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Letter to the editor: Students should ‘fight back’ against Ohio State campus crime

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A shooter practices her aim. Concealed carry is prohibited on OSU’s campus, a policy some say leaves students more likely to be victimized by campus crime.

A shooter practices her aim. Concealed carry is prohibited on OSU’s campus, a policy some say leaves students more likely to be victimized by campus crime. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Letter to the editor:

As you all (should) know, an armed robbery occurred last Thursday morning at the Huntington Bank on South Campus. A separate armed robbery was committed there Sept. 14. In addition, we’ve all recently received emails of other robberies occurring, one of which involved a student who awoke to two strangers pointing guns at her in her own home, and the other one involved burglars armed with knives who charged through a student’s front door as he opened it. Crimes occur on a regular basis on and off campus. Luckily, a convenient link to “Safety Tips” was placed at the bottom of the Sept. 26 email we received. We should all follow this link and look at how the University Department of Public Safety suggests we respond if we are ever the victim, God forbid.

The university gives many good pieces of advice, including: be aware of your surroundings, if they only want your property, don’t resist. Don’t walk alone. If you are ever in danger and your life is threatened, have no fear! The Ohio State University has come to the rescue with one particularly ingenious piece of advice: Get angry! Scream! Shout! I found this valuable piece of advice incredibly insightful, considering that everybody here on campus planned to remain quiet and peaceful while his or her life or limb are unjustly taken (please pick up on sarcasm).

This, my friends, is what to do if you are attacked, according to OSU. Get mad and yell at your attacker and scream for help. Besides the obvious “no duh,” isn’t there another reaction you may have? Isn’t there something missing here? Isn’t there something else you can do if you are attacked, perhaps something this esteemed university, for some reason, did not feel comfortable endorsing? How about fighting back?

I won’t completely tear our great school to shreds, we’re all patriotic Buckeyes here and I understand, somewhat, where the school is coming from. Containing violence and preventing students from getting hurt are their top priorities.

However, I’m also sure they’re highly persuaded by the fallacious and misleading argument that less violence ensues if the victim does not return the violence. True, if the victim would rather not fight back for any reason, that’s their choice. I strongly believe, however, that something else must be said, and I am going to say it.

We all, as individuals, have a right to our own safety and security, and therefore we all have a right to protect and defend ourselves. My only question is, why don’t we ever hear that? We may be quite an advanced civilization but some ancient and timeless rules still apply: If your life is threatened, you may protect it. If someone is using unjust force on you, reciprocal force is justified. It is politically incorrect, maybe, but I still must say: If your life is at risk and you can’t run, put your attacker’s life at risk instead. Or, at last, I may simply propose the best option: Get a concealed carry license.

On campus, as we all know, law-abiders are disarmed. The fight for expanding our right to self-defense onto campus is an ongoing battle. But there is no reason to surrender our rights off campus, in our homes, and in our community. They have, thankfully, not yet been taken from us. Yes, once you go through the required training, submit to a background check, and obtain the required identification, it is legal to carry a concealed firearm. And unlike our university, I want to be the voice that encourages students to defend themselves. I want to be the voice that says you don’t have to be a victim. Although OSU policy forbids it, elsewhere Ohio law allows you to carry a concealed firearm with the proper license, unless prohibited by a business owner, etc. This right to carry is, by extension, the right to defend yourself when threatened.

In today’s society, the thought that an average law-abiding citizen can carry a concealed firearm might seem foreign or just unnecessary. Well here is my simple reply that we’ve all probably heard before, and yet many continue to simply ignore these facts. Do those who commit these crimes and robberies have concealed carry permits? Do they go through the required training, submit to a background check, and obtain the necessary identification? No, because believe it or not, all people are not like you. They are not all law-abiding citizens. They do not carry firearms legally, and they certainly do not carry firearms for self-defense. They are lawbreakers, and by definition they pay no mind to the laws and regulations surrounding firearms and the lawful carrying of a firearm. How else, I ask, could they possibly bring a gun onto campus property, when there are signs posted in nearly every door that state “Firearms Prohibited?”

