Stranger Fruit

Guns in schools! Yeah, that will work.

Anyone who knows Arizona politics won’t be surprised by another dumb proposal being put forward by Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson. Both are Republicans. Both have problems with evolution – Verschoor turned up at an Answers in Genesis fundraiser a few years back. Both supported a measure that would have forced instructors to provide alternative material when the material being taught went against the worldview of students. In short, both are culture warriors idiots, pure and simple.

And if only to prove their idiocy, they are now proposing a bill (SB 1214) that would exempt concealed-carry permit holders from a Arizona law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property. Yeah, that makes sense. Let’s allow the students carry guns. That should make things more comfortable for the teachers as they fail the little snowflakes. Let’s allow the teachers carry. That should make things better next time they feel threatened by the dumb students contesting their grades.

Johnson is a member of Gun Owners of America, Arizona Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Americans for Decency and the NRA. Her "issues of concern" include:

protecting the rights of parents to determine how and where their children are educated; standing firm for the precious right to life of the unborn, the elderly, and the handicapped; fighting to keep harden [sic] criminals behind bars, working to swiftly implement the death penalty when called for, and supporting the victims right to restitution; eradicating pornography; standing resolutely against the homosexual agenda; eliminating the oppressive Vehicle license tax

Vershchoor doesn’t give any details of his memberships or his "issues of concern." Probably just as well – he has accepted gifts from the Church of Scientiology.

Comments

  1. #1 Ahcuah
    January 26, 2008

    they are now proposing a bill (SB 1214) that would exempt concealed-carry permit holders from a Arizona law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property. Yeah, that makes sense. Let’s allow the students carry guns.

    You know, when your whole premise has an error of this magnitude, it makes you look just as silly as Verschoor and Johnson. Just as they refuse to look at the facts regarding Creationism, it looks like you are doing the same on this issue.

    You have to be 21 in Arizona to get a concealed weapon license (see here). So your remark about arming the students makes no sense at all.

    Next, to get the licenses, background checks are done and training required. And I don’t know where you are getting the fantasy that

    Let’s allow the teachers carry. That should make things better next time they feel threatened by the dumb students contesting their grades.

    Teachers have on hand all sorts of weapons (or items that can be converted to weapons). If they cannot be trusted not to use those other weapons, they shouldn’t be in the classroom at all. And besides, the data just doesn’t back up your fears–concealed weapons licensees have a much lower rate of criminal conduct than the general population. In fact, when concealed weapon statutes were initially being passed, there were all these dire predictions (rather similar to yours, here) about blood in the streets. Guess what? It didn’t happen.

    And here’s the crux: will you allow your fears to override the data, or the data to override your fears? Which way is the scientific way, and which way is the creationist way?

  2. #2 M Speck
    January 26, 2008

    It does work! The University of Utah allows concealed carry on campus.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpSUBE3lMPM

    I think it’s a good idea, and would feel safer on campus if this law is passed.

  3. #3 John Lynch
    January 26, 2008

    @ Ahcuah

    You have to be 21 in Arizona to get a concealed weapon license (see here). So your remark about arming the students makes no sense at all.

    If you read the legislation it was specifically modified to refer to tertiary level institutions. and as we all know there are no students over the age of 21 in Arizona’s community colleges and universities. [/sarcasm] Try actually wandering around one of the campuses rather than making a fool of yourself by making “an error of this magnitude” yourself.

    background checks are done and training required.

    And as we all know, such checks work and can predict if, for example, an individual flips out during a traumatic experience.

    Teachers have on hand all sorts of weapons (or items that can be converted to weapons). If they cannot be trusted not to use those other weapons, they shouldn’t be in the classroom at all.

    WTF are you talking about? Teachers armed with sticks of chalk?

    And here’s the crux: will you allow your fears to override the data, or the data to override your fears? Which way is the scientific way, and which way is the creationist way?

    Please, share this data of which you speak. I’m assuming it doesn’t come from the NRA or “Americans for Guns”, by the way. But go ahead and share it.

    If you don’t realize that the possession of guns changes the dynamic of the teaching environment then you know nothing about what teachers have to do. Tell ya what – find one teachers organization that supports a measure like this.

  4. #4 John Lynch
    January 26, 2008

    @ M Speck

    I think it’s a good idea, and would feel safer on campus if this law is passed.

    Good for you. I, however, as a teacher and employee in the institutions in question, an individual who has to deal with more students in any given year than you have (and in more stressful situations), would not feel safer.

  5. #5 Ahcuah
    January 26, 2008

    John,

    Yes I read it. Yet, you said “schools”, not “colleges”. And you said “teachers”, not “professors.” That looks like misrepresenting it to me.

    Things that can be converted to weapons? Baseball bats; chemicals of all sorts; chairs. Use your imagination. And, of course, prohibiting guns on campus only prevents those who are generally law-abiding from doing so. We all so sadly know just how well the Virginia Tech prohibition worked.

