Monday, October 20, 2014

Utah Gun Laws and the Blame Game.

As you may know, feminist activist and lecturer, Anita Sarkeesian, was scheduled to address the students at Utah State University (USU) about sexism and the way woman are portrayed in video games. Several email threats were sent to USU regarding her visit, including a very disturbing one threatening violence and death on a scale to rival the school massacres of recent years. As a student at USU, I received several emails from the school about the subject, as events unfolded. Extra security was put in place and the campus officials felt confident in allowing the event to go on. Ms. Sarkeesian was not satisfied with the level of security, however, and decided to cancel her lecture. I was curious to hear her take on things, and I'm sorry she decided to cancel. I understand and respect her decision, even if I don't agree with her reasoning.

Someone has now posted a statement to various places on the web, along with her picture, stating that, "Because of lax gun control laws in Utah, the police were unable to ensure that weapons wold be brought into the venue, forcing her to cancel." I have no idea if  these were Ms. Sarkeesian's actual words or not. What they are referring to is Utah's concealed carry law, which allows those with concealed carry permits to carry a weapon in public and on government property. Because USU is a state owned school, people with a Utah concealed carry permit would be allowed to bring their weapons.

Where the pundits, and Ms. Sarkeesian, get it wrong is that the bad guys don't care about the law. First, open carry is not only discouraged on campus but will get you arrested. Concealed carry is only legal if you have been trained and have a permit. The bad guys don't like to get permits because then they get fingerprinted and are know to carry a gun. It is likely that those packing either have permits, or are the bad guys, If the police can't tell if you're carrying a weapon or not, they're not going to be able to tell if you have a permit or not. If they figure out you're carrying, they'll approach you and ask for a permit. If don't have one, they'll haul you away and now you are no longer a threat, anyway.

Second, most of the student population here doesn't carry a weapon. As I said, open carry isn't allowed on campus, and those living on campus are forbidden from having weapons in their apartments.

Third, in order for the death toll to have been as catastrophic as the emails were threatening, it would likely be a team with larger weapons, such as rifles, or a bomb. These are not allowed on campus, no matter what kind of permit you may have. The possibility of their presence is no greater on USU campus than in any other state in the U.S that Ms. Sarkeesian may have chosen to speak at.

Still, it's the person with the concealed carry permit, that has been fingerprinted, is known, is trained in the safe handling of a weapon, and knows when deadly force is, and is not, appropriate, that the pundits feel is the real threat. Not the criminal nutjob terrorists who don't care what the laws are, anyway.  Oh no. The law abiding citizenry are the problem according to these people.

And now, because Ms. Sarkeesian canceled her lecture, complying with the terrorist's threat, she's allowed them to win. Freedom of speech has given way to fear. And so in the spirit of college athletics, let me give you the score, at least as far as this case goes: Terrorists 1, Freedom of Speech 0.

What a lousy game.

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