How not to prevent college shootings

February 22, 2008

This just misses the point:

After the Virginia Tech murders a year ago, Yale University banned the use of stage weapons in a student theatrical production — infuriating actors and educators who believed audience members could distinguish drama from real life. After a few days of ridicule, Yale backed down.

A year later, after another gun tragedy, college officials are still trying to figure out how to make their campuses safe — and theater still is a target. A student production of Assassins, the award-winning musical, was to have premiered Thursday night at Arkansas Tech University, but the administration banned it — and permitted a final dress rehearsal Wednesday night (so the cast could experience the play on which students have worked long hours) only on the condition that wooden stage guns were cut in half prior to the event and not used. Assassins is a musical in which the characters are the historic figures who have tried to kill a U.S. president.

Robert C. Brown, Arkansas Tech’s president, issued a statement explaining the decision as follows: “All of us have a healthy respect for the freedom of artistic expression that college theater represents, and all of us agree that out of respect for the families of those victims of the tragedies at Northern Illinois University and Virginia Tech, and from an abundance of caution, it is best at this time not to undertake a campus production that contains the portrayal of graphically violent scenes.”

A total missing of the real issue. Three key components go into every university (or high school) shooting: The desire of the student(s) to kill his peers, the inability of said peers to defend themselves, and the media’s insensitive infatuation with culprit face-time. I’ve written that there are real solutions to the first and third problems. The answer to the second has been suggested, and I think concealed carry is worth at least an experiment.

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