Friends in Texas alerted me to this story by telling the Book of Face that they were safe and at another campus when the incident happened.
This past Tuesday, while the Texas Legislature debated a bill to allow Texan gun owners to carry their weapons unconcealed, two d00dz at a community college outside of Houston got into a fight. One pulled out a gun and shot the other, along with a couple of other people, not to mention a person who had to be hospitalized when her blood pressure shot up.
A couple of observations here: first, openly carrying a gun in public is a sign of intimidation. Sure, the person might say "no one is going to mess with me while I have old Bessie at my side," but how often has anyone "messed with" that person enough to require armed confrontation in the past? More likely, the gun intimidates anyone else, especially anyone unarmed. It's a dick move and a sign of a bully.
Second, all of the rhetoric surrounding Newtown -- and really any other mass shooting -- suggests that the people vehemently opposed to gun control imagine themselves in a similar situation, whipping out their own weapon and taking out the shooter with the accuracy of a trained and experienced sniper. Or, they imagine something cartoonish, like the shooter walking into a crowded space and everyone in the crowd pulls out their own guns with a uniform click. In my estimation, based wholly on my experience with people (mostly men, but also women) who play with guns, the Texas community college scenario more accurately predicts the consequences of an armed population.
Of the people whom I have known who like and own guns, none are actually concerned about their rights. Oh, sure, they will cry "rights" when they get paranoid and think someone might take away their gun, especially if they think that person is a black man; but not one of them knows anything about the text or the historical context of the second amendment. They also might talk a good line about personal safety, but most live in neighborhoods where the police patrol in order to protect property rather than supervise residents. If they are properly caring for their gun, (and I do hope they are because they all have children) then that gun should be stowed away in a locked box, not hanging on the headboard or over the front door. The gun does not sit at hand should they awake to an intruder. Indeed, as far as I know, none have ever been held up by a gun and even those with military training have not seen combat. Not only do none of them hunt, but more than one are involved in organizations that oppose animal cruelty.
The gun lovers that I have known only use their guns on the gun range, and they do that for no other reason than that shooting is fun. I get that. I've been on a gun range a few times, and while I found the whole experience sobering, I also found the effort to hit the bullseye challenging and stress-relieving. Indeed, boxing class serves the same function. In both cases, I had and have no intention of shooting people or beating people up. So, while I get it, I also understand that this sort of fun has little to do with rights, protection, or survival and everything to do with play. When these people I know start bitching about gun control, all I can hear are babies crying because they might loose their toys.
Incidentally, I am excepting the police officers whom I have known because their job requires them to use guns, although they otherwise fit the pattern. I am also someone saw the receiving end of a gun when I walked into a home invasion and a kid held my father's gun on me while he escaped (it's a silly story in the telling, but wasn't in the living).
I'm glad my community college teacher friends are safe. That Texas law will probably pass. You could cynically say that at least people will know who has a gun now; but I wouldn't want to deal with a student who has both a bad grade in my class and a gun on their hip.
In other news, this is awesome (link now fixed).