Friday, May 25, 2007

Gun debate begins on campus

Derek Getman, CO-President of A.I.M. at WMU (a pro second amendment group on campus) recently submitted this letter to the editor to the Western Herald and also the Kalamazoo Gazette. It is a well written piece that lays out the simple case for why guns should be allowed on campus. WMU Professor Paul Panchella proves once again how much free time he has by penning this response to Derek. With all of the time I assume he spends brooding against any displays of conservatism on campus I would have expected a letter of higher quality. It seems what the professor fails to realize is that the campus ban on guns only stops the law abiding people from bringing guns onto campus. People who would misuse guns I highly doubt would be deterred by the blink-and-miss signs that say "gun free campus."

On an unrelated note: I strongly encourage all of you to take the quiz at to see which 2008 Presidential candidate they feel is most aligned with your views (and sometitmes equally interesting: which candidates are the furthest away from your views). Republican and Democratic candidates are included. I have taken the quiz a few times, usually getting similar results. It doesn't include every issue under the sun, but it seems to give very fair results for an under 5 minute quiz.


Megan B said...

My results:

Gingrich was my highest match.

Of the 3 top tier GOP candidates McCain was my highest.

My lowest top tier candidate: Obama

Matthew said...

Panchella's response is a joke! He doesn't even provide logic or reasoning to his response instead implying that his opinions are self-evident.

I suppose, however, not making any logical arguments is at least more responsible than employing dubious logic.

The Blogger formally known as Anonymous said...

A few points; first to Megan. Your crude jab at Dr. Panchella was uncalled for. If you are to criticize him for writing about what he believes in, you need look no further than this page for another shining example of someone who certainly meets your definition having too much time on their hands: Allan. Criticizing Dr. Panchella requires you also criticize Allan if you are to remain consistent.

This brings us to the second point; Matthew. I fail to see your dismissal of Panchella's response. Getman's argument was that the tragedy at V-Tech could have been averted were the students allowed to carry guns. Panchella contended that such incidents already occur infrequently because of gun regulation. Perhaps you could assert that they were talking past each other to some extent; however, from my reading, this sounds like a directed response. I may be missing something.

Advocates of gun law liberalization seem remiss in one important respect. They time and time again cite statistics purporting to show that states with right to carry laws show a drop in crime rates. It is a glairing oversight to not acknowledge the huge data endogeneity problem here. In situations where you find more liberal gun laws, you are also likely to find stiffer law enforcement in general. Thus, it is not immediately clear that anyone has successfully proved that the right to carry law caused crime rates to drop.

Increasing the amount of guns on the streets can be expected to have the marginal consequence of more individuals shooting to kill in instances where they feel even slightly endangered. Another point where advocates of gun use fall seemingly silent is the question if who decides when a shot fired was really fired in self-defense? Do you trust the shooter or the person shot? What will happen in a situation where you have a white shooter and a black person shot, for example?

Such are holes in the argument for easing gun restrictions. It is by no means the open and shut case Getman and others might have us believe.