Snell: Concealed carry on campus: Has the time come?

Barry Snell

“God, please help! Hurry, please! Oh God, he’s killing them!”

In the background, the sharp cracks of gunshots punctuate the frightened pleading. Pop … pop … pop-pop-pop…

Tapes of 911 calls for murders are horrible to listen to. I’ve heard my share of them, and it’s worse when you stand at the scene of the crime and talk to the very people whose panicked, terrified voices screamed for help to police dispatchers on the phone.

Spent brass ammo casings at your feet, glistening gold in the light like sun sparkles across a rippled pond. Dark, thick pools of blood nearby, scattered and smeared here and there where the victim struggled about before gasping his or her last breath. Your mind’s eye projects a re-enactment of the event in your head, and you wonder what went through their mind. What did it feel like to be murdered?

Unless you’ve experienced something like this, unless you’ve responded to the call of a fellow human being’s desperation in their last moments; unless you’ve stood between a gunman and their would-be victim and held the line between life and death, you just cannot fathom the horror of a murderous shooting. You’re totally clueless.

Despite this ignorance on the part of the vast majority of Americans, there’s still a seemingly unending supply of them trying to tell you just what you should do if you ever found yourself in the awful position of being a victim. Plenty of people who don’t know you think they know what’s best for you anyway. They think you should leave the defense of your life and the lives of your family to the police.

I swear to everything that is holy there is nothing more despicable and morally reprehensible than a person who thinks you shouldn’t be able to defend your life. Your life is the most important gift you ever will have. A person who takes that life destroys everything you ever were and steals everything you ever were to be.

The cops simply will not be there when a violent crime happens to you. I just don’t know how else to put that to you, dear reader. The police are a cleanup crew in a nice uniform. Try to grasp the problem here: You call, they come five minutes later.

How long do you think it takes someone to snatch your life away?

Have you ever stopped to ponder the fact that so many shootings happen where guns are banned? Could it be, perhaps, that criminals don’t obey the law? Could it be that laws banning guns are irrelevant to criminals? Is what  makes people criminals their disobedience of the law ?

If criminals don’t obey the law, why in the hell do we make laws that won’t possibly affect anyone but those who, ironically, obey the law? I’m not being sarcastic. Seriously think about this stuff for a minute. If the government makes a law that says guns are banned in schools, who obeys that law? Criminals who break the law? Or the law-abiding who don’t do anything wrong to begin with?

Guns are banned in the majority of schools in America, yet school shootings still happen.

Gun bans on college campuses have created an environment in which a criminal may thrive at his trade, an environment in which a criminal may expect absolutely zero resistance to his depravity, where he may feel safe to do his dirty deeds. Virginia Tech was one such place. So was Northern Illinois University.

Then there’s the Appalachian School of Law.

Guns weren’t taboo at the Appalachian School of Law on Jan. 16, 2002. On that day, Peter Odighizuwa, a most loathsome piece of human garbage, walked into Dean Anthony Sutin’s office, put his gun to Sutin’s body and pulled the trigger. He walked down the hall to professor Thomas Blackwell’s office and repeated the same thing. Then, Odighizuwa shot student Angela Dales as she tried to run. They were defenseless and all died.

In the hearts of some Americans, there is an indescribably titanic empathy and love for other people. In the backbones of some Americans, there is a steel stronger than any alloy science knows. And it was two such Americans — Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges — who heard the shooting and knew what needed to be done. They retrieved their handguns and proceeded to put an end to Odighizuwa’s lethal rampage.

They saved countless lives.

To be clear: It was two armed students who stopped the shooting. In the history of school shootings, police have almost never stopped one. Yet there are several examples of armed students or faculty ending them.

With Iowa’s carry laws better supporting your right to life now, maybe it’s time to reconsider the laws banning the carry of firearms on this state’s university campuses. Obviously, school gun bans don’t work, and it’s clear police can’t prevent you from being killed by some nutjob, so there has to be a better way. Guess how many school shootings have happened in places where campus carry is openly legal? Zero.

I’m not necessarily suggesting we eliminate every restriction, only that we begin the conversation. Let’s talk about it, shall we?