The Trace doesn’t get much traffic and it has no advertising revenue. But don’t worry about the anti-gun agitprop machine’s finances. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is funding The Trace’s cacophonous cadre of pseudo-journalists — as well as the anti-gun jihadis beavering away at Everytown for Gun Control and Moms Demand Disarmament. In a way, I’m glad The Trace hasn’t [yet] disappeared without one. They provide great links and really, really dumb gun editorial content. Check out this one . . .
When I return to the University of North Texas for the fall semester, I’ll have no way of knowing who is carrying a firearm. As of August 1, students, faculty, and staff with concealed weapon permits may carry guns on public university campuses, under a law approved last year.
I’m a black female professor working in a Texas town with a prominent Confederate memorial. I teach journalism courses that spark debate about race, gender, and nationality. I have serious reservations about campus carry.
Ba-bam! University of North Texas Journalism Professor Meredith Clark [above] waits exactly one paragraph before playing the race card in her editorial. A Confederate memorial! In Texas! Lynchings to follow!
Actually, Professor Clark’s benefactors play the race card before publishing a single word of her anti-campus cary rant, with the headline: I’m A Black Female College Professor in Texas. Should I Get a Gun?
Do I need to point out that The People of The Gun would answer the question in the affirmative without deviation, hesitation or reservation? Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, professor, doctor, factory worker, man, woman, transgender…buy and carry a gun if you wish to defend yourself. Next question? What IS your problem?
Proponents of the new law claim that if more people are armed at institutions of higher learning, we will all be safer. Days after he signed the bill, Governor Greg Abbott declared that would-be shooters in Texas would now understand that “somebody is going to be watching them and have the ability to do something about it” if they open fire on a college campus.
But I don’t feel safer. The idea of working in an environment where anyone may have a gun makes me feel perpetually under threat. I’m afraid of accidents, mostly, but also of misplaced anger and emotional distress. I’m afraid that situations that occur every day on college campuses, like a classroom debate or an office visit about grades, will escalate into deadly shooting.
Just like it has in Utah lo these last ten years or so. Or not. Perhaps we should cut Ms. Clark some slack on the actual facts of the matter, seeing as she’s a journalism professor. One who shelters from inconvenient truths behind a miasma of feelings.
Well, one in particular: fear. Informed by willful ignorance, Texas’ campus carry law doesn’t change the fact that all of Professor Clark’s fears could be realized right now. The current firearms ban doesn’t protect her from “gun violence” any more than a restraining order protects a victim of domestic violence.
At the same time, I’d like to know how many classroom debates and office visits have devolved into violence — any kind of violence — before campus carry? As TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia point out, universities these days are hotbeds of blind conformity.
The odds of a debate on, say, journalists’ inability to avoid bias and present factual information, turning into a shooting are about as high as the odds that the University of North Texas would fire her for promoting a liberal agenda to the impressionable youths in her charge. More’s the pity . . .
My mother wants me to quit. Friends send me job ads in other states. A few high-profile academics — including a University of Texas deanand a professor emeritus — have already made a public show of leaving. But the job market makes it hard for me to consider leaving my first tenure-track position. Even now, while guns are still technically banned from campus, they often show up in campus crime reports. It would be naive to think those incidents won’t increase when more permit holders can legally bring their guns to campus.
Campus crime reports citation, please. How many of these incidents involved permit holders? *crickets chirping* Meanwhile, the idea that gun rights advocates are naive is the best example of unintentional anti-gun irony I’ve come across in, I dunno, days. As for mom’s advice . . . take it! For the children!
And now things get weird . . .
To be absolutely clear: I am not anti-gun. I have never touched a firearm, though I’ve long been interested in obtaining a license to own and carry one. I live alone, and I’m often on the road. Having a tool that would allow me an extra measure of protection is attractive. I’ve also considered carrying a gun as matter of liberation — the kind preached by black militants like Malcolm X and Fred Hampton, who advocated for gun ownership as a means of protecting black bodies like mine from all types of threats.
I’m not anti-gun — but I’m writing an anti-gun editorial. I want to carry one for self-defense and liberation — but I want to keep a ban on guns on campus that would prevent me from protecting myself and asserting my natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights as an African American. To be absolutely clear, that’s F’d-up.
But wait! Professor Clark is spiraling down the rabbit hole.
But I’m unsettled by the notion of entire university communities being motivated by fear to take up arms. I also wonder how people will react to black students, staff, and faculty who choose to arm themselves. It’s clear not everyone is so keen on black folks using guns for self defense. I’m mindful of Marissa Alexander, a black woman who fired a warning shot in her own garage to ward off an attack from her abusive ex-husband. That shot – which injured no one – earned her a 20-year jail sentence in Florida, a state that allows people to “stand their ground” when they cannot escape imminent threat.
The lesson I took from her case? Black women do not enjoy the same privilege of self defense as others.
We are in major WTF territory here. I want to carry a gun because of the possibility of racist attack, but if I carry to defend myself against it I’m stoking racism. I don’t want anyone to be able to carry a gun on campus. And here’s a black woman who was wrongly treated for defending herself with a gun, proving . . . she lost me. Because she’s really, really lost.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder . . .
While I remain ambivalent about guns, I fear that gun violence on campus isn’t a matter of what if. It’s a matter of when.
Earlier this semester, I thought that day had come.
I’d stepped out of my office for a moment, and when I returned, a student I’d never seen before was perched in one of my chairs. She was a waif with lavender hair and headphones shaped like cat’s ears looped around her neck.
“Dr. Clark?” she said.
Her eyes struck me immediately. I can’t recall their color, but I remember the jolt of panic I felt when I noticed that her pupils were huge. Dilated. At 8 in the morning.
“I’ve read about your work, and I wanted to ask you some questions,” she said.
She wanted to talk about “what the black community wants,” and the protests linked to Black Lives Matter.
I felt the familiar heart palpitations I’d had during my days as a newspaper columnist, when readers from God-knows-where would call and offer their critiques sweetly enough, only to devolve into screaming and swearing, threatening to stop me from writing about all that “black shit.”
Any time a stranger — from any background — seeks to engage me about my positions of black existence, I am on guard and prepared to defend myself.
I invited her to sit down.
She was hard to follow. At one point she asked me about racial inequalities then offered her thoughts before I could answer her question.
I began to worry that this young, erratic woman might become violent, and I scanned the room to see what I could grab to defend myself. A picture frame? My computer monitor? Then I felt silly. I was twice her size, but fear of what could happen kept me on edge. As I sat, cornered in my own office, I realized that I’d never been so glad to be unarmed. If I were, I’d have had one hand on my gun.
When she finally left, I felt relief, then a flood of guilt. Had I been carrying a weapon, and had she made too sudden a move, what would have happened? I am still unsure of her motivation for seeking me out, but it seems likely she was simply a confused young woman, under the influence of drugs. If I’d had a gun, I might have overreacted that day, brandishing it out of a heightened sense of fear. I might have caused irreparable harm, even if I never fired a shot.
And that’s what frightens me most.
And there you have it: Professor Clark’s motivation. She’s afraid of herself. And you know what? She has good reason to be. As do we all.