Tag: guns

Karma Report: #CocksNotGlocks Edition

The alma mater continues its sacred mission of Keeping Austin Weird:

Students at the University Of Texas at Austin are planning to protest a new law that permits the concealed carry of handguns on campus — with dildos.

The “campus carry” law passed by the Texas legislature and signed by the Governor in June, requires UT Austin and the other campuses in the UT system to allow students to carry guns on campus. It gives the schools some discretion on how to implement the law.

The protest is designed to draw attention to the fact that carrying a dildo to class could be “prohibited expression” under university rules. The rules prohibit “any writing or visual image, or engage in any public performance, that is obscene.”

“You’re carrying a gun to class? Yeah well I’m carrying a HUGE DILDO. Just about as effective at protecting us from sociopathic shooters, but much safer for recreational play,” the organizer, Jessica Jin, wrote.

It’s entirely reasonable for 40 Acres denizens to question and criticize the new campus-carry law; the University of Texas was the site of one of the first sensational school shootings in 1966. During freshman orientation ca. 2000, our guide made sure to point out the bullet holes in George Washington’s statue.

Nevertheless, the campus freak-out about concealed carry is not entirely beyond criticism itself. No, not the obnoxious, misogynistic remarks being made by Internet bros. Rather, the more fundamental question being raised by The Daily Texan’s Alex Arevaloto wit, where the hell were you guys when it might have made a difference?

Over 5,000 supporters, including more than 390 faculty members, have signed a petition to oppose guns in campus classrooms, dorms and offices. Gun-Free UT, the group that started the petition, formed shortly after the passing of SB11 and has been actively seeking to repeal the law by speaking out at public forums and organizing rallies.
While its concerns are understandable, Gun-Free UT bypassed pivotal stages in the legislative process that could have been capitalized on. The first mistake was creating the petition well after the bill had been signed into law. The second was intensifying uproar only when the legislation became a reality, instead of just a proposal.
At this point, opponents must work twice as hard to repeal a law which the legislature gave the green light. Opponents of the law should have participated at the same rate as gun advocates, and as early on.
The first public hearing concerning the bill was held in February, one week after Gov. Greg Abbott went on record saying the bill would probably pass. A month later, the state Senate approved campus carry, and three months after that, the bill was signed into law.
Throughout this time gun advocates have been attending press hearings and staging rallies at the State Capitol. In contrast, the anti-campus carry petition only came into existence in the last couple of weeks, according to Bryan Jones, a government professor and Gun-Free UT spokesperson.

To be sure, even huge protests by pro-choice students failed to put a dent into the odious anti-abortion bill SB5. The Lege has been ignoring students with regard to tuition increases for years. The Lege also seems to have gone out of its way to ignore and marginalize gun control advocates this year.

But you know what? If you don’t vote, you get the Legislature you (don’t) vote for.

How many of the Gun-Free UT students actually showed up to vote last November? We know that statewide turnout was an abysmal 33.6 percent. In Precinct 208 (on the UT campus), turnout last year was a miserable 22 percent (49 percent during the 2012 presidential election). According to exit polls, 18-29 years old made up a paltry 14 percent of the Texas electorate last year (by comparison: it was about 18 percent in 2008).

To be sure, our Voter ID law unfairly excludes student IDs as a form of identification. But I seriously doubt this was the main reason for low participation.

Moreover, Arevalo notes that at this point, the right argument probably needs to be how to implement SB11 in a way that makes sense, rather than taking a maximalist anti-gun approach:

While it’s admirable to stand up for one’s convictions, at the point in which legislation turned into law, the opposition should have formed a different argument. The rhetoric should switch from banning guns on campus in their entirety to advocating for stricter regulations in campus carry’s enforcement.

I think this is probably true. Hopefully, the UT administration will take a pragmatic approach with regard to gun lockers, gun-free zones, etc.

On the one hand, it is good to see fervent support for gun regulation. However, one wonders if this approach is going to generate more heat than light. Moving forward, I hope that Gun-Free UT is able to build and maintain an organization that will actually grab the Lege’s attention, rather than simply grabbing headlines.

A Pro-Life Movement, But Not THAT Pro-Life Movement

Alex Pareene, who is I think really too smart to meant this literally, has a controversial post today on Gawker entitled “The Gun Control Movement Needs It’s Own Pro-Life Fanatics“:

This doesn’t just mean marches and protests. It means constant marches and protests, and open and blatant harassment of your political opponents. It means protesting at the homes of gun manufacturing company executives and trying to shut down gun stores. It means very publicly making a scene at as many gun shops as possible, and personally attacking—verbally, but bordering on physically—people trying to enter those stores to legally purchase guns.

After all, the point of screaming at women outside a clinic isn’t to erect a legal barrier to abortion access, it’s to prevent that woman from getting an abortion, and to dissuade others from even considering it. It’s to prevent abortion from being considered a legitimate option. Aren’t there a couple thousand gun control activists out there passionate enough to want to stand outside gun shops and provoke confrontations with open-carry wingnuts?

It also means going all-in on gore. It means waving gruesome photos of dead children in the faces of Republican legislators, gun store owners, and gun manufacturers. This is where the conservatives shine. Good liberals are too squeamish to look past the police tape. They worry that if they focus, up close and without flinching, on the goriest details of the carnage, it’ll glorify violence, or worse, inspire future killers. Maybe, but it’ll also scare the shit out of future killers’ mothers before they fill their houses with guns, to feel safe.

. . .

If the gun control movement actually, really wants to change America’s gun culture, they will have to put the least reasonable and the least accommodating activists they can find in charge of directing the entire movement. In order to achieve a realistic outcome, the anti-gun movement needs to fight, passionately and vociferously, for an unrealisticgoal. Don’t campaign to expand background checks. Fight like hell to ban all private gun sales, and watch as expanded background checks becomes a politically palatable compromise. Keep fighting, and eventually “I support banning handgun ownership for everyone besides childless victims of domestic assault” becomes the politically palatable compromise position.

As I noted in my first post on this blog, I am deeply upset about the state of gun regulation in America today. I myself am a gun owner*  and also a former member of the NRA. I believe that gun ownership can be a rewarding and beneficial thing for society. But I also look at the now-weekly horror of mass shootings, as well as the many-times-a-day horror of “ordinary” homicides, accidental deaths and suicides. And I weep.

But if there’s anything — anything! — that makes me as angry as our national complacency with gun violence, it would be the chicanery, deception, and bullying of the anti-abortion movement in this country. To be sure, many pro-life Americans are sincere in their beliefs. Even many of the louder activists are OK people. But the movement as a whole is fostering an anti-intellectual, irrational atmosphere that breeds contempt for the law and hateful violence.

The last thing I want to see is people who are so amped up about gun control that they’re willing to shoot up a gun shop or murder firearm safety instructors.

* To be sure, it’s a 22LR pistol I use for target shooting — many gun rights advocates would probably recoil in horror at the lack of recoil and horror with my Sig Sauer Mosquito. When I took a concealed handgun course (mostly to learn about safety), I had to use a “bigger” gun (actually smaller, a Beretta compact 9mm) just to prove myself on the range. I never ended up getting my CCH because I don’t feel the need to do actually carry, and didn’t want to pay $200 for the license fee and fill out intrusive paperwork.