    The professor should learn some history on the ease in which a state disarmed class of people (ottoman Christians) can controlled or even genocided by an armed state. His great grandparents are likely rolling in their (mass) graves and in disgust at the idea that he hates the guarantees of liberty his immigrant ancestors probably thanked god on a daily basis which they found in the USA

    • My reaction was the same as yours. How can someone of Armenian descent champion a ban on concealed carry by what are, after all, adults?

      Then I realized that this was a man who couldn’t get a job on either of the coasts, or at any centers of genetic identification research, his professed specialty. So he took a position at a university whose most honored major is Football, just ahead of Tennis and Frat life, in a state in which guns are a commonplace. He screwed up somewhere along the line. Again.

  11. Speaking of Colin (mentioned in this article), why is it that his activism for universal background checks is inconsistent with why he became said activist (survivor of the VT shooting). Cho passed the background checks, so closing the “loophole” that Colin wants to close wouldn’t have prevented it.
    The cognitive dissonance of some (including Giffords and ilk for advocating for the same, when her shooter passed said checks as well) is astounding.
    Sorry for the digression, but its pretty much insane.

    • I think Money wins the day when it comes to Colin Goddard. I don’t know how much he makes, but it is probably a lot. I doubt he would have done much better with whatever degree he was working towards in college.

  12. That is one sick title and distrusting teacher. One teacher I knew had a problem with a student pulling a knife on him, it wasn’t a problem after all since he was armed.

  13. Today, universities through their speech codes and “anti-hate” rules are the most un-free places in the United States.

    Since universities routinely put in place blatantly anti-1A restrictions on their students why would anybody be the least bit surprised that they have no regard for the 2nd amendment?

    Dennis Prager has a great 5 minute primer on the little fascist empires that are put in place when leftists have full control of the power levers. These leftist enclaves are a looking-glass into what the leftists want to do to our entire country.

    http://www.prageruniversity.com/Political-Science/The-Least-Free-Place-in-America.html#.UxIRUoWootU

  14. Whoa–just followed up on the links re Prof. St. James–killed his family because Dad wouldn’t let him grow out his hair and protest the Vietnam War. This pattern of peace-loving, tolerant, open-minded liberals turning out to be mass killers has been around for a long time I guess. Looks like “liberal goo-goo control” would probably be more efficacious at stopping spree killings than “gun control” would be…

  15. Again, educated people can still be dumber than a box of (assault) hammers. More appaling than this trip down a hypothetical hallucination highway is the fact that the TEACHES in collage. But, in a way he gets our attitude about the RTKABA.

    “But since many of my students are likely to be armed, I thought it would be a good idea to even the playing field.” Replace the words “my students” with “street criminals” and there ya go. Also, for an anti I find the statement:

    “I assume that if a student shoots first, I am allowed to empty my clip; but given the velocity of firearms, and my aging reflexes, I’d like to be proactive.”

    most idiotic.

  16. This man’s hubris just shows that many people who opine on the internet are nowhere near as intelligent or witty as they think they are.

  17. “In terms of the campus murder rate — zero at present — I think that we can all agree that guns don’t kill people, people with guns do.”

    In fact, the one murder I know of was 2-3 years ago, at Idaho State University, when a professor of psychology killed the female grad student he was screwing, after she broke off the relationship. I suspect Prof. Hampikian is more of a threat to his students than vice-versa.

    I will send copies of his NYT screech to the Ada county Sheriff and the Boise PD, suggesting that they ensure he is never issued a concealed weapons license – mentally unstable, dontcha’ know.

  18. This comment was below the article,

    “Military training provided me with excellent weapons training but also left me with little faith in civilians running around with loaded guns. Our politicians have lost their minds and forgotten that their main charge is to protect citizens not only from our selves but from greedy interests.”

    So much fail there, and a great example of the kind of thinking shared by that audience. Where did this person learn the role of politicians? I certainly hope that is not a widely held belief of others with “military training”.

  19. When May I Shoot a Professor of Biology?

    If your brain feels threatened (it should), then right about now would be fine.

  20. This is not his first gun-control rodeo. Guns are a popular topic for him. Here is his take on the Trayvon matter:

    http://thebluereview.org/a-george-zimmerman-sans-gun/

    Not only is he not as funny as he thinks he is, but the comparisons he makes and the conclusions he draws show that he is not a particularly deep thinker.