Call this a scare tactic if you feel the need, but I call it the honest truth. Absolute security is far from guaranteed on this beautiful campus and all its surrounding area. Our police, as much as they deserve our trust and respect, can rarely prevent somebody from breaking into your flimsy college house and they cannot follow you down every dark alley. Come to your rescue they surely will — once you can find a phone, usually after the crime has occurred and once you’re finally out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, that time is often much too late to prevent anything. The police are reactionary, rarely can they be preventative. That’s usually up to you.

We law-abiders may not all feel the need or have the desire to get a concealed carry permit, but we do all have the right. On campus, and in places of business where guns are prohibited, we should and must submit ourselves to their policies because we are law-abiding citizens. In our homes and in most of the off-campus community, however, we do have that right. Make no mistake, with a concealed carry permit comes absolute responsibility, and that might not be for everyone. But no matter where you are, whether you’re legally carrying off campus or properly disarmed on campus, you are not helpless, and we all have the God-given right to use a lot more than our voices if we are attacked. Be smart. Be responsible. Be cautious. But be brave.

 

Sam Zuidema
Chairman of the OSU College Republicans
zuidema.1@osu.edu

8 comments

  1. I think another way to help curb crime on and around the campus is to increase police presence. I am the parent of a freshman and the number of times I have been on campus the police presence has been non existent. If there isn’t enough police presence on campus then maybe the students do have to be able to protect themselves by other means. I think the University needs to step up and put more money into making the campus safe for all of their students. As a parent I am concerned about all of the crimes I read about on and around the campus. I challenge the University to step up and do something now! OSU is a great University so let’s put the resources into also making it the safest campus!

  2. Well said Sam!!

  3. The only way to fight crime on campus is major boosts to police presence. I see more and more of them riding in cruisers and increasingly less actually WALKING the beat. Letting students carry guns to class and parties where people are going to drink and be belligerent? That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. Leave it to the College Republicans! Sheesh.

  4. The idea that the no concealed carry signs prohibits anyone from carrying, lawful or otherwise, is absurd. It is a sign. Last time I checked people aren’t patted down the second they step foot on campus. I am disarmed when I am walking on campus, but the second I am off or to my car, I have my firearm with me. Criminals have been targeting students because they know they are disarmed (as well as being generally aloof) having come from campus. The most with which they will ever be faced are fists or mace and more often than not they aren’t faced with anything but passivity.

    The only thing that will prevent criminals from beating students into the hospital are the students themselves. Increasing the police force may help but it will only help in terms of response, not prevention. Students need to stand up for their right to life and liberty and their duty to defend it regardless of whether they are walking back from Buckeye Donuts or Thompson library.

    I hope the OSU administration is taking note and thinking objectively of what could be done to help prevent crime. CCW holders are far less likely to commit crimes than even police officers and it wouldn’t cost the university a dime.

  5. What about simple pepper spray? This campus shouldn’t turn into some kind if war zone where everyone has guns…

  6. One way to protect our students is to speak up and to shine the light on the problem. I am so worried about my OSU student; each week, another robbery or home invasion occurs within his neighborhood. I do not want other parents to experience this as well. Whenever I am able, I warn parents on college message boards about the crime students must deal with at The Ohio State University. Is it a good school?–absolutely. Is it worth my child’s life?–absolutely not.

    Choose another good school that is safer for your child.

  7. I don’t think packing heat is the solution. Off campus deterrents such as security system/cameras and guard dog can be effective for robberies. The whole break and enter-duct tape fiasco and all of these home invasions could have been avoided with simple alarm system and auto police dispatch.

    Non-Lethal defense such as mace/pepper spray and especially tasers are good at taking down the bad guys.

    If it really gets bad, you bet I’m going to carry a firearm. But I’d prefer not to add more civilian guns to the mix, and would prefer an increased and noticeable police presence.

    I try to look at this from an unbiased point of view, and each and every time it is Republicans who are embarrassing me and everyone else with rash decisions. Such cathartic stupidity.

  8. Carry your gun at all times and Columbus needs to tear down the ghetto that’s close to the campus..

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