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“Last night [Tuesday] there was a tremendous amount of activity in this area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.” Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief John Venuti [above, audio only] ain’t kidding. “A group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main downtown Richmond campus,” reports. “The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets. Moments later, the group encountered the second victim . . .

a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said . . .

The attacks came just days after students had returned to campus for the start of the fall semester and at a time when VCU Police Chief John Venuti is undertaking several measures to increase security. Classes start today, a university spokesman said.

“This is not the start of the semester that we were looking for,” Venuti said.

But it could be the start of a trend: more students carrying a concealed firearm on campus in Virginia. This after VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion striking down the University of Virginia’s policies that prohibited concealed carry in the school’s buildings, and, by extension, the school’s campus.

That said . . .

I don’t think the Virginia Commonwealth has updated its policies to fall into line with the AG’s opinion. In the school’s rules and procedures, under the heading The Right to Academic Freedom and to Equal Educational and Occupational Access, the University dictates that “no person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully:”

Have in his or her possession any firearm, other weapon, or explosive, regardless of whether a license to possess the same has been issued, without the written authorization of the president of the University.

I wonder how many times that’s happened. Anyway, as the VCU alumnus writing at pointed out back in ’09, the above is an administrative code, not criminal. And VCU is an urban campus with a large footprint with some 30k students.

Which also makes it a bitch to police. Back to the Times Dispatch:

Freshmen roommates Justin Clary, 17-year-old from Colonial Heights, and John Navis, 18, from New Kent, also said they hadn’t seen the alert from campus officials. However, both said they had been given plenty of instruction about safety on campus, including avoiding walking around in unlit areas late at night by themselves.

“I feel like if you’re smart around here, you don’t have to worry about anything,” said Clary, who plans to major in biology.

The department is hiring 10 new officers, which would expand the force to 92, including some who will patrol on bicycles, and has hired G4S, a private security firm, to patrol at night in sport utility vehicles with flashing yellow lights. Venuti also is overseeing upgrades in VCU’s video surveillance capabilities on campus.

Yes, yes. Just once I’d like to hear a campus police spokesman advise students [who are legally allowed to do so] to tool-up—with pepper spray if nothing else—and warn potential perps that students are not soft targets. Instead we get this from VCU Police Chief John Venuti:

“It’s our responsibility to protect our students regardless of what choices they make, regardless of what actions they take.”

Infantilize much? Not helping . . .

[NOTE: Reports indicate that the attackers were African American. I will delete any comments highlighting or discussing this fact as off-topic.]

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  1. Even if CCW permits were recognized those kids aren’t of age to obtain one. So unfortunately all the can do is rely on campus security, carry mace perhaps. I’m for CCW age limits being reduced to 18, the age in which you are legally considered an adult and typically begin living on your own and away from your parents.

    • In Virginia the right to open carry is protected by the state consitution. You can always open carry. However, you have to be 21 to buy a handgun under Federal Law.

        • You can own one if it’s a gift / inheritance and I believe you can even buy one in a private sale, you just can’t buy one from an FFL if you’re under 21.

        • I’m not sure what the relevant commonwealth statutes are in VA, but in PA about the only way to acquire a pistol between the ages of 18 and 21 is to either marry someone over the age of 21, or get one given to you by your parent(s). Transfers from parent(s) to child, and between husbands and wives are the only conditions under which a “firearm” may be *legally* transferred in PA without going through an FFL (which by federal law may not transfer a pistol to someone under 21).

          That said, I don’t know what the law is on VA about the second-hand sale of pistols; if they require transfers through an FFL, than the above applies, but if they don’t, then it greatly simplifies things.

  2. In order to believe in gun control, you must believe that calling a man with a gun to protect you in the event you are attacked is right and proper, but carrying a gun so you can cut out the middle-man is barbaric and to be frowned upon.