    Regarding the data, I was referring specifically to the dire predictions (which you can find simply by checking newspapers). For the data on the crime rates of those with concealed weapon licenses, most attorneys general report those.

    I guess I just don’t understand why you think people who have gone to the effort of getting a concealed carry license are so likely to go wacko. The thing is, I bet you think it is just fine for cops to carry guns on campus, yet there have been plenty of instances of cops (look at some of the recent Chicago police force stories, for instance) aren’t all that trustable, either. The gun owners I know take carrying a weapon quite seriously. Again, background checks (way beyond those done just for buying a weapon) for getting a concealed carry license are pretty extensive. We’re not talking about the general population here. So, why the continued concern?

    But, as I mentioned before, I see you ignoring all the stuff you don’t want to believe, a very creationist attitude.

    It’s rather interesting to see how that might tie to the recent cognitive research that says we make up our minds, first, and then end up rationalizing it.

  6. #6 Ahcuah
    January 26, 2008

    From a story regarding renewals in Ohio:

    Nearly four years after the concealed weapon law went into effect, Franklin County Chief Deputy Steve Martin said that safety concerns held by some opponents of the law at its inception have turned out to be untrue.

    “It’s worked well,” he said. “We’ve had very few problems …”

  7. #7 John Lynch
    January 26, 2008

    Yet, you said “schools”, not “colleges”. And you said “teachers”, not “professors.” That looks like misrepresenting it to me.

    What are “professors”? Teachers, that’s what. I use them interchangeably because I am one. Moving on.

    Things that can be converted to weapons? Baseball bats; chemicals of all sorts; chairs.

    Are you serious? What school did you go to where teachers carried baseball bats? How many stories of college professors taking on students with chairs and “chemicals of all sorts” have you read? Just because furniture can be used as a weapon doesn’t mean guns are OK in the classroom. Wow.

    So cops who have to go through background checks and training are not to be trusted but permit holders (who go through similar background checks and training) are. Nice logic.

    It’s rather interesting to see how that might tie to the recent cognitive research that says we make up our minds, first, and then end up rationalizing it.

    That works for you as well, you do realize that?

    Oh, and you provided no data, just a single article from Ohio which has nothing to do with carrying in schools/colleges. I wasn’t making any claim about the wisdom of CC permits (though I do have views on the issue). I was making a statement about carrying weapons on campuses.

    And as for VT. No one knows what would have happened had someone else been armed. The death toll could just as easily been higher. Everyone assumes that someone with a CC permit knows what do in times of stress. Looking at how – for example – highly trained soldiers react in similar situations shows that to be an assumption.

    If you are happy in Ohio that weapons can be carried on campus (I don’t know if that’s the case) then more power to you. As someone who spends five days a week on a college campus, who has seen students get overwrought and violent when things haven’t gone their way grade-wise, I wouldn’t be happy.

  8. #8 M Speck
    January 27, 2008

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=272929

    “Right-to-carry laws reduce the number of people killed or wounded from multiple victim public
    shootings as many attackers are either deterred from attacking or when attacks do occur they are
    stopped before the police can arrive.”

    “Not only does the passage of a right-to-carry law have a significant impact on multiple shootings but it is the only gun law that appears to have a significant impact.”
    pg.20

    I think that creating a “gun free zone” makes for an inviting opportunity for criminals. It’s an area where they know that the victims won’t have the means to fight back.

    When every second counts the police are only minutes away.

  9. #9 John Lynch
    January 27, 2008

    I think that creating a “gun free zone” makes for an inviting opportunity for criminals. It’s an area where they know that the victims won’t have the means to fight back.

    And this is why the campuses of ASU and MCC are rife with crime? Not.

    You are probably more likely to have something happen off-campus than on.

  10. #10 John Lynch
    January 27, 2008

    Oh and Lott’s research is not without problems. For example, in 2004 the NAS reviewed the data on firearms and violent crime, including Lott’s work, and found that “there is no credible evidence that ‘right-to-carry’ laws, which allow qualified adults to carry concealed handguns, either decrease or increase violent crime.”

  11. #11 Kristjan Wager
    January 27, 2008

    Without going further into the debate, I’ll point out that John Lott has absolutely no academic credibility, so you shouldn’t cite him, when trying to back up your point. Much like Bellesiles shouldn’t be used (by the opposite side) in such a debate.

    The difference of course being that Bellesiles has been disowned because of his fraud, while certain right-winged organizations still refer to Lott.

  12. #12 Kevin
    January 27, 2008

    I am a graduate student studying evolution. I also am a lifetime member of the NRA, avid marksman, and holder of a concealed handgun license. Believing in creationism and a gun owner are not the same mind-set, and your attempt to lump the two in the same category is silly.

    At my university there are signs posted all around the university that this is a “gun-free zone.” I work long hours at night because everyone knows biological experiments do not follow the sleep patterns of humans. Unfortunately, the university I attend is located in a very economically depressed area of town. It is also a fact of life that more burglaries occur at night then during the day. It is a miscarriage of justice to deny me the right to defend myself against others that may try to harm me. A criminal is not going to pay attention to signs that say guns are not allowed. What is my wife and kids going to do if I am killed during a robbery?

