My only problem with David Burnette’s plea to allow concealed firearms on Kentucky college campuses is that it does not go far enough, in two ways.
First, what’s with this concealed nonsense? A psycho won’t be deterred by the 9 mm or the bowie knife hidden in my backpack or boot. But if I’m strapped, he’ll think twice.
Second, faculty, staff and students should not be allowed to take weapons on campus, we should be required to.
Notice that I said weapons, not guns or firearms. There are those of us who believe that (at least among civilians) real men and women don’t need guns, and that guns are the tools of the weak. Plus, even if you are weak and insecure and want a gun, and even though they are pretty cheap and plentiful, not everybody can afford one.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go armed.
Why not carry a crossbow, like Darryl on The Walking Dead? Or if, like me, you prefer blunt instruments, a baseball or cricket bat, 9-iron, sawed-off pool cue or tire iron will work nicely. And don’t forget bladed weapons — many a homicidal lunatic is likely to be deterred by a katana-carrying student, or at least beheaded if they are not.
And for those who want to travel light, there are always stun guns, brass knuckles, switchblades and pepper spray. Just make sure you wear or carry ’em where people can see them.
As a University of Kentucky faculty member, many days I am terrified to go to class, simply because I am unarmed. I would feel so much more secure if I was toting my Reggie Jackson 34-ounce Louisville Slugger, and saw some pipe wrenches, .357 magnums and pistol-grip riot shotguns on my students’ desktops.
I hear that some timid, fearful professors are worried that an angry, insane, stressed-out student with a gun might instigate deadly mayhem. I’m pretty sure that if I see some pistol-packer slacker get twitchy in my classroom, I can be upside his head with the bat before he can get the safety off.
Even if not, he’ll be surrounded by sane, non-violent, law-abiding classmates who are also armed and will no doubt quickly calm the situation.
My proposed open-carry weapons policy is also culturally sensitive. Gun obsession seems to be a very mainstream American phenomenon, but my proposal would also allow, for example, Asian weapons such as shuriken and sai, Australian boomerangs, African blowguns and the ever-popular machete.
Note also that in case of a zombie outbreak, guns are really useful only for those who can reliably make head shots, until the ammo runs out. If we happen to be on campus when the dead return to eat the flesh of the living, having a variety of weapons will increase the likelihood that the Big Blue Nation will survive — and perhaps even come to rule the post-apocalyptic wastelands.
So I urge Burnette, the National Rifle Association and like-minded folks to get over their fixation on concealed carry and firearms. Whether your primary concern is Muslim jihadists, soldiers of the Mexican drug cartels, right-wing racist fanatics or simply “those people,” open carry of all types of weapons is the obvious answer.
And, perhaps, arming everyone is the only path to peace, and peace of mind.
Jonathan D. Phillips is a geography professor at the University of Kentucky.
At issue: March 10 commentary by David Burnette, “Unsafe, unfair to ban concealed carry on Ky. college campuses”