Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 415, April 29, 2007

"How come our country is such a paradox?"


Guns and College
by Darian Worden

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

I hope people aren't already too tired of the Virginia Tech shooting to hear what I did at my college afterwards. Now that I've had time to calm down, analyze things, and insert punctuation, I think my experiences are worth writing about.

One of the first things I did was write an angry note on my Facebook profile which read in part:

Once again, one armed person has killed numerous unarmed people. Once again, people like me who enjoy having guns are going to get the blame. . . .

[An article I linked to] quotes Jim Sollo of Virginians Against Handgun Violence as saying "We live in a society where guns are pretty well accepted. There are 200 million guns in this society and obviously some in the wrong hands." Well fuck you too Jim! For making it harder for people to carry defensive weapons, and for encouraging the "be a victim and don't fight back" mentality, you are just as responsible for the lives of 32 people murdered today as the asshole who pulled the trigger. I wish you had enough of a conscience to see all 32 faces every night as you try to sleep. But I know that is expecting too much of a person who would "rather see a woman raped in an alley, and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her with a gun in her hand." I know the politicians who have their own armed guards payed for by people forbidden to defend themselves will sleep well knowing they will have more gravestones to dance upon as they oppress us with their visions of a glorious future where only the important people can have guns. "Public policy" goals like this one are directly responsible for every major genocide in the 20th century--170,000,000 people murdered by government. That's right, the road to Auschwitz was built by people like Jim Sollo, Hillary Clinton, Jon Corzine, and George Bush.

Do I sound pissed? Well I am. I'm sick of easily preventable tragedies being used to attack my rights, my future, and my way of life. I wrote a book about this kind of thing--it is entitled Bring a Gun to School Day and has yet to be published. Also, I was planning to sell toy guns at school on Thursday [April 19] to have fun promoting freedom. MY PLANS HAVE NOT CHANGED. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT TIME TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. When your rights are threatened is the most important time to proudly exercise them. Why did I have to wonder if a drawing could get me kicked out of high school? Why was I supposed to worry whether talking about my hobbies with friends would get me sent to a mini-Mengele statist psychologist? I won't tolerate any more of this shit, and I'm going full speed into building a future without it.

So buy yourself a squirt gun this Thursday at Brower Commons between noon and 3:30. Take some time to learn something about real guns while you're there. If we change our plans, then the terrorists win.

That should let you know where my head was at the day after the shooting. I did go ahead with the toy gun sale. It wasn't nearly as big of a deal as I thought it would be. For months I had wanted to do something like it to top the Pot of Brownies event (Pie-a-Politician and a mock SWAT team raid didn't work out). Why the hell would I change it?

"The timing is bad," I heard, "This is not the time to be doing something like this." I was going to say I appreciate the concern, but that wouldn't be entirely true. There is never a wrong time to stand up for freedom. It's not like communication is some kind of guerrilla war where we have to leave the battlefield once the enemy shows up in strong numbers! There is never a wrong time to be proud of being right. If I had just slinked away into some hole for fear of offending anybody, what would that accomplish? I would just look like I don't believe I'm right strongly enough to do anything about it at the most important time.

As for respect, how is it disrespectful to talk about what could have saved peoples' lives unless they have been dead for a certain amount of time? And how long are we supposed to wait? When someone dies of lung cancer, when does it start being okay to mention that they smoked heavily for years? I'm going to express myself when I feel that it is right to do so. Since I've been dealing with the antis' crap for years, I'd be doing myself a great disservice if I kept silent while being shown incredible disrespect by them. I think that trying to blame gun owners for the tragedy and using it to attack freedom with lies is way more disrespectful than anything I did. I merely refused to change my life for Cho and his accomplices in the Brady Bunch, and didn't hesitate to speak the truth. I think that is the action required by a decent respect for humanity.

So I went ahead with the gun sale. You can see from the pictures that I had a sheet of paper with "GUNS" written on it and a table full of toys. I also had sheets of paper with the primary gun safety rules, some websites, and instructions for legally buying guns in New Jersey (a very irritating process—think NSA meets the DMV). I gave these to anyone who bought something and pushed them heavily on people who spoke to me. I only made a few sales but the statement made by my presence was worth it. Besides, there's nothing wrong with having a few extra dollar store toys laying around. Since there didn't seem to be overwhelming support for this idea when I brought it up at a Rutgers Libertarians meeting, I usually told people I was acting alone. A couple of my friends joined in the fun.

I think I got about an equal amount of positive and negative comments on April 19 (what a day!). The most encouraging was a guy who basically said how glad he was that we were doing this because someone needs to say what's right. Exactly! I told him we need to stand up now and say, "Listen, this would not have happened if someone else there was armed, and there's no reason we should have to give up our rights for this."

The only really negative comment we got was after I told someone I wasn't going to sign her petition because "I support private solutions to those problems." When she asked me why I was selling guns I explained and then tried to fast talk her into buying something, which brought a "Why are you being such an ass?" Another woman grumbled behind me that "this is really the best time to be doing this." Another asked what I was doing and when I said "I'm promoting gun safety," she was like "by selling them—okay!" in an angry voice as she walked away. But before you think that all the women at Rutgers are drooling socialist stooges, most of the interest in buying my wares came from females who generally seemed to approve of what I was doing.

So all in all it went well, considering I didn't get in trouble with the school or have to hold off a mob with my folding chair. A lot of people just looked at the sign and looked away—I saw about the same number of smiles as cringes. Things aren't as bad as they seem.

Being a gun guy, this was not all I did to push the truth that concealed carry saves lives and could have saved lives on the 16th. I spoke up in person and online. I spread Oleg Volk pictures around Facebook like nobody's business. I participated in a few internet debates, one of which was so silly I couldn't help but archive it, and made fun of another idiot.

Fortunately, someone founded an organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Unfortunately they officially support licensing and believe that laws can "give students and teachers the right to carry handguns on college campuses." In case you forgot, one of the principles upon which America was founded is the notion that inalienable rights are endowed by the Creator, not by a bunch of control freaks sitting in buildings with domed chambers. I'm going to be done with college in a couple of weeks, so I probably won't be involved in the group. If I was, I'd be sure to tell them a thing or two about Vermont Carry. After all, what is so hard about a mission statement that reads "We seek to eliminate state and administrative prohibitions on the possession and carrying of weapons on school grounds." Oh, well.

Frederick Douglass knew what he was talking about when he said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." If you do not demand liberty, you will not get it.

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