    The idea that responsible adults cannot be trusted with deadly weapons is ridiculous. A letter by Li and Weiss in 1992 in the American Journal of Epidemiology gives a great thought experiment. Suppose there is a population with 5% of the people are violent and 95% are nonviolent. All the people in the violent population have handguns and carry t hem while only a small fraction of the nonviolent population have handguns. Any increase in handgun ownership and carrying of that handgun would be in the nonviolent part of the population. Increased handgun carry would not result in increased violence.

    Also look at Centerwall 1992, Homicides and the Prevalence of Handguns: Canada and the United States, 1976 to 1980. It shows that an increased ownership of handguns does not have an increase in violent crime.

  13. #13 John Lynch
    January 28, 2008

    Believing in creationism and a gun owner are not the same mind-set, and your attempt to lump the two in the same category is silly.

    Who the hell was lumping them together? Certainly not me. In fact, it is the pro-CC commenter who brought up creationism. Though even they weren’t equating the two.

  14. #14 Kevin
    January 28, 2008

    “Anyone who knows Arizona politics won’t be surprised by another dumb proposal being put forward by Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson. Both are Republicans. Both have problems with evolution… In short, both are culture warriors, idiots, pure and simple… And if only to prove their idiocy, they are now proposing a bill (SB 1214) that would exempt concealed-carry permit holders from a Arizona law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property.”

    Looks like you are the one lumping evolution and handguns together.

    If you want to argue that licensed concealed carry of handguns on a university will increase rates of violence then you need to show the evidence on this. Do not go make logical fallacies to claim your point.

    This is what you are claiming in your first paragraph.
    1. Evolution is true.
    2. Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson have problems with evolution.
    3. Since evolution is true and Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson don’t accept evolution, they are idiots.
    3. Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson introduced Senate bill 1214 to allow licensed handguns carry on university campus.
    4. Since Thayer Verschoor and Karen Johnson are idiots about evolution, they are idiots about handguns.

    Now I may agree that they are idiots about evolution but that is as far as we go together. You were asking for evidence from another poster. I put mine in my previous post that shows that an increase in gun ownership will not have an increase in violent crime. Where is your evidence that shows that increased handgun carry will result in more violent crime?

  15. #15 MartinM
    January 28, 2008

    A letter by Li and Weiss in 1992 in the American Journal of Epidemiology gives a great thought experiment. Suppose there is a population with 5% of the people are violent and 95% are nonviolent. All the people in the violent population have handguns and carry them while only a small fraction of the nonviolent population have handguns. Any increase in handgun ownership and carrying of that handgun would be in the nonviolent part of the population. Increased handgun carry would not result in increased violence.

    In other news, sitting at the top of a hill prevents one from climbing any higher. That would be a useful piece of information were I, in fact, sitting at the top of a hill.

  16. #16 Kevin
    January 28, 2008

    MartinM, I’m just pointing out the fallacy in thinking that an increase in handgun ownership will increase violent crime. Some things are obvious for some people while others need a little more thinking.

  17. #17 Shawn
    January 28, 2008

    Let’s allow the students carry guns. That should make things more comfortable for the teachers as they fail the little snowflakes. Let’s allow the teachers carry. That should make things better next time they feel threatened by the dumb students contesting their grades.

    Oddly enough, the colleges and universities in the 12 states where adult students with concealed carry permits are allowed to carry on campus have had no problems of this sort. Contrast with VA Tech, where firearms were strictly banned.

    The evidence is quite clear: Guns carried on campus by those legally authorized to have them do not cause problems. Guns carried by nutjobs who want to hurt people cause problems, but they don’t pay any attention to bans anyway — except maybe to target “gun-free zones”.

  18. #18 Dr. Piazza
    January 28, 2008

    In response to Arizona Senate Bill 1214, which would exempt
    concealed-carry permit holders from a state law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property, Dr. Ignatius Piazza has committed to provide every Arizona School teacher with a $2,000, Four Day Defensive Handgun Course, free of charge if Arizona lawmakers will pass
    the Senate Bill 1214.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/01-28-2008/0004744030&EDATE

  19. #19 Mike M.
    January 29, 2008

    John, while you’re giving us your feelings about guns on campus, can you also provide some statistics from the states (like Utah and California) that already allow CCW holders to carry on campus?

    Surely the incidents committed by CCW holders in those places can provide plenty of data to support your feelings.

  20. #20 Robert Ries
    January 29, 2008

    You claim that arming people legally won’t work (data please?). Yet we have proved empirically that disarming law-abiding people really doesn’t work (32 data points at VT, more elsewhere). And you claim to be a scientist? My father teaches science; he would give you an F for failure of logic, an F for failure to research an F for presenting unsupported opinion and conjecture as documented fact and an F for lying. You, sir, are a fraud.

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