  3. “Last night [Tuesday] there was a tremendous amount of activity in this area between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.”
    Probably not a good idea to walk around town at 2 AM. One of the first rules is don’t put yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself in the first place. Since it’s not A-OK to shoot someone who is on top of you bashing your head on the ground I’m not sure what the best response could be. Someone’s little baseball star might get hurt,

  4. “the University dictates that “no person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully:” Have in his or her possession any firearm, other weapon”

    — What about the growing nationwide practice of many universities that arm female coeds with a weapon to destroy a male student with false rape allegations?

    A University’s Shame: How Brown Betrayed One of its Students

    Barbaric: It is ‘worth the risk’ to punish innocent college men in order to nab more sex offenders

    • Barbaric: It is ‘worth the risk’ to punish innocent college men in order to nab more sex offenders

      People who think this way never envision themselves or someone they care about in a situation. It’s on TV to them and not in their world. Someday they will regret it.

      • Thanks for your reply.

        I read an interesting rhetorical question. What would most mothers think is the worst to experience (and I’m not trifling the horrors of a real rape) 1) being raped or 2) being told they were being denied access to seeing their young children until age 18 because of untrue accusations about their character?

        A friend of mine was denied access to seeing his daughter for a year until he proved to the Court that the is a good guy, and his ex-gf baby-momma was found to be lying about his character.

        Sadly, there are a number of good dads out there that can’t see their kids because of the lies. That must really hurt. Modern society is nuts.

        • “First story is treated as gospel”

          Interesting. I’ve heard that is often the way with reporting domestic violence. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Jeez… I was in that area picking up clients to drive home maybe 45 minutes before they estimate the attack happened!

  6. I wonder what “other weapon” really means. I carry a 3-inch lockblade knife everywhere. It seems the threshold between tool and weapon is usually 3 inches (insert “tool” joke here), so it probably wouldn’t fall afoul of most regulations. But I sure could use it as a weapon, whether it’s classed as one or not.

    If they attacked me in that situation, at least one of those punks would be getting knifed…I may or may not be getting beaten and robbed anyway…and then what? They’d kick me out of school for carrying a weapon?

  7. I used to live near and work at VCU. The area has improved a lot in the last decade, but it is still a very sketchy part of town. It’s an urban campus, the school buildings intermingled with regular city buildings, so if you want to go to a coffee shop, restaurant or all-night print shop, you have to venture “off-campus.” The location of this “activity” was between VCU buildings. So avoidance may not always be feasible. And the hour? I was assaulted near here at around 12:30 AM riding home from a second-shift job.

    Open carry is legal in Virginia for those 18 and older. If I had a student there, I would advise him or her to open carry something small — legally visible, but not too noticeable to scare the person on the street. I don’t see what’s the big deal about lowering the concealed carry age here. How about we activate the Virginia State Militia? According to the VA Constitution, all able-bodied men 18 to 48 are automatically members. We keep complaining about young men stuck in perpetual adolescence. Train ’em, place the responsibility for society’s well-being on their shoulders and let them carry, if they’re up to it. Young women, too. Come to think of it, it may give these roving thugs something better to do as well.

  8. I lived in Richmond for 7 years in the early to mid 1980’s it was a very dangerous place in a few ways. The murder rate was high, if I recall correctly Richmond was number three behind Washington DC and Detroit. There were lots of burglaries. There were too many sexual assaults, often occurring in the victim’s home. We had the famous case of the Black Ninja, a serial rapist. There was a lot of peeping tom-ism. At night gunfire was often heard. It’s hot like Sahara in summer and arctic cold in winter. There is still a sense of grief there over losing to the Army of the Potomac.

    One night while walking with a group of friends, a hillbilly, high on the devil’s combo, Jack Daniels and crank, came after us with a knife. I beat him down with multiple blows to the back of the head and then we hightailed it out of there.

    Everyone of my friends became a gun owner while living there. All of them bought 9mm and 12 gauges. We shot frequently at the range in Southside or under the high tension lines out past Short Pump. For a bunch of kids raised in a white picket suburban idyll, it was pretty eye opening living in Richmond.


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