The best protection from guns is one of your own

The best protection from guns is one of your own

“You know, we wouldn’t be nearly as panicked if we all had guns.”

That thought kept running through my head as I tried to commute to work across MIT on Saturday morning. The rumor of a man with a gun was discomfiting, certainly, but much more so because nearly everyone at MIT is defenseless against any gun. Yet many think the correct response is to ban guns altogether.

Instead, I would suggest that MIT students and faculty be encouraged to carry. As recently as 1950, MIT students were required to take and pass two full years of military science classes, which exposed them to weaponry firsthand. Even today, rifle is one of the most popular PE classes at MIT. Switzerland has mandatory military training, and also has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world. By making concealed carry training mandatory, MIT could make its campus the safest in Massachusetts.

“What?! But MIT already has a police force dedicated solely to protecting us! And especially in cities, police are always only a few minutes away.” True, but every second counts when bullets fly. If someone opens a classroom door and begins shooting, it will be the work of only a few minutes before the police no longer matter to the people in that room. No police force in the world is everywhere at once.

“We’re private citizens, though; only the police need guns.” But why do the police carry guns? They don’t go around dispensing vigilante justice, shooting handcuffed prisoners who obviously recently committed murder. They carry guns because they know guns are the best defensive measure against an armed attacker, and they only use their gun (hopefully) if they are being attacked with similarly lethal force. The late philosopher Ronald Dworkin said one mark of a good government is one with equal concern for every citizen — is my life less important than that of a police officer? If so, am I not permitted to defend myself as well as a police officer can?

We are adults. We are capable of acting safely and treating others equally in the eyes of the law. MIT should encourage its students and faculty to carry, so that we can best preserve our truly unique community. We’re trusted to work at the nuclear reactor; can’t we be trusted to preserve our own lives? We could even add a gun safety class as a GIR to cement our safety training and knowledge of how to respond to a hostile gunman.

Gun permits can be obtained through the local police department. One must complete a Massachusetts certified firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course. Furthermore, the local police department can impose any other limitations as it sees fit.

To carry on campus, however, requires additional permits. Under Massachusetts law, chapter 269, section 10(j), “Whoever, not being a law enforcement officer … carries on his person a firearm as hereinafter defined, loaded or unloaded or other dangerous weapon in any building or on the grounds of any … college or university without the written authorization of the board or officer in charge of such elementary or secondary school, shall be punished by a fine….” Thus, anyone who can legally carry in the State of Massachusetts can petition the MIT Chief of Police to give them written authorization to carry on MIT property.

I urge you to protect yourself. Be safe, take a gun safety class, get a license, petition MIT. Take responsibility for your own life and safety, and make MIT lockdowns a thing of the past.

Tea Dorminy is a member of the Class of 2013.

Editor’s Note: In accordance with written policies and procedures, “firearms, air rifles, air pistols, b.b. guns, ammunition and tazers are not permitted on MIT property or in any Institute-approved living group.”

jontus over 10 years ago

It occurs to me that this author is actively devaluing my degree.

PhilaBOR over 10 years ago

At least there is one smart person at MIT. Look at the data: no college or university that allows carry has had a mass shooting, and their levels of violent crime INCLUDING RAPE are much lower. Utah statewide, Colorado State U, many in Texas, etc.

I think my 1979 degree just got a bit more valuable.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

The author willfully ignores the fact that it's not even that long ago when MIT had an attack on campus. The author should ask what would have happened to Wolfe Styke if Anna Tang had a gun instead of a knife.

Tea Dorminy over 10 years ago

What would have happened to Anna Tang had Wolfe Styke had a gun, or Anna thought he might?

Jason woodruff over 10 years ago

When the wolves cannot discern the sheepdogs from the sheep, the whole herd is safe.

"Holy Crap, these guns are illegal??? I better go turn them in right now!!!"

No Criminal Ever

Anonymous over 10 years ago

the guy was allegedly wearing body armor. I guess we should also all go around wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets too? I'm sorry but I prefer living in a civilization to living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

Wrong, Tea. Wolfe Styke was attacked while he was asleep. Anna Tang would have had the first shot if she had a gun, and then possibly more shots, at Styke. Do you sleep with one eye open, Tea? Should the rest of us?

And furthermore, it should be noted that both Anna Tang and Wolfe Styke survived the attack. It would have became a larger tragedy if either one was killed, which is a far more likely outcome if guns were involved. This may shock you, Tea, but some of us prefer that no one gets killed in attacks.

And lastly, do you know how frequently bikes, cell phones, and laptops get stolen at MIT? And you want to potentially add guns to this list? That sure makes me feel safer. Surely you jest.

William over 10 years ago

Anna Tang was not a concealed carry permit holder, and would likely have been denied if she applied, due to her mental illness.

Citing this case doesn't add anything to the discussion.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

"Anna Tang was not a concealed carry permit holder, and would likely have been denied if she applied, due to her mental illness."

I'm not sure this matters. Adam Lanza didn't have a permit either. And didn't Seung-Hui Cho buy his guns legally?

JackB over 10 years ago

A law abiding citizen carrying for self protection from bad people is not the equivalent to "post-apocalyptic wasteland." It is a civilized society with some bad people and some people willing to take responsibility for themselves. I suppose in a world without guns, I'd be happy without one. In a world with guns, I want one, too.

Anonymous over 10 years ago

"The only way to stop a bad dog with a gun is to have a good dog with a gun." (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-7-2013/burner---pooch)

Steve C over 10 years ago

Switzerland has half the number of households with handguns, and it is very difficult to get a concealed carry permit, but their homicide rate is much lower.

Alex Dehnert over 10 years ago

Anna thought he might?

I mean, I believe he has a great deal of self-defense training (and I assume she knew that), so I'm a little dubious that expecting him to be able to fight back would have mattered.