Bullet Points: ‘Gun violence will remain static on campus,’ says LGBTQ student
In the wake of the Orlando shooting, some students in the LGBTQ community question their safety on the University of Houston’s grounds. With the campus carry law soon to be enacted on Aug. 1, supply chain management and marketing senior Jason Ozenne explains that, despite feeling unsafe on campus, he doesn’t fear the implementation of Texas Senate Bill 11.
In the third installment of our weekly Bullet Points series, The Cougar interviewed Ozenne to find out what a member of the LGBTQ community does or does not have to fear on campus.
The Cougar: What was your initial response to the attack in Orlando?
Jason Ozenne: I woke up to the CNN reports and honestly thought it was something going on in another country because I was half asleep. It wasn’t until that morning that I realized it was in the U.S. Not that it would have been less sad had it happened overseas — I just felt that something on that level wouldn’t take place in our country.
TC: What should the community’s reaction be in terms of gun violence?
JO: First and foremost, I think that a lot of people should feel quite disgusted with themselves for the amount of compassion they have lacked in not only this situation, but many over the recent years, with gun violence. It had not been more than 12 hours after the event before people started pushing their own selfish agendas. It is sad that people seem to not have compassion anymore, or just take a moment to realize how many people were killed in a place that they felt was a safe haven. Regardless of your views on guns, politics, religion, people have to learn to stop being so insensitive to others and really see things for that they are.
If the tables were turned and they knew someone involved in this incident, I can guarantee they would not want the person that they knew and loved to be a part of society’s sick and selfish agenda, but to be remembered for the person that they were.
TC: As a member of the LGBTQ community, do you feel safe on campus?
JO: I absolutely do not feel safe on campus. UH is already so crime-prone as it is. Things around the country seem to be getting worse, so I do worry about my safety at school. Campus safety is a large part as to why I do not and will not live on campus. I would rather pay the same amount of money that our school charges for rent to live in a safer location and commute.
TC: Are you concerned for your or the LGBTQ community’s safety once campus carry is enacted?
JO: I do not fear the LGBTQ (community)’s safety once this law is passed, and here is why: Gun control is a catch-22, and I can see “both sides” of the coin. Criminals will use guns, any weapons, no matter if it is legal or not. If we take guns away or regulate them, you run the risk of not being able to protect yourself in certain situations. If someone has that much hatred toward LGBTQ (people), they will stop at nothing to hurt others due of that community, or any other, to try and fulfill their own personal vendettas.
On the flip side, I do not believe everyone having a gun is the answer to this problem either. I think it’s absurd to think owning a gun would have “fixed” the Orlando situation, or any in that nature where you have someone using a machine gun in an enclosed space. By the time you are able to get to your gun, load it, etc., there will already be lost lives and yours could very well be one of them.
Do I believe that it could have stopped (or) slowed him down though? Absolutely. As far as this being on a school (campus), it would depend on the situation (or) location. But I think that for the most part, gun violence will remain static on campus.