“Just imagine that my daughter’s iPhone was a gun.” You may immediately think that would be a preferable exchange for any college student facing an impending sexual assault. Yet the imaginary request comes via a recent article in The Washington Post titled “You think your drunk college-age daughters are bad with their iPhones? Imagine them with guns.”
The author would like you to imagine that her 17-year old daughter, presumably illegally drinking at a college party, is holding a gun in her hand rather than her iPhone as she runs into the woods to escape the police and drops the imaginary gun into a snowbank. “Maybe it will be found in the spring, by children playing in the woods,” she muses. By the next paragraph, an even more “highly desirable” smart phone the daughter “promised to guard with her life” becomes a casualty of a drunken tumble down some steps.
The hope is that the optic alone would have you believe that campus carry is a bad idea.
Curiously absent are concerns about her 17-year old daughter’s consumption of alcohol itself or the consequences it could cause the teenager’s own wellbeing, not just that of her phone. Indeed, the daughter has a much higher likelihood of being injured or killed falling down those stairs than she does by a firearm. Firearm accidents account for roughly 0.4% of all accidental deaths each year, while unintentional falls alone account for roughly 22% of accidental deaths. The columnist not only paints her daughter in a rather unflattering light but displays some rather skewed parental risk assessment, as well.
In any event, concealed carry permits are not issued to 17 year olds. And carrying a firearm while intoxicated is already illegal in many states.
But facts clearly aren’t the point of the article. The point is to scare parents by portraying the carrying of firearms by adults who also happen to be students as a nightmare collision of Animal House and Showdown at the OK Corral.
Yet students, and female students in particular, face other scary, much more common realities on college campuses, scenes gun control advocates don’t want you to picture. They don’t want you to imagine the many young women who make the long trek back home from the library across an enormous campus alone at night, awkwardly toting a stack of books. They’d rather you ignore the dimly lit, secluded parking garage the senior chemistry major faces each night after her shift at the college bookstore. They’d prefer you just ignore what could happen to the teaching assistant whose evening class ends at 8:00 p.m. on her city campus, leaving her to walk six blocks through the cityscape, back to her off-campus apartment.
Simply put, the important debate on campus carry as a whole cannot ignore the overall importance of self-defense options for women. Everyday. Everywhere. While the nation’s university administrators and legislators fumble over their response to campus sexual assault, their policies of disarming students continue to make students less safe and provide both male and female students with fewer options, not more, to prevent victimization.
See MoreThe columnist insists that while “iPhones aren’t weapons,” they “are anti-rape devices.” Women can use them to “check in with friends” or “call or text one another if they need to be extricated from a difficult situation.” They can “call cabs and 911” and even “take photos and store evidence.”
That may be true, but for any number of students negotiating college campuses and their environs in vulnerable situations, that may not be enough to prevent or stop a sudden, violent attack.
That’s not a pretty, or funny, picture. But for far too many students, it’s one they risk every day. Campus carry is for them, and for them the NRA will continue to advocate.