The Nevada System of Higher Education wants to arm their faculty. That’s insane. We have rare instances of students going on a shooting spree; I don’t see how turning the classroom into a firefight is going to stop that, and I also have a suspicion that any homicidal maniacs will henceforth simply put “shoot the professor” first on their to-do list. The other concern: how often has this happened at your university?

  • Dishevelled, out-of-breath student bursts into the room in the middle of class — he overslept.
  • Angry student storms into your office, red in the face and furious about his exam.
  • Walking across the campus late at night, a dark figure steps out from behind a building and raises his hand … to say hello.

Those kinds of events are routine, and don’t bother me at all. But let’s foster a climate of fear of our murderous students, slip a firearm into our pockets, and wait. It won’t happen often, but all it will take is one jittery professor and one deadly incident, and try to imagine your university dealing with the parents. And that kind of hasty stupidity is going to be more common than the “vicious gunman foiled by hail of professorial bullets” story, I’m sure. It’s trading one unlikely danger for a more common one, and it isn’t even going to stop the problem — lone gunmen violating a school must expect to end up dead, and if it’s in a gunfight, all the greater the glory.

At the very least, it’s going to send the message to our students that they’d better not make any sudden moves around their lethal professors. It’s a violation of the trust they should have in us, so no, rather than arming myself, I think I’d rather call the police if there is a violent threat … that’s better than becoming a klutzy threat all on my own. My job is to teach, not play Bruce Willis.


  1. #1 David Marjanovi?
    June 29, 2007

    The other concern: how often has this happened at your university?
    Angry student storms into your office, red in the face and furious about his exam.

    Not a single time. Never. Completely unthinkable. Because in Austria, you see, professors (tenured ones anyway) are almighty. Mwahah. If you’ve flunked, you’ve flunked. If you’ve flunked because they wanted half of the class to flunk*, you’ve still flunked. If you’ve flunked because they’ve seen from your ID number that you’ve only enrolled this year, so they deem you unworthy of their course which isn’t meant for lowly beginners**, you’ve still flunked. Theoretically you might sue, but a) good luck with that, and b) Europeans don’t sue. (Interestingly, we also don’t make jokes about how greedy lawyers are — though I don’t think ours are any less greedy than US ones.)

    That said, you can take every exam 3 times the normal way in Austria, and if you’ve flunked all 3 times (which hardly ever happens), you can take it a 4th time in front of a commission. That’s the other side of the Grand Coalition.

    * Usually marks follow a bell curve, and usually it’s centered on the equivalent of an Anglo-American C. I know a professor who shifts the scale so that the bell curve centers on the D. Funny thing is, said professor is an otherwise nice guy and a great scientist.
    ** I’ve been told one such professor teaches in Vienna.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    June 29, 2007

    Wouldn’t this be a heck of the lot easier if they made it illegal to sell guns to court certified lunatics? Cho was declared mentally incompetent by a judge, wasn’t he?


  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    June 29, 2007

    Sounds like old time christian fear-mongering. Except you replace the words “Satan” or “Hell” with “Gun”.

    Sounds like old-time American Christianist fearmongering. Except you replace “they’ll take God out of school” with “they’ll take the guns from our hands”.

    See? I can make up silly metaphors, too.

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    June 29, 2007

    but here is the real issue. no matter what we do, no matter what restrictions we place on gun sales, people will slip through the cracks and massacres will happen.

    Then why do they happen so often in the USA, and so rarely elsewhere?

    My friend, you’re trying to do statistics with a sample of 1.

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    June 29, 2007

    we are never going to eliminate violent crime

    Amok runs are a very special case of violent crime. To prevent them, you can do two things:

    - Prevent people from becoming stark raving mad.
    - Prevent people from getting a gun.

    Hm. It appears, then, that the rest of the world is doing something better than the US in these respects.

    snex, have you watched Bowling for Columbine? To my surprise, it showed that a heavily-armed society — such as Canada — does not automatically have US-style rates of death by gun. To get that, fear is necessary. Irrational, insane fear like that of Robert (# 85) or, it appears, you. Fear that leads people to carry guns around where everyone can steal them. Fear that leads them to shooting first & asking questions later, and even to legalize this insane behavior in southern Florida. In Latin, terror.

    Robert, if you go around assuming that everyone is an asshole until proven innocent, people will start treating you that way.

  6. #6 RickR
    January 14, 2010

    pusatbelanja, will you stop spamming old threads, please?