    If you don’t want to take the time to read his blog post, the Cliff’s Note version is that neither George or Trayvon would have killed anyone that night if there was no gun present, because neither of them would have beaten the other to death. And the professor was chasing two guys down a street one time and he might have shot them if he had access to a gun.

    I support the Second Amendment, but…this gentleman should not have a gun.

    • “Not only is he not as funny as he thinks he is,”

      Aw let’s cut the poor professor some slack. I’m sure he thinks he’s funny. After all his students probably laugh at him/his jokes all day long, making him think he’s ready for the Comedy Clubs!

      After reading his article if I were a student in one of his classes, I’d hand out a few laser pointers to my friends and light him up the next time he went to the board! Maybe set a pack of firecrackers off too. Frat boys will be frat boys, just sayin’….

  21. Here’s the answer to Professor Greg Hampikian’s question, “When May I Shoot a Student?”: You, sir, may NEVER shoot a student, since it is clear that you would opt NOT to be armed on campus, which really bypasses the question of “may,” since, unarmed, the question becomes “When CAN I shoot a student?”, and is essentially moot, since you can’t do what you don’t have the means to do. But the answer to the moot question is the same: never. Now shut up and sit down.

  22. Based on the highly emotional lashing out in the professor’s writings, it appears the good professor should take a leave of absence to join Richie Incognito for some rehab and therapy, because he is obviously emotionally unstable.

    1. If he thinks just because nothing bad has happened on campus to date, nothing ever could go wrong, he should talk to Andrew Boldt of Purdue University…….oooooooh, right, Andrew was murdered by another student, Cody Cousins, on campus, in the engineering building no less.
    2. He also oblivious to human nature, probably due to the shelter existence of academia. He assumes the worst about people because they’d be able to carry a firearm, but assumes that nothing is wrong with them if they are not carrying a firearm. If the firearm is the sole variable, why does the good professor not advocate for campus police/security and the local municipality go unarmed?
    3. He seems to think that joking about killing people is a great way to make his point, but would he laugh off it a student jokingly did the same to him, like on those professor review sites? The fact that he would go there is not only a classic case of projection, but a disturbing look behind the mask at his emotional state.

  23. Wow, that’s terrifying. Also a perfect example of the projection of the antis. This man obviously has latent homicidal urges, and he’s afraid that if he had a gun, he would act on them. And so he projects that same thing onto everyone else.

    As a side note, I’m always surprised by the notion that liberals are more tolerant and respectful. Sure, they talk about powering the world on unicorn farts and love for our fellow man, but when someone challenges their beliefs, holy crap do they get vicious. Liberals are some of the least tolerant people I’ve ever met. At least others are usually up front and honest about their intolerances. Liberals like to pretend they love everyone, when in reality they hate whoever doesn’t agree with them.

    • I’ve said it in other contexts, I’ll say it here: No one is more mean-spirited than a dedicated liberal.Take, eg, a liberal’s idea on tax policy (go ahead and pile more taxes on me, I don’t mind as long as you pile even more taxes on someone who is financially better off than I am).

  24. murder rate zero well thats great. I’m sure the young lady walking to her car is going to think thats a great figure if she gets grabbed.

    I’m not saying saying he’s a moron or anything, but nothing “stopped” any of those students from having a knife, gun, pen, scissors, or bottle of lye in their bag. anyone who believes that make it a rule with signs will do anything is blissfully unaware of human nature.

  25. What an unfunny screed by a complete horror of a human being. This is what passes for intelligent discourse at our nation’s colleges and universities these days?

  26. greghampikian@boisestate.edu

    re: stick to gene sequencing

    Your sophomoric attempt at humor regarding students having concealed carry rights on campus illustrate that you have very little to contribute the field of criminal justice or the real world for that matter.

    Do your research. Violent Crime at its lowest point since the 70’s. Mass shooting low and flat. There is no “blood running in the streets.” Surely you cannot believe that if you post a sign on campus stating no firearms that it will prevent the next criminal from bringing one to campus?

    Stay out of the deep end (of the gene pool) we don’t suffer idiots well.

    John Eliyas
    Adjunct Professor of Criminology
    The Penn State University

  27. ” because there are no working sharpeners in the lecture hall, the most they could get off is a single point.”
    Actually, i did laugh at that.

    “paint all college students as emotionally immature and psychologically unstable people”
    They’re called psych majors.

