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Politicizing crisis wrong

BY BENJI MCELROY | OCTOBER 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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A recent article by the Wall Street Journal reported that on more and more college campuses, students are winning the right to carry a gun.

It’s been more than five years since the massacre at Virginia Tech took 32 lives, yet its aftershocks are still being felt. Students for Concealed Carry was created after the massacre and continues to push for students’ so-called right to carry concealed firearms on campus. The group boasts chapters in every state, and yes, that includes Iowa.

Its crusade to return the ever-vital right of concealed firearms to victimized college students is noble at face, except I don’t recall where the Constitution says holding someone else’s life in your hands is a right.

In my opinion, groups such as Students for Concealed Carry politicize the public’s trial over guns and need to be held responsible for uprooting the debate. After they strategically pump the debate full of emotion, it loses all sense of rationality. The response to such tragedies as the Virginia Tech massacre and the more-recent Aurora shootings shifts from crucial discussions of policy to nothing more than senseless static.

Finally, months after the Aurora shooting, a voice of reason has emerged from the black hole of debate. Stephen Barton, a man in that Aurora movie theater, is calling for stricter gun-control laws. When the merits of firearms are up in the air everywhere else, how does it make sense to raise the topic on Iowa’s campus at all? This is the very same campus where an uproar over the binge-drinking rate took place mere weeks ago.

As long as firearms are readily available, there will be tragedies. As long as there are tragedies, there will be collective fear. As long as there is collective fear, there will be groups waiting to politicize it for their gain.

We can’t continue to allow this debate to be run through the political windmill. It’s time for firearms to face trial in the United States and the three-ring circus needs kept as far away as possible.


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