A New Video About Guns On Campus That You Must See!

Even though campus-carry just died in Florida, it’s alive in other states and happens to be allowed in nine states, although in several of those states a campus can still opt out. But the bottom line is that Gun-nut Nation’s dream of getting rid of gun-free zones on college campuses is full steam ahead. And the reason for this gross stupidity is not because college campuses are so dangerous; actually they are very safe spots. In fact, the problem isn’t usually on-campus crime but crime committed in neighborhoods adjacent to college campuses because many colleges were founded in urban centers that used to be secure locations but have become less safe as the quality of life in older neighborhoods has declined.

armor2             On the other hand, college-age men and women happen to be susceptible to behavior which if it occurred within easy access to a gun might have very serious results.  Depression is a problem for people of college age; ditto binge drinking, particularly on residential campuses, particularly on weekends when little supervision is around. Even though suicide rates for men and women ages 18 – 24 are higher for people in that age cohort who are not in school, the college experience can be stressful, particularly for students who are far from home. So why add a gun to the mix?

Because the truth is that the college experience is often the experience that forms the basic social values that people then follow for the rest of their lives. And if you drive around college campuses you’ll notice that there’s almost always an outdoor sports store in the neighborhood, but those stores don’t usually sell guns. They stock kayaks, running shoes, hiking and trekking gear, all the stuff which young, active people like to use in the years before they start to develop that wider waistline and end up sitting on their duffs.

Letting guns on campus is an invitation to promote the sale and ownership of guns to people who otherwise may never even think about arming themselves or using a gun for self-defense. There’s a reason why the percentage of American households containing guns continues to go down, and it happens to be going down at the same time that the percentage of Americans enrolled in college is going up. Get it?

A number of groups have sprung up to resist campus carry over the last few years, and one of the most provocative is a Texas-based bunch who call themselves Cocks Not Glocks and showed up on the UT campus last year to hand out dildos to express their anger over the campus-carry law signed by that idiot Greg Abbott in 2016.  In case you are wondering, UT happens to be the same campus where Chuckie Whitman went to the top of the Texas Tower on August 1, 1966, killed 14 and wounded another 31 before he was shot by the cops, not by some undergraduate wandering around with his gun.

The Cocks Not Glocks group has now returned with a video, #StudentBodyArmor, which is something everybody has to see. And I mean everybody. View it on Twitter or Facebook, but make sure you see it and make sure you share it with everyone else. And when you watch the video, make sure to catch the scene where someone models a hoodie with body-armor lining to protect against head shots! It’s the best political satire I have ever seen.

I want this video to go as far as it can go. So I’m going to suggest to the CocksNotGlocks folks that they set up a page on GoFundMe or some other internet money raising site.  My Franklin is ready to go and the money could be used to get your video onto commercial venues, maybe even some movie theaters here and there.  It really deserves to be seen.

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Guns Are A Risk But There’s One Important Group That Doesn’t Agree.

Do we have a problem with gun violence in this country or do we have a problem with the gun violence committed by one particular group?  If you look closely at the numbers as well as the profiles of shooters, I’m not so sure that gun violence is all that difficult to figure out.  Think about this: Adam Lanza was 20, Jared Loughner was 27, James Holmes was 27, Seung Hi-Cho was 23, and the granddaddy of all mass shooters, good ol’ Chuckie Whitman, was 25 when he climbed up to the top of the University of Texas Tower and blazed away until 14 people were dead.

But let’s not focus only on mass killers because headlines and public clamor to the contrary, these guys don’t add all that much carnage to the gun violence numbers that we rack up each year.  In 2010, the most recent year for numbers from the FBI, the age cohort 20-29 was responsible for the commission of one-third of all homicides, no other age group by decade came even half as close.  Switch perpetrators to victims and the numbers stay the same: nearly 40% of all gun-homicide victims are between 20 and 29, again more than 50% higher than any other decade age group that can be found.

gun crimes               It would be easy to take such numbers, align them alongside the ages of the mass shooters listed above and conclude that males between the ages of 20 and 29 have a propensity for violence that finds an outlet in the use of guns.  There’s only one little problem, however, which is that this same age cohort also accounts for the largest number of fatal vehicle deaths, scoring as high a percentage of overall vehicle fatalities as is the case with guns.  In 2013 there were 35,369 motor vehicle deaths and 7,563 of the victims, in other words, 21%, were between the ages of 20 and 29.  The only reason that this age decade didn’t experience the same preponderance of fatalities from cars as from guns is that gun homicides and violent behavior in general fades away once we get above age 49.

Another behavior that tends to fade with age is sex and its concomitant, sexually-transmitted disease.  There is very little incidence of STD in the pre-teen population for obvious reasons, with all STD cases reported prior to age 14 running around 1%.  But the incidence of female STD moves quickly upward beginning at age 15, with 22% of all female gonorrhea cases occurring by age 19, but an even larger incidence (34%) between ages 20 and 24.  Another female STD, chlamydia, also begins to occur after age 15, with 28% of all cases occurring up to age 19, but from 20 to 24 years old the percentage of all cases in the female population jumps to just under 40%!  As for male STD, since 2008 the incidence of syphilis is twice as high in men between the ages 20 to 29 as compared to the infection rate of any other decade age group.

What these three public health issues have in common is they all result from conscious behavioral choices – carrying a gun, exceeding the speed limit, having unprotected sex – in the face of massive social and educational messaging which clearly explains the risks of each. But the age group 20-29 is not averse to risk, it’s a population which often uses risk as a determinant for what they want to do. Want to know the number one killer for ages 18-29?  Unintentional injuries.

THE GVP community is united in promoting the idea that guns represent serious risk.  But the age group whose behavior contributes most to excessive gun violence is a group for whom the word ‘risk’ may be exactly what attracts them to guns.  In designing their messaging, GVP advocates should be sensitive to the fact that what words mean to them may have much different meanings to the audience with whom they need to connect.