  28. “If you have to ask…”

    Seriously. If the moment comes it will be a obvious and between your life and his. If you don’t understand that feel free to bleat about like the rest of the sheep. Maybe someday a student will save your life.

  29. That’s a pretty impressive staircase. Is that a wire or string running across the bottom, to keep the professor, or one of his students, from injuring themselves ascending the stairway ? That’s about as effective as a “gun free zone” declaration. Where has logic and reason gone bye-bye to? URANUS?

    Best thing for the prof to do is duck under the wire, ascend the spiral staircase, and throw himself off the balcony. If there is one.

  30. This professors letter and “line of reasoning” is typical of liberals as they have a tendency to utilize absurdity when the subject of guns comes up. A case in point is the civil right to have and carry guns will get perverted by these people into the question, “Well should everyone have the right to own and carry around a nuclear weapon?” . One may substitute tank, fighter plane or whatever you wish for nuclear weapon but you get the point. The problem is that we address this. Recently a colleague of mine at work proffered the nuclear weapon thing in just such a discussion. I just looked at him and told him not to be ridiculous but I did not respond to his bait. Libs do this a lot to derail and deflect. Then they look at you when you cannot come up with a rational reply, why, because none exists. Just blow it off and motor on to make your point.

  31. “When may I shoot a student?” When that student attacks you or others. Next stupid question, please

  32. I’m a community college professor. I used to teach in Texas, where a law like this was under discussion. I now live in Oregon, where the urban/rural nature of the state means that the state usually allows the counties & localities to make these kinds of gun regulations (although we did have a discussion about background checks).

    Prof. Hampikian’s op-ed was certainly provocative and maybe in somewhat bad taste. Still, I have to admit that I’ve thought the same thing about such laws, “when may I shoot a student?”

    Obviously, few commenters have led a classroom and are unaware of the reasons why Prof Hampikian’s question resonates.

    I’ve had emotionally unstable students. I’ve had mentally ill students. I’ve had students who are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or combinations of the same. There have been times when I felt like my life was in danger because a student became unhinged. You’d be amazed at the personal, hateful comments I sometimes get on my student evaluations – now done online anonymously. Some take that aggression to me directly by yelling, screaming, threatening in the office. The amount of aggression some students can have over such trivial issues like the difference between a 77 and an 83 on a test can be frightening. Granted, it’s rare, but I estimate that I get a threatening student once every 18 months. I have colleagues that have been stalked, threatened with violence, etc…

    So, if such a law passed in my community, I would probably want to arm myself on campus and would definitely want a legal answer to that question.

    • Hey, community college professor, the past tense, and past participle, of the verb “to lead” is “led,” not “lead.” I trust that your area of professorial expertise is not English.

    • I don’t see the difficulty. You can shoot someone when they attack you, or others, with intent to do bodily harm/kill. Where is the hard part?

      If in all honesty you are saying you can’t figure it out when it happens then don’t carry a firearm. Not being glib. Not being crass. Just stating it as it exists.

    • If the students were as frightening as you say they are, you might want to arm yourself anyway. It’s not like the homicidal ones wait for state-issued permission to carry a weapon to use. And if you were a professor of criminal justice, you should be at least passing familiar with the law of self-defense which, as noted by other posters already, is not that complicated in concept. I seriously doubt that Professor H was in any way asking that question in any kind of good faith, I fail to see how it would “resonate” with anyone of good faith.

  33. Oops! I take it back. I see you found, and corrected, your lapse. Apologies for my snarky comment.

  34. Remember, Dumbasses like this are teaching your children. This guy shouldn’t be allowed near anything more dangerous that a dull crayon.

  35. Ugh, so many people confusing satire with comedy. You know this wasn’t *supposed* to make you laugh, right? It was supposed to evoke the horrifying possibility of a professor deciding to shoot a student who he *thought* had a gun, or even worse, missing and hitting a bystander. How many professors do you think can shoot straight at 15 yards?

    Anyway, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, and Columbine (to name the first four shootings that come to mind) were all perpetrated with LEGAL firearms. If you’re trying to cut down school shootings, take away the guns.

  36. His ‘level playing field’ talk evokes an interesting observation about anti-gunners: They don’t want the responsibility for their own security. They don’t realize that the responsibility is in fact already theirs, whether or not they choose to acknowledge it. The ‘playing field’ is never even – there will always be a disparity of force…the only way to reduce that disparity is if the defender has a gun and the skill/mindset to use it properly.

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