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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]

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  1. 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./

  2. “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. 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. 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 . . .”

      • …”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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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?

        • 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.”

        • “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?

  6. 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!

    • 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.

  7. 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”?

  8. “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!

    • 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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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