Vigilante efforts pose threat
The Houston Police Department released information Friday confirming it had taken custody of the alleged gunman who was responsible for the death of Joe Tall.
The 32-year-old student, who according to the Houston Police Department admitted to the killing of a homeless man on campus, considered himself a ‘vigilante intent on cleaning up crime on campus,’ police said.’
Despite these sick and tragic incidents, some refuse to learn that guns are dangerous and, more importantly, kill people.
People who intend to fire a gun at somebody or something intend to kill.
This Texas Legislative session SB 1164 and its companion bill, HB 1893, are making positive progress and gaining momentum.
Both bills are tagged as relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on campuses of institutions of higher education, according to legislative watch Web site Statesurge.com
In Thursday’s edition of Houston Chronicle, the largest headline was ‘Fear triggers sales of guns and ammo.’
It is depressing in our society that fear and guns are so complementary.
In the article, Purva Patel noted the dramatic rise in gun sales and fearful sentiment.
‘In Texas, the number of applications for concealed handguns swelled to 12,587 in February, up from 7,626 in the same month last year, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety,’ Patel wrote.
The surge started when President Obama was elected in November. According to a Nov. 11 CNN article, FBI figures for background check requests for potential gun purchasers in 2008 surged almost 49 percent during the same time period in 2007.’
People are now going out in droves to buy guns, and this is not what you want. The idea of a gun purchase serving as a security investment is sensible; carrying that gun around with you like your cellular phone is not.
‘Nationally, the number of FBI background checks, which are required whenever someone buys a firearm from a federally licensed retailer, jumped 29.2 percent in March 2009, compared to the same month last year,’ Patel wrote.
It’s shocking to note that people do not just buy guns from retailers, which means that those who buy elsewhere are exempt from background checks.
Local gun shows and private gun sales can be document-free. Anybody of age who can walk through a door at a gun show, or drive to meet a private seller, can enter the gun market.
Money talks, regardless of one’s criminal past, citizenship, psychological disorders, mental disorders or other health issues.
The alleged killer of Tall was convicted of burglary charges in 2005 and also admitted to police he was bipolar. There is a great chance he never submitted or was even asked for a background check when he acquired the weapon used to kill Tall, if he purchased it at all.’
The more weapons in circulation, the higher the chances one will fall into the hands of someone who will use it irresponsibly.
When the founders of the Constitution wrote the second amendment, they specifically stated, ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’
This is often used as a main argument in debates as to why guns should be allowed in public places and, in this case, on our campus.
Many engage in discussion to apply law to it or to interpret the original intent and meaning one way or another. What we should think about are the effects of turning gun-free zones into places where guns are allowed.
The argument is often made that if students are armed, they can protect themselves and other innocent students through their own action. Gov. Rick Perry supports this argument.
‘It makes sense for Texans to be able to protect themselves from deranged individuals, whether they’re in church, or whether on a college campus or wherever they are,’ Perry said in a May 2007 statement.
Republican Rep. Joe Driver, the author of HB 1893, wants people to carry guns everywhere. When talking about the bill he authored, he referred to the Virginia Tech massacre.
‘To me, that situation could have been changed if that rule wasn’t in effect,’ Driver said to the Austin American Statesman in May 2007. ‘Anybody who has a concealed handgun license should be allowed to carry their gun to as many places as possible.’
Driver and others argue that criminals and deranged people do not abide by laws, so the people who follow laws are the disadvantaged.
This idea is not only flawed, but it is narrow-minded.
If we all police each other, we damage the identity of police.
The scenario of fellow citizens stopping deranged gunmen marks everybody a potential predator and victim and everybody a target and suspect.
When you come upon a situation where guns are blazing, you cannot identify the original gunman from the people trying to help by using their firearms.
Despite how well police may protect, their image is a strong deterrent. they are also trained and chosen by the public to police their fellows.
Persons who troll the streets without backing and training from a law-enforcement group, looking to enforce their own brand of justice, are defined as vigilantes.
There are strict rules police officers must adhere to off-duty, which is a direct counter to the idea of vigilantism.
Vigilantism is not supported by law enforcement, which does tend to support concealed carry laws.
State sen. John Carona, who usually votes for gun rights, and is a member of the National Rifle Association is not in favor of either of these bills.
‘There is certainly the possibility that someone could bring that legislation up, but I think if they did, it would be opportunistic and ill-advised,’ Carona said in a 2007 interview with the Austin American Statesman.
There’s an old saying about man being the most dangerous animal. Adding firearms to the mix doesn’t seem to reduce the danger.
If these bills pass, people such as Tall’s alleged killer would not be committing a crime when walking around campus with a firearm; They would be ‘protecting others.’
Andrew Taylor is an economics junior and may be reached at [